Ethiopian American Forum

Storming of Ethiopian Embassy in Washington D.C. Print E-mail


Ginbot7 hooligans stomping the Ethiopian flagPulling down the Ethiopian Flag



(For Immediate Release)

Ethiopians and Ethiopian Americans residing in Washington DC and Metropolitan area conduct successful Demonstration

Washington DC, October 7, 2014: In a peaceful demonstration today in front of the State Department, Ethiopians and Ethiopian Americans residing in Washington DC and its metropolitan area express their support for the excellent and strong relations that exist between Ethiopia and the United States of America. Through a statement read at the demonstration, they wish to contribute to strengthen and deepen this relationship by serving as a bridge between the governments and peoples of the two countries with a view of making the relationship all rounded and grounded on a solid basis.

Furthermore, they also support the remarkable progress that their home country Ethiopia is making in all fields. Most of all, they support for the peace and stability that Ethiopia has been able to achieve within itself, as well as its great contribution and its efforts to attain peace and stability in a region. They took this opportunity to once again express their satisfaction on the excellent cooperation that exists between the two countries in the areas of regional peace and security.

On the other hand, they express their dissatisfaction on the activities of few extremist elements in the Ethiopian Diaspora, who are unhappy about the excellent relations between the two countries and bent on derailing them by any means at their disposal, including through illegal and violent means. In this connection, they raise their disappointments and reflect their grave concerns on the actions of a group of people who stormed the Embassy of Ethiopia in Washington DC on September 29, 2014 and brought down the Ethiopian flag and threatened the personal security of its Diplomats and employees.

In this demonstration, they raise the following major concerns:

·         They are concerned that those people who trespassed and destroyed Embassy property are given a free reign to threaten and intimidate Ethiopians here in the United States.

·         They are concerned that these extremist have publicly announced to harass and intimidate Ethiopian government officials, diplomats and their families, and Ethiopian Americans deemed to be supporters of the government.

·         They are concerned for the safety and security of the Embassy staff and their families.

Therefore, as citizens and residents of this great nation, they request:

·         The perpetrators of the crime committed against the Embassy of Ethiopia on September 29, 2014 be brought to justice.

·         Investigation be launched into the constant intimidation being made by members and supporters of Ginbot 7 and its media arm , ESAT, on American citizens and Ethiopians resident in this country, as well as visiting High Level Ethiopian officials and Ethiopian diplomats.


·         The premises of the Ethiopian Embassy and its diplomats be afforded protection from these lawless groups and individuals.




 Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia  

Flag of Ethiopia.svg




 The flag of the People's Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (1987–1991



The Flag of the Provisional Military Administrative Council (DERG ) 1983-1987




 The flag of the Provisional Military Administrative Council (DERG) from 1974–1983 



 Imperial Ethiopian Flag (1897–1974)





 Before the rectangular flag was created, Ethiopia flew three pennants. The red was then at the top.





Ethiopic Numeral Names

By Dr. Aberra Molla

Ethiopic is one of the ancient alphabets that did not have the zero (0) number. I have modified the shape of the Arabic (Latin) zero to a novel Ethiopic zero and added the new character to our standard Ethiopic sets since 1987. Like all the Geez numbers, the digit has two horizontal strokes. Digitizing the Geez was not a problem considering the limited pixels that were available for displaying the Ethiopic alphanumeric characters on the computer screen adapters. (It was the figure eight that was difficult to fit as the number of pixels was reduced.)   


The Ethiopic zero numerals were mapped to the zero positions or ASCII 048 in ModEth and EthioWord and were added for their mathematical uses and to make the sets complete. Their positions in the GeezEdit fonts have continued to be arbitrary, mainly because priority was given to the Arabic numerals and due to lack of interest in using the Ethiopic zeros. The Ethiopic character sets include the Arabic numerals that I have always also left in their ASCII positions in all our software. In the EthioWord and GeezEdit programs, these numbers are typed with one keystroke per digit.





The gif  is that of Geez digits 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 0, 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90 and 100.

Ten thousand has it own number and a hundred million is represented by two of them (11).



Ethiopia has the word, but not the symbol for infinity. However, I was reluctant to modify the infinity since Geez could use the Latin symbol, though the option is available for it and others. 


The Ethiopic numeral names above are the actual Geez names of the numbers in the ancient Geez language.  Albo is my addition of an Amharic word. Unlike the Egyptian and Greek independent numerals for 200, 300, etc., Ethiopic has only the 104 solitary character for numbers above one hundred, while the older Abegede is a numeric alphabet. It is possible that the absence of zero necessitated the creation of different sets of numbers above nine in ancient character sets. The difficulty of accepting zero, a number that did not represent something to count, by past civilizations, is understandable. The absence of zero might have also made it difficult to comprehend negative numbers. A millennium has passed since Indians created the zero decimal system. For four centuries many have recognized and accepted zero. It also seems that Ethiopians have adopted the Latin numerals while hanging onto the old numbers. The longevity of the Geez numerals

may also have been because their major problem is still the absence of zero, if we compare them with others like the Roman numerals, acrophonic Greek and Babylonian cuneiforms. The Amharic typewriter has only the Arabic numerals and the exclusion of the Ethiopic numbers may have been because of the lack of Geez zero and the subsequent mechanical difficulties to include twenty zeroless digits. I recently came across a reference where Aleqa Kidane Wold Kifle proposed the use of Ethiopic number ten as zero, though he had the Arabic and the twenty Ethiopic numbers in the proposed keyboard.


Character spaces and mechanical problems are no more excuses for missing Geez zero in the computer age. Neither is zero the only novelty I added to the sets. There is nothing wrong with the Ethiopic digits one to nine though some could use improvement. (For instance, the lower bars could be removed to reduce strokes in handwriting.)  But, Ethiopic zero (0) should be utilized to avoid confusion and to correct ancient mistakes involving the extra eleven Ethiopic numbers. This does not necessarily mean the elimination of the zillions of the Ethiopic old figures above nine and below minus nine that could be displaced by the efficiency of the Geez zero. However, I would rather see these symbolic numbers avoided if they continue to stand in the way of the Geez zero.  The new zero empowers the Geez with a complete set of base 10 digits. Thus, 2001 would be typed as 2001 with the new zero from within a set just like the Arabic with four digits, instead of 201 (twenty hundreds and one) using three numbers from two fonts. The Geez 201 may appear as 201 on the Net to those who do not have our fonts because of the fact that the old Geez numbers are not positional and the character maps of the Ethiopic 20 and 100 are the same with those of 2 and 0 respectively. The current Ethiopian calendar year 19093 (1993) appears as 19093 to those without the fonts. The old 11 or ten and one for eleven could be written as 11 or two 1's, eliminating discrepancies between those who have and do not have the fonts on their computers. It is also difficult to calculate with a number system without zero. 


If Ethiopic users ignore the albo, all the Geez counters may continue to lose for the wrong reasons. For instance, the Ethiopic numerals are letters, rather than numbers in the GeezEdit fonts and the Amharic zero is in Alt 095 position in our 1994 free font. This is because the standard positions were given to the Arabic numerals. On the other hand, in the ModEth and EthioWord fonts, the Ethiopic zeros and the other nine digits are mapped to the same, but secondary positions, and can be used with or instead of the Arabic numerals in the default positions. Considering that I made the Ethiopic zero available and continue to advocate its inclusion, its absence in the new proposed Ethiopic Unicode standard should not be acceptable.

January 9, 2002 





International Monetary Fund logo.svg 

IMF Executive Board Concludes 2014 Article IV Consultation with the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

Press Release No. 14/458
October 3, 2014

On September 24, 2014, the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) concluded the Article IV consultation with Ethiopia.1

Ethiopia’s recent macroeconomic performance continues to be strong, with robust economic growth supported by higher agricultural production, and large public sector and foreign direct investments. Inflation remains contained in single digits and the fiscal stance at the general government level is cautious, although public enterprises continue to provide an expansionary impulse.

The general government budget execution in 2013/14 reflects conservative spending. Recurrent spending is estimated to remain at 7.4 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and the capital spending-to-GDP ratio will only increase by about 0.3 percentage points to 11.0 percent of GDP. The overall revenue-to-GDP ratio is estimated to fall from about 14.6 in 2012/13 to about 14.1 in 2013/14, mainly on account of decline in nontax revenue which more than offset the tax revenue improvement. The general government budget deficit, including grants, is estimated to be 2.7 percent of GDP in 2013/14, compared to 2.0 percent of GDP a year ago.

Public enterprises continue to borrow heavily from the banking system and externally to finance their investments. The financing of the overall public sector is likely to have been on the order of 10 percent of GDP in 2013/14. Public and publicly guaranteed (PPG) external debt is estimated to have increased to about 23 percent of GDP from 20.5 percent of GDP in 2012/13.

Tight monetary policy has supported achieving the National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE)’s inflation objective in 2013/14. Inflation remained in the single digits throughout the year and was 8.5 percent in June 2014, with food prices rising by 6.2 percent and non-food inflation in the double-digits. Base money, the nominal anchor of monetary policy, increased by 17.5 percent in April 2014, driven mainly by claims on government (by 19.6 percent) and to a lower degree by claims on non-government (by 11.2 percent).

Developments in the external sector have been mixed, with the deterioration in the trade balance offset by net inflows on services and transfers. The current account deficit is estimated to have widened from US$2.8 billion (6.0 percent of GDP) in 2012/13 to US$3.5 billion in 2013/14 (7.1 percent of GDP). It was financed largely by concessional and non-concessional inflows as well as by foreign direct investment (FDI). Substantial inflows on the capital account also facilitated a modest build up in the NBE’s reserves. The exchange rate adjusted only gradually, in line with the NBE’s managed float policy. While the premium in the parallel market remained modest, the gradual nominal depreciation was insufficient to prevent an appreciation of the real effective exchange rate.

The economic outlook remains encouraging. The 2014/15 budget plan targets the general government deficit at 3 percent of GDP and maintains a strong pro-poor focus. Monetary policy, anchored on base money, is geared toward maintaining inflation in single digits. The public debt to GDP ratio is expected to rise, reflecting large disbursements associated with implementation of investment projects under the Growth and Transformation Plan.

Executive Board Assessment2

Executive Directors commended the authorities for delivering robust and broad-based economic growth, maintaining inflation in single digits, expanding employment and improving social indicators, and welcomed the considerable progress toward the Millennium Development Goals. Looking ahead, Directors observed that the sustainability of the current public sector-led growth strategy was threatened by several downside risks–including, external financing of the public investment program, declining prices for export commodities, and weather-related shocks. Mitigating these risks will necessitate greater policy coherence and appropriate structural reforms going forward, to help shift the balance toward private sector-led, sustainable growth.

Directors underscored the need for continued fiscal prudence in order to achieve the goals of the Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP), while reducing crowding out of the private sector. They called for stepped-up efforts to increase domestic revenue—by broadening the tax base, improving customs and tax administration, and removing tax exemptions. On the expenditure side, Directors welcomed the planned implementation of a new high-level oversight mechanism designed to carefully monitor the operations and financial position of public enterprises and any contingent liabilities. They recommended the adoption of a consolidated fiscal position as a more robust fiscal anchor, and advised that borrowing be done within the context of a comprehensive debt strategy.

Directors concurred that monetary restraint is required in the wake of food and energy price shocks and domestic demand pressures stemming from large public investments. Eliminating recourse to National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE) budgetary financing would also help curb inflationary pressures. Directors also recommended strengthening liquidity management and monetary transmission through enhanced interest rate flexibility and the adoption of a broader set of monetary policy instruments. They noted that a broadened set of monetary instruments would also facilitate further money market development.

Directors called for a strengthening of financial supervisory and regulatory frameworks, to promote inclusion and encourage greater competition. They recommended enhancing private sector credit access by eliminating the requirement that commercial banks hold NBE bills.

Directors encouraged the authorities to improve export competitiveness by reducing overvaluation of the real effective exchange rate through enhanced exchange rate flexibility. A more market-based exchange rate would also facilitate the accumulation of foreign exchange reserves, as a buffer against external shocks.

Directors supported structural reforms designed to create a more enabling environment for private sector investment. In this regard, they recommended developing a proper legal framework for public-private partnerships; simplifying requirements for opening a business; strengthening investor protections; and improving trade logistics.

Directors underscored the need for continued improvement in data quality, including national accounts and financial sector statistics. They welcomed Ethiopia’s removal from the FATF blacklist, and looked forward to the completion of the agreed action plan.



The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

Presidential Proclamation -- National Manufacturing Day, 2014

Presidential Proclamation -- National Manufacturing Day, 2014 



"A New Foundation Is Laid": President Obama on America's 21st Century Economy 

Watch on YouTube 

Read his full remarks here.  

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