“The Road to Sustainable Development in Ethiopia: Drivers, Challenges and Prospects”

Addis Ababa University (AAU), College of Development Studies (CoDS) organized a three days National Conference (24-26 of May 2023) co-hosted by the Ministries of the FDRE (Planning and Development; Agriculture; Tourism; Women and Social Affairs; and Irrigation and Lowlands) at Elilly International Hotel.

The Conference was held under the title of “The Road to Sustainable Development in Ethiopia: Drivers, Challenges and Prospects”focusing on the discussion of the Sustainable Development Goals of Ethiopia (SDGs) with targets of creating platforms for academics, research communities, development practitioners and policy makers.

A number of presentations were delivered for discussion with the sub-themes of “population and development, gender and development, food security and the right to food, rural- urban linkage and infrastructure development, peace, natural resource management and land rehabilitation,  energy transition and inclusive urban development, …”.

Sileshi Girma, State Minister of the Ministry of Tourism, said that the world adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in 2015 and joined hands to implement the 17 sustainable development goals which are sought to pave the path towards the future.

He said that the people, the government, and private businesses of the world came together under the UN with a common vision to embark on a journey that takes the world to a better destination. The world is committed to end extreme poverty, fight inequality and injustice and address climate change, through global partnership by 2030, he added.

According to the State Minster, Tourism is one of the transformative forces that changes the world and has a direct impact on the efforts to achieve the SDG goals in eradicating poverty, advancing gender equality and protecting the environment.

He mentioned that Ethiopia has set economic programs that focused on addressing macro-economic imbalances and improving the lives of the citizens in various aspects. The first home-grown reform program implemented over the last few years basically targeted to achieve economic growth and pave the way to prosperity through economic diversification, he added.

Of the priority sectors identified by the government to realize Ethiopa’s growth and prosperity, tourism is one to utilize the country’s untapped tourism resource as a source of sustainable development,” Sileshi said.

Finally, the State Minister emphasized the role of higher education institutions like AAU in framing Ethiopian tourism to the right direction and supporting the country in achieving the SDGs through research, knowledge transfer and capacity building.

Professor Mitike Molla, Vice President for Research and Technology Transfer of AAU said on her welcoming speech that the conference was an early call for all concerned to see how well the country performs in terms of achieving the global development agendas and this will help the respective sectors to take appropriate measures in terms of the country’s lagging behind. She explained that AAU bases its ten years strategic plan on the country’s SDGs and is assessing the inclusion of SDGs as criteria when approving research proposals. Prof. Mitike appreciated CoDS for its multidisciplinary teaching and research activities and for organizing the timely Conference in collaboration with Ministry offices and financial institutes.  “University industry linkage is one of the strategies that AAU is using to exchange knowledge, talent, resources collaborating with stakeholders including global universities, research institutes, industries and civil societies,

she added. Tesfaye Zeleke (PhD), Dean for the CoDS introduced what the College is working on graduate education, research and community services with the broad areas of development. “Currently CoDS is offering 6 PhD and 11 Masters Programs which are closely related to the government development policies & strategies,” he mentioned.

According to the Dean, the College has grown from a research institute to a college level, and has been carrying out community-based research projects, especially in the agricultural sector. Experienced professors and researchers have been working to protect the ecosystem and promote tourism, Dr. Tesfaye added.

Reporter: Tsion Aysheshim

Photo: Fikremariam Beyene

Editor: Abraham Girmay