post Omo Kibish

July 11th, 2008

Filed under: General Issue — Lissan Magazine @ 18:39

The oldest Homo sapien
(This document is from 2006)

Fossils push human emergence back to 195,000 years ago
Geologist Frank Brown, dean of mines and Earth sciences at the University of Utah, crouches on Ethiopia’s Kibish rock formation, where Brown and colleagues determined that fossilized bones of Homo sapiens were 195,000 years old — the oldest fossils of the our species ever found. Credit: Ian McDougall, Australian National University

When the bones of two early humans were found in 1967 near Kibish, Ethiopia, they were thought to be 130,000 years old. A few years ago, researchers found 154,000- to 160,000-year-old human bones at Herto, Ethiopia. Now, a new study of the 1967 fossil site indicates the earliest known members of our species, Homo sapiens, roamed Africa about 195,000 years ago.

“It pushes back the beginning of anatomically modern humans,” says geologist Frank Brown, a co-author of the study and dean of the University of Utah’s College of Mines and Earth Sciences.

The journal Nature has published the study in its Thursday Feb. 17, 2005, issue. Brown conducted the research with geologist and geochronologist Ian McDougall of Australian National University in Canberra, and anthropologist John Fleagle of New York state’s Stony Brook University.

The researchers dated mineral crystals in volcanic ash layers above and below layers of river sediments that contain the early human bones. They conclude the fossils are much older than a 104,000-year-old volcanic layer and very close in age to a 196,000-year-old layer, says Brown.

“These are the oldest well-dated fossils of modern humans (Homo sapiens) currently known anywhere in the world,” the scientists say in a summary of the study.

Significance of an Earlier Emergence of Homo sapiens
Brown says that pushing the emergence of Homo sapiens from about 160,000 years ago back to about 195,000 years ago “is significant because the cultural aspects of humanity in most cases appear much later in the record – only 50,000 years ago – which would mean 150,000 years of Homo sapiens without cultural stuff, such as evidence of eating fish, of harpoons, anything to do with music (flutes and that sort of thing), needles, even tools. This stuff all comes in very late, except for stone knife blades, which appeared between 50,000 and 200,000 years ago, depending on whom you believe.”

Fleagle adds: “There is a huge debate in the archeological literature regarding the first appearance of modern aspects of behavior such as bone carving for religious reasons, or tools (harpoons and things), ornamentation (bead jewelry and such), drawn images, arrowheads. They only appear as a coherent package about 50,000 years ago, and the first modern humans that left Africa between 50,000 and 40,000 years ago seem to have had the full set. As modern human anatomy is documented at earlier and earlier sites, it becomes evident that there was a great time gap between the appearance of the modern skeleton and ‘modern behavior.’”

The study moves the date of human skulls found in Ethiopia’s Kibish rock formation in 1967 back from 130,000 years to a newly determined date of 195,000 years ago, give or take 5,000 years. Fossils from an individual known as Omo I look like bones of modern humans, but other bones are from a more primitive cousin named Omo II.

In addition to the cultural question, the earlier date for humanity’s emergence is important for other reasons.

“First, it makes the dates in the fossil record almost exactly concordant with the dates suggested by genetic studies for the origin of our species,” Fleagle says. “Second, it places the first appearance of modern Homo sapiens in Africa many more thousands of years before our species appears on any other continent. It lengthens that gap. … Finally, the similar dating of the two skulls indicates that when modern humans first appeared there were other contemporary populations [Omo II] that were less modern.”

The study was funded by the National Science Foundation, the L. S. B. Leakey Foundation, the National Geographic Society and the Australian National University.

Modern Homo in the Valley of the Omo
Richard Leakey and his team of paleontologists traveled in 1967 to the Kibish Formation along the Omo River in southernmost Ethiopia, near the town of Kibish. They found the skull (minus the face) and partial skeleton (parts of arms, legs, feet and the pelvis) of Omo I, and the top and back of the skull of Omo II. Brown was not part of the 1967 expedition, but was working nearby and got to look at the site and the fossils.

“Anthropologists said they looked very different in their evolutionary status,” Brown recalls. “Omo I appeared to be essentially modern Homo sapiens, and Omo II appeared to be more primitive.”

In 1967, the fossils were dated as being 130,000 years old, although the scientists doubted the accuracy of their dating technique, which was based on the decay of uranium-238 to thorium-238 in oyster shells from a rock layer near the skulls.

Fleagle says no scientist has been bold enough to suggest Omo II is anything other than Homo sapiens, and that “quite often at the time of major events in evolution, one finds an increase in morphological [anatomical] diversity.” Now that the new study confirms Omo I and Omo II are the same age – living within a few hundred years of each other about 195,000 years ago – some anthropologist suggest “maybe it [Omo II] isn’t so primitive after all,” Brown says.

McDougall, Brown and Fleagle and researchers from other universities returned to Kibish in 1999, 2001, 2002 and 2003. They identified sites where Omo I and Omo II were found in 1967, and obtained more of Omo I, including part of the femur (upper leg bone) that fit a piece found in 1967. They also found animal fossils and stone tools, and studied local geology. The Nature study includes initial results from those expeditions.

The fossil record of human ancestors may go back 6 million years or more, and the genus Homo arose at least 1.8 million years ago when australopithecines evolved into human ancestors known as Homo habilis. Brown says the fossil record of humans is poor from 100,000 to 500,000 years ago, so Omo I is significant because it now is well dated.

Dating the Dawn of Humanity
Both Omo I and Omo II were buried in the lowermost portion or “member” of the Kibish Formation, a series of annual flood sediments laid down rapidly by the ancient Omo River on the delta where it once entered Lake Turkana. Lake levels now are much lower, and the river enters the lake about 60 miles (100 kilometers) south of Kibish.


The 330-foot-thick (100-meter-thick) formation is divided into at least four members, with each of the four sets of layers separated from the other by an “unconformity,” which represents a period of time when rock eroded away instead of being deposited. For example, the lowermost Kibish I member was deposited in layers as the Omo River flooded each year. After thousands of years, rainfall diminished, lake levels dropped, and the upper part of Kibish I eroded away. Later, the lake rose and deposition resumed to create layers of Kibish member II.

Interspersed among the river sediments are occasional layers of volcanic ash from ancient eruptions of nearby volcanoes. Some ash layers contain chunks of pumice, which in turn contain feldspar mineral crystals. Feldspar has small amounts of radioactive potassium-40, which decays into argon-40 gas at a known rate. The gas, trapped inside feldspar crystals, allows scientists to date the feldspar and the pumice and ash encasing it.

Brown says potassium-argon dating shows that a layer of ash no more than 10 feet (3 meters) below Omo I’s and Omo II’s burial place is 196,000 years old, give or take 2,000 years. Another layer is 104,000 years old. It is almost 160 feet (50 meters) above the layer that yielded the Omo humans. The unconformities represent periods of time when rock was eroded, so the fossils must be much older than the 104,000-year-old layer and close in age to the 196,000-year-old layer, Brown says.

The clinching evidence, he says, comes from sapropels, which are dark rock layers on the Mediterranean seafloor that were deposited when floods of fresh water poured out of the Nile River during rainy times. The Blue Nile and White Nile tributaries share a drainage divide with the Omo River. During ancient wet periods, monsoons on the Ethiopian highlands sent annual floods surging down the Nile system, causing sapropels to form on the seafloor, and sent floods down the Omo, making Lake Turkana rise and depositing Kibish Formation sediments on the river’s ancient delta. (During dry periods, Lake Turkana was smaller, flood sediments were deposited farther south and rocks at Kibish were eroded.)

No other sediments on land have been found to record wet and dry periods that correlate so well with the same climate pattern in ocean sediments, Brown says. The new study found that the “members” – or groups of rock layers – of the Kibish formation were laid down at the same time as the Mediterranean sapropels. In particular, the volcanic layer right beneath Omo I and II dates to 196,000 years ago by potassium-argon dating, and it corresponds almost perfectly to a sapropel layer previously dated as 195,000 years old, Brown says.

“It is pretty conclusive,” says Brown, who disputes any contention that the fossils might be closer to 104,000 years old.



Contact: Frank Brown, professor of geology and geophysics,
dean of the College of Mines and Earth Sciences, University of Utah
University of Utah

Lee Siegel, science news specialist
office 801-581-8993
cellular 801-244-5399
University of Utah Public Relations

University of Utah Public Relations
201 S Presidents Circle, Room 308
Salt Lake City, Utah 84112-9017
801-581-6773 fax: 801-585-3350

post Accepting the Unacceptable

May 30th, 2008

Filed under: General Issue — Admassu @ 23:42

While looking at this picture of two street kids, which I have taken a year ago, a certain question popped up in my mind: How would we feel if we were in the position of taking good care of them and if all roads back home were free from begging kids? Would it feel strange not to see them anymore because we have already taken this reality for granted?


Are we so accustomed to see them following us begging for some coins to buy a piece of bread? Is it difficult to remind ourselves that they actually don’t belong where they are now? Are they really unavoidable part of our cityscape and townscape ambiences?

Sometimes, when we get used to misfortune of any kind in our society, this misfortune will definitely advance it self to normality. We humans are species who are capable of adapting our self to various misfortunes. And unconsciously we end up accepting an unacceptable situation.

These children are obvious signs that something has gone terribly wrong. We have to stop accepting that as normal.

post Globalisation & Africa

April 13th, 2008

Filed under: General Issue — Lissan Magazine @ 22:37

Globalisation, Its Implications and Consequences for Africa

Given the historical relationship between Africa and the West it is ironic that the latter is today preaching the virtues of freedom to Africans. Former colonisers and ex-slave-owners have made a virtue of championing political and economic liberalisation. Yesterday’s oppressors appear to be today’s liberators, fighting for democracy, human rights and free market economies throughout the world.

The concept of globalisation is global and dominant in the world today. But, it was not handed down from heaven, it was not decreed by the Pope, it did not emerge spontaneously. It was created by the dominant social forces in the world today to serve their specific interests. Simultaneously these social forces gave themselves a new ideological name the - “international community” - to go with the idea of globalisation.

Globalisation…has largely been driven by the interests and needs of the developed world (Grieco and Holmes, 1999)

Globalisation has turned the world into the big village… This in turn has led to intense electronic corporate commercial war to get the attention and nod of the customer globally…This war for survival can only get more intense in the new millenium. Are we prepare(d) to face the realities of this global phenomenon, which has the potential of wiping out industrial enterprise in Nigeria (and Africa)? What can we (or do we) do?

It is needless to distractedly search for any premise other than the foregoing to commence the analytical examination of the holocaust effects of globalisation particularly as it concerns the African continent. It should be stated, however, that the extent of these effects as well as the coping ability/capacity of its victims are explainable within the context of human history, which, on its own has not been static, and which had continuously evolved with the society itself over the years. In the course of this evolution, various developments and changes had taken place. These changes or developments had, in most cases, affected the systemic existence of humankind per se regardless of the geo-political location within the universe.

One of such changes or developments that is currently affecting the physiology of human society today through its imposition of constraints on the policy-making autonomy or independence of member states vis-à-vis their capacities for the authoritative allocation of scarce and critical societal values or resources among other functions, is globalisation. As a result of its combination of “destructive leviathan” and improved material well-being of humankind, globalisation has continued to attract increased scholarly and analytical attention across the globe. It is, thus, not fortuitous that globalisation has been at the epicentre of most developmental and intellectual discourses.

This is not unconnected with the fact that world developments have been increasingly characterised not by their growth dynamics but by their links to the process of globalisation. Hence, the overwhelming character of globalisation has made it compelling for some scholars to use various aspects of the global economy as units of analysis.

The Concept OF Globalisation
Globalisation refers to the process of the intensification of economic, political, social and cultural relations across international boundaries. It is principally aimed at the transcendental homogenization of political and socio-economic theory across the globe. It is equally aimed at “making global being present worldwide at the world stage or global arena”. It deals with the “increasing breakdown of trade barriers and the increasing integration of World market once opined: Globalisation can be seen as an evolution which is systematically restructuring interactive phases among nations by breaking down barriers in the areas of culture, commerce, communication and several other fields of endeavour.

This is evident from its push of free-market economics, liberal democracy, good governance, gender equality and environmental sustainability among other holistic values for the people of the member states.

The process of globalisation is impelled by the series of cumulative and conjunctural crises in the international division of labour and the global distribution of economic and political power; in global finance, in the functioning of national states and in the decline of the Keynesian welfare state and the established social contact between labour and government. In fact, its hallmark of free-market capitalism has been aided among other factors by the sudden though expected changes within the physiology of global political community in recent times.

Within the parameters of the foregoing, globalisation could be correctly defined from the institutional perspective as the spread of capitalism. However, it is germane to adumbrate that the collapse of the Eastern block in the late 80s and early 90s led to the emergence and ascendancy of a global economy that is primarily structured and governed by the interests of Western behemoth countries, thus, facilitating the integration of most economies into the global capitalist economy. With the demise of the Eastern Europe in the early 90s, capitalism as an economic system now dominates the globe more than it had been at any time in its history. Even, China, by far the largest non-capitalist economy, has undergone dramatic changes in its international economic policy orientation, and, is today the recipient of almost one-half of all foreign direct investments that go into developing nations - this is a country that essentially blocked all foreign investments until the 1980s. Beyond this simplistic analysis of globalisation in terms of capital inflows and trade investment, it is important to state that it has been of disastrous consequences to the governments and people of the African continent.

Globalisation, according to Ohiorhenuan, is the broadening and deepening linkages of national economies into a worldwide market for goods and services, especially capital. As Tandon once opined, globalisation seeks to remove all national barriers to the free movement of international capital and this process is accelerated and facilitated by the supersonic transformation in information technology. It is principally aimed at the universal homogenisation of ideas, cultures, values and even life styles as well as, at the deterritorialisation and villagization of the world. Expanding this argument, argued, that it is principally concerned with the expansion of trade over the oceans and airspace, beyond traditional alliances which were restricted by old political spheres of influence. Thus, it presupposes the “making or remaking” of the world by creating “a basic change in the way in which major actors think and operate across the globe”. In other words, it connotes “the rapid expansion through giant multinational companies of capitalism and their “blood sapping principles” of “liberalisation”, “commercialisation”, privatisation” and “undemocratic and property-based democratisation” to several areas of the world including where it had hitherto been resisted or put in check”.

Very critical to our understanding of globalisation is the dire need to use it as a synonym for liberalisation and greater openness. The implication of this is that both domestic and foreign liberalization are said to imply globalisation, since the former brings domestic markets more in conformity with forces operating in markets abroad, and, the removal of administrative barriers to international movement of goods, services, labour and capital increases economic interaction among nations. It is within this purview that we can argue that globalisation is mainly a phenomenon of capital mobility. Its two prongs are: (i) Foreign direct investment and (ii) international portfolio flows. Thus, a global economy is one which is dominated by transnational firms and financial institutions, operating independently of national boundaries and domestic economic considerations. The implication of deterritorialisation for African countries is that world goods, factors of production and financial assets would be almost perfect substitutes everywhere in the world. Hence, it could be difficult to identify a national economy and consider nation states as distinct economic identities with autonomous decision making power in the pursuit of national objectives. This, indeed, explains why the IMF issued a query to Nigeria in respect of over 400 billion naira meant for capital expenditure in the 2001 budget, and, why the IMF and World Bank (two bodies that are driving forces of globalisation) contributed enourmously in the drafting of the Nigeria’s 2001 budget.

Another important feature of globalisation is that, it enhances the volume of international trade and investment, which is a reflection of the global patten of specialisation in production (i.e. the international division of labour). Though, there is an increase in the volume of goods among nations, international trade continues to be largely concentrated in developed countries (i.e. Trade continues to exist between economies at the same level of economic development). For example, in 1992, 56% of world trade was among developed countries, virtually unchanged from its 1970 level. In the same year, 77% of developed countries imports originated from other developed countries, compared to 78% in 1970. Thus, trade between the developed and developing world as measured by the share of developing countries exports in total developed countries imports has been stable, varying around 30% since 1970, although the rise in oil prices in the 1970s brought a temporary increase. However, trade among developing countries has been a relatively constant share of total trade, although, there has been a rise in intra-Latin American trade. Central to our discourse is that, globalisation is also about international division of labour which might be broadly characterised by the skill intensity of production, with developed countries increasingly specialising in high - skill intensive manufacturing and services and, developing countries in low - skill intensive manufacturing. This asymmetry has severe and devastating impacts on African economies since they are primarily to produce raw materials for industries in the developed countries who, eventually, produce goods and dump them in developing countries as a result of liberalisation - a critical component of globalisation.

There is no doubt whatsoever that globalisation is one of the most challenging developments in the world history. As Tandon once opined, “globalisation in its most generic and broad sense is part of the movement of history”. In other words, globalisation which is an “imperial policy” and the “final conquest of capital over the rest of the World”, is deeply rooted in history and quite explainable within the context of the one -arm banditry and exploitative antecedents of capitalism which, by its nature cannot exist without parasitic expansion.

Given the changing faces and phases of globalisation and its immutable central and primary focus to exploit African resources, disintegrate its economies and incorporate it into the international capitalist economy, it is imperative to emphasise that, the different conceptions, notions and treatment of globalisation by scholars are not incompatible with one another. The limitation of these conceptions, notions and treatments, however, is that, it does not describe the sudden yet significant shifts in the world economy, but, rather, simply the continuation of longer term trends. Rather, the new development which seems to connect these different strands is that an increased pace of capital mobility has begun to shift the prospects for economic development and growth to the global level - an indication of the expropriation of surplus and capital flight from the African economies.

Its History And Instruments
Globalisation is not a new feature of the world economy. The era before the First World War was one in which strong globalisation tendencies produced a very uneven pattern of global economic development, exposing the limits of global economic integration. For example, the integration of the African economy into the capitalist economy is part of the globalising tendencies of capitalism. Thus, colonialism provided a legal framework for the dependence of the African economy on the economy of western countries. Thus, the African economy became producers of raw materials for industries in advanced capitalist societies.

Historically, the process of globalisation had started in a small way in the nineteenth century. This was when capital moved from Europe to open up new areas in America and Australia, mostly in the building of rail road systems and agriculture that would be central to the expansion of capitalism.

The subsequent maturation of joint-stock companies and developments in the areas of banking, industrial capital and technology, aided among other things, the scramble for and partitioning of Africa and, its then attendant rapacious exploitation of these parts of the World. Even though, the pre-eminence of globalisation as championed by America was interrupted by the cold war era, with the effective end of the latter in 1990, the West no longer need to compromise as before, its ideology of globalized culture on the account of communism.

Consequent on this, the global economy continued to experience some fundamental changes in nearly all ramifications including “even the language of global discourse”. This trend is currently being pursued with vigour by the now acclaimed instruments, of globalisation. These instruments - ((a) the reformed old Bretton Woods institutions (IMF and World Bank), (b) World Trade organisation and (c) the G8) - according to Banjo are the “Wicked Machines of the Imperialists”, which completely have their pedigrees in the ideological frameworks of the West and its monopolistic view of what the World should look like. This is particularly so because:

The rules and regulations of these three agencies of imperialism are fundamentally unfair to working and poor people around the world. The private corporation and other financial interest whose interests are devilish are able to dominate the “rules of the game” in the international economy with adverse results on the health and welfare of hundreds of millions of people.

Any characterisation of globalisation that excludes the roles of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank will be too reductionist since the primary goal of globalisation is the issue of global capital. In this direction, the IMF and the World Bank have played crucial roles in the enthronement of global capital. This has been done through policies such as liberalisation, privatisation and deregulation. In respect of liberalisation which is a process of removing artificial restrictions on production, exchange or use of goods, services and factors of production, there has been a liberalisation of international trade and factor movements which are necessary conditions for firms to globalise. Indeed, firms, National Companies play crucial roles since the logic of private enterprise is the drive for profits, the movement of firms and capital across borders in pursuit of profits is inherent in the expansion of firms. Thus, economic activity could not be global without the capacity of business to operate simultaneously in more than one country, but the unique capacity for organisational flexibility and integration that characterises many transnational corporations today, serves as a driving force for globalisation.

As for privatisation, it has deepened the integration of African countries into the global systems of production and finance by encouraging capital inflows and bringing foreign ownership of formerly public - owned enterprises. It is imperative to observe that, this international dispersion of ownership has been asymmetric: the privatisation policy in the African countries has attracted capital from the developed countries, but it has disbursed ownership mainly to domestic residents in the developed countries.

The protagonists of globalisation with the collaboration of their “puppets’ cat’s paws” and “butt lickers” in various developing countries, have, through these instruments, continued to consistently, through cosmetic and mouth -watering entreaties, lure developing countries (particularly in African continent) into the “Villagized World” without much guarantee of equality and fairness in the asymmetrical game-play involved. They have been doing this by laying irresistible emphases on the advantages of science and technology particularly in the areas of “internet-connectivity”, “new information communication technologies” “customization” “internet-based cybermall”, and, “modernised agriculture” and, its propensity for “transparency” and reduction of the problems of hunger and possible stoppage of Africa’s food crisis.

The wholesale acceptance of globalisation as a saviour of the developing countries particularly those in Africa, has been likened to that of a moving train which Africa and Africans must keep pace with, regardless of whether the latter has similar destination in mind, because, Africa no choice. This analogy is especially pernicious when one takes a close look at the debilitating effects of globalisation itself. The analogy asserts that the developing countries have no choice but to keep in step. But, this is not true. Rather than looking at globalisation in a humanistic manner, this line of thinking is a mere plastering of wounds, and, a product of Eurocentric teleology: and equation of a twisted ideal with an unhealthy reality, an equation of westernization with civilisation and the pinnacle of development. To the contrary, Africa and Africans have a choice. One of the choices is the creation of a blockade on the “path of the train”. In other words, the African continent and, indeed, other developing countries could conceivably create Regional Economic and Political blocks equal in magnitude and potency with that of the European Union (EU), to effectively challenge, and influence the trajectory of the globalisation train. To argue otherwise is to lead Africa and Africans along the path of extinction. Nevermore can there be a Berlin Conference of 1884 to 1885 and its subsequent genocidal partitioning of Africa and Africans by the colonialists.

Indeed, the globalisation of technology promotes the globalisation of production and finance, by spurring the dissemination of information and lowering the cost of linking markets internationally. The globalisation of technology has created rapidly rising numbers of global consumers. In fact, Africa has been turned into a dumping ground where people increasingly consume an abundance of products that have little connection to their struggle for existence (for example, Literature, Movies, Music). This, indeed, has led to the obliteration of African culture leading to a Eurocentric view of the realities Africans perceive. Further, this helps explain why some Africans don’t understand their own history, but they can write history in favour of Europe.

It must be clear at this point, that the current villagization of the world, as globalisation, has greatly (negatively) affected the developing countries (particularly those in Africa) in nearly all facets of life. The examination of the nature and scope of these effects, their implications and consequences for Africa, forms the core of the discussion below.

Globalisation’s Problems and
Consequences for the States in Africa

To begin with, even though, globalisation as Ohiorhenuan (1998 op cit.), Mowlana (1998), and Oyejide (1998) Grieco and Holmes (1999) respectively opined, is a positive or powerful force for the improved material well-being of humankind, that would aid developing countries to “create better economic environments”, to “leapfrog” into the information age; improve their access to technology; speed development and enhance global harmony”, its effects on the political, economic, social and cultural nerves of the weaker member states cannot be ignored without severe consequences. In other words, the seeming near-consensus on the agenda of globalisation notwithstanding, the unrelenting encouragement of its “uneven thesis” does not give room for comfort as, it is exorbitantly costly to the developing nations. This is particularly so in that, globalisation affects developmental thinking and actions of the developing polities; relegates ethical equity and social concerns behind market consideration and reduces the autonomy of the independence states. According to Ohiorhenuan (op. cit), it challenges the mediative role of the state vis-à-vis external pressures. It threatens the discretion of the state everywhere. Not only this, according to Tandon, globalisation encourages “decreasing National control and increasing control over the (Internal) economy (of the state) by outside players. In fact, the gospel of globalisation through its economic liberalism “has been elevated to the position of absolute truth, a sort of pensee unique (or single theory) against which there is no credible alternative”. Indeed, globalisation is an awesome and terrifying phenomenon for African countries.

Concretely put, the planetary phenomenon of globalisation is nothing but a new order of marginalisation of the African continent. Its universalization of communication, mass production, market exchanges and redistribution, rather than engendering new ideas and developmental orientation in Africa, subverts its autonomy and powers of self-determination. It is rather by design than by accident that poverty has become a major institution in Africa despite this continent’s stupendous resources. Indeed, the developing countries/world burden of external debt has reached two trillion dollars (World Bank, 1994). In the process, it has enlivened the venomous potency of mass poverty and, its accompanying multidimensional depravity of the citizenry of all the requisite essence of meaningful living. It has disintegrated or disarticulated the industrial sector of most, if not all polities in Africa. This has been particularly evident in the areas of cost of production which has become uncomfortably high in most of the developing countries (e.g. Nigeria); also in the lack of government’s incentives to encourage local production; subversion of local products through high importation, currency devaluation; and depletion of foreign reserves. This clearly raises the problems of marginalization which, according to Ake, is, in reality, the dynamics of under development - the development of under development by the agents of development.

Nation-states in Africa today, rarely define the rules and regulations of their economy, production, credits and exchanges of goods and services due to the rampaging menace of globalisation. They are hardly now capable of volitionally managing their political, economic and socio-cultural development. Globalisation It has imposed heavy constraints on the internal management dynamics of most if not all the polities in Africa (e.g., Nigeria) where the government now finds it difficulty in most cases to meet the genuine demands of the governed on many issues of national urgency (e.g., the June 1st, 2000, 50% hike in the prices of petroleum and related products and its attendant crippling national strike by the Nigerian workers). The reality in Nigeria today, as it is for most African nations, is that globalisation has made it immensely difficult for governments to provide social insurance - one of their central functions and one that has helped many developed nations to maintain social cohesion and domestic political support. Trends like this have been largely dictated by the asymmetry of powers that accompany globalisation (i.e., inequality in the status of the members of the “villagized world” and, their inability to resist imposed policy options). In fact, this asymmetry which is undergirded by a system of production where capital rules has been clearly amplified by Madunagu when he claimed that: the result of globalisation in Africa, is basically a competition between the palatial centres (Developed World) and the slums (Africa) of the village where a preponderant majority of the people daily sink deeper into poverty and misery.

Consequently, its (globalisation) ideology of “free-market liberalism and property-based democracy remains a continuous licence for cultural imperialism and, the institutionalisation of both political and economic domination and exploitation of the weaker partners (i.e. the developing economies) through their internal agents.

This imperialistic cultural dimension of globalisation, particularly in the area of “internet connectivity” which has often been used as a bait for luring Africa and other developing polities into the villagized world, has recently been put into perspective thus: The world is gradually moving in a unidirectional manner and, the tendency towards uniformity has never been so appealing as it is now…. Consequently, there is a serious concern that nations like Nigeria whose contributions to the internet pool is low may lose their identity.

According to this perspective, if this trend continues: A sort of cultural imperialism which will seek to enslave the African mind, leaving in its wake a cultureless or culturally disoriented people (may become a permanent feature of Africa and or people (Emphasis mine).

This fear has been greatly highlighted by the effects which Internet use already has on the language of most polities of the world according to the survey of the global reach diagrammatically shown below:

Looking at the foregoing, it is apparent that, the globalisation process is more symmetrical to the “origin and development of the neo-colonial states (in Africa)” which were “determined by the nature and structures of the colonising countries” rather than according to a concretely established philosophy or determination to get Africa out of lingering crises. Thus, globalisation is a form of entrapment for Africa. Apart from its evocation of powerlessness already analysed, it creates a process through which the “poor countries (in Africa) are dominated and exploited by the rich countries and, a vicious circle of vulnerability of African governments” to outside parasitic economic manoeuvring as does the lack of capacity for independence of socio-political, cultural and psychological thinking relative to concrete actions. Unless, as earlier stated, its one-arm banditry is understood, concretely discerned and checkmated, globalisation will lead Africa to “increased penury”. This can be better understood in the context of the fact that, the “heavy burden of foreign debt has greatly eroded their capacity to run their own affairs and respond to the demands of the people”. This unwholesome development has created a legitimacy crisis for most African governments and turned the African continent into an Empire of Chaos.

Generally, globalisation has become a “threat to the poor rather than an opportunity for global action to eradicate poverty”. Arguing further, Obadina contends that the “concept of absolute freedom that underlies the rationale for globalisation is the same notion” used to justify slavery and colonisation. It is equally anchored on the “belief that the strong, however defined, should be free to exercise their strength without moral or legal limitations that protect the weak”. Thus, it is distinct from positive freedom which states that: People should be free as long as they do not deny the rights and freedom of others. People should not be at liberty to deny others freedom and basic rights. There must be limits on freedom otherwise the liberty of the powerful becomes the oppression of the weak.

Given the foregoing, Obadina, argued that the free-market undertone of globalisation is anchored in “greed and ethos of winner takes all” and a “beggar their neighbour” philosophy irrespective of its seeming moral terms of freedom and, this, in itself, has increased the debt burden of most countries in Africa. He summed his position thus: Western relations with (the) undeveloped countries are not predicated on a desire to eradicate mass poverty but on the penchant to impose the free-market system founded on the notion of absolute freedom.

The foregoing is even more absurd given the fact that, these same western nations that are clamouring for respect for human rights and fundamental freedom are at the same time pushing for globalisation and economic policies that encourage the abuse of these rights including the denial of the right to economic equality. The predicaments of the people of the Niger Delta (particularly Ogoni people) in Nigeria offer a case in point.

These predicaments are explicable within the context of the (deliberate) inability of the Nigerian government to equitably protect the interests and environment of the people of the Niger Delta particularly the oppressed Ogoni people from the rapaciousness of the forces of globalisation (ably represented by the multinational oil companies).

This is evident from the fact that oil exploration has negatively affected the environment of the Niger Delta and, the Ogoni people in particular, leading to a worsening socio-economic situation for the people. In fact, more than 2 million barrels of oil are explored from the Niger Delta daily.

Concretely put, despite the immense contributions of the Niger Delta (particularly the Ogoni people) to the fiscal basis of the Nigerian State as well as to global capital, the area remains basically underdeveloped due to deliberate neglect and eclipsing from the rational policy agenda of the Nigerian State. The area continuously lacks basic infrastructural facilities such as good roads, schools, electricity, communications, hospitals and so on. In addition, oil spills have drastically affected the supply of potable water, leading to the high prevalence of water-borne diseases. Also, the impact of the exploratory and extractive activities of these global forces – Shell whose operation in Nigeria alone accounts for 14% of its total global operations, Mobil Agrip, Cheveron, Texaco, Total, etc. – have basically affected the social organization of the Ogoni people and the Niger Delta in general.

A manifestation of these negative impacts is the replacement of the traditional economy that was founded on fishing, farming and hunting for economic sustenance with a petrol-dollar economy. Thus, as the World Bank (1995) noted, the impact of oil exploration in the Niger Delta Area (particularly in the Ogoni Communities) by the forces of globalisation has decreased agricultural productivity and fishing in the areas, leading to the prevalence of poverty which was put above the national average.

The attempts by the people of the Niger Delta and, the Ogoni people to challenge the inhuman and mindless capitalistic wastage of their marine life and environment through series of mass protests and attacks on the forces of globalisation have been smothered by the Nigerian State using the instruments of coercion, repression, intimidation and unjustifiable killing of the leaders of the oppressed. The unnecessary and avoidable supreme price through hanging which Kenule saro-wiwa and eight other Ogoni Environmentalists were made to pay in 1995 offers a useful explanation of the predicaments under reference here. These inhuman measures were embarked upon ostensibly to continuously generate capital for developing needs, debts (re)negotiation and, to ensure that the process of capital accumulation is not altered against neo-colonial compradors. These developments have created renewed determination by the people to prevent further degradation of their eco-system hence, the constant conflicts between them and the Nigerian State on the one hand and, the multinational oil companies on the other hand. These conflicts and the predicaments of the Ogoni people continue to persist because the Niger Delta and its resources (oil) are significant to the existence of the Nigerian Nation and its economy. Oil has become and, largely remains the mainstay of the Nigerian economy, accounting for 25% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), 90% of foreign exchange earnings and more than 70% of budgetary expenditure. It (oil) is the most strategic commodity on which Nigeria’s attempts at industrial capitalist development is dependent hence, the Nigerian State found it difficult to lose the resources to such agitations regardless of their rationality.

The determination of the Nigerian State to maintain the status quo in this regard, despite its accompanying problems of legitimation occasioned by domestic crises, depicts its renter status and, relegation to the sphere of dependence on collection of - (externally realized) – oil rents for reproduction rather engaging in productive service(s). It equally depicts the continuous rapaciousness of the forces of globalisation in their quest for the critical needs - (e.g. oil) - of the G8 Countries in the Ogoni area of the Nigerian polity. Indeed, the dominance of the forces of globalisation in the Niger Delta areas of Nigeria accounts for the incidence of mass pauperisation in the midst of affluence.

There is no doubt that globalisation has “created a vast chasm between the North and the South” (Tandon 1998 op cit. 3). This is particularly identifiable from the UNDP’s Human Development Report of 1996 contains the fact that: The gap in per capital income between the industrial and developing worlds tripled from $5,700 in 1960 to $15,400 in 1993.

This shows that Africa has a plethora of problems particularly in the areas of industrial and economic growth which her continuous “unequal-partnership status” in a villagized world would further worsen. As Mule once stated: The most obvious (of these problems) are the low incomes on the continent with the GDP per capital of only US315 and with declining service sector contribution rates from around 20% GDP to 15% of GDP. These are accompanied by declining government revenues. The low average per capital income levels are further exacerbated by very high income inequalities comparable to, or even worse than those of Latin America. There are high incidence of social exclusion…. Africa is also marginalized globally, with it contribution to world trade amounting to less than two percent … Africa is also highly aid - dependent with aid accounting for nine percent of GNP on average for all countries…. These are also problems of governance … on the political and Economic management fronts.

Without any gainsaying, Africa is the hardest hit continent by the rapaciousness of globalisation. Ironically, the African Growth and Opportunity Act put before the American Senate by President Bill Clinton in 1998 which was passed into law in May, 2000, and, the Multilateral Agreement on Investment of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Developments are part of the instruments put in place by the West to further deplete whatever is left of Africa’s resources. These are devices to “roll-back whatever gains the third world counties were able to make at the economic level during the cold war years”. In fact, both the AGOA and MAI are traps aimed at foisting-without much conscious resistance by the victims of the so-called “global constitution” - a “global economy” on Africa and other developing economies. This constitution, argued Obadina, allows the powerful international corporations unfettered freedom to operate anywhere around the globe without any limitation by the policies of host nations irrespective of the consequences of their operation to the interests of the host nations.

It should be particularly noted however, that, the advocates (western nations) of globalisation are hypocritical in their approach giving the fact that: The Western Nations pressing the poor nations to open their doors to the free-market are advocating policies they did not follow). (The) governments of virtually all developed nations gave their agricultural and industrial producers some level of protection at crucial stages of their economic development. But today’s Western leaders conveniently forget economic history.

The foregoing is further corroborated by the fact that: The same globalisation process that champions the eradication of the great divide between the East and West is negating the dissolution of the North-South divide.

It could be reasonably argued that, this explains why the officials of the instruments - (the World Bank and IMF; and also the WTO and the G8) - of globalisation cannot see or have chosen not to see any “connection between globalisation and Africa’s poverty”. This ideological blind spot aided by the “uneven thesis of globalisation” is very consequential to Africans and Africa’s development because: The consequence of the ideological blindspot and the refusal (by the instruments of globalisation) to accept the evidence of history is that whilst capital-led globalisation is at the root of Africa’s crisis, it is also miraculously suggested as its solution.

This has promoted the argument that, globalisation has damaged Africa’s natural environment and, on balance of costs and benefits, it has been a disaster for Africa both in human and material resources The reasons for this are not far-fetched looking at the UNDP’s Human Development Report of 1996, which contains among other revelations the fact that: Twenty countries in Africa (today) have per capital income lower than 20 years ago. Two-thirds of the least Developed Countries (LDCs) are in Africa. A food -surplus continent twenty years ago, Africa is now food-deficit.

The striking points that emerge from the foregoing are that globalisation through its “heavy constraints” is changing the way in which major institutional actors think and operate across nations and within nations. Globalisation is changing the determinism of the state: its actions and inactions; what firms and people do; where they do it, how they see themselves (their identity) and what they want (their preferences). Moreover, its accompanying financial transactions’ increasing volume and their decreasing costs as well as reduction in public sector expenditure have put strong competitive pressures on the governments worldwide to reduce their role in the determination of who gets what, when, where, how, and why - particularly as it affects the delivery of public goods within the political system. This is especially disturbing in Africa which, according to Thorbecke “is the only developing region where poverty is increasing”, considering the fact that: Africa governments (now) seem to have lost control of the policy making process, and are under pressure to accept dictation from creditor nations and financial institutions. (African) governments now tend to discuss development issues less with their own nationals, and more with donors and creditors, about debt repayment, debt relief and rescheduling, and paradoxically about more development assistance (which rather than develop them further their underdevelopment and dependent (emphasis mine).

What IS TO BE Done?
Considering the advantages and disadvantages of globalisation for Africa and, in the light of the analysis that has been done in the context of this paper, our argument is that much as globalisation may be inevitable, its consequences for Africa are devastating. It is therefore, our contention that, there is the need for an appropriate response to emerge from Africa with a view to understanding the dynamics that will hopefully help to evolve measures that will reduce the devastating effects of globalisation. Thus, we pose the question: what is to be done? Do, Africans require a response informed by their own historical development? Our belief is that, for Africa to get out of this entrapment, it needs to delink its dependency on the western powers and that its system of independent states needs to be recomposed.

Given the foregoing, what are the alternatives left for the states in Africa in view of the rampaging menace of globalisation and the seeming helplessness (due to debt burden) of the states and the citizenry? In other words, what are the ways out?

Even though, these questions on the surface appear unanswerable, it is essential for Africa’s very survival to be emancipated from the current state of helplessness. This is particularly necessary because, as Charlick opined: …the position of the world bank in the late 1980s, that development could be improved through the betterment of “governance” regardless of the type of macro- political system operating in Africa, has been substantially discredited.

Clues have been given as to what Africa and her people must do to “counter the centrifugal forces of globalisation” and emancipate themselves from its manacling claws and anteceding institutional rationalization.

One possible way out according to Tandon, who draws upon Amin’s earlier works, is the subordination of external relations to the logic of internal development. Through this, African revolutionary and activist classes (could be) actively engaged in building alternative (new) structures of power for organising production based on new values of humanity and care for the environment. The need for this, among other factors, could probably be identified as one of the catalysts for the theme, “Globalisation, Democracy and Development in Africa” – developed by the African Association of Political Science, Twelfth Biennial Congress, which took place in Darkar, Senegal, in 1999.

According to this logic, “developing countries should retain the idea of an activist state in reacting to the effects of globalisation. That is, African citizens must not resign themselves to Fate vis-à-vis the manacling claws of globalisation and, they must realise that it is always better to be a king in a “jungle” than a deprived and malnourished messenger in a “city”. They must cease to be mere “on-lookers” - who, according to Frantz Fanon, are either cowards or traitors-on issues affecting their economic, political and socio-cultural well being. Instead, they must sever the apron-springs of domination by the developed world by categorically and practically resisting the inequality inherent in a villagized world. Thus, according to Ake “the people of Africa will have to empower themselves to repossess their own development”. This, could, in addition to other mechanisms, be done by rebuilding their national images, by fighting corruption and, by insisting on their own cultural preferences, and terms of membership in the village. This will only be possible through a sincere, committed sociological, cultural, economic and political realignment that is truly African in nature, and intent. Without these conditions, it will be difficult, if not totally impossible, for Africa and Africans to talk about political and economic integration, improvement and, above all, emancipative development in the twenty-first century.

S.T. Akindele, Ph.D
Department of Political Science
Faculty of Social Sciences
Obafemi Awolowo University

T.O. Gidado, M.Sc
Department of Political Science
Faculty of Social Sciences
Obafemi Awolowo University

O.R. Olaopo
Department of Political Science
Faculty of Social Sciences
Obafemi Awolowo University

post Ethiopia’s Fake Gold

March 16th, 2008

Filed under: General Issue — Lissan Magazine @ 16:26

Fake fears over Ethiopia’s gold

Ethiopia’s national bank has been told to inspect all the gold in its vaults to determine its authenticity. It follows the discovery that some of the “gold” it had bought for millions of dollars was gold-plated steel.


The first hint that something was wrong reportedly came when the Ethiopian central bank exported a consignment of gold bars to South Africa. The South Africans sent them back, complaining that they had been sold gilded steel.

An investigation revealed that the bank had bought a consignment of fake gold from a supplier, who is now under arrest. Other arrests followed, including business associates of the main accused; national bank officials; and chemists from the Geological Survey of Ethiopia, whose job it is to assay the bank’s purchases of gold and certify that they are real. But what has clearly now got the government even more worried is that another different batch of gold in the bank’s vaults has also been found to be fake, and this time it was gold which had been there for several years, after being seized from smugglers trying to take it to Djibouti.

The Ethiopian parliament’s budget and finance committee ordered the inspection of all gold in the national bank’s vaults. A report from the auditor-general on the affair is expected to be presented to parliament during its current session.

Gold is mined in Ethiopia in considerable quantities, and a trader selling gold to the central bank has to have it tested and certified by the Geological Survey. Whether the bank bought fake gold in the first place, or whether real gold from the vaults has been swapped for gilded steel, the fraud has cost the bank many millions of dollars, and it must have involved collusion on a considerable scale.

Source: BBC

post Being Landlocked

February 19th, 2008

Filed under: General Issue — Lissan Magazine @ 23:02

A Landlocked Economy: (Being Landlocked).
By Agerachinen Inadin / TG

Geography matters for developments. Ethiopia is located in an area of political fluidity and changing alignment that it is a logical object of international and regional attention. The Geo-political environment, the Arab Israeli conflict, the opening of the Suez Canal, the strategy of making the Red Sea an Arab Lake, the OPEC cartel and oil politics, growing religious fundamentalism, American and Israeli strategy in the Middle East and the Horn of Africa, etc. has always affected Ethiopia. In most cases on the negative. This means Ethiopia for generation finds itself in a passionately contested political, economic and religious questions causing armed conflicts, frequent wars and acute tensions. In the midst of all these, Ethiopia since time immemorial trying to keep its access to the sea while others tried to deny it and control the costal line. In addition internal conflict and power struggle as well as the dynamics of neighboring countries like Djibouti, Sudan, Somalia (three Arab and Islamic League countries) and recently Eritrea have affected the outcome of Ethiopia access to the sea. The lack of access to the see will have a strong impact on Ethiopia’s economic, political and strategic interest, economic welfare and prosperity, its alliance and support system in the international forum, access to trade, technology and military equipments.


Eritrea is no more the external trading outlet for Ethiopia. Landlocked Ethiopia relies on Djibouti port for about 98% of its international trade, although such heavy dependence leaves it vulnerable to factors beyond its control. Moreover, the two countries remain in dispute over several issues, including Ethiopia’s request for “through-bill of landing”, to give cargo more straightforward and quicker passage to dry inland ports. Djibouti had previously promised to implement the scheme, but has delayed doing so because of pressure from its own traders, who fear being excluded from their profitable middle-man role. To try and reduce reliance on Djibouti, Ethiopia reached agreement with neighboring Somaliland in 2005 for increasing the use of Berbera port. Somaliland is the relatively peaceful northern part of Somalia that has declared de facto independence, although this is not recognized by the international community. However, Ethiopia and Somaliland legalized bilateral trade in August 2003 and established customs posts. Berbera will be used for both goods and fuel—the port has an oil terminal—although the quantities are likely to remain small in the short term, pending new investments at the port and in the limited road network linking Somaliland with eastern Ethiopia. Ethiopia has also started using Port Sudan and has just finished the construction of a high grade road that connects Northern Ethiopia with Sudan leading to Port Sudan. This will also have a significant geo-political and economic impact in the triangular relations of Ethiopia, Sudan and Eritrea.

Being landlocked clips around half a percentage point off the growth rate of a country (Jeff Sachs). 38% of the people living below poverty line are in countries that are landlocked. However, being landlocked does not necessarily condemn a country either to poverty or to slow growth, eg. Switzerland, Austria or Luxembourg or Botswana. Landlocked countries incur much higher transport cost. The transport costs for a landlocked country depends upon how much its coastal neighbor had spent on transport infrastructure. This means landlocked countries are hostages to their neighbors. Ethiopia currently is to Eritrea. Zimbabwe’s access to the sea depends upon South African and Mozambique’s infrastructure, whereas Ethiopia’s access to the sea depends upon Eritrea, Sudan, Kenya, Djibouti or Somalia which makes the difference. If you are landlocked with poor transport links to the coast that are beyond your control, it is very difficult to integrate to global markets for any product that requires a lot of transport. This impact negatively on manufacturing – which to date has been the most reliable drive of rapid development.

Being both resource-scarce and landlocked, along with having neighbors who either do not have opportunities, Ethiopia is pretty well condemned to slow lane of growth due to lack of access to the sea and massive external import-export transportation in the long run. . This marked development harder.

So what can landlocked Ethiopia do?

a) Increase neighborhood growth Spillover:
Cross border trade by improving transport infrastructure on both sides of the border with Djibouti, Sudan, Kenya, Somalia. Develop regional trade and eliminate regional trade restrictions

b) Improve Neighbor’s Economic Policies - better integrated economy with neighbor

c) Improve Coastal Access
Improve joint transport infrastructure and joint policy decisions with Djibouti, Kenya, Somalia and Sudan.

d) Become a haven for the region: Working to become the regional business service center. Create a good policy environment. Make sure that Ethiopia set policies clearly superior to those of its neighbors, to attract these sources and export them, around the region. Explore the possibility of becoming the center of regional goods that are highly policy sensitive such as finance. Continue working on Djibouti in investing to service Ethiopia’s external trade. Use Mombassa to serve the Southern Part of Ethiopia. Use Berbera to service South Eastern Ethiopia and continue to use Port Sudan too for North and northwestern Ethiopia even if is not totally reliable due to frequent change of alliance and possible sabotage from EPLF.

e) Don’t be air locked and E-Locked: Air transport is much more important than it used to be. Explore region wide low cost air service in a form of cross cutting companies with others.

f) Have the potential to deliver rapid economic growth for the region by being both competitive and cooperative. Eg. work on twin pillars of being competitive in E-service and having good telecommunications infrastructure that can service the sub region. Develop hydro electric potentials that can provide sustainable and reliable energy to the countries in the sub region. Provide skilled man power by producing high skilled workers through intensive training. Southern Sudan, Djibouti, Kenya, Somalia and even northern Sudan can be effective markets.

g) Economical remittances: Ethiopia is experiencing substantial emigration. This can be turned into some advantage through enabling and encouraging the Diaspora to send large remittances by way of investment as well as support to family members. Maximizing remittances depends upon several steps. Keep educate people in the Diaspora so that they are employable in higher income economies rather than simply as unskilled workers. Make your banking and exchange rate system competitive.

h) Create a transparent and investor - friendly environment for resource prospecting. - Host country’s governance of the economy and resources .

By Agerachinen Inadin / TG

post Languages of Ethiopia

January 22nd, 2008

Filed under: General Issue — Lissan Magazine @ 20:17

Living languages

[aiz] 158,857 (1998 census). 129,350 monolinguals. Ethnic population: 155,002 (1989 census). North central Omo Region, southern tip of Ethiopian plateau, near the Hamer-Banna. Alternate names: Ari, Ara, Aro, Aarai, “Shankilla”, “Shankillinya”, “Shankilligna”. Dialects: Gozza, Bako (Baco), Biyo (Bio), Galila, Laydo, Seyki, Shangama, Sido, Wubahamer (Ubamer), Zeddo. Galila is a significantly divergent dialect. Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Omotic, South

[aar] 979,367 in Ethiopia. 905,872 monolinguals (1998 census). Population total all countries: 1,439,367. Eastern lowlands, Afar Region. May also be in Somalia. Also spoken in Djibouti, Eritrea. Alternate names: Afaraf, “Danakil”, “Denkel”, `Afar Af, Adal. Dialects: Northern Afar, Central Afar, Aussa, Baadu (Ba`adu). Related to Saho. Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Cushitic, East, Saho-Afar

[alw] 126,257 (1998 census). 95,388 monolinguals (1998 census). Ethnic population: 125,900 (1998 census). Rift Valley southwest of Lake Shala. Separated by a river from the Kambatta. Alternate names: Allaaba, Halaba. Dialects: Lexical similarity 81% with Kambaata, 64% with Sidamo, 56% with Libido, 54% with Hadiyya. Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Cushitic, East, Highland

[amh] 17,372,913 in Ethiopia (1998 census). 14,743,556 monolinguals. Population total all countries: 17,417,913. Ethnic population: 16,007,933 (1998 census). North central Ethiopia, Amhara Region, and in Addis Ababa. Also spoken in Egypt, Israel, Sweden. Alternate names: Abyssinian, Ethiopian, Amarinya, Amarigna. Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, South, Ethiopian, South, Transversal, Amharic-Argobba

[myo] 500 (1990 SIL). Ethnic population: 1,000 (1990 SIL). Anfillo Forest, west of Dembi Dolo. Alternate names: Southern Mao. Dialects: Lexical similarity 53% with Shekkacho. Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Omotic, North, Gonga-Gimojan, Gonga, Central

[anu] 45,646 in Ethiopia (1998 census). 34,311 monolinguals. Ethnic population: 45,665 (1998 census). Gambela Region in the southwest. Along the Baro, Alworo, and Gilo rivers and on the right bank of the Akobo River. Gambela town is the main center. Alternate names: Anywak, Anyuak, Anywa, Yambo, Jambo, Yembo, Bar, Burjin, Miroy, Moojanga, Nuro. Dialects: Adoyo, Coro, Lul, Opëno. Classification: Nilo-Saharan, Eastern Sudanic, Nilotic, Western, Luo, Northern, Anuak

[arv] 4,441 (1998 census). 3,907 monolinguals (1998 census). Ethnic population: 6,559 (1998 census). Extreme southwest, Omo Region, near Lake Stefanie. Alternate names: Arbora, Erbore, Irbore. Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Cushitic, East, Western Omo-Tana

[agj] 10,860 (1998 census). 44,737 monolinguals. Population includes 47,285 in Amharic, 3,771 in Oromo, 541 in Tigrigna (1998 census). Ethnic population: 62,831 (1998 census). Fragmented areas along the Rift Valley in settlements like Yimlawo, Gusa, Shonke, Berket, Keramba, Mellajillo, Metehara, Shewa Robit, and surrounding rural villages. Dialects: Ankober, Shonke. It is reported that the ‘purest’ Argobba is spoken in Shonke and T’olaha. Lexical similarity 75% to 85% with Amharic. Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, South, Ethiopian, South, Transversal, Amharic-Argobba

[awn] 356,980 (1998 census). 279,326 monolinguals. Ethnic population: 397,491 (1998 census). Amhara Region. Widely scattered parts of Agew Midir and Metekel, southwest of Lake Tana. Alternate names: Awiya, Awi, Agaw, Agau, Agew, Agow, Awawar, Damot, Kwollanyoch. Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Cushitic, Central, Southern

[bsw] 1,010 (1995 SIL). Ethnic population: 3,260 (1994 M. Brenzinger). Alge village near Merab Abaya, halfway between Soddo and Arba Minch (390); Gidicho Island, Baiso and Shigima villages (200); and Welege Island on Lake Abaya (420), and the western shore of the lake. Alternate names: Bayso, Alkali. Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Cushitic, East, Western Omo-Tana

[myf] 5,000 (1982 SIL). Beni Shangul Region, in and around Bambesi. Alternate names: Bambeshi, Siggoyo, Amam, Fadiro, Northern Mao, Didessa. Dialects: Kere, Bambassi. Lexical similarity 31% with other Omotic languages, 17% with Hozo-Sezo (Bender 1983). Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Omotic, North, Mao, East

[bst] 57,805 (1998 census). 42,726 monolinguals. Ethnic population: 51,097 (1998 census). North Omo Region, on a plateau west of Bulki. Alternate names: Basketto, Baskatta, Mesketo. Dialects: Lexical similarity 61% with Oyda. Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Omotic, North, Gonga-Gimojan, Gimojan, Ometo-Gimira, Ometo, West

[bcq] 173,586 (1998 census). 149,293 monolinguals. Population includes 10,002 She, 1,070 Mer. Ethnic population: 173,123 (1998 census). Kafa Region, in and around Mizan Teferi and Shewa Bench towns. Alternate names: Gimira, Ghimarra, Gimarra, Dizu. Dialects: Bench (Bencho, Benesho), Mer (Mieru), She (Sce, Kaba). Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Omotic, North, Gonga-Gimojan, Gimojan, Ometo-Gimira, Gimira

[wti] 124,799 in Ethiopia (1998 census). 99,689 monolinguals including 4,146 Fadashi. Population includes 8,715 Fadashi. Population total all countries: 146,799. Ethnic population: 125,853 including 7,323 Fadashi (1998 census). Beni Shangul Region, the corner formed by the Blue Nile River and Sudan border north of Asosa, and Dalati, a village east of the Dabus River. Also spoken in Sudan. Alternate names: Beni Shangul, Bertha, Barta, Burta, Wetawit, Jebelawi. Dialects: Shuru, Bake, Undu, Mayu, Fadashi, Dabuso, Gobato. Probably two or more languages. Fadashi may be separate. Classification: Nilo-Saharan, Berta

[bxe] 19 (2000 M. Brenzinger). Ethnic population: 89 (2000 M. Brenzinger). One village on the west bank of the Weyt’o River, southeast Omo Region. Alternate names: ‘Ongota, Birelle, Ifa’ongota, “Shanqilla”. Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Unclassified Nearly extinct.

[bwo] 19,878 (1998 census). Population includes 144 Gamila; 2,276 second-language speakers including 45 Gamila; 18,567 monolinguals including 77 Gamila. Ethnic population: 32,894 including 186 Gamila (1998 census). Southwest Amhara Region, near the Blue Nile River. Alternate names: Bworo, Shinasha, Scinacia. Dialects: Amuru, Wembera, Gamila, Guba. Related to Kafa. Scattered dialect groups. Lexical similarity 46% with Shekkacho. Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Omotic, North, Gonga-Gimojan, Gonga, North

[bji] 35,731 in Ethiopia (1998 census). 29,259 monolinguals. Population total all countries: 42,731. Ethnic population: 46,565 (1998 census). South of Lake Ciamo. Also spoken in Kenya. Alternate names: Bambala, Bembala, Daashi. Dialects: Lexical similarity 41% with Sidamo (closest). Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Cushitic, East, Highland

[dox] 6,624 (1998 census). 4,955 monolinguals. Ethnic population: 9,207 (1998 census). Omo Region, west of Lake Chamo. Alternate names: Dobase, D’oopace, D’opaasunte, Lohu, Mashile, Mashelle, Masholle, Mosiye, Musiye, Gobeze, Gowase, Goraze, Orase. Dialects: There is a dialect chain with Komso-Dirasha-Dobase. Lexical similarity 78% with Gawwada, 51% with Komso, 86% with Gollango, 80% with Harso, 61% with Tsamai. Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Cushitic, East, Dullay

[cra] 6,932. 5,556 monolinguals. Ethnic population: 6,984 (1998 census). Central Kafa Region, just north of the Omo River. Alternate names: Ciara. Dialects: Lexical similarity 54% with Wolaytta. Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Omotic, North, Gonga-Gimojan, Gimojan, Ometo-Gimira, Chara

[dsh] 32,064 in Ethiopia (1998 census). 31,368 monolinguals. Population total all countries: 34,564. Ethnic population: 32,099 (1998 census). Lower Omo River, along Lake Turkana, extending into Kenya. Also spoken in Kenya. Alternate names: Dasenech, Daasanech, Dathanaik, Dathanaic, Dathanik, Gheleba, Geleba, Geleb, Gelebinya, Gallab, Galuba, Gelab, Gelubba, Dama, Marille, Merile, Merille, Morille, Reshiat, Russia, “Shangilla”. Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Cushitic, East, Western Omo-Tana

[dim] 6,501 (1998 census). 4,785 monolinguals. Ethnic population: 6,197 (1998 census). Kafa Region, north of the Omo River, just before it turns south. Alternate names: Dima. Dialects: Lexical similarity 47% with Banna. Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Omotic, South

[gdl] 50,328 (1998 census). 41,685 monolinguals. Ethnic population: 54,354 (1998 census). Omo Region, in the hills west of Lake Chamo, around Gidole town. Alternate names: Dhirasha, Diraasha, Dirayta, Gardulla, Ghidole, Gidole. Dialects: Part of a dialect cluster with Komso and Bussa. Lexical similarity 55% with Komso. Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Cushitic, East, Konso-Gidole


[mdx] 21,075 (1998 census). 17,583 monolinguals. Ethnic population: 21,894 (1998 census). Kafa Region, near Maji town. Alternate names: Maji, Dizi-Maji, Sizi, Twoyu. Dialects: Related to Sheko, Nayi. Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Omotic, North, Dizoid

[doz] 20,782 (1998 census). 9,905 monolinguals. Ethnic population: 28,990 (1998 census). Mostly in North Omo Region in and around Chencha, but a significant community is in Addis Ababa. Dialects: Lexical similarity 82% to 87% with Gamo, 77% to 81% with Gofa, 80% with Wolaytta, 73% to 75% with Kullo, 54% with Koorete, 48% with Male. Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Omotic, North, Gonga-Gimojan, Gimojan, Ometo-Gimira, Ometo, Central

Ethiopian Sign Language

[eth] Classification: Deaf sign language

[gmo] 1,236,637 (1998 census). 1,046,084 monolinguals including 597,130 Gamo, 259,633 Dawro, 189,321 Gofa. Population includes 690,069 Gamo, 313,228 Dawro, 233,340 Gofa. Ethnic population: 1,292,860 (1998 census) including 719,847 Gamo, 331,483 Dawro, 241,530 Gofa (1998 census). Omo Region, in and around Arba Minch, and in the mountains west to Lake Abaya. Dache is a place name, not a language. Dialects: Gamo (Gemu), Gofa (Goffa), Dawro (Dauro, Kullo, Cullo, Ometay). Subdialects of Dawro are Konta (Conta) and Kucha (Kusha, Koysha). Gamo has 79% to 91% lexical similarity with Gofa, 79% to 89% with Wolaytta, 82% to 87% with Dorze, 73% to 80% with Dawro, 49% with Koorete, 44% with Male. Dawro has 76% with Gofa, 80% with Wolaytta, 73% to 75% with Dorze, 48% with Koorete, 43% with Male. Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Omotic, North, Gonga-Gimojan, Gimojan, Ometo-Gimira, Ometo, Central

[gza] 5,400 (2004). Ethnic population: 6,291 (2000 WCD). Western Oromo, near the Blue Nile. Alternate names: Ganzo, Koma. Dialects: Related to Hozo-Sezo (Ruhlen 1987.322). Lexical similarity 14% with Omotic languages, 6% with Mao. Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Omotic, North, Mao, West

[gwd] 32,698 (1998 census). 27,477 monolinguals. Ethnic population: 33,971 (1998 census). Omo Region, west of Lake Chamo. Alternate names: Gauwada, Gawata, Kawwad’a, Kawwada. Dialects: Dihina (Tihina, Tihinte), Gergere (K’ark’arte), Gobeze, Gollango (Kollanko), Gorose (Gorrose, Korrose), Harso (Worase). Lexical similarity 78% with Bussa, 73% with Tsamai, 77% with Harso, 92% with Gollango, 41% with Komso. Harso has 80% with Dobase, 56% with Tsamai. Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Cushitic, East, Dullay

[drs] 637,082 (1998 census). 438,958 monolinguals. Ethnic population: 639,905 (1998 census). Central highland area, southwest of Dilla and east of Lake Abaya. Alternate names: Geddeo, Deresa, Derasa, Darasa, Derasanya, Darassa. Dialects: Lexical similarity 60% with Sidamo (closest), 57% with Alaba, 54% with Kambaata, 51% with Hadiyya. Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Cushitic, East, Highland

[guk] 120,424 in Ethiopia (1998 census). 88,192 monolinguals. Population total all countries: 160,424. Ethnic population: 121,487 (1998 census). Near Metemma on Sudan border south through Gondar and Gojjam, along Blue Nile and south into Wellaga and Didessa Valley up to Leqemt-Gimbi Road, and villages southwest of Addis Ababa, around Welqite (possibly 1,000). Also spoken in Sudan. Alternate names: Bega-Tse, Sigumza, Gumuzinya, Gumis, Gombo, Mendeya, “Shankillinya”, “Shankilligna”, “Shanqilla”, Debatsa, Debuga, Dehenda, Bega. Dialects: Guba, Wenbera, Sirba, Agalo, Yaso, Mandura, Dibate, Metemma. There are noticeable dialect differences, and not all dialects are inherently intelligible. Mandura, Dibate, and Metemma form a distinct dialect cluster. Classification: Nilo-Saharan, Komuz, Gumuz

[hdy] 923,958 (1998 census). 595,107 monolinguals. Ethnic population: 927,933 (1998 census). Gurage, Kambaata, Hadiyya Region, between the Omo and Billate rivers, in and around Hosaina town. Alternate names: Adiya, Adiye, Hadiya, Hadya, Adea, Hadia. Dialects: Leemo, Soro. Lexical similarity 82% with Libido, 56% with Kambaata, 54% with Alaba, 53% with Sidamo. Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Cushitic, East, Highland

[amf] 42,838 (1998 census). 38,354 monolinguals (1998 census). Ethnic population: 42,466 (1998 census). South Omo Region, near the Omo River, and north of Lake Turkana, in the southwest corner, near the Kenya, Uganda, Sudan borders. Alternate names: Hamar-Koke, Hammercoche, Amarcocche, Cocche, Beshada, Hamer, Hammer, Hamar, Amer, Amar, Ammar, Banna, Bana, Kara Kerre. Dialects: Hamer and Banna are separate ethnic groups who speak virtually the same language. Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Omotic, South

[har] 21,283 (1998 census). 2,351 monolinguals. 20,000 in Addis Ababa, outside Harar city (Hetzron 1997:486). Ethnic population: 21,757 (1998 census). Homeland Eastern, traditionally within the walled city of Harar. Large communities in Addis Ababa, Nazareth, and Dire Dawa. Alternate names: Hararri, Adare, Adere, Aderinya, Adarinnya, Gey Sinan. Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, South, Ethiopian, South, Transversal, Harari-East Gurage

[hoz] 3,000 (1995 SIL). Western Oromo Region, Begi area, 50 or more villages. Alternate names: Begi-Mao. Dialects: Related to Bambassi (Bender 1975). Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Omotic, North, Mao, West

[ior] 280,000. Population includes 50,000 Endegeny. West Gurage Region, Innemor and Endegeny woredas. Alternate names: Ennemor. Dialects: Enegegny (Enner). Part of a Gurage cluster of languages. Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, South, Ethiopian, South, Outer, tt-Group

[kcx] 4,072 (1998 census). 1,002 monolinguals including 816 Kachama, 186 Ganjule. Population includes 2,682 Kachama,1,390 Ganjule; 419 second-language speakers including 223 Kachama, 196 Ganjule. Ethnic population: 3,886 (1998 census) including 2,740 Kachama, 1,146 Ganjule. Kachama is on Gidicho Island in Lake Abaya. Ganjule originally on a small island in Lake Chamo. Ganjule have recently relocated to Shela-Mela on the west shore of Lake Chamo. Alternate names: Gats’ame, Get’eme, Gatame. Dialects: Ganjule (Ganjawle), Ganta, Kachama. Lexical similarity 46% with Wolaytta. Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Omotic, North, Gonga-Gimojan, Gimojan, Ometo-Gimira, Ometo, East

[koe] 4,120 in Ethiopia (2000 WCD). Southern Ethiopia-Sudan border, Boma Plateau in Sudan (Kacipo). Dialects: Balesi (Baale, Bale), Zilmamu (Silmamo, Zelmamu, Zulmamu, Tsilmano), Kacipo (Kachepo, Suri, Western Suri). Classification: Nilo-Saharan, Eastern Sudanic, Eastern, Surmic, South, Southwest, Kacipo-Balesi

[kbr] 569,626. 445,018 monolinguals (1998 census). Ethnic population: 599,188 (1998 census). Kafa Region, in and around the town of Bonga. There may be some in Sudan. Alternate names: Kaficho, Kefa, Keffa, Kaffa, Caffino, Manjo. Dialects: Kafa, Bosha (Garo). Related to Shekkacho. Bosha may be a separate language. Manjo is an argot based on Kafa (Bender 1983). Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Omotic, North, Gonga-Gimojan, Gonga, South

[ktb] 606,241 (1998 census). 345,797 monolinguals including 278,567 Kambaata, 51,541 Timbaro, 15,689 Qebena (1998 census). Population includes 487,655 Kambaata, 82,803 Timbaro, 35,783 Qebena. Ethnic population: 621,407 (1998 census). Southwest Gurage, Kambaata, Hadiyya Region. Durame is the main town. Alternate names: Kambatta, Kambata, Kembata, Kemata, Kambara, Donga. Dialects: Tambaro, Timbaro (Timbara, Timbaaro), Qebena (Qabena, Kebena, K’abena). Qebena may be a separate language. Lexical similarity 95% with Timbaro dialect, 81% with Allaaba, 62% with Sidamo, 57% with Libido, 56% with Hadiyya. Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Cushitic, East, Highland

[kxh] 200 (1998 M. Yigezu). South Omo Region, upstream from the Daasanach, riverside settlements near the Hamer-Banna. Alternate names: Kerre, Cherre, Kere. Dialects: Dialect or closely related language to Hamer-Banna. Lexical similarity 81% with Hamer-Banna. Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Omotic, South

[gru] 254,682 (1998 census). Ethnic population: 363,867 (1998 census) including 4,000 Gogot. Gurage, Kambaata, Hadiyya Region, just southwest of Addis Ababa. Alternate names: Soddo, Soddo Gurage, North Gurage. Dialects: Soddo (Aymallal, Aymellel, Kestane, Kistane), Dobi (Dobbi, Gogot, Goggot). Not intelligible with Silte or West Gurage. Dobi speakers’ comprehension of Soddo is 76%, and Soddo speakers’ comprehension of Dobi is 90%. Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, South, Ethiopian, South, Outer, n-Group

[xom] 1,500 in Ethiopia (1975 Bender). South and west of Kwama. Alternate names: Madiin, Koma, South Koma, Central Koma. Dialects: Koma of Begi, Koma of Daga. Classification: Nilo-Saharan, Komuz, Koman

[kxc] 149,508 (1998 census). 138,696 monolinguals. Ethnic population: 153,419 (1998 census). South of Lake Ciamo in the bend of the Sagan River. A few migrants in Kenya. Alternate names: Konso, Conso, Gato, Af-Kareti, Karate, Kareti. Dialects: Lexical similarity 51% with Bussa, 41% with Gawwada, 31% with Tsamai. Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Cushitic, East, Konso-Gidole

[kqy] 103,879. 84,388 monolinguals (1998 census). About 60 Harro families in Harro village on Gidicho (Gidicció) Island. Ethnic population: 107,595 (1998 census). In the Amaro mountains east of Lake Abaya, Sidama Region. Alternate names: Amarro, Amaarro, Badittu, Nuna, Koyra, Koore, Kwera. Dialects: Lexical similarity 54% with Dorze, 53% with Wolaytta, 52% with Gofa, 49% with Gamo, 48% with Kullo, 45% with Male. Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Omotic, North, Gonga-Gimojan, Gimojan, Ometo-Gimira, Ometo, East

[xuf] 2,000 (2000 M. Brenzinger). West of Lake Tana. Alternate names: Kunfäl, Kunfel, Kumfel. Dialects: Related to Awngi. Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Cushitic, Central, Southern

[kmq] 15,000 (1982 SIL). Along Sudan border in southern Beni Shangul Region, from south of Asosa to Gidami, and in Gambela and Bonga. 19 villages, including one (Yabus) in Sudan. Alternate names: Takwama, Gwama, Goma, Gogwama, Koma of Asosa, North Koma, Nokanoka, Afan Mao, Amam, T’wa Kwama. Classification: Nilo-Saharan, Komuz, Koman

[xwg] 103 (1998 census). 73 monolinguals. Ethnic population: 173 (1998 census). Kuchur village on the western bank of the Omo River in southwestern Ethiopia. Alternate names: Koegu, Kwegi, Bacha, Menja, Nidi. Dialects: Yidinich (Yidinit, Yidi), Muguji. The dialects listed may not be inherently intelligible with Kwegu; it may be a name for several hunter groups. Lexical similarity 36% with Mursi. Classification: Nilo-Saharan, Eastern Sudanic, Eastern, Surmic, South, Southeast, Kwegu

[liq] 36,612 (1998 census). 14,623 monolinguals. Ethnic population: 38,096 (1998 census). Hadiyya, Kambaata, Gurage Region, northeast of Hosaina. Alternate names: Maraqo, Marako. Dialects: Syntactic, morphological, and lexical differences from Hadiyya. Lexical similarity 82% with Hadiyya, 57% with Kambaata, 56% with Allaaba, 53% with Sidamo. Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Cushitic, East, Highland

[mpe] 15,341 (1998 census). 10,752 monolinguals. Ethnic population: 15,341 (1998 census). Southwest. Mainly within a long, narrow belt between Bure (east of Gambela) and Guraferda to the south. Covers part of Gambela, Oromo, and Kafa administrative regions. They have been scattered, but are now settling in villages. Alternate names: Mesengo, Masongo, Masango, Majanjiro, Tama, Ojanjur, Ajo, Ato Majang, Ato Majanger-Onk. Dialects: Minor dialect variation. Classification: Nilo-Saharan, Eastern Sudanic, Eastern, Surmic, North, Majang

[mdy] 53,779 (1998 census). 40,660 monolinguals. Ethnic population: 46,458 (1998 census). Omo Region, southeast of Jinka. Dialects: Lexical similarity 48% with Dorze, 46% with Gofa, 45% with Koorete, 44% with Gamo, 43% with Wolaytta and Kullo. Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Omotic, North, Gonga-Gimojan, Gimojan, Ometo-Gimira, Ometo

[mym] 56,585 (1998 census). 51,446 monolinguals including 4,553 Bodi. Population includes 4,570 Bodi. Ethnic population: 57,501 (1998 census) including 4,686 Bodi. Central Kafa Region, the Tishena in and around Bachuma, the Bodi in lowlands to the south, near the Omo River. Not in Sudan. Alternate names: Mekan, Mie’en, Mieken, Meqan, Men. Dialects: Bodi (Podi), Tishena (Teshina, Teshenna). Tishena is inherently intelligible with Bodi. Close to Mursi. Lexical similarity 65% with Surma, 30% with Murle. Classification: Nilo-Saharan, Eastern Sudanic, Eastern, Surmic, South, Southeast, Pastoral, Me’en

[mfx] 20,151 (1998 census). 13,264 monolinguals. Ethnic population: 20,189 (1998 census). North Omo Region, in and around Malo-Koza, northeast of the Basketo. Alternate names: Malo. Dialects: Related to Gamo-Gofa-Dawro, but may not be inherently intelligible. The Language Academy said it should be considered a separate speech variety. Lexical similarity 70% with the majority of Ometo language varieties. Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Omotic, North, Gonga-Gimojan, Gimojan, Ometo-Gimira, Ometo, Central

[mvz] 25,000 (2002). West Gurage Region, Mareqo woreda, principle villages: Mikayelo, Mesqan, and Hudat. Alternate names: Masqan, Meskan. Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, South, Ethiopian, South, Outer, tt-Group

[mur] 200 in Ethiopia (1975 Tournay). South of the Akobo River. Olam is in southwest Ethiopia and on the Sudan border. It is between Murle and Majang culturally and linguistically (Bender 1983). Alternate names: Murele, Merule, Mourle, Murule, Beir, Ajibba. Dialects: Olam (Ngalam, Bangalam). Classification: Nilo-Saharan, Eastern Sudanic, Eastern, Surmic, South, Southwest, Didinga-Murle, Murle


[muz] 3,278 (1998 census). 3,155 monolinguals. Ethnic population: 3,258 (1998 census). Central Omo Region, lowlands southwest of Jinka. Alternate names: Murzi, Murzu, Merdu, Meritu, Dama. Dialects: Close to Suri of Sudan. Classification: Nilo-Saharan, Eastern Sudanic, Eastern, Surmic, South, Southeast, Pastoral, Suri

[noz] 3,656 (1998 census). 1,137 monolinguals. Ethnic population: 4,005 (1998 census). Decha Awraja, Kafa Region, and scattered in other parts of Kafa. The nearest town is Bonga. A few in Dulkuma village of the Shoa Bench Wereda, and Aybera, Kosa, and Jomdos villages of Sheko Wereda. Alternate names: Na’o, Nao. Dialects: Related to Dizi, Sheko. Lexical similarity 58% with Dizi. Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Omotic, North, Dizoid

[nus] 64,907 in Ethiopia (1998 census). 61,640 monolinguals. Ethnic population: 64,534 (1998 census). Along the Baro River, in Gambela Region. Alternate names: Naath. Dialects: Eastern Nuer (Ji, Kany, Jikany, Door, Abigar). Classification: Nilo-Saharan, Eastern Sudanic, Nilotic, Western, Dinka-Nuer, Nuer

[nnj] 14,177 (1998 census). 13,797 monolinguals. Ethnic population: 14,201 (1998 census). Extreme southwest corner of Ethiopia, Omo Region. Two settlement centers: Omo River and Kibish River. Transhumance into the region of Moru Angipi in Sudan. Alternate names: Inyangatom, Donyiro, Dongiro, Idongiro. Dialects: Inherently intelligible with Toposa and Turkana. Classification: Nilo-Saharan, Eastern Sudanic, Nilotic, Eastern, Lotuxo-Teso, Teso-Turkana, Turkana

[lgn] 301 in Ethiopia. 235 monolinguals. Ethnic population: 307 (1998 census). 5 villages along the Sudan border north of the Anuak and Nuer. Also spoken in Sudan. Alternate names: Opo-Shita, Opo, Opuo, Cita, Ciita, Shita, Shiita, Ansita, Kina, Kwina, “Langa”. Dialects: Lexical similarity 24% with Koma. Classification: Nilo-Saharan, Komuz, Koman

Oromo, Borana-Arsi-Guji

[gax] 3,634,000 in Ethiopia. Population total all countries: 3,827,616. South Oromo Region. Also spoken in Kenya, Somalia. Alternate names: Afan Oromo, Southern Oromo, “Galla”, “Gallinya”, “Galligna”. Dialects: Borana (Boran, Borena), Arsi (Arussi, Arusi), Guji (Gujji, Jemjem), Kereyu, Salale (Selale), Gabra (Gabbra, Gebra). Harar is closely related, but distinct enough to need separate literature. In Kenya, Gabra and Sakuye may have significant dialect and language attitude differences from the Boran dialect. Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Cushitic, East, Oromo

Oromo, Eastern
[hae] 4,526,000 (1998 census). Eastern and western Hararghe zone in northern Bale zone. Alternate names: “Qotu” Oromo, Harar, Harer, “Qottu”, “Quottu”, “Qwottu”, “Kwottu”, Ittu. Dialects: Close to Borana Oromo, but divergent. Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Cushitic, East, Oromo

Oromo, West Central
[gaz] 8,920,000 in Ethiopia (1998 census). Ethnic population: All ethnic Oromo are 30,000,000 in Ethiopia. Oromo Region, West and Central Ethiopia, and along the Rift Valley escarpment east of Dessie and Woldiya. Also spoken in Egypt. Alternate names: Afan Oromo, Oromiffa, Oromoo, “Galla”. Dialects: Western Oromo, Central Oromo. Subdialects are Mecha (Maccha, Wellaga, Wallaga, Wollega), Raya, Wello (Wollo), Tulema (Tulama, Shoa, Shewa). Harar and Boran are different enough to need separate literature. Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Cushitic, East, Oromo

[oyd] 16,597 (1998 census). 6,244 monolinguals. Ethnic population: 14,075 (1998 census). Northwest Omo Region, southwest of Sawla. Dialects: Lexical similarity 69% with Wolaytta, 61% with Basketo. Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Omotic, North, Gonga-Gimojan, Gimojan, Ometo-Gimira, Ometo, Central

[ahg] 1,650 in Ethiopia (1998 census). Ethnic population: 172,327 (1998 census). Northwest Amhara Region, north of Lake Tana. Communities of Qwara or Kayla are near Addis Ababa and in Eritrea. None in Sudan. Also spoken in Eritrea. Alternate names: Kimanteney, Western Agaw. Dialects: Qimant (Kemant, Kimant, Kemanat, Kamant, Chemant, Qemant), Dembiya (Dembya, Dambya), Hwarasa (Qwara, Qwarina, “Kara”), Kayla, Semyen, Achpar, Kwolasa (Kwolacha). Distinct from Awngi, Bilen, and Xamtanga. Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Cushitic, Central, Western

[ssy] 22,759 in Ethiopia (1998 census). Tigray. Alternate names: Sao, Shaho, Shoho, Shiho. Dialects: Irob. Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Cushitic, East, Saho-Afar

Sebat Bet Gurage
[sgw] 440,000. Population includes Chaha 130,000, Gura 20,000, Muher 90,000, Gyeto 80,000, Ezha 120,000. West Gurage Region, Chaha is spoken in and around Emdibir, Gura is spoken in and around Gura Megenase and Wirir, Muher is spoken in and around Ch’eza and in the mountains north of Chaha and Ezha, Gyeto is spoken south of Ark’it’ in K’abul and K’want’e, Ezha is spoken in Agenna. Alternate names: Central West Gurage, West Gurage, Guragie, Gouraghie, Gurague. Dialects: Chaha (Cheha), Ezha (Eza, Izha), Gumer (Gwemarra), Gura, Gyeto, Muher. A member of the Gurage cluster of languages. Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, South, Ethiopian, South, Outer, tt-Group

[sze] 3,000 (1995 SIL). Western Oromo Region, near Begi, north of the Hozo. Alternate names: Sezo. Dialects: Related to Bambassi (Bender 1975). Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Omotic, North, Mao, West

[sbf] 400 to 500 (2000 M. Brenzinger). Ethnic population: 600 or more (2000). Kafa Region, between Godere and Mashi, among the Majang and Shekkacho. Alternate names: Shako, “Mekeyer”, “Mikeyir”, “Mikair”. Dialects: Apparently a hybrid. Distinct from Sheko. Lexical similarity 30% with Majang, 12% with other West Cushitic (Omotic) languages. Classification: Nilo-Saharan, Unclassified

[moy] 54,894 (1998 census). 36,449 monolinguals. Ethnic population: 53,897 (1998 census). North Kafa Region, in and around Maasha. Alternate names: Mocha, Shakacho, Shekka. Dialects: Close to Kafa. Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Omotic, North, Gonga-Gimojan, Gonga, South

[she] 23,785. 13,611 monolinguals (1998 census). Ethnic population: 23,785 (1998 census). Kafa Region, Shako District. Gaizek’a is a monolingual community. Bajek’a, Selale, and Shimi are multilingual. Alternate names: Shekko, Shekka, Tschako, Shako, Shak. Dialects: Dorsha, Bulla (Daan, Dan, Daanyir). Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Omotic, North, Dizoid

[sid] 1,876,329 (1998 census). 1,632,902 monolinguals. Ethnic population: 1,842,314 (1998 census). South central Ethiopia, northeast of Lake Abaya and southeast of Lake Awasa (Sidamo Awraja). Awasa is the capital of the Sidama Region. Alternate names: Sidámo ‘Afó, Sidaminya. Dialects: Lexical similarity 64% with Allaaba, 62% with Kambaata, 53% with Hadiyya. Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Cushitic, East, Highland

[xst] 827,764 (1998 census). Ethnic population: 900,348 (1998 census). About 150 km south of Addis Ababa. Alternate names: East Gurage, Selti, Silti. Dialects: Enneqor (Inneqor), Ulbarag (Urbareg), Wolane (Walane). Not intelligible with West or North Gurage. 40% or less intelligible with Chaha (Central West Gurage). Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, South, Ethiopian, South, Transversal, Harari-East Gurage

[som] 3,334,113 in Ethiopia (2000 WCD). 2,878,371 monolinguals. Southeast Ethiopia, Somali Region. Alternate names: Standard Somali, Common Somali. Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Cushitic, East, Somali

[suq] 19,622 in Ethiopia (1998 census). 19,269 monolinguals. Population total all countries: 20,622. Ethnic population: 19,632 (1998 census). Southwestern Kafa Region toward the Sudan border. Some are west of Mizan Teferi. Also spoken in Sudan. Alternate names: Surma, Shuri, Churi, Dhuri, Shuro, Eastern Suri. Dialects: Tirma (Tirima, Terema, Terna, Dirma, Cirma, Tirmaga, Tirmagi, Tid), Chai (Cai, Caci). Lexical similarity 81% with Mursi. Classification: Nilo-Saharan, Eastern Sudanic, Eastern, Surmic, South, Southeast, Pastoral, Suri

[tir] 3,224,875 in Ethiopia (1998 census). 2,819,755 monolinguals. Population total all countries: 4,449,875. Ethnic population: 3,284,568 (1998 census). Tigray Province. Also spoken in Eritrea, Germany, Israel. Alternate names: Tigrinya, Tigray. Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, South, Ethiopian, North

[tsb] 8,621 (1998 census). 5,298 monolinguals. Ethnic population: 9,702 (1998 census). Omo Region, lowlands west of Lake Chamo. Alternate names: Ts’amay, S’amai, Tamaha, Tsamako, Tsamakko, Bago S’aamakk-Ulo, Kuile, Kule, Cule. Dialects: The Tsamai say Gawwada is difficult to understand. Possibly related to Birale. The most aberrant Dullay variety. Lexical similarity 56% to 73% with Gawwada dialects, 61% with Bussa, 31% with Komso. Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Cushitic, East, Dullay

[tuv] 25,163 in Ethiopia (2000 WCD). Southwestern region west of the Omo River. Classification: Nilo-Saharan, Eastern Sudanic, Nilotic, Eastern, Lotuxo-Teso, Teso-Turkana, Turkana

[udu] 20,000 in Ethiopia (1995 W. James). Large refugee camp at Bonga, near Gambela town, Gambela Region. Some still in Sudan (1995). Also spoken in Sudan. Alternate names: Twampa, Kwanim Pa, Burun, Kebeirka, Othan, Korara, Kumus. Classification: Nilo-Saharan, Komuz, Koman

[wal] 1,231,673 (1998 census). 999,694 monolinguals. Ethnic population: 1,269,216 (1998 census). Wolaytta Region, Lake Abaya area. Alternate names: Wellamo, Welamo, Wollamo, Wallamo, Walamo, Ualamo, Uollamo, Wolaitta, Wolaita, Wolayta, Wolataita, Borodda, Uba, Ometo. Dialects: Zala. Dorze, Melo, Oyda may be dialects of Wolaytta or of Gamo-Gofa-Dawro. Lexical similarity 79% to 93% with Gamo, 84% with Gofa, 80% with Kullo and Dorze, 48% with Koorete, 43% with Male. Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Omotic, North, Gonga-Gimojan, Gimojan, Ometo-Gimira, Ometo, Central

[xan] 143,369 (1998 census). 93,889 monolinguals. Ethnic population: 158,231 (1998 census). North Amhara Region, Avergele District and Lasta and Waag zones, 100 km north of Weldiya. Alternate names: Khamtanga, Simt’anga, Agawinya, Xamta, Xamir. Dialects: Low inherent intelligibility of Qemant. Lexical similarity 45% with Qemant. Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Cushitic, Central, Eastern

[jnj] 81,613 (1998 census). Ethnic population: 165,184 (1998 census). Oromo Region, recognized as separate district, northeast of Jimma, southwestern Ethiopia, Fofa, and mixed with the Oromo in their villages; Sokoru, Saja, Deedoo, Sak’a, Jimma. Alternate names: Yem, Yemma, “Janjero”, “Janjerinya”, “Janjor”, “Yangaro”, “Zinjero”. Dialects: Fuga of Jimma, Toba. Fuga of Jimma may be a separate language. Lexical similarity 24% with Mocha language. Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Omotic, North, Gonga-Gimojan, Gimojan, Janjero

[zwa] 4,880 (1994 SIL). Ethnic population: 4,880. Shores of Lake Zway and eastern islands in Lake Zway. Alternate names: Zway, Lak’i, Laqi, Gelilla. Dialects: No dialect variations. Lexical similarity 61% with Harari, 70% with Silte (M. L. Bender 1971). Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, South, Ethiopian, South, Transversal, Harari-East Gurage

[zay] 17,800 (1998 census). 7,530 monolinguals including 7,371 Zayse, 159 Zergulla. Population includes 10,172 Zayse, 7,625 Zergulla. Ethnic population: 11,232 (1998 census) including 10,842 Zayse, 390 Zergulla. Omo Region, west of Lake Chamo. Alternate names: Zaysse. Dialects: Zergulla (Zergullinya), Zayse. Close to the Gidicho dialect of Koorete. Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Omotic, North, Gonga-Gimojan, Gimojan, Ometo-Gimira, Ometo, East


Extinct languages

[gft] Extinct. South Blue Nile area. Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, South, Ethiopian, South, Outer, n-Group

Geez (Still used in the orthodox church and in religious manuscripts)
[gez] Extinct. Also spoken in Eritrea. Alternate names: Ancient Ethiopic, Ethiopic, Ge’ez, Giiz. Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, South, Ethiopian, North

[mys] Extinct. Gurage, Hadiyya, Kambatta Region. Dialects: Related to West Gurage. Classification: Afro-Asiatic, Semitic, South, Ethiopian, South, Outer, tt-Group

Rer Bare
[rer] Extinct. Wabi Shebelle River around Gode, eastern Ogaden, near Somali border, and along the Ganale and Dawa rivers. Alternate names: Rerebere, Adona. Classification: Unclassified

[woy] Extinct. Ethnic population: 1,631 of whom 1,519 (93%) speak Amharic as first language, others speak other first languages. Lake Tana Region. Alternate names: Wayto, Weyt’o. Dialects: The former language was possibly Eastern Sudanic or an Awngi variety (Bender 1983), or Cushitic (Bender, Bowen, Cooper, and Ferguson 1976:14). Classification: Unclassified


post Teff, Amazing Grain!

January 15th, 2008

Filed under: General Issue — Waltenegus @ 00:25

Eragrostis tef (Teff) is an intriguing grain, ancient, minute in size, and packed with nutrition. Teff is one of the ancient grains of the world finding resurgence in the modern diet.

Teff, the smallest grain in the world, measuring only about 1/32 of an inch in diameter. The word teff is thought to have been derived from the Amharic word teffa which means “lost,” due to small size of the grain and how easily it is lost if dropped. The common English names for teff are teff, lovegrass, and annual bunch grass.

It supplies more fiber rich bran and nutritious germ than any other grain! It also packs a high mineral content that boasts 17 times the calcium of whole wheat or barley. It takes 150 grains of teff to weigh as much as one grain of wheat which accounts for its high nutritional. In any grain the nutrients are concentrated in the germ and bran. With teff the germ and bran make up the bulk of the grain and because it is too small to hull, its nutrients are abundant and stay intact.

///Teff field (photo source: flickr)///

The grain is the basis of Ethiopian traditional cookery. Teff flour is the main ingredient of the pleasantly sour pancake like bread known as injera, which literally underlies every Ethiopian meal.
The flour is mixed with water and allowed to ferment for a few days exactly like the fermentation process of a sourdough starter. Because of this process, injera has a slight sour taste to it. The injera is then ready to fry into large flat pancakes, done either on a specialised electric stove or fire.
A variety of stews, and sometimes salads, are placed upon the injera for serving. Using one’s right hand, small pieces of injera are torn and used to grasp the stews and salads for eating.

///Traditional Ethiopian food with Injera (photo source: Flickr)

Origin and Centre of Diversity
Teff is endemic to Ethiopia and its major diversity is found only in that country. As with several other crops, the exact date and location for the domestication of teff is unknown. However, there is no doubt that it is a very ancient crop in Ethiopia, where domestication took place far before the birth of Christ.

On the basis of linguistic, historic, geographic and botanical notes, teff is assumed to have originated in northeastern Africa. The current area of cultivation is probably not the initial one of domestication; domestication probably occurred in the western area of Ethiopia, where agriculture is precarious and seminomadal.

///Injera prepared with Teff flour (photo source: Flickr)///


The composition of teff is similar to that of millet, although it contains generally higher amounts of the essential amino acids, including lysine, the most limiting amino acid. The amino acid composition of teff is excellent, its lysine content is higher than that of all cereals except rice and oats, it has good mineral content and its straw is nutritious. In teff seed the distribution of protein, percentage of ash and mineral elements is higher in the pericarp than in the endosperm.

The grain has a high concentration of different nutrients. This grain has a very high calcium content, and contains high levels of phosphorus, iron, copper, aluminum, barium, and thiamin. A big advantage, according to Soil & Crop, is the fact that the iron from teff is easily absorbed by the body. It could thus enhance the performance of elite sportspeople. Teff is high in protein. It is considered to have an excellent amino acid composition (including all 8 essential amino acids for humans) and has lysine levels higher than wheat or barley. Because of this variety, it stimulates the flora of the large intestine. Teff is high in carbohydrates and fiber. It contains no gluten, so it is appropriate for those with gluten intolerance or Celiac disease.

Teff safe alternative for celiac patients
Teff is a cereal that is only remotely related to wheat. Teff has a high nutritional value and offers a broad range of applications in food production. A test developed by the Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC) has shown that Teff is completely gluten-free, meaning it can probably be accommodated in the diet of patients suffering from celiac disease.

The Celiac Disease Consortium and the Netherlands Celiac Association are carrying out a joint study to determine whether patients also experience Teff as a safe and practical alternative to wheat. This study, the results of which are expected at the beginning of 2007, consists of questionnaires on the safety, use and possible complaints arising from the consumption of Teff.

///Teff field (photo source: Flickr)///

*Reference material: “The Ethiopian cereal Tef in Celiac Disease”, Letter to the Editor, L. Spaenij-Dekking et al, The New England Journal of Medicine, 353; 16 October 20, 2005.

Celiac disease is caused by aberrant T-cell responses to wheat gluten and the gluten-like proteins in barley and rye. The only cure for the disease is a lifelong gluten-free diet. Although consumption of oats is generally considered safe for patients with celiac disease,2 recent studies indicate that the grain does contain T-cell–stimulatory epitopes1,3 and that symptoms of celiac disease develop in some patients after the consumption of oats.4 A cereal lacking T-cell–stimulatory peptides would thus be of great value to patients with celiac disease

Nutrition-minded Americans have turned to teff as a source of calcium, fiber, and protein. It is also an alternative grain for people allergic to the gluten in wheat. It has an appealing, sweet, molasses-like flavor, and it boils up into a gelatinous porridge.

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