International conference to address Ethiopia’s pressing challenges

International conference to address Ethiopia’s pressing challenges


With the aim of transforming the lives of Ethiopians by the year 2050, an international conference that aims to draft a policy recommendation on the country’s major pressing issues is set to be held in Addis Ababa in two weeks time.

Labeled Ethiopia 2050, the two days conference from December 19-20, 2019 will gather over 300 intellectuals both from Ethiopia and abroad, according to a group of professional institutions in charge of organizing the conference.

“By 2050 the population of Ethiopia will be doubled [exceeding 200 million]. During the two days conference around 40 intellectuals both from Ethiopia and abroad will present papers on how we address the current major challenges of the country,” said Tesfaye Workineh, Managing Director of United Consulting Engineering PLC, whose alliance (Joint Engineers Professionals Association) is among the four organizers of the conference.

He stated that the major thematic areas identified includes, food security, education and skill s development, sustainable resources management, information communications technology, energy, health, urbanization, transportation, manufacturing, environment and employment.

The refined outcome document from the conference will be submitted to the government to be used as a policy input. “We hope the government will utilize those recommendations and include them its policies,” said Arega Yirdaw (PhD), who leads Unity University, which is also one of the organizers of the conference.

Ethiopia 2050 aspires to make pure data-driven decision making and policy advise in Ethiopia a culture, according to Dr. Arega, who spoke at the press conference the organizers hosted this morning. He noted that so far the role of academicians in providing such policy inputs to the government continuously and providing constructive criticism had some limitations.

The organizers indicated that the conference and the recommendations will be purely professional and has nothing to do with politics.

“As an academic institution we focus on development related issues. We have been providing such policy inputs to the government,” said Professor Tsige Gebre-mariam, President of Ethiopian Academy of Science, which is also among the organizers of the conference.

“In brief creating a common vision as a nation in those areas is the major objective of Ethiopia 2050,” said professor Tsige. The organizers stated that a project office (kind of think-tank) that continuously hold meetings and do follow-ups on the implementations and challenges of the recommended policy inputs will be set up.

It is indicated that best practices and possibilities for implementing new approaches on addressing the grand challenges of Ethiopia will be explored during the conference. The conference document is expected to be an additional input for the government, which is working on ten years development strategy to bring prosperity to Ethiopians in every area.

Commenting on the challenges of implementing policies by the government and shortage of finance to execute policies, Demirew Getachew from Ethiopian Economics Association, which is also organizing partner of the conference, stated that ideas should get priority as ideas are sources of money.

The organizers also stated that Capital, the weekly English newspaper and Association of Ethiopian Architects have also collaborated for the upcoming conference set to be held at Skylight Hotel.