In 2018, the SKY project conducted two large-scale skill assessments in Bole Lemi and Hawassa Industrial Parks of Ethiopia. I visited Addis Ababa, Ethiopia between February 10 and 26th to complete two objectives. First, arrange the next skill assessment of workers in SME garment firms operating in Addis Ababa. Second, to make logistical arrangements for the upcoming SKY validation workshop.
During my trip, I was able to meet with Dr. Abdiwanna, the new State Minister of TVET as well as Ato Teshome, Director of the Higher Education Strategy Center. Dr. Abdiwanna showed a lot of interest in our skills assessment and agreed to support the project, revise the MOU to strengthen our collaboration and co-host the validation workshop. Mr. Teshome has provided continuous support and advice which have been very welcome.
I also had the opportunity to meet Dr. Ephrem, the Commissioner of Job Creation for the Prime Minister’s Office. Since education and skills are key factors in his role, he eagerly supports institutional policy-oriented research. As unemployment is another of the Prime Minister’s chief concerns, both he and Dr. Abdiwanna have promised to provide the necessary support to pursue our research and inform policy. Furthermore, they have proposed we expand our investigation beyond Addis Ababa and collect data in other regions as well.
Lastly, I met a number of other stakeholders such as the Commissioner of Investment Commission and the Confederation of Ethiopia trade unions. Both are willing to provide feedback on our report and facilitate the implication of policy recommendations. Over the last year, Ethiopia has been very dynamic, and many important accomplishments have been achieved, both in terms of student enrollment and jobs. The new vision of the Government focuses on labor quality as a means of improving labor productivity and wage growth in accordance with the needs of the current workforce and the industry as an alternative to simply hiring new skilled workers. SKY project will continue to support the Government vision through research.