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Unesco Highlights Ethiopia’s Intangible Gada Heritage


Unesco Highlights Ethiopia's Intangible Gada Heritage
Ethiopia’s Oromo people are the largest ethnic group in the country.

AFRICANGLOBE – Ethiopia is endowed with several tangible and intangible heritages that can play a very significant role in advancing the tourism industry of the nation. They ought to be exploited for they have a lot to contribute to the nation and beyond. More than 20 years has elapsed since the nation begun paying considerable attention to discover their cultural and economic values. Unlike in the previous system, citizens have got the right to exercise their languages and cultures over the last 25 years. The previous system could not accommodate the prevailing diversity in the nation while the current system is able to encourage diversity and unity, the exact feature of the nation. Since the new system offered sound policies and strategies that flourish the cultures and languages of citizens, the nation has been enjoying the fruits of sustainable peace and development. This has enabled the government to realize the potential of the tourism sector. Thus, these policies and strategies should be strengthened.

Even though the nation has been blessed with abundant heritages for long it didn’t exploit them to the required level. Currently, because of the coordinated effort demonstrated by the government and the people, very few heritages have been registered in the prestigious of the UNESCO list. Only 12 tangible and 3 intangible ones got recognition. Since there are a great deal of heritages in the nation, they have to get recognition. Their contribution goes beyond reinforcing the tourism industry of the nation. For instance, the Keffa Coffee Forest, Sheka Coffee Forest, Jimma Coffee Forest Biosphere that are found in the South Western part of the country have a great deal in managing the consequences of the climate change,the problem the world is struggling with. Considering the contributions of the nation’s heritage to the entire world, the UNESCO ought to recognize them.

The recent inscription of Gada System as an intangible Cultural Heritage of the world by the UNESCO at the 11th Session of the Intergovernmental Committee for Safeguarding the Intangible Cultural Heritages conducted here in Addis for five days is an indication that the nation has many unknown similar cultures that deserve proper recognition.

Unesco Highlights Ethiopia's Intangible Gada Heritage
The Gada System is centuries old and is a form of African democracy.

The recognition of the Gada System, a political, economic and social system with a long history with which the people of Oromo have been governing themselves in a democratic way, is a proper decision of the committee. Even it should have been done years ago since the system was able to present democratic system before the westerners started thinking about it. Since the nation possesses similar cultures, they must get recognition very soon.

Like other peoples of Ethiopia, the Oromo people have exceeding abundant culture that has been accumulated for centuries and passed down from generation to generation. This all-encompassing culture is profoundly rooted in the Gada System that has been shaping and guiding the mode of governance, socio-economic conditions, world-outlooks of the people.

This comprehensive system that reflects the ways of living of the people with regard to equality and democracy remains exemplary to the remaining world. It consist of the values and principles the whole world has been striving for such as the respectof the rights of women and children, conservation of environment, peaceful conflict resolution, mutual assistance, and the meeting of the needs of asylum seekers and the like.

Unesco Highlights Ethiopia's Intangible Gada Heritage
Ethiopia’s Oromo people.

Researchers need to pay attention to study the features of the Gada System; there is a lot to research about the values, principles, norms, cultures and ways of life embedded in it. From the exceeding abundant ways of living accumulated by the Oromo people, the world undoubtedly can learn a lot.

Very recently, realizing the potential of the sector, the nation has demonstrated significant effort to promote it with the new national brand “Land of Origins”. Promoting the sector directly reinforces the economic growth of the nation. For instance, it is estimated that the sector has contributed about 4.5 percent of GDP, close to three billion dollar USD and employed 1.5 million people in the first Growth and Transformation Plan. Moreover, in the 2015/2016 budget year the sector has also witnessed the arrival of over 910,000 tourists which enabled the nation to earn three billion Birr.

Since the sector has huge potential that needs careful and proper exploitation, the nation was considered as 2015-world best tourism destination by the European council.

In short, the recent inscription of the Gada System as the third Intangible Cultural Heritage of Ethiopia to be registered in UNESCO list is an indication that the nation has a lot of similar cultures that deserve recognition; the world ought to know that the ample tangible and intangible cultures Ethiopia is endowed with.

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