14 March 2018

Ethiopia: Quality Technologies to Hasten Inclusive Growth

In this twenty first century, it is almost unthinkable to do business or lead life without technological applications. It seems the trend to familiarize with various technologies has been improving. Many countries have given due attention to base technological issues in productive sectors to boost productivity and ensure food security. The applications of technologies have become a practice in various industries.

Like many other countries, Ethiopia is trying to use various technologies in different spheres. However, the industries have not incorporated the technology component as part of their strategic plans.

Recently, the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology launched multiple integrated ICT development projects that enhance the country's technological advancement to address the ICT infrastructure gap in the country.

State Minister of the Ministry, Getachew Negash recently expressed his views to the Ethiopian News Agency about the ICT development projects. As to him, the projects envision the spread of information and communication technologies across the country by providing ICT services such as video conferencing and internet connectivity to Federal, Regional and Woreda.

In fact, the woreda Net program has been giving various services to many public organizations such as schools, kebeles and courts. It has, for instance, more than 100 institutions that have posted their portal and websites in the hosting service, and over 720 email users, the State Minister disclosed.

According to him, over 1,940 small business enterprises which benefit the youth and women were established to provide various services following the completion of the ICT infrastructure development. More than 611 woredas are reportedly addressed by the woredaNet program.

The other project that aims to create internationally competitive business environment in ICT and make the country a hub of ICT technology in East Africa is the ICT Village in Addis Ababa. The government has completed the construction of the first phase of the ICT Village, which includes infrastructure and basic buildings, and the remaining part of the project will be carried out by private companies.

In other sources, more than 20 companies have already started business in the village and over 56 small ICT practitioners and youth entrepreneurs are involved in the ICT incubation center. There are companies in the ICT Village that have started exporting ICT products and more than 200 companies have shown interest in investing in the ICT Village. Of course, the private companies share new ideas, develop innovative foundations and promote export in the ICT sector.

The development of the ICT Village will increase the role of the private sector in promoting IT industry, job creation, foreign currency earning, and technology transfer. When completed, the ICT Village is expected to create more than 300,000 jobs. In addition, the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology plans to create 7,783 jobs from ICT development activities by the end of this Ethiopian year.

In addition to the national ICT Village in the capital city, the government has built 4 additional ICT incubation centers in Tigray, Amhara, Oromia and Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples States to foster small ICT business enterprises and youth entrepreneurs.

As the nation is striving towards industrialization, the science and technology would help to advance the transformation agenda. The Ethiopian government provides due emphasis to technology advancement to support the country's progressive economic growth. For instance, the establishment of Science and Technology universities in Addis Ababa and Adama is a case in point.

These universities can be considered as a manifestation of the government's commitment to the development of technology both for the industry and its socio-economic transformation.

Of course, technology would basically be the key driver to support Ethiopia's agriculture as it is the chief input feeder to the industry sector. Innovations would be significant to boost the productivity of various industries including metal, automotive and chemicals and energy production technologies.

Most importantly, innovation is very significant for various technology investment strategies and other national development efforts.

Innovation can be, for instance, prepared to embrace robust and low cost technology, infrastructure such as human, energy, telecommunications as well as enabling policy for private sector investment and participation, it would significantly contribute to hasten the transformation journey.

Respecting the potential benefits of technology, the technological innovations would be used as an efficient communication for manufacturing, service and tourism sector. It should assist sectors to offer fast response to their all-round services, bring effective governance and administrative potency.

An effective technology innovation can be a pathway to show the growth in innovations and new technologies in the future. It should also highlight opportunities for breakthrough innovations to radically accelerate the research and development process.

Science and technology can be considered as front-runner to indicate the relative priority of sectors' activities, particularly in today's environment of increasingly scarce resources in both the public and private sectors.

Indeed, the technology road-map prepared, a year before 2016, by the Ministry of Science and Technology. It can be tailored to produce a useful planning tool that aligns decision with that strategic purpose.

Likewise, it should also ultimately bring impact to make decisions that support the overall strategy of the country. To this end, engaging pertinent actors in technological innovation and in wise selection of technological priorities for peculiar sectors is essential.

It is quite obvious that technology and innovation need to integrate with the existing business and technology planning processes, organizational structures and information systems. To make these happen, successful and proper technologies are required for the right productive sector.

Most of the sectors' technological plan took the relationship between technologies, their products and services as well as the relationship with the target markets into account. Hence, the steady technological status of the country would be improved and thereby ensuring middle income status by 2025.

On the other hand, the contribution of technology and innovation for the agricultural sector is substantive as the country is expected to be self-sufficient by producing adequate agricultural yields through the support of quality technologies. Science and technology would be instrumental for the development of economic growth in the next ten years.

Apart from modernizing agricultural productivity, Ethiopia is on the right path to develop and launch its own satellite to hasten the overall development of the country.

Briefing at the first ordinary meeting of the Ethiopian Space Science Technology Council Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn said, in this regard, that Ethiopia will not rely on any country to launch its own satellite, which would be instrumental in speeding up the overall economic growth. Developing its own technological innovation by itself, the country will accelerate the development of space science technology.

As the role that science and technology plays in economic activities becomes crucial, the incumbent is working for the advancement of science, technology and innovation to enable it play a role in the ongoing structural transformation.

In sum, supporting the ongoing economic transformation with science and technology is imperative for Ethiopia to realize its renaissance. This will be ensured by strengthening supportive efforts in technical and vocational schools as well as multiplying science and technology universities from two to more.


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