AAU Holds Panel Discussion on Startup Ecosystem Development, Experiences and Lessons from Japan

Addis Ababa University hosted a panel discussion on startup ecosystem development  in cooperation with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) , aimed at drawing experiences and lessons from Japan to motivate new ideas and innovations that enhance business and technological entrepreneurship.

Speaking at the opening  of the event,  Dr. Samuel Kifle, President of AAU, said that Ethiopian and Japanese governments have longstanding relationships, adding AAU , as a governmental institution,  has been cooperatively working with Japanese government organizations for several years.

Dr. Samuel  further said that JICA and AAU have recently signed a MoU to explore ways of  working with different Japanese universities; encouraging the  Japanese government and its universities to support AAU’s reform efforts; and sustain the assistance that the University has received todate.

According to the AAU President, Japanese universities, University of Tokyo in particular, have extensive experience in startup platforms, and one of its vice presidents, Professor Takao Someya,  presented a lecture on the relevant experience of the university at Ras Mekonnen Hall today.

Dr. Samuel stated on the occasion that AAU encourages faculty and students to learn more from Japanese universities so as to develop their own new business and technology ideas assisted by the centre that the University has recently established .

The president added that AAU works cooperatively with the Ministry of Innovation and Technology, Ministry of Work and Skills, Ministry of Finance and Economy, and others to support entrepreneurial ecosystems .

Mr Shibata Hironori, Japanese Ambassador to Ethiopia, in his opening remarks said that JICA supports the Ethiopian Government’s efforts to realize quality growth which is inclusive, sustainable and resilient.

“The intention is  to contribute to job creation and poverty reduction while enhancing competitiveness and promoting export and import substitution”, the ambassador further stated.

Mr. Selamyihun Adefris, CEO at the Ministry of Innovation and Technology, presented a report of his Ministry’s  activities in cultivating startup ecosystems in cooperation with local universities, demonstrating their importance as sources of high growth startups.