FOUNDATION STONE AWASH II
We feel very gratified indeed every time we lay, as, for example today, the cornerstones for, or inaugurate the successful completion of projects which, because of the benefits they render to the nation, have been given the proper study they deserve, for such occasions bring to mind the day-to-day increase in the number of projects which have either been launched or completed.
The full utilization of the power supply available before and after the completion of the Koka Dam brought the need for still more production of power. This in itself is proof enough of the gradual betterment of the living conditions of Our people and the progress of Our country.
It can be said that the number and type of industries existent in any country is a standing evidence of that country’s path to modernization and progress. In as much as Ethiopia abounds in raw materials which it should industrially transform and utilize, We are convinced that the time is not too distant when it can successfully do so both as a means of self-sufficiency and further still for surplus export to the world market. As We have noted in the past, however, such efforts require both a great amount of capital and enough pooling of one’s own skilled manpower; the endeavours We have already made to bring Ethiopia as close to this position as possible is well known to Our beloved people. Even if Our efforts in this regard have not so far been fully crowned with complete success, it may well be said that the realization of at least a part of our overall plan is an omen that spells well for the future.
The realization by Our people that whatever We are doing is for their own benefit has already brought them from a position of indifferent spectatorship to that of enthusiastic participation in all endeavours for the common good. National progress requires concrete and active national participation, and it is a matter of great pride and satisfaction for Us to see Our people sharing in our ideas and working more and more diligently.
Industrial growth and expansion not only enable us to derive better and higher benefits from our raw materials which we export at low prices or which simply lie unexploited, but also create great possibilities of employment for thousands of people. On this, too, has already been made some headway. The process enables us to be self-sufficient instead of being a dumping-ground for foreign-made commodities. To be self-sufficient is to be protected from a position where we may well be judged for “burying the gold,” and is as well a source of pride, a living testimony to national progress.
Electricity is a basic requirement for all the industrial projects we envisage. Apart from the hydro-electric power stations that have so far been installed, according to the limitations of our economy in various parts of the country, in view of expanding the supply of electricity to benefit our people at their homes, in their schools and day to day pursuits, We inaugurated last November the Tis Abbay Hydro-Electric Power Station now feeding the industrial establishments at Bahr Dar and serving Our people in Gojjam and Begemder. This not only marks a further step in the realization of Our overall national endeavours, but also lays the groundwork for the implementation of other great projects to be launched in the future.
We are gratified to be here today to lay the cornerstone of the Awash II Hydroelectric Dam – a project designed to extend the benefits of electricity to Our Capital and beyond, to the people living as far way from it as Harrar, as well as feed the industrial establishments already existing and slated to appear in and between these regions. We beg the Almighty to enable Us to see the day when it will reach completion and be put into operation. We also wish success to the board of management and all those entrusted with the implementation of this project.
Jan. 24, 1965.
Selected Speeches of His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie – page 582 –
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