STEP-IICC and Ministry of Science and Technology of Ethiopia (FDRE MoST) held a consultation meeting from 19th to 22nd August in Addis Ababa, to identify the needs of MoST and reach common agreement on possible collaborative projects. This consultation meeting marks the first stage of follow-up measures of MoU between STEPI and MoST which was signed earlier this year in February. Collaborative projects include “Plan for introducing advanced S&T university to train high caliber manpower in Ethiopia” and “Promotion of New Business and Industry in Ethiopia”.

The meeting began with the presentation by Dr. Jung-Won Lee, the Vice President of STEPI, on Korean STI Master Plan and Roadmap. Officials from MoST took a great interest in the presentation as planning STI roadmap has indeed become one of the priorities for national development of Ethiopia. Active discussion was followed where MoST had many questions about Korean experience, especially how Korea designed its STI Master Plan.

Sectoral meeting was carried out afterwards where both parties agreed to a common understanding that MoST would prepare and present draft of strategic document for each collaborative agenda whilst STEPI-IICC would review the draft and give consulting on it. A plan to introduce S&T university in particular has attracted national level of attention in Ethiopia. Recently a new bill was endorsed by the House of Parliament that transferred Addis Ababa S&T University (AASTU) and Adama S&T University (ASTU) to MoST so that the two universities would become specialized and advanced under the management of MoST. STEPI-IICC would give consulting on the role and position of MoST in managing the two universities; and advise on conceptual approach that is best suited to each university considering their vision, mission and strengths.

To further identify current status of the two universities and their plan on transition, separate consultation meeting was held with stakeholders from each university. The universities showed their enthusiasm for advancement and requested consultation from STEPI-IICC on the management of faculties, students, and university as a whole. Moreover, as Ethiopia is focusing on economic development through industrialization, they were keen to learn and benchmark Korea’s success in university-industry linkage.

For promotion of new business and industry in Ethiopia, sugar industry was selected as a collaborative project as it is one of the strategic industrial sectors promoted by Ethiopian government. In order to examine the status of sugar industry in detail, the team from STEPI-IICC visited Wonji Shoa Sugar Factory located in Adama, which is situated 100km away from Addis Ababa. Strengthening technology and innovation capacity is a core development area to enhance quality productivity where STEPI-IICC would play a major role by giving relevant consultation to MoST.

The consultation meeting was indeed an opportunity for both parties to reach a common understanding and further strengthen the special relationship between STEPI-IICC and MoST. It is believed that the output from the meeting will be utilized to concretize the collaborative agenda and carry out the project in the most efficient and effective way that is well-suited to Ethiopia’s current economic status.