Oromo: Great Nation of East Africa

Oromia: Land of Diverse Opportunities!

Oromia is a regional state in Ethiopia and the homeland of the Oromo people, and other nations and nationalities. Oromia is one of the most populous regional states and is located in the very heart of the country. The capital city of the region is Finfinne (Addis Ababa), which is also the capital city of Ethiopia.

Finfinne is an important regional and international transport hub. The road network radiates from Finfinne to all regions link important cities, towns, and other economically active centers of the country. International highways also link Finfinne and other cities, towns, and other regional states with neighboring countries such as Kenya, Djibouti, Eritrea, Somalia, South Sudan, and Sudan.

Currently the state consists of 21 administrative zones. The region covers an area of more than 369,000 square km (almost one-third of the country). Oromia has fertile soil and is centrally located within Ethiopia, allowing for a diverse agro-ecology that makes it ideal for all investment sectors.

The Oromo people are the native inhabitants of Eastern Africa and the largest ethnolinguistic group, constituting nearly half of Ethiopia's population, which makes them the largest ethnic group in Eastern Africa. The Oromo people speak Afaan Oromo, the Cushitic branch of Afro-Asiatic family. The Oromo language is the 4th most spoken language in the continent of Africa. Oromo have a very rich culture that is defined by their language, religion, cuisine, social habits, music, and arts.

Gadaa system:- An indigenous egalitarian democratic system practised among the Oromo nation.

Culture August 10, 2022

The Gadaa System is an indigenous egalitarian democratic system practiced among the Oromo Nation of East Africa. The system regulates political, economic, social, and religious activities of the community, dealing with issues such as conflict resolution, reparation, and protecting women's rights. It serves as a mechanism for enforcing moral conduct, building social cohesion, and expressing forms of community culture.

Gada is organized into five classes with one of these functioning as the ruling class consisting of a chairperson, officials and an assembly. Each class progresses through a series of grades before it can function in authority with the leadership changing on a rotational basis every eight years. Class membership is open to men, whose fathers are already members, while women are consulted for decision making on protecting women's rights. The classes are taught by oral historians covering history, laws, rituals, time reckoning, cosmology, myths, rules of conduct, and the function of the Gada system.

The power of the Gadaa general assembly is to exercise supreme legislative authority. Its functions include (but are not limited to) reviewing laws at work, proclaiming new laws, impeaching the men in power, and settling major disputes that could not have been resolved at the lower levels of its judicial organ(s). Any decision passed by the general assembly is final and cannot be reversed by any other assembly. The legislative and adjudicatory supremacy of the general assembly is historically conditioned and culturally deep-rooted.

The Gadaa society was structured into peer groups based on chronological age or genealogical generation called Luba. Each luba consists of all of the sons in another particular class. The entire grade progresses through eleven different grades, each based on an eight-year cycle, and each with its own set of rights and responsibilities.

Irreecha - Oromo Thanksgiving Day celebrated to mark the end of dark-rainy season & beginning of a blossom harvest season.

Culture August 10, 2022

Irreechaa is celebrated as a sign of reciprocating with the almighty Waaqaa (God) in the form of providing praise for what they received in the past, and is also a forum of prayer for the future. It is the premier holiday of the Oromo people that marks the end of the dark-rainy season and the beginning of the blossom harvest season. It has spawned somewhat of a science of knowing just when the blooms will peak and decline, depending on the wind, rain, and sunshine they get. The festival is a spectacular show of cultural, historical, and natural beautification in their full glory at the height of the season. The event is very important for Oromo nation as it brings the nation together and helps to connect and share experiences in their day to day life.

Irreecha Arfaasaa is another annual Oromo Thanksgiving Day that repeats once in May to mark the end of the dry season and beginning of the rainy and planting season. It marks the end of the dry season (October to April) and the beginning of the rainy season for planting (May to September).

On this day, people come to gather on mountain tops to give thanks to the almighty Waaqaa(God) for all the blessings throughout the past dry season and ask for Araaraa(Reconciliation), Nagaa (Peace), Walooma (Harmony) and Finnaa (Holistic Development) for the present and the future.

There is also a ceremony of thanking all forebears for their endurance and determination to survive their culture and history paving the way for further social victory. Irreecha Arfaasaa has been observed by the Oromo people for more than 6400 years.

The ceremony honors elders' blessings and wisdom, preserves the heritage and assesses the progress of humanity.

Siinqee:- An indigenous conflict resolution cultural practices to keep peace and moral sanctity of society.

Nations have their own religion, history, language, and culture. They communicate these values to others through their languages. It is possible to claim that culture is the predominant value of all nations. It allows people to know each other easily. It mirrors their past lives along with their typical character and chronological order of events. The Oromo have a multitude of cultural values like wedding and marriage, singing, dressing styles, dining, conflict resolution, and so on. The most common conflict resolution cultural practices in the society were siinqee, guddifacha , moggaasa, shannacha and others. Siinqee is one of the pillars of Gadaa, an indigenous system of thought and practice that forms the foundations of Oromo society.

Siinqee is an Afan Oromo word that symbolizes the thin stick females hold after marriage. It was a sign of fertility, productivity and prosperity. It had a social and religious power in Gada system. In the Gada system there was an institution of governance through which women ensure their rights to ward off the coercion and dominance of their husbands.

Mothers used to give Siinqee to their daughters during marriage so that they could ensure their rights by using it. As the bride steps out of the door of her mother’s house, she would be handed the Siinqee a traditional and sacred Oromo stick by her mother. She walks, imbued with the majesty of Siinqee, shoulder to shoulder with her bridegroom, who carries a spear.

The role of Siinqee in Oromo society is to keep the peace and moral sanctity of the society. Warring groups would have to immediately halt their hostilities once the womenfolk wielding Siinqee appear on the battle scene. Most importantly, when in justice is committed, the women in the vicinity would come out in the the morning hours bearing their Siinqee. According to Oromo custom, the testimony of a woman is not to be doubted. It takes only the testimony of a woman to convict a man. However, it would take the sworn testimony of three men to convict a man as guilty.

Marriage: - the events that add to or take away from the family.

Marriage is one of the most important rituals in the Oromo culture. Oromo marriage rituals included exchange of gifts, mainly by the bride to be. The ritual of courting begins a long time before the marriage date. It may entail encounters at events, mainly at weddings, or the courting may stem from understanding between the families. Once the boy has demonstrated responsibilities, not only for his own livelihood but also for the society in which he lives, he picks the girl he is interested in. He will inform a family member, usually his father, who then contacts the family of the girl. Usually the girl knows of the boy’s intent and, in many instances, she encourages him to pursue her in this way. There are mediators, such as the girl’s best friends, who convey the girl’s wishes to the boy.

The first visit to the girl from the family of the groom-to-be involves other elders from his village. Special clothing is worn to underscore the importance of the meeting. A stick called “siinqee” is carried to the bride-to-be’s house and left at the door to indicate to her parents that the process of courting their daughter has begun in earnest. On the second visit, the “siinqee” may come in with the groom’s party indicating the girl’s family has accepted the gesture. The visits will prepare the way for acceptance of the young man, not only by the girl’s immediate family, but by her relatives as well.

Bale Mountains National Park: One Park Many Worlds!

National Park August 10, 2022

A National Park in Oromia regional state of Ethiopia. The park encompasses an area of approximately 2,150 square kilometres in the Bale Mountains and Sanetti Plateau of the Ethiopian Highlands. The park's Afromontane habitats have one of the highest incidences of animal endemicity of any terrestrial habitat in the world. The park was nominated to the World Heritage Tentative List in 2009.

Bale Mountains National Park is located in southeastern Ethiopia, 400 km southeast of Addis Ababa and 150 km east of Shashamene in the Oromia Region National State. The boundary of the Bale Mountains National Park lies within five woredas (districts): Adaba (west), Dinsho (north), Goba (northeast), Delo-Mena-Angetu and Harena-Buluk (southeast). The park area is encompassed within geographical coordinates of 6 degree29' 7degree 10'N and 39 degree 28 39 degree 57E'.

The Bale Mountains are part of the Bale-Arsi massif, which forms the western section of the southeastern Ethiopian Highlands.

The park is divided into five distinct and unique habitats: the Northern Grasslands (Gaysay Valley), Northern Woodlands (Park Headquarters), Afro-alpine Meadows (Sanetti Pleateau), Erica Moorlands, and the Harenna Forest. Habitats of the Bale Mountains National Park range from grassland areas around 3,000 metres (9,800 ft) in elevation, to Mount Tullu Demtu, the second highest point in Ethiopia at 4,377 metres (14,360 ft) above sea level. Surrounded by East African pencil juniper (Juniperus procera) trees and St. John's wort, waist-high wildflowers and grasses grow in the Northern Grasslands and Woodlands. Tree heath (Erica arborea) is native to the Ethiopian montane moorlands ecoregion in the park.

The Afro-alpine moorlands of the Sanetti Plateau is the largest continuous area of its altitude on the entire continent of Africa. Carpeted in lichen covered rocks, and punctuated by Giant lobelia (Lobelia rynchopetalum) that grow to heights of up to 12 meters. The Plateau is also dotted with alpine lakes and streams, providing important resident wildlife resources, as well as wintering and passage stations for rare and regionally endemic birds. The Harenna Forest plant community makes up about half of the park, a woodland of trees draped in moss and lichens that seem to drip off the branches. The area is frequently cloaked in fog, and wildlife is elusive.

Borana National Park: A Perfect place for Bird Watchers!

National Park August 10, 2022

The Park was established in 1986 and cover the Area of About 2,500 square kilometer.

The Park is most important for bird watchers. You can easly see White Tailled sawllow, Stressman's Bushcrow, Abyssinian hornbill, Bustards, Somali Courser, Donadsonssmith's Nighjar, Black Flycatcher, White-cheeked Turaco, Tawny Wagtail, Bare-faced Go-Away-Bird and over 210 other birds.

Wildlife such as Burchell's and Grevy's zebras, Ostrich, and Gazelles are likely to be seen. The Park originally set up to protect and conserve the Swayne's hartebeest. The park is made up of savannah with woody and herbaceous plants.

Borena National Park can be visited either from Addis Ababa to Yabello then to the Park or combined with the Omo Valley Tribes of South Ethiopia.

Accommodation: Hotels, possibly in Yabello town

Abijatta-Shalla Lakes National Park: Home of Aquatic Birds.

National Park August 10, 2022

Situated in the Great Rift Valley, only 200 kilometers (124 miles) south of Addis Ababa, and in the Lake Langano recreational areas, the Abijatta Shalla lakes National Park attracts numerous visitors. Using Lake Langano as your base, it is an easy trip to visit the National Park, which is 887 square kilometers in size, 482 of these being water.The altitude of the park ranges from 1540 to 2075 meters, the highest peak being mount Fike, situated between the two lakes. The network of tracks in this park is always developing. At present you can enter at four different points, three of which are inter connected. Approaching from Addis Ababa you first reach the Horakello entrance, where the small Horakello stream flows between lakes Langano and Abijatta.

The park compresses the two lakes, the isthmus between them and a thin strip of land along the shorelines of each. While attention is focused on the water birds, the land area does contain a reasonable amount of other wildlife.

Abijatta and Shalla are both terminal lakes but very different in nature. The surrounding area is mainly acacia woodland, some of which is very degraded by man. Lake Abijatta is a shallow pan, only fourteen metres (46 feet) deep, and its level fluctuates periodically, caused in part by human activity but often by natural phenomena as yet not fully understood.

Lake Shalla, by contrast, is, at 260 metres (853 feet), Ethiopia's deepest Rift Valley lake, possibly the deepest lake in Africa north of the Equator. It is an exceptionally beautiful and still largely untouched stretch of water, with several hot springs that bubble up by the shore and flow into the lake.

The sides are steep and rocky often right down to the shore. Although swimming is considered safe, it may feel strange: the water's colour is like cold tea and there is a high concentration of salts, making it feel soapy.

The park was created for the many aquatic bird species that use the lakes. The park has one of the highest wetland bird diversity in Ethiopia. It is home to 144 water bird species, which is in effect 70% of the total wetland bird species for the country. It is the most important breeding location for the Great White PelicanIt is known to be the best site in the country to find high number of Lesser Flamingos Acts as a staging ground for thousands of migrating waders and ducks during the palaearctic migration period. Shalla is reputedly one of the widest calderas on the continent.

Over 400 species have been recorded from the park. The park is at one of the narrowest parts of the Great Rift Valley, a major flyway for both Palearctic and African migrants, particularly raptors, flamingos and other waterbirds. Among the globally threatened species known from the park are: Aquila heliaca (a rare passage migrant); Falco naumanni (an uncommon passage migrant with a few wintering); Circus macrourus (fairly common passage migrant, with a few wintering); and Acrocephalus griseldis (status unknown). Glareola nordmanni has also been recorded.

Local mammals are not numerous but include Grant's gazelle - the northern limit for this species, greater kudu, oribi, warthog, and golden jackal.

Wonchi: 2021 World Best Tourism Village.

Water Body August 10, 2022

Wenchi is a village comprises numerous hot springs, beautiful lakes, waterfalls, an old monastery, and farmland. The lakes are circled by mountain cliffs, maintained and protected by dense forestry. The chemical contents of natural hot springs are highly valued for their therapeutic purposes. The local Communities are so clever to manage their surroundings. It is located at about 138km from Addis Ababa.

In 2021, The Ethiopian Government led by Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed started to construct infrastructures such as, public transportation (tourism targeted asphalted road), telecommunications, schools, 5star lodges and hotels,

sport facilities - Athletics village, football stadium, railways connecting Wench to Dendi Lake, Cable Car that connects all lakes view, Golf Course, Bridges, Horse Racing Routes, Honey processing center, indigenous Plant Conservation Park and making Addis Ababa to Lakes Route an impressive tourists paradise.

The village can be visited on day excursions, enjoyed on weekends, and is the best spot for honeymooners or any program to fascinate the event participants. The community at Wonchi crater lakes gives you a smile and colors your world with the warmth of sunlight. They want you to feel welcomed; they want you to feel at home.

Why Invest in Oromia?. Investment Incentives, Opportunities, and Locations.

Investment Opportunities

Agriculture - Oromia is known as a home of organically grown agricultural products. It has ample arable land, diverse agro-ecological zones, good rainfall and irrigation potential. New private investment is encouraged in the production and processing of agricultural crops such as coffee (the country's single most important cash crop), tea, sugar, flowers, fruits and vegetables, teff, wheat, maize, beans, peas, lentils, soya beans, chickpeas etc., starch production, oil crops such as rapeseed, linseed, groundnuts, sunflower, sesame, maize, niger seed and cotton seed, as well as investment opportunities for introducing modern commercial livestock breeding and processing into the largest livestock population in Ethiopia (cattle, sheep and goats), plus significant freshwater fishery and apiculture resources. Investment is also required in the provision of agricultural support services such as pest and disease control, agricultural machinery and cold storage.

Textiles - Opportunities for production and processing of cotton, as well as producing and finishing textile fabrics and garment production.

Leather and leather products - Opportunities for investment in tanning to finishing: manufacture of luggage items, handbags, saddle and harness items, footwear and garments.

Horticulture - Cut flowers, fruits and vegetable are fast-growing export businesses, with great potential for private investment.

Energy production - A huge unexploited hydropower potential as well as thermal, wind and solar energy production opportunity. Foreign investors can participate in the generation of power.

Mining - As a result of the conducive fiscal and legislative environment, the state is now enjoying the participation of both foreign and local investors in exploration and mining. The country is endowed with metallic, industrial, construction and precious minerals. Exploration is also on going for oil and gas deposits.

Construction - Manufacturing of cement, ceramics, gypsum, marble, granite, and limestone, lime, etc. as well as participation in the real-estate development and leasing of construction equipment.

Tourism - Untapped tourism potential that ranges from historic, natural and cultural attractions providing ample opportunities for investment in hotels, lodges (including eco-lodges), international restaurants and setting up tour operators.

Privatization - State-owned enterprises are open for privatisation mainly in the leather, shoes, textiles, mining, food & beverage industries, transport and construction, agri-services, hotels & tourism and pharmaceutical industries.

Investment Incentives

Customs Import Duty incentives
- 100% exemption on all imports of investment capital goods and construction materials necessary for the establishment of new enterprises or for the expansion and upgrading of existing ones; including spare parts worth up to 15% of the imported investment capital goods; plus exemption for import of raw materials needed for the production of export goods.
Export sector incentives and benefits
- Export Credit Guarantee Scheme.
- Duty Drawback Scheme.
- Foreign Exchange Retention Scheme.
- Foreign Credit and Loan Schemes.
- Franco Valuta Import Facility.
- Bonded Manufacturing Warehouse Scheme.
- Availability of Loans for Investors - agriculture, agro-processing and manufacturing industries, preferably export focused, can obtain 70% of their investment capital requirement from the development bank of Ethiopia with a very reasonable interest rate.
- The registration of businesses and the issuance of the export trade licence is highly simplified

Oromia Minerals

Currently the state consists of 21 administrative zones with different mineral resources, that is, Guji (Gold, Emerald, Beryl group, Chromite, Feldspar, Quartz, Kaolin, Dolomite, Tantalum, Aquamarine, Fluorite, Graphite and etc.) Borena (Gold, Emerald, Sapphire, Amethyst, Apatite and etc) Western Oromia (Phosphate, iron, Gold, Gemstones, Platinum, Granite, Marble Coal and etc) East Shoa (Gypsum, Diatomite, Geothermal resource, pumice, kaolin and etc) West/North showa (Limestone, Gypsum, Sandstone, Clay, Gold, Mineral water), West Hararghe (Limestone, copper, coal, granite, Dolomite etc) East Haraghe (Mineral water, Dolomite, Marble, Silica, Calcite, Gemstones etc), Special zone of oromia around Finfinne (Basalt, ignimbrite, scoria, Selected material, Mineral water and etc).

Oromia: a paradise for Ornithology  Tour Oromia | Land of a Real Pleasure.

There are about more than 800 species of birds known to occur in Oromia, 15 are found exclusively within the state's boundaries. Most of these birds are widely distributed, mainly on the western and southern highland plateau. Visiting Oromia provide a very enjoyable opportunity of seeing something new and unique for the tourist. For the bird watcher, it provide the experience of observing birds found nowhere else in the world.

Common list of Bird species one can observe in the region includes: Crowned and common cranes, Fish Eagle, king fisher, Jacanas, lapwings, Black Forest Oriole, the White Chicked Turacco and Senegal coucal, White Billed Starling, Ruppel's black chat, Lanner Falcon, Common Rock Trush, Brown Snake Eagle, African Pygmy Falcon, Black Crested Eagle, White Billed Bustard, Abyssinian Roller, Red and Yellow Barbet, Tawny, Battler, the Abyssinian and Lilac breasted Roller, Kore bustard, carmine bee-eater, yellow breasted francolin, Yellow Billed and Ground Horn Bill, Ruppel's Black Headed Weavers, Egyptian Vultures, Kori Bustard, Red Winged Bush Lark, Common and Red Billed Teals, Herons, different species of Proverbs, Saddle and Yellow Billed Storks,

Yellow Fronted Parrot, Abyssinian Woodpecker, and Half Colored king fisher, Yellow Billed Wax bill, Scaly Francolin, Silver Checked Horn Bill, Red Winged Starling, Olive Trash, Red Capped Lark, Augur Buzzard, Abyssinian Flycatcher, Ground Horn Bill, Tawny Eagle, Abyssinian Woodpecker, Abyssinian Cat Bird, White Backed Black Tit, Olive Trush, Wattled Ibis, Rougt's Rail, Wattled Ibis, Cranes, African Pied Rock, Gray King Fisher, Spotted Creeper, Purple Swamp Hen, Giant King Fisher and beautiful Sun birds, Bush Crow and African Golden Oriole, Gray Headed Social Wavers, Black Breasted Barbet, Golden Breasted Starling, Pale Flycatcher, African Black Headed Oriole, Martial Eagle.

Designed & Edited by፡ Markos Mulat G