Ethiopian Business Review

Climate change is the great existential challenge of our times. It is a challenge that spans all regions, with especially severe consequences for low-income countries.

Without mitigating actions, global temperatures are projected to rise by four degree Celsius above pre-industrial levels by the end of the century—with increasing and irreversible risks of collapsing ice sheets, inundation of low-lying island states, extreme weather events, and runaway warming scenarios.

A warming climate could also mean increased extinction risk for a large fraction of species, the spread of diseases, an undermining of food security, and reduced renewable surface water and groundwater resources.

The good news is that this urgent threat has inspired an unprecedented multilateral response. Altogether, 190 parties submitted climate strategies—nearly all of them with some form of mitigation commitment—for the 2015 Paris Agreement. Now is the time to think realistically about how to achieve these commitments.

Sunday, 16 June 2019 00:00
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“Survival of the fittest” is a phrase that is originated from Darwinian evolutionary theory and is  based on biological theory which is a way of describing the mechanism of natural selection for species. However, this analogy holds good in all fields, since we are all facing unprecedented challenges in social, economic and environmental domains which needs critical & intelligent thinking.  This also holds true for the tech-sector which has become highly intelligent and is aligned itself  to the demand of  Industry 4.0 (intelligent industry)  focusing on innovations, equipped with tools such as Robotics, Artificial Intelligence (AI0, nano-technology, blockchain, bio-technology, the Internet of Things, Virtual reality, and 3D-printing
With technology changing faster than anything in the world, devices and gadgets are becoming obsolete at a faster pace than ever. It becomes important for developing countries, like Ethiopia, to pause and reassess where they stand from the perspective of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the age of Intelligent Industrialization (Industry 4.0). For developing countries, the biggest opportunity lies in their ability to use the power of smart and intelligent ICT tools to embrace the lives of citizens leading to provide better basic facilities, e-governance and which in turn leads to better income levels and improve quality of life.
The collective name given to the unlimited possibilities of technology innovations and investments, Industry 4.0, connects digital and physical technologies—Artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, additive manufacturing, robotics, cloud computing, and others—to drive more flexible, responsive, and interconnected enterprises capable of making informed decisions.
The impact of Industry 4.0 can be varied and intense in developing countries. It has the potential to create opportunities for African manufacturers, cottage industries and small & medium enterprises to come up with new business models and stay relevant in global value chains. Nonetheless, it is not possible to benefit from Industry 4.0 without avoiding numerous obstacles. Given the Africa’s context, governments must ask the right questions to make sure the continent can capitalize on the revolution.

Preparing for Education 4.0
With the advent of the fourth industrial revolution, the world is changing every second. Artificial intelligence and the internet are impacting the global industry sector and is shaping the job market. Just as the drastic changes brought by the industrial revolution of the 19th century the replacement of manual activities by machines, the 21st century’s intellectually intensive jobs resulted from fourth industrial revolution.
The fourth industrial revolution will also affect the roles of universities and colleges in preparing students for the job market. In fact, they are ideally placed to help & produce the workforce for the new era.
To benefit from the opportunity created by advanced technology, it is undoubtable the role of the  policy makers need to similarly overhaul education – not just to fulfill the demands of industry, but also to guarantee the best possible student experience, use of staff time, and investments which is no different for Ethiopia. This is possible by some well tested practices of Public-Private Partnership (PPP) models and Industrial Academic Collaborative models which helps to bring industry relevance to the Academic curriculum, Teacher Training, Courseware, IT enabled methodologies, Projects been implemented as a drive to build the knowledge economy. This industry centric interventions will have a direct & large impact on the internships/job opportunities being created for the youth looking for jobs or business opportunities.
It must be noted that the Fourth Industrial Revolution also involves investments in clean energy, and sustainable modes of development, a path in which Ethiopia is following.
Projected to be Africa’s next powerhouse, Ethiopia cannot afford to lose such an opportunity. With abundant natural resources, including rivers and lakes, the country is blessed with renewables, and this might just be where it will catch up with the developed world through the usage of smart ICT tools. Having said that, it is also important for the country to imbibe the usage of smart ICT enabled policies and produce competent and skilled manpower that can match the country’s economic growth, by focusing on innovations such as robotics, AI, nanotechnology, blockchain, biotechnology, the Internet of Things, autonomous vehicles, and 3D-printing, while keeping the momentum in manufacturing, opening up Internet access, broadband, and Research and Development in these areas is also needed.
Given the country’s current economic and social conditions, the education system must build institutions capable of providing relevant education and training opportunities. The fourth industrial revolution will converge man and machine, which will then reduce the subject distance between humanities and social sciences, as well as science and technology, and the new era will require more interdisciplinary teaching, research and innovation.
It is obvious, that the Ethiopian children starting school in 2019/20 will not be able to flourish with the existing education system.  Thus, they need to be exposed to digital platform based smart classes and tools  using Virtual Reality leading to smart and critical thinking in the subjects of science, math’s, English and social science. In addition to individual wellbeing, they also need to be educated to think of collaborative thinking and collective well-being not restricting them to interacting with teachers and students within the boundaries of their school, but to use social platforms to interact and share experiences with the other schools in the national and international space
To be innovative, aware and responsible, children and young people need to be well-equipped to create new value by developing new, creative and affordable solutions to problems through this experience based reality learning which is more visual. They need to reconcile existing differences that are imperative to diverse communities and cultures by learning to forgive, and balancing freedom and responsibility.

Granted that these are all very complex qualities and are tightly coupled with one another. However, they can all be acquired when properly planned and strategized, which need to be embedded in the education system, as well as the environment where young people grow with their new learning experience they gather at any point of time.

Sunday, 16 June 2019 00:00
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The Harvard Business Review surveyed business leaders in 2014 to know if they think employee engagement is a pre – condition for the success of an organization. About 71Pct of them said employee engagement was critical to the business success of their organizations, but only 24Pct of these same leaders said their workforces were highly engaged. This difference is called the engagement gap.  The Gallup Employee Engagement Survey revealed that neither employees nor managers are engaged. Only 30Pct of employees are engaged and only 35Pct of managers are engaged at work. This means that if you put 10 people in a room, chances are seven of them are not happy to go to work in the morning.  This is alarming! 

The problem is that most companies these days talk about the need to focus on employee engagement, but they do not get it right. In Ethiopia, it is worse than expected.  The quick survey I conducted to gain a little context about what companies do along these lines revealed that most corporate companies, with the exception of a few multinationals and INGOs, have no idea about the importance of an engaged workforce and the impact on company’s bottom line.

Sunday, 16 June 2019 00:00
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