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사진INTERVIEW with Mr. Mekuria Haile Teklemariam, former Minister of the Ethiopian Ministry of Urban Development, Housing and Construction

The former Ethiopian minister Mekuria Haile Teklemariam expressed his opinion on the meaning of STEPI- the Korean science and technology development experience, and the importance of National Science technology policy development for the developing countries including Ethiopia during the interview.

1. Why do you think economically developing countries including Ethiopia find the Korean science, technology policy experience interesting?

As a practical man who came through the hassles and the challenges of economic development, I would say that Korea has a good S&T policy development experience on technology transfer to industries, private sectors, entrepreneurship, start-ups and generally a good government-institute-university-private sector linkage. This is a very important factor for economically developing countries.

STEPI is working as a center that has a focus on transferring knowledge in the science and technology field and sharing the development experience from Korea to developing countries. The experts and officers from economically developing countries can and hope to gain a good practical knowledge on how S&T policy affect economic development and make an overall difference.

2. Why do you think developing countries demand capacity building in the science and technology policy field?

When developing countries are saying development, it includes such aspects like implementation capacity, institutional building, system development, and human resource development. Through a science and technology capacity building process, countries believe that they can build the major necessary capacities for development.

This is true but most importantly, before moving to innovation and accumulation of technology, imitation is a very important point in my opinion. I believe that the capacity building for imitation, understanding the context and accumulation of knowledge and technology are crucial factors to bringing economic development in developing countries. Through imitation, by taking the best practice of the best performing countries in the world into account, successful economic development will be possible for developing countries.

3. What is the most effective method to meet the demand for S&T policy capacity building of developing countries?

I think the most effective method that academics agree on is technology transfer through short-term, medium-term strategic trainings, or by sending expatriates or bringing expatriates for exposure visits. These are traditionally very important, but considering the cultural difference is also important for effective capacity building of developing countries. Understanding the context, the cultural values of the developing countries, and build-up values of the advanced countries are the key to successfully connecting over to the S&T policy capacity building of the developing countries.

4. Do you have anything you’d like to add?

When there is collaboration between two institutes from two countries, it should be a win-win scenario with a mutual respect and understanding acting as a baseline. So the mission of the relevant institutions involved in the collaboration should think of that value with responsibility and act to complete a common goal in a predictive manner.

5. What would you say to the officials of developing countries who have not yet recognized the importance of national science and technology policy?

After coming to Korea, I saw the importance of institutions having continuity for a sound economic development. Name change or minor arrangements aside, having an institute that keeps all the historical experience, accumulation of institutional memory, knowledge, and technology are very important. In the backbone of establishing a long-term sustainable institutions, national science and technology policy that guides the mission and goals of the institutions exist. It is without a doubt, important to recognize the grand impact a strategically well-designed national science and technology policy can do in raising an economic development in the developing countries.
STEPI-IICC Newsletter