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Ethiopia’s higher-eduction boom built on shoddy foundations, George West, The Guardian June 25, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Ethiopia the least competitive in the Global Competitiveness Index, Free development vs authoritarian model, Schools in Oromia, The Global Innovation Index, Uncategorized.
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The country desperately needs new universities to drive development, but most of the 30 built in the last 15 years fall woefully short

 

Higher education

 

The declining standard of Nigeria’s premier institution, the University of Ibadan, ten years ago is reflected in Ethiopia where the quality of new universities varies widely. Photograph: George Esiri/REUTERS

 

Ethiopia’s higher education infrastructure has mushroomed in the last 15 years. But the institutions suffer from half-written curriculums, unqualified – but party-loyal – lecturers, and shoddily built institutions. The rapid growth of Ethiopia’s higher education system has come at a cost, but it is moving forward all the same.

Twenty years ago the Ethiopian government launched a huge and ambitious development strategy that called for “the cultivation of citizens with an all-round education capable of playing a conscious and active role in the economic, social, and political life of the country”. One of the principal results of Ethiopia’sagricultural development-led industrialisation strategy (ADLI) has been a rapid expansion in the country’s higher education system. In 2000 there were just two universities, but since then the country has built 29 more, with plans for another 11 to be completed within two years.

The quality of these new universities varies widely; from thriving research schools, to substandard institutions built to bolster the regime’s power in hostile regions. One professor recalls a hurried evacuation from part of a recently completed university while he was working there: one of the buildings had collapsed.

But there have also been success stories. The University of Jimma, for example, has come first in the Ethiopian Ministry of Education’s rankings for the past five years, and is held up as evidence of ADLI’s efficacy since its establishment in 1999. The most recent development at Jimma, the department of materials science and engineering (MSE), opened for students in 2013, and has quickly expanded to become one of the top research schools in the sub-Saharan region. The department’s founder, Dr Ali Eftekhari, has since received a fellowship from the African Academy of Sciences on the back of the project’s success.

This success is much-needed. At 8%, African higher education enrolment issignificantly lower than the global average of 32%, and Ethiopia trails even further behind, with fewer than 6% of college-age adults at university. Research in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (Stem) is starting from a particularly low base in Africa. The World Bank reported last year that though the sub-Saharan region has “increased both the quantity and quality of its research” in recent years, much of this improvement is due to international collaboration, and a lack of native Africans is “reducing the economic impact and relevance of research”.

Dr Eftekhari echoes these concerns: “The problem for development in Ethiopiaand similar African countries is higher education itself. This is the reason that I focused on PhD programs. “For instance, Jimma’s department of civil engineering has over 3,000 undergraduate students. These civil engineers are the future builders of the country, but there is not one PhD holder among the staff; most only have a BSc.”

Eftekhari improvised and sweet-talked in order to get the department established; in its first year, the department taught 18 PhD students – all native Ethiopians – on almost zero budget, with staff donating their time and money until funding was secured from the ministry of education. Despite the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front’s (EPRDF) push for development, Ethiopia’s political landscape remains a minefield for education professionals, says Eftekhari: “People are always suspicious about the political reasons behind each new project. I decided to start with zero budget to allay those doubts. In developing countries everything has some degree of flexibility. I used this to borrow staff and resources from the rest of the university until we could secure a budget.

“Many of the staff saw the project as a career opportunity,” says Eftekhari, but altruism also played a part. The department’s research focuses primarily on solving the country’s pressing poverty and development problems. “They knew they were actually saving lives,” says Jimma’s innovation coordinator, Maria Shou.

The belief that science and engineering is key to alleviating poverty propels the work of the school. Projects range from the development of super-capacitors for the provision of cheap power, to carbon nanomaterials for Ethiopia’s expanding construction industry. “You only need a couple of weeks in Ethiopia to realise that materials science is a priority,” says Pablo Corrochano, an assistant professor at the school. “Even in the capital you’ll experience cuts in power and water; in rural areas it’s even worse. Producing quality and inexpensive bricks for building houses, designing active water filters, and supplying ‘off-the-grid’ energy systems for rural areas are all vital to the country’s development.”

However, Jimma’s success could be seen as a bit of an anomaly. Paul O’Keeffe, a researcher at La Sapienza University of Rome, who specialises in Ethiopia’s higher education system, believes that similar initiatives are needed, but that the government’s politics are an obstacle: “My research indicates that the rapid expansion of the public university system has seen a dramatic decline in the quality of education offered in recent years. Instead of putting resources into improving the existing system, or establishing a few good institutions, the EPRDF has built many new universities, largely for political reasons.

“A lot of the time the universities are merely shells. They do not function as universities as we would expect and are poorly resourced, and in some cases shoddily built. It would seem that they are built almost as a token where the EPRDF can say to hostile regions ‘look we are doing something for you, we’ve built a university’.”

Even when the universities do function, the quality of education is often low: “Once the funding, say from a western development agency, is finished for a particular course, it is no longer taught as the university authorities believe they can get funding for a new course instead; whatever is the latest fashionable course. So often this type of education for development is not sustainable.”

Reports of spies, classroom propaganda, of curriculums that have been abandoned half-written due to funding cuts, and of unqualified staff are common at these universities, which make up the bulk of Ethiopian higher education, says O’Keeffe. “The party line is peddled during class, students are required to join the party, [there are] various reports of spies in the classrooms, who monitor what is said and who says it.”

A lecturer at Addis Ababa University, who wished to remain anonymous, is concerned primarily with the lack of qualifications among staff: “What is disturbing is that those who have just graduated with BAs and MAs are the lecturers. That is the manpower that they have. If you talk with students you wouldn’t believe that these students actually graduated from these so-called universities. Their inability to articulate their thoughts is breathtaking. It is extremely frustrating and you wonder how they have spent four years at university studying a doctorate.”

In this context, the MSE school provides a beacon of hope. The school’s success demonstrates that higher education – Stem research in particular – has the potential to thrive and play a central role in helping Ethiopia to reach its goal of becoming a middle-income nation by 2025, provided political interests are put to one side. Let’s hope the EPRDF takes note.

http://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2015/jun/22/ethiopia-higher-eduction-universities-development

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Ethiopia is one of 10 least connected in the digital world in mobile phone and internet use. #Africa November 27, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in 25 killer Websites that make you cleverer, Africa, African Internet Censorship, Ethiopia & World Press Index 2014, Facebook and Africa, Free development vs authoritarian model, Groups at risk of arbitrary arrest in Oromia: Amnesty International Report, The 2014 Ibrahim Index of African Governance, The Colonizing Structure & The Development Problems of Oromia, The Global Innovation Index, The Tyranny of Ethiopia, The Tyranny of TPLF Ethiopia, Tweets and Africa.
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OEthiopiadisconnected

 

Denmark, Korea And Sweden are the world’s most digitally connected countries while Ethiopia is one of 10 least connected

internet_wallpaper

 

 

 

 

 

November 26, 2014 (The Telegraph) — Denmark has been named the world’s “most connected” country based on mobile phone and internet use.

Scandinavia dominated this year’s rankings, with Sweden in third place, followed by Iceland in fourth, Norway sixth and Finland eighth. Britain came fifth.

They were compiled as part of a report by the International Telecommunication Union – theInformation and Communication Technology Development Index (IDI), which rates 166 countries according to their level of access to, use of and skills in using information and communication technology.

Hong Kong was the ninth most connected country, coming in ahead of Japan in 11th place, while Luxembourg completed the top 10.

Other countries in the top 30 included the US (which ranked 14th), Australia, Switzerland, Singapore, Germany, France, New Zealand, Estonia and Macau, as well the principalities of Andorra and Monaco.

The 10 least connected countries were all in Africa, with the Central African Republic being the worst, followed by Niger, Chad, Eritrea and Ethiopia.

All countries were shown to have improved their IDI values in the last year, while the nations with the “most dynamic” improvement in ranking included the United Arab Emirates, Fiji, Cape Verde, Thailand, Oman, Qatar, Belarus, Bosnia & Herzegovina and Georgia. Improvements were said to have been driven mostly by better wireless broadband connection.

Europe proved to be the most connected region, scooping up eight of the top 10 rankings, while Africa had the lowest regional ranking. The continent, however, did show a mobile broadband growth rate of more than 40 per cent in 2014 on last year.

Nearly three billion people globally will be using the internet by the end of this year, up by nearly 40 per cent on last year. But 450 million people still don’t live within reach of a mobile signal, while 4.3 billion people are not connected to the internet – with 90 per cent of those living in developing countries, the report said.

Earlier this year, Telegraph Travel’s technology expert Donald Strachan outlined the “world’s Wi-Fi-friendliest cities”, featuring various countries from the top 40 of this year’s IDI report.

Connecting in the Finnish capital of Helsinki is password-free and easy thanks to a network of hotspots in public buildings, civic squares and even on some buses and trams around the city.

Hong Kong, “one of the world’s most futuristic cities”, was said to be generous with free internet access in public areas. There are several free Wi-Fi networks, the key ones being GovWiFi (at parks, libraries, public buildings, ferry terminals and more) and MTR WiFi, which provides 15 minutes of free Wi-Fi per device up to five times every day at MTR stations.

Taipei offers 30 days of free access to a national, government-backed network of over 5,000 hotpsots. Hundreds of these free iTaiwan hotspots are available throughout the Taiwanese capital.

Macau was noted for its WiFiGo service which offers free internet for visitors every day between 8am and 1am. The network has around 150 hotspots, meaning there’s usually Wi-Fi close by, including at ports, museums and tourist information centres.

Other major cities with free public Wi-Fi access include New York, Paris and Perth, Australia, as well as Florence and Tel Aviv, which has eighty hotspots dotted around its centre.

Access to free Wi-Fi has been an increasingly important factor for travellers around the world, especially when booking a hotel. Britain’s hotels were found to be among the worst in Europe for free Wi-Fi access, while the two best performing cities were both Swedish – Malmö and Gothenburg, where 98 per cent and 96 per cent of hotels were found to offer free Wi-Fi, a survey by the travel search engine KAYAK earlier this year revealed.

A new website aiming to help travellers in the search for free and fast wireless internet access was introduced earlier this year.Hotewifitest.com lets hotel guests test the speed of their internet connection, and then stores the results for others to view. It also records whether the Wi-Fi is free or comes at a price.

Several airports around the world also offer free Wi-Fi services, with Dallas-Forth Worth in Texas being among the best, providing free Wi-Fi in all five of its terminals since 2012. Since upgrading its former paid network, the number of daily Wi-Fi connections has risen from 2,000 to 55,000. Helsinki Airport, Singapore’s Changi Airport, Seoul’s Incheon Airport and Amsterdam Schiphol complete the world’s top five for airport Wi-Fi quality.

Earlier this year, Britain’s biggest airports have been criticised for failing to provide passengers with unlimited Wi-Fi access.

None of Britain’s six busiest airports – Heathrow, Gatwick, Manchester, Stansted, Edinburgh and Luton – offer unlimited free internet access, according to a study by Skyscanner, the flight comparison website.

Source: The Telegraph

http://www.traveller.com.au/denmark-korea-sweden-the-worlds-most-connected-country-11uwmr

 

 

 

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Ethiopia: Prevalence of undernourishment &the state of food insecurity (in 2012-2014 FAO World Report) September 21, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Africa and debt, Africa Rising, African Poor, Ethiopia & World Press Index 2014, Ethiopia the least competitive in the Global Competitiveness Index, Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Afar, Ogaden, Sidama, Southern Ethiopia and the Omo Valley, Food Production, Free development vs authoritarian model, Genocidal Master plan of Ethiopia, Illicit financial outflows from Ethiopia, Poverty, The extents and dimensions of poverty in Ethiopia, The Global Innovation Index, The State of Food Insecurity in Ethiopia, The Tyranny of Ethiopia, US-Africa Summit, Youth Unemployment.
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OSOFI2014

The absolute number of hungry people—which takes into account both progress against hunger and population growth—fell in most regions. The exceptions were Sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa, and West Asia.

 

 

The 2014  FAO’s report which is published in September  indicates that while Sub-Saharan Africa is the worst of all regions in prevalence of undernourishment and  food insecurity, Ethiopia (ranking no.1) is the worst of all African countries as 32 .9 million people are suffering from chronic undernourishment and food insecurity. Which means Ethiopia  has one of the highest levels of food insecurity in the world, in which more than 35%  of its total population is chronically undernourished.

Ethiopia  is one of the poorest countries in the world, ranking 173 of the 187 countries in the 2013 Human Development Index.See @ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_Human_Development_Index

 

 

FAO in its key findings reports that:  overall, the results confirm that developing countries have made significant progress in improving food security and nutrition, but that progress has been uneven across both regions and food security dimensions. Food availability remains a major element of food insecurity in the poorer regions of the world, notably sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Southern Asia, where progress has been relatively limited. Access to food has improved fast and significantly in countries that have experienced rapid overall economic progress, notably in Eastern and South-Eastern Asia.Access has also improved in Southern Asia and Latin America, but only in countries with adequate safety nets and other forms of social protection. By contrast, access is still a challenge in Sub Saharan Africa, where income growth has been sluggish, poverty rates have remained high  and rural infrastructure remains limited and has often deteriorated.

 

According to the new report, many developing countries have made significant progress in improving food security and nutrition, but this progress has been uneven across both regions and dimensions of food security. Large  challenges remain in the area of food utilization. Despite considerable improvements over the last two decades, stunting, underweight and micronutrient deficiencies remain stubbornly high, even where availability and access no longer pose problems. At the same time, access to food remains an important challenge for many developing countries, even if significant progress has been made over the last two decades, due to income growth and poverty reduction in many countries.Food availability has also improved considerably over the past two decades, with more food available than ever and international food price volatility before. This increase is reflected in the improved adequacy of dietary energy and higher average supplies of protein. Of the four dimensions, the least progress has been made in stability, reflecting the effects of growing political instability.Overall, the analyses reveal positive trends, but it also masks important divergences across various sub- regions. The  two sub- regions that have made the least headway are sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia, with almost all indicators still pointing to low levels of food security.On the other hand, Eastern (including South Eastern) Asia and Latin America have made the most progress in improving food security, with Eastern Asia experiencing rapid progress on all four dimensions over the past two decades.The greatest food security challenges overall remain in sub-Saharan Africa, which has seen particularly slow progress in improving access to food, with sluggish income growth, high poverty rates and poor infrastructure, which hampers physical and distributional access. Food availability remains low, even though energy and protein supplies have improved. Food utilization remains a major concern, as indicated by the high anthropometric prevalence of stunted and underweight children under five years of age. Limited progress has been made in improving access to safe drinking-water and providing adequate sanitation facilities, while the region continues to face challenges in improving dietary quality and diversity, particularly for the poor. The stability of food supplies has deteriorated, mainly owing to political instability, war and civil strife.

 

 

Prevalence of undernourishment in Africa/ #Ethiopia

Summary of Africa Scorecard on Number of People in State of Undernourishment / Hunger Country Name  and Number of People in State of Undernourishment / Hunger (2012-2014, Millions):- 

1st  Ethiopia  ( 32.9 million)

2nd Tanzania (17.0)

3 Nigeria (11.2)

4 Kenya (10.8)

5 Uganda (9.7)

6 Mozambique (7.2)

7 Zambia (7.0)

8 Madagascar (7.0)

9 Chad (4.5)

10 Zimbabwe (4.5)

11 Rwanda (4.0)

12 Angola (3.9)

13 Malawi (3.6)

14 Burkina Faso (3.5)

15 Ivory Coast (3.0)

16 Senegal (2.4)

17 Cameroon (2.3)

18 Guinea (2.1)

19 Algeria (2.1)

20 Niger 2.0

21 Central Africa Republic (1.7)

22 Sierra Leone (1.6)

23 Morocco (1.5)

24 Benin (1.0)

25 Togo (1.0)

26 Namibia (.9)

27 Botswana (.05)

28 Guinea Bissau (.03)

29 Swaziland (.03)

30 Djibouti (.02)

31. Lesotho (.02)

Data for South Africa, Sao Tome and Principal, Gabon,  Ghana, Mali, Tunisia, Mauritius and Egypt indicate that Prevalence of undernourishment is insignificant or under .01 million. There are no reported data for  some countries such as Libya, Sudan, Eritrea, Somalia, Burundi and Gambia.

Read  more @ The State of Food Insecurity in the World Strengthening the enabling environment
for food security and nutrition http://www.fao.org/3/a-i4030e.pdf

 

 

The Human Factor in Innovation:Ethiopia Ranks Very Low in 2014 Global Innovation Index July 20, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Africa Rising, Ethiopia's Colonizing Structure and the Development Problems of People of Oromia, Afar, Ogaden, Sidama, Southern Ethiopia and the Omo Valley, Free development vs authoritarian model, The Global Innovation Index.
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Ojohn cornell university logoinsead the business school of the world logoworld intellectual property organization logo

 

 

Global Innovation Index (GII) 2014:  This year, the theme of the report is the ‘Human Factor in Innovation’

The fundamental driver behind any innovation process is the human factor associated with it. We observe that some nations take the lead in innovation capability over others. A major factor for this disparity of innovation prowess is the quality of human capital linked to the innovation activities carried out in these nations. Other factors, such as technology and capital, also influence the innovation process; these directly correlate with the human factor. Hence nurturing human capital at all levels and in all sections of society can be crucial for developing the foundation for innovation.

Human-Centric Innovation: Inspired Talent Is the Engine of Innovation.

http://www.globalinnovationindex.org/content.aspx?page=gii-full-report-2014

 

Out of 143 countries listed in the Global Innovation Index report released in Sydney, Australia,  18th July 2014, Ethiopia  is in the 126th position. The score is 25.4.

Among Ethiopia’s poorest performances are:

Innovation input sub-index (128)

Ecological sustainability (136)

Political stability (136)

Regulatory quality (134)

Ease of starting business (130)

Human Capital & research (137)

Education   (136)

ICT access (133)

Logistics performance (133)

Online creativity (141)

http://www.globalinnovationindex.org/content.aspx?page=gii-full-report-2014#pdfopener

 

Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Sweden are the most innovative countries in the world – and Singapore is Asia’s most innovative economy. No African country made the first 39 spot in the ranking but Mauritius tops the list for African countries coming in at 40. Mauritius (40) and Seychelles  (51) beat South Africa (53rd) to the chase in the African continent. The regional winner, Mauritius,  has shown an impressive improvement of 13 places from 53rd in 2013. The following Africa countries are in the first 100 rankings: Tunisia (78), Morocco (84), Kenya (85), Uganda (91), Botswana (92), Ghana (96), Cabo Verde (97), Senegal (98) and Egypt (99).

Top 10 in the  2014 rankings:

1. Switzerland

2. United Kingdom

3. Sweden

4. Finland

5. Netherlands

6. USA

7. Singapore

8. Denmark

9. Luxembourg

10. Hong Kong (China)

According to  the authors of the report: “These GII leaders have created well-linked innovation ecosystems, where investments in human capital combined with strong innovation infrastructures contribute to high levels of creativity.”

“In particular, the top 25 countries in the GII consistently score high in most indicators and have strengths in areas such as innovation infrastructure, including information and communication technologies; business sophistication such as knowledge workers, innovation linkages, and knowledge absorption; and innovation outputs such as creative goods and services and online creativity.”

11 of the bottom 20 countries are from Africa ( Ethiopia, Sudan, Burundi, Angola, Niger, Algeria, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Benin, Guinea and Togo). These countries are making the 11 worst African countries.

The Global Innovation Index surveys 143 economies around the world, using 81 indicators – to gauge both their innovation capabilities and measurable results.

The annual rankings is published by Cornell University, INSEAD and the World Intellectual Property Organization.
To view the full list, click here

 

 

And also read @ http://oromiaeconomist.wordpress.com/2014/07/20/the-human-factor-in-innovationethiopia-ranks-very-low-in-2014-global-innovation-index-july-20-2014/