9 December 2017

Ethiopia: The Need for Technology Transfer in Construction Sector

Copying, adapting and creating technology as well as addressing to the public effectively plays big role in the economic development of a country. Experts in the field assert that Ethiopia has to do a lot in copying and adapting technology from developed countries. They further note that due attention should be given to technology transfer in the construction sector.

Technology transfer has direct link with the development of a country says Engineer Kibrom Hailu from Addis Ababa University. The key secret behind development of advanced countries is their focus on technology.

Currently Ethiopia is at an adventitious level of acquiring technology, says Eng kibrom adding that the magnitude of technology it has thus far copied needs further study. But the technology it is applying now is what Europe and America used to apply in the 1930s. This indicates that our capacity of receiving technology is still rudimentary and needs further attempt.

There is a need to create a technology led economic development in the country. The importance of technology transfer for economic development should also be inculcated in the minds of the public.

There is also a need to establish an institution that leads technology at national level. Private enterprises should also be encouraged to engage in technology while research institutions should be established to assist the sector.

For instance Kibrom says there is a technology that supports effectiveness of the construction management. This technology is important to eliminate governance and managerial problems that affect the construction sector in the country. Countries in Europe and America have managed to save unnecessary expenditure of about 1.8 billion USD by applying this technology.

The technology allows concerted work between relevant institutions and helps to finalized construction projects as per the schedule, budget and quality.

Ethiopian construction project management Institution Deputy Director General Dr Argaw Asha says the institution has been working with special attention to technology transfer since its establishment in 2014.

The institution has imported a technology called Geo Synthetic to prevent the crack of roads. This helps to use roads for 40 years without cracking. It has also imported technologies that are related to the construction of railway and high-rise buildings.

According to the deputy director the country's construction industry has passed through 4 stages of development in terms of technology. Prior to 1976 the country was not able to acquire technology as most of the contractors were foreigners.

Later local construction companies were able to flourish though they soon ceased to exist. Since 1999 the construction sector was able to encourage the private sector which gave rise to real estate developers. Accordingly 1,400 real estate developers were licensed while 100 foreign companies were allowed to join helping technology transfer in building construction.

Since 2005 the governments focus for housing development has helped to import the technology for the production of precast, windows and doors that were in use in the developed world. This is one of the instances to the growing trend of technology transfer in the adventitious level of technology transfer in construction.

Hence importation of construction technology in use by developed countries is better for the country than creating a new one. Imported technologies are standardized and tested.

Since the codes of building in our country are copied from Europe it is easier to adopt the technology from there. It only needs to adjust weather condition in order to adopt it.

Very good technologies were developed locally, according to Dr. Argaw. These technologies can alleviate wastage of blocks and time during construction. The technologies were introduced to entrepreneurs in the construction industry. Metal cutting technology has also been created locally.

Indigenous technologies allow minimizing foreign currency and creating jobs, among others. Unlike the huge attention given by the government to construction industry the level of nurturing indigenous technology is still very low.

Among the challenges facing the sector are local people's lack of trust to local technologies, failure to accept new technologies, weak University-Industry Linkage, failure to introduce technology to the lower level and refusal to accept new technology, according to Argaw.

To the future there is a need to encourage foreign companies that introduce new technologies, integrate local and foreign companies to facilitate technology transfer, among others, he added.

Original story from Amharic Daily Addis Zemen

TRANSLATED BY ZEKARIAS WOLDEMARIAM

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