Challenges linger for Ethiopia’s industry sector

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The implementation of the KAIZEN philosophy to increase the quality, productivity and competitiveness in the industry sector continues to show positive results despite lingering challenges; it was stated during a meeting held by the Ministry of Industry and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
The review meeting looked at progresses that have been made so far and at exploring how Ethiopia can further learn from the Japanese government in ways to grow the country’s industry to reach global competitiveness. Japan, through JICA has been providing support to the Ethiopian government with the implementation of KAIZEN since the first Growth and Transformation Plan.
“We would like to continue to learn from the ample experience of the Japanese government. This support was initiated during the first Growth and Transformation Plan and it has been included into the preparation of the second phase of the GTP. We have been able to adopt quality improvement system that is KAIZEN, we established a Kaizen institute here through the experience we gathered from the Japanese government,” said Alemu Sime, State Minister of Industry during the meeting.
The Ministry of Industry has been focusing on export promotion through the champion product approach where companies have been supported to add value to their products and export it.
“We have also been doing export promotion through our champion products approach and it has been very good so far. We believe that through this, more companies will become stronger and competitive and produce quality products and export them to Japan as well as other markets,” Alemu also said.
According to different research papers that were presented at the evaluation meeting, there are several factors affecting the competitiveness of the industry sector in the country including unreliable energy, trade logistics, access to credit as well as education and training of employees.
It was further pointed out, even though one of Ethiopia’s comparative advantages in the manufacturing sector is low wages, studies show that that alone will not guaranty growth in the sector because productivity and efficiency is as important as low wages.
“Industry is very new to us, we are an agrarian society and our economy is solely based on agriculture we want to learn fast and move forward in industrial development. Our industries need to produce quality products to able to export it to other parts of the world, we want to improve their productivity, we know that the productivity level is very low at this level.