Tesfaye Workineh (Eng.) is the Managing Director of United Consulting Engineering PLC and the president of Ethiopian Association of Civil Engineers (EACE). Now he is a major player behind a special conference where thought leaders will gather to dream of a brighter future for Ethiopia, ETHIOPIA 2050. People from all walks of life who want to help the Ethiopia’s population, expected to reach 190 million by 2050, thrive are invited to ponder nine major areas that if addressed would leave a better country for our children. Ensuring they have enough food-security, energy, housing, transportation, and healthcare is a daunting challenge so the questions posed at ETHIOPIA 2050 will be deep and engaging. How are we going to provide adequate drinking water for potential 10 million Addis Ababans? What sort of bold and innovative engineering solutions can be proposed to address these challenges? What is the role of technology in meeting societal grand challenges? This report to be written by Blue Ribbon Panel will present some of the ideas generated by the best minds of our time to proactively address these challenges. Civil, mechanical, electrical, chemical, agricultural, environmental engineers, ICT professionals, architects and planners and advanced technology experts are just some of the many expected guests. The conference will be at the Skylight Hotel in Addis Ababa from December 19-20.
Capital: In 15 days you will hold an international conference can you tell us the objectives and expected outcomes? How many research papers will be presented during the two-day session?
Tesfaye Workineh: The first Ethiopia 2050 conference will bring together seasoned professionals and friends of Ethiopia and the Diaspora from all walks of life to look at the ten major challenges the country faces in the near future. We will work to offer thoughtful and practical solutions with the goal of laying the groundwork for a national conversation among policymakers, political and economic leaders, professionals and various stake-holder towards formulation of concrete and actionable sets of policies that could turn these challenges into opportunities.
We will be discussing ten major pillars: Integrated Water Resources Management, Large-Scale Urbanization, Food Security, Sustainability the Environment, Meeting Energy Demands, Advanced Manufacturing, Transportation Infrastructure, ICT Infrastructure Expansion, Access to Healthcare, Education, Workforce, and Employment. There will be over 70 technical presentations during the conference.
Capital: You are part of the steering committee for the Blue Ribbon panel; tell us about the whole idea behind the initiative?
Tesfaye Workineh: The ETHIOPIA 2050 initiative creates an atmosphere for professionals and policy makers from various walks of life to assemble and to take up critical national issues that influence the lives of Ethiopians and deliberate on them to draft findings and proposals that will be forwarded to policy makers in hopes that they may implement them and help the country develop in a healthy way.
Capital: What were the criteria to select those four institutions that carry the objectives of the initiatives and what is expected from them?
Tesfaye Workineh: The most important factor for host institutions is their strong organizational foundations, so that we believe they can bring the vision forward together. We feel confident that they can implement the mission and objectives of the far-sighted agenda of Ethiopia 2050.
These four institutions include: the Joint Ethiopian Engineers Professional Association (JEEPA), Ethiopian Academy of Science (EAS), Ethiopian Economics Association (EEA) and Unity University (UU), in partnership with the Association of Ethiopia architects (AEA) they are all hosting Ethiopia 2050 together.
Capital: Has a consensus been reached among the parties concerning the country’s destiny in 2050?
Tesfaye Workineh: The parties and all engaged in the ETHIOPIA 2050 vision have identical consensus similar to the people of Ethiopia – the well-being and healthy development of the country that will support all that are within its geographical boundaries by 2050 and far beyond!
Capital: Did you meet any government officials?
Tesfaye Workineh: There are many people in the government who support Ethiopia 2050.
Capital: Is there any local or international partner working with you? If so what is their role?
Tesfaye Workineh: The organization structure has been created and formulated by a group of like-minded professionals and subsequently created a management structure, including a Board of Advisors, whose members are fully supportive of the idea of ETHIOPIA 2050. To this aspect The Ministry of Finance one of our Honorarium Partners for the group. The group will work together to realize the vision of ETHIOPIA 2050. In addition to this, more organizations joined to promote and support the realization of Ethiopia 2050 Grand Challenge and Opportunities conference which will be held on December 19 and 20 at Skylight Hotel, Addis Ababa.
Capital: Anything you want to add?
Tesfaye Workineh: ETHIOPIA 2050 is a vision for our nation’s development and every citizen, irrespective their political beliefs, or background must be supportive and be part of this vision. We are asking the media to support this huge and long-lasting endeavor by promoting the International Conference on Ethiopia 2050: Grand Challenges and Opportunities.