Innovation, tech and development plus a thriving manufacturing sector pinned integral to success
The Ethiopia 2050 Initiative, an initiative which comprises high profile experts from different fields stemming from local and international expertise, highlights that innovation, technology and development in the IT and manufacturing sector is vital to unlocking the social-economic progress of the country and in assuring the formation of satellite cities.
During a roundtable discussion held at the Ministry of Mines hall on Thursday January 5, Takele Uma, Minister of Mines, underlined that this kind of initiative plugs in a distinctive contribution for the country to follow a right and desired growth trajectory.
“If we have a clear cut understanding of the upcoming growth, attaining the much needed development will be easier. Ethiopia has been engaged on agricultural development policy for the past several years. We have the same plot of land, yet the sector productivity has spiraled. To modernize the agriculture sector, the manufacturing industry should also be considered. Similarly, the digital development should follow suit in alignment,” the Mines Minister stated.
Takele further pointed out that Ethiopia needs to curve out solidified partnerships and gain collaborative support; in order to knit out a proper development path.
The Ethiopia2050 Conference was first held in December 2019 and during the two day session, several papers were presented that showed possible challenges and opportunities that the country may experience in the coming three decades.
In October 2020, the professional studies and papers presented at the conference were analyzed and compiled as a ‘Blue Ribbon Panel (BRP)’ report presented to the government for possible input in government’s upcoming policy direction.
The mandate of the Blue Ribbon Panel was to write a comprehensive consensus report that outlines credible, relevant, and pragmatic ideas and practical strategies to address the ‘10 Grand Challenges and Opportunities’ identified by the Ethiopia 2050 Initiative.
Tesfaye Workineh, Managing Director and owner of United Consulting Engineering PLC and Co-Chair of Ethiopia2050 Initiative, said that by 2050 Ethiopia’s population is projected to double to 200 million and before that transpires, government should tailor a strategic plan to be reviewed every decade in order to tackle possible challenges.
“The document focused on ten pillars that the country should pay close attention to in order to improve and prepare the country in relation to population growth and global situations,” he said.
“We have seen some projections of socio economic pillars including environmental protection, power, water and health that need to be attained in the coming years as per the 2050 initiative. Technology is part of it and it is crucial to interlink other grand pillars that Ethiopia has in order to align them with the population growth,” Tesfaye explained.
The kind of technology that Ethiopia requires to develop a digital economy and a digital manufacturing landscape were the areas extensively discussed during the latest roundtable which gathered professionals from Ethiopia and abroad including those who attended virtually through webinar, in addition to the policy makers present at the meeting.
Tesfaye said that some initiatives and innovations have already commenced courtesy of the private sector in addition to the government efforts in the digital sector development, “If we can integrated development pillars with digitalization, the country will gain a foothold on a proper development direction.”
Pilot studies have also been undertaken by the initiative with regards to technology expansion and interlinking educational facilities which the Ministry of Innovation and Technology is working at length to achieve the goal.
“The main concept of the roundtable is to develop policy recommendations that shall interconnect technology with practical works. We will also deliver the outcome for policy makers,” explained Tesfaye.
“In the upcoming sessions other pillars stated on the BRP including health, education and agriculture, which have their own taskforces formed by the initiative, will be discussed in the near future,” the Co-chair said, whilst citing that in the recent past, the global pandemic and internal conflict has affected the activity of the initiative, to a certain degree.
Every pillar has a taskforce with seven members each.
Tesfaye said that the government is using the recommendations on its development plan which was recently ratified and made effective.
The BRP rests upon a collective vision that is part of the broader Ethiopia 2050 Initiative and focuses on the actions that policymakers can take, with broad support of the public. Their insights were generated after extensive and careful vetting of the transformative new ideas presented at an international conference held for two days from December 19, 2019 with over 450 participants from ten countries.
Rapid urbanization, water-food-health-energy issues, job creation, institutional and civic development, gender equality are the major areas that are included in the document with related topics.
It recommended proactive strategies to manage growth in the rural areas and aid the urbanization process in the cities. It discloses that the establishment of megapolis will create city clusters vital for organized development.
Ethiopia2050 Initiative has 400 volunteer members and of that 70 percent are from the diaspora.