Association aims to boost innovation

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Ethiopia has a new and first innovators association that aims to increase the development of technological learning and innovation and strengthened role of local inventions. On December 22, 2019, over 200 innovators have formed the new association called Ethiopian Innovators Association (EIA).
According to Mekbeb Tadesse process engineer, inventor of different kinds of products and software and president of the newly established association, the idea to form the association starts on the 2019 African Innovation Week which was held in Addis Ababa from October 28th – November 2nd.
“Even if lots of inventions were made in different levels of the society there is low access to change them in to innovation and use the fundamental outcomes of innovation” said Mekbeb adding “the main aim of the association is to gather those inventors and change their inventions to impact full innovation in different parts of the society.”
Mekbeb further said “we form the association in order to scale up the use of creative and innovative solutions to solve development issues in different sectors and creative and innovative solutions for the dynamic development of all.”
The new association has listed 12 major goals to achieve including developing the Made in Ethiopia concept by developing locally produced products and building innovation parks and centers in the coming three years.
The association starts to develop its own platform to start registering innovators and their inventions that are found all over the country in the coming six months.
African Innovation Week 2019 was organized by IBA Ethiopia Center for Innovation in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Innovation & Technology of Ethiopia, the African Union, Oslo International Hub, Ethiopian Norwegian Chamber of Commerce, UNDP Ethiopia and other stakeholders. Over 3,000 participants participated in the week-long forum. Beside the trainings and scions there was innovation challenging competition sponsored by UNDP and awarded top five innovators from Rwanda, Ethiopia and Togo where each one received USD $5,000. The 50 finalist innovators were awarded USD $1,000 each to encourage them to continue working on their ideas. Mekebeb was one of the top five awarded innovators with his different invention.
Through the home-grown economic reform and 10-year strategy, Ethiopia aims to become a middle-income economy in 2025. Innovation and technology set as the main drivers for attaining this goal; however the countries rapid economic growth is much slower in the growth of technological learning and innovation capacity as a major obstacle to sustaining this impressive performance and achieving more sustainable development.
“The association helps to improve local technological upgrading and innovation of industries identified as important for Ethiopia’s development as one of its aims” said Mekbeb.
The current Ethiopian Science and Technology Innovation policy gives priority to technology transfer, mainly referring to acquisition of technologies from abroad. Implicit in this approach is the assumption that acquired technologies will be automatically assimilated in the local economy through learning, linkages and demonstration effects.