Selected Speeches Of His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I
TO VISITING JOURNALISTS
I am glad to receive you here this morning. I am happy that you had this opportunity to come to Our country to see some of our development projects. I hope that during your brief sojourn in Ethiopia, you had a chance to observe what has been done with the assistance of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (the World Bank) and by other multilateral assistance which had been given us.
As you have heard, We had launched a series of Five-Year Plans and some of these have been successfully completed. One such plan is now underway. These Five-Year Plans have been envisaged to improve the standard of living of Our people. With the enthusiastic participation of a broad mass of the people, marked progress has been achieved.
I hope you have found the places you visited interesting—some are historical places and some are areas where development projects have been inaugurated to raise the standard of living of Our people. While We are proud of what has been achieved so far, nevertheless, We recognize that there is much yet to be done and We have yet to travel a lot before We get full satisfaction. I wish you had the opportunity to stay longer and travel more extensively in the country.
As you know, Ethiopia is a big country; there are more than 22 million people. I am confident that from what you have seen so far, you will be able to judge for yourselves the nature of the general pattern of progress in the country.
In reply to a question concerning “the greatest obstacle to the development rate you would like to achieve,” His Imperial Majesty said:
I believe that one of the greatest factors to a higher rate of economic development in any country, including Ethiopia, is the availability of financial resources. No country can lift up itself by its own bootstraps. In order to achieve a high rate of development, all developing countries must acquire assistance from abroad. That is why we have established co-operation with the World Bank and secured bilateral and multilateral assistance.
In addition to these, I believe that for a developing country to achieve a high rate of development, it must attract foreign investment. Appropriate laws have been enacted in Ethiopia to encourage foreign investment.
I remember that when I paid a state visit to the United States a few years ago, some persons expressed concern about investing in our country because of apprehension of expropriation in one form or another and fear of nationalization. I assured at that same time some U.S. Congressmen, officials and private individuals that apprehension was unfounded and that any foreign capital in Ethiopia would always be protected by the State. I am glad to say that those who were then suspicious are now beginning to recognize the true situation prevailing in Ethiopia.
Although not adequate by any standard, yet it is satisfactory to note that there is an increasing interest on the part of private enterprise to invest in Ethiopia.
In a reply to a Canadian journalist about the Emperor's forthcoming state visit to Canada, His Imperial Majesty said:
Upon the invitation extended to me by the Governor-General of Canada, I will visit that country for the third time in the spring. In my previous visits to Canada, I had the opportunity to experience at first hand the sentiments the Canadian Government and people entertain towards Our people and Government. My third visit, which is occasioned by the 1967 Exhibition—in which Ethiopia is fully participating—will provide me with a further opportunity to strengthen the friendly relations that already exist between Canada and Ethiopia.
(Among the group of journalists was Dr. F. E. Aschinger, the senior financial editor of the Neue Zurcher Zeitung of Switzerland, who told the Emperor during the course of the audience that he had the opportunity to hear Him address the League of Nations in 1936 in Geneva during the Fascist invasion.)
Dr. Aschinger said: I had opportunity to be present during Your address to the League of Nations in 1936 when the Fascists invaded Your country. I had the good opportunity then to witness Your courage and determination, in the face of adversity, in the cause of Your people and the freedom of mankind in general as well as collective security. I am very pleased to see today the same determination and vitality in the cause of world peace and collective security. I wish Your Majesty good health to continue your excellent work for the progress of Your people and for the people of the world.
In reply His Imperial Majesty said: I am very pleased to see here today some one who was at Geneva during those dark days. As you pointed out, I have not stopped labouring for the progress of My people and My efforts for world peace shall never cease. I accept your good wishes.
February 4, 1967.
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October 25, 2017