Selected Speeches Of His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I
INAUGURATING KOKA DAM
It is an historic occasion of twofold significance in the life of Ethiopia when We, today inaugurate and place into service the Koka Dam and hydro-electric installation. In so doing, We witness the realization of an undertaking which has, since its inception, been very close to Our heart and in which We have always maintained the highest personal interest. We humbly render Our thanks to Almighty God, who, having laid upon Us the heavy responsibility of leading Our beloved people in the path of progress and enlightenment, has spared Us to witness the fruits of Our labours.
This project, so impressive in its proportions, its complexity and its ramifications, reflects in common with all other undertakings designed for the promotion of progress and welfare of mankind, the fruition of intelligence, faith and diligence; intelligence to penetrate and discern the hidden resources and opportunities that a Benevolent Providence has spread before Us, in challenge to prove ourselves worthy of the means for bringing them to full development; faith in the ability of Our people to respond to that challenge; faith to penetrate through the fatigues and difficulties of the hour to the vision of their future welfare and progress which these resources, these opportunities and these labours offer; and, diligence to pursue through hardship and fatigues, the attainment of that vision.
Thus the opportunities which the Almighty, in His generosity and wisdom, extends to Us, must be found, created, developed and exploited. It is the duty of all mankind to make the maximum use of the gifts, ingenuities, capacities and resources which have been placed at its disposal. These are not ours to do with as we will; they have been given to Us in trust, that we may, following the example of developed countries, apply them for the highest benefit to ourselves and to posterity, and each one of us has a sacred duty to fulfil this trust and to prove ourselves worthy of the confidence reposed in us.
So it is with the installation which We are today inaugurating. Ethiopia has been blessed-with an abundant rainfall, and well-fed streams, a rich soil, a propitious climate and an industrious population. Indeed, the challenges presented by the opulence of our resources, has required a careful selection, planning and timing, in order to devote to each challenge the disciplined thought and effort that it merits. Thus, viewed in the broader spectrum of Our national Five-Year Plan, the Koka Installation takes its assigned place not merely as a significant unit of Our national power resources, but also as a part of a nation-wide programme for the exploitation of our river systems.
That same selection and that same planning are revealed in the structure at Our feet. It was not sufficient to note the existence of the resources in water power, it had meticulously to be measured and the amount and regularity of future flow computed.
It was not sufficient to note the existence of a waterfall, it was necessary, by exhaustive surveys and studies, careful drillings and precautionary measures to make certain that the construction at this site was feasible from the points of view of engineering, the economics of electrical distribution and public communications. All this planning and labour under the direction and supervision of officials appointed by Us, lie before Us in expectant completion and justify and nourish Our faith in the youth of Our country.
This impressive installation is, therefore, a national resource, having its origins in the life and history of Our people and offering opportunity for the expansion of industry and of agriculture through the husbanding of the dynamic and the fructifying powers of our water resources. It is Our bounden duty, to exploit them to the full, in a surge of development of our agriculture and industry.
It is, therefore, particularly appropriate that the financial and technical resources placed at our disposition by the Reparations Agreement, should, for the most part, have been devoted to this seminal and powerful programme of hydro-electrical and agricultural development. Such a programme in assuaging past wounds, can contribute powerfully to improvement of relations.
However, as We have observed, this project has already been integrated not only into the larger programme, by which the Awash River will yield, again and again, of its treasures to turn the wheels of industry and to fructify the fertile soil of Our homeland, but also into the yet broader programme including the Blue Nile, the Webi Shebelli, the Akobo, the Dinder, the Taccase, the Mereb and others.
In this way, the Koka hydro-electric installation will along with others to be constructed, enhance the welfare of Our beloved subjects. To this end, We have ordered the reduction of the present rates for the electricity produced by this enterprise constructed from reparations funds. Moreover, in order that outlying regions should not be handicapped by their remoteness, the same reduced tariff shall apply to all communities, so that everyone will receive his fair share. In this way, the new installation can serve as a powerful stimulus to the development of Our rapidly expanding economy and society.
We must, all of us, then, look beyond today and beyond the vast structure which lies at Our feet, to find the real significance of this occasion. In doing so, we must rededicate ourselves to the cause of the progress and advancement of Ethiopia and her people which has played so large a role in this project. We for Our part, shall never falter in Our efforts to assure that the benefits of modern science and technology shall be lavished upon Our people without any loss of the underlying moral and spiritual values which have contributed so much to our history. We ask no less of each of our subjects.
While we are appreciative of the residence which has been constructed for Us, near the site of this dam, plans are being prepared for its utilization in the interest of Our people.And, therefore, having entrusted all available finance in the hands of those in whom We have placed Our full confidence, it will never occur to Us to entertain the belief that they will be so negligent as to betray Our faith in their integrity or be so motivated by gains as to be led astray from their responsibility.
On this occasion, We would extend Our thanks to the Reparations Commissioner, Major Assefa Lemma, and those consultants, scientists and engineers who contributed to the timely completion of this enterprise and to the others who laboured so long and diligently to that end.
May 4, 1960.
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August 9, 2017