EDITORIAL: Car-Free Day in Ethiopia? Good news spreads fast

One of the new government agencies unveiled recently makes one look up in confusion wondering what it was all about- Rwanda Cooperation Initiative (RCI).

The agency at first caused some confusion, since, as its name reflects, it is overseen by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. But what does it do?

It was established as a government conduit to exchange experiences, ideas and best practices with other countries.  For the past few years, it has become a regular feature to see delegations - ­not only from Africa – trooping into the country on study tours.

Many are attracted by Rwanda’s governance system; from decentralization to social protection programmes, or simply wanting to know what makes the country tick.

Umuganda, the monthly community work, is slowly taking root in some countries.  But some delegations come here to learn even the simplest things; how does a country survive without plastic bags? Some have put the ban into practice but its implementation is another thing.

So, the country had to come up with a clearinghouse- a sort of One-Stop-Centre for all the inquiries about our home-grown solutions that have weathered the times and fueled the country’s development – both economically and socially.

It was definitely close to flattering to learn from Ethiopia’s Minister of Health, Amir Aman, that from December 9 they would also be introducing a Car-Free Day in major cities. Similar to what we have here, that time will give people ample space for, in his own words: “… mass sport, health screening and educational events”.

The Ethiopian decision is an indication that intra-African cooperation is not all about political, economic or cultural exchanges, even simple ideas that have greater benefits to the people can have their niche.