Axum Airport Reopens, Signaling Hope for Economic Growth

Ethiopia – June 9, 2024 – The recent reopening of Axum Airport represents a significant turning point for the region, promising renewed economic opportunities and growth. The airport, which had been closed due to the conflict in Tigray, left a profound impact on the socio-economic fabric of the area, disrupting trade, tourism, and livelihoods. However, with its reopening, the region is poised for a revitalization.

The closure of Axum Airport had far-reaching consequences, particularly for local businesses reliant on tourism and trade. Hotels, restaurants, and small enterprises faced unprecedented challenges as the flow of tourists dwindled.

In the lead-up to the reopening, Initiative Africa (IA), in collaboration with the Center for International Private Enterprises (CIPE), organized a pivotal conference in Axum on October 2, 2023, under the theme of ‘Revitalizing Axum’s Tourism’. This gathering brought together experts, stakeholders, and community leaders to explore strategies for leveraging the airport’s revival to stimulate economic growth. This workshop underscored the importance of the reopening of the Airport to revive the economy of Axum.

The reopening of Axum Airport symbolizes hope and resilience for the residents of Axum and Ethiopia. It represents a significant step towards economic recovery and progress. As the region prepares to welcome travelers and cargo once again, the positive impacts on the local and national economy are anticipated.

While the reopening of Axum Airport is a milestone worth celebrating, its full potential will unfold gradually over time. As flights resume and activities at the airport pick up pace, the region can look forward to a brighter future.

Empowering Female Potters: A Revival through Skill Development in Tigray

In an ambitious effort to empower women and rejuvenate a heritage craft, Initiative Africa, in collaboration with the Tigray and Axum Tourism Offices, has launched a pivotal skill development training program for female potters in the Tigray region. This initiative is a significant part of Initiative Africa’s “Business for Peace” project, which seeks to mitigate the impact of recent conflicts on local industries. Trainees, including Haimanot Abrha from Hauzen and Atsede G/Yohannes from Adwa, have applauded the program for enhancing their pottery skills and fostering a vibrant exchange of cultural and artistic experiences across the region.

The training has emerged as a beacon of hope for participants like Trhas G/Egziabher from Yeha, who, along with her fellow artisans, aspires to resume work and overcome the severe challenges posed by the loss of workspace and the dissolution of their support structures. These women, whose livelihoods have been drastically affected by external crises, view the program as an essential step towards revitalizing their craft and regaining their economic independence. The initiative has also facilitated a critical dialogue between the artisans and government officials, paving the way for potential solutions to their predicaments.

Responding to the artisans’ needs, Mr. Gebre, head of the Axum Tourism Office, and Mr. Dawit from the Tigray Tourism Bureau have vowed to take concrete steps to assist these women. Their commitments include reorganizing pottery associations in the seven districts and liaising with governmental bodies to find alternative locations for work and sales. These actions reflect a broader commitment to addressing the systemic issues facing these artisans, demonstrating the potential for targeted skill development programs to catalyze community-wide economic recovery and empowerment.

Through the lens of Initiative Africa’s “Business for Peace” project, this training program is a testament to the power of combining cultural preservation with economic empowerment. By focusing on the female potters of Tigray, the initiative not only aims to protect an invaluable aspect of the region’s heritage but also to lay the groundwork for sustainable peace and prosperity in the aftermath of adversity. This effort marks a promising step towards the revival of the pottery industry in Tigray, offering a model for how targeted interventions can rebuild communities and restore hope.

The Process of Rebuilding Axum’s Airport has Begun

Recent reports have brought encouraging news, signaling the commencement of the official reconstruction process for Aksum Airport. This marks a significant milestone as the airport had previously lain in ruins due to the conflict with Tigray, which, in turn, had a detrimental impact on the country’s business sector. For quite some time, the process of restoring the airport had remained stagnant, but there is now tangible progress through the means of the Procurement of materials needed to repair Aksum Airport.

The regional maintenance process coordinator, Ato Tewolde Girmay, who is based at Ethiopian Airlines’ headquarters, has confirmed that the airline has begun the process of obtaining crucial materials for the maintenance of the airport. This significant development represents a major step forward in the efforts to restore critical infrastructure.

Initiative Africa has been an unwavering advocator for the reconstruction of the airport. In close collaboration with the Center for International Private Enterprises (CIPE), they recently organized a highly informative and engaging conference in Axum. The conference provided a platform for experts and stakeholders to explore various strategies for leveraging the airport’s revival to stimulate economic growth in the country. This collaborative effort has injected a fresh sense of urgency and purpose into the mission, and it has been instrumental in voicing the cause.

Regrettably, it is worth noting that the airport’s restoration will not be completed in time for the annual Zion Maryam holiday, which falls on the 21st of Hidar. This religious holiday holds significant importance in the Axum region and is widely celebrated, underscoring the need for continued efforts in revitalizing this essential infrastructure for the broader community.

Source: TIKVAH

A conference on Revitalizing Tourism in Axum

Happening Now!

October 2, 2023. A conference on Revitalizing Tourism in Axum is now being held at Ramhay Hotel in the Axum region. The conference is organized by Initiative Africa and CIPE in partnership with the Tigray Chamber, Axum Chamber, Tigray Tourism Bureau, and the Federal Ministry of Tourism.

The main objective of this conference is to address major issues that have been hindering the Tourism in Axum and revive its economy by strengthening a peaceful environment, restoring the heritage, and reconstruct Axum’s airport.

Axum Conference: Revitalizing Axum’s Tourism