According to the World Bank Group, one of the primary economic and social issues that developing countries like Ethiopia face is access to and storage of data. Heeding this call, the Ethiopian government has undertaken the construction for the construction of a national data center. This undertaking will be spearheaded by the Ministry of Innovation and Technology and aims to implement vital tools like cloud computing as well as ensure public accountability by adopting measures to protect citizens’ data.
Such a development goes hand in hand with current efforts to improve and modernize research capabilities in the country. A recent development in this regard is the inclusion of Ethiopia in the Science Granting Councils Initiative (SGCI). The SGCI is an undertaking that aims to formalize research undertakings in sub-Saharan African nations in order to direct economic and social policy in a rigorous, evidence-based manner.
Dr. Abraham Woldeyohannes, Director General of the Innovation, Development, and Research Affairs lauded this inclusion and recent efforts of the nation to become a prime contributor to scientific research in the region. He cites the involvement of Ethiopia in the “Covid-19 Africa Rapid Grant Fund” as an instance of the countries exemplary commitment to development.
Habtamu Tesfaye of the Ministry of Innovation and Technology also praised the practical applications of the SGCI citing recent online trainings given to researchers from 30 Ethiopian universities. He identified training programs focused on professional guidelines and practices as essential in driving the nation towards more objective and solution-oriented growth policies.
Habtamu also praised the SGCI for spreading awareness on how research funding can be diversified to include entities outside of the government. Realizations like this are important given that more than 80% of research in Ethiopia comes from the government. According to the nation’s Science and Technology Institute policy report, this is a major issue given that Ethiopia is a developing economy that has risk-averse commercial banks that are ill-equipped to contend with the risks of innovation that are part and parcel of research and development.