Home » 3 Ways Technology is Uplifting Ethiopia
Africa Global News News Technology

3 Ways Technology is Uplifting Ethiopia

Ethiopia is home to one of the most rapidly growing populations in Africa, growing on average by 3.8% annually. The gross domestic income of its booming population has risen 10% per year over the course of the last decade. Due to economic rise and ambitious development plans, Ethiopia has received an influx of foreign investment and has prioritized the digitalization and automation of their country. The ways in which technology is uplifting Ethiopia has resulted in many positive changes for the country as it seeks to alleviate a lack of resources, low economic capital and high poverty rates.

Technology in Farming

With a goal to create food security and vast commercial farming within the next 20 years, Ethiopia’s Agricultural Transformation Agency is looking to the newest technological innovations in the farming industry. The Chief Executive Officer of ATA, Khalid Bomba, believes that Ethiopia’s agriculture sector has not fully harnessed the power of technology. Improving agricultural practices in Ethiopia is a priority because agriculture and farming bring in 45% of Ethiopia’s growth domestic product, 80% of its employment opportunities and 75% of total export earnings.

Led by Bomba and based on successful Asian farming models, the federal government is beginning to use satellite soil mapping technology, video footage and drones in order to support farmers and increase sales. Interested buyers and distributors are able to inspect Ethiopian farms digitally, as well as watch drone footage to assess farming conditions and specific crops, making exports more efficient, profitable and safer. With the burden of a rising population and impoverished communities, Ethiopia is actively investing in technology ventures for farming and agriculture and seeing positive results.

Technology in Transportation

In Ethiopia’s capital, the Addis Ababa Lightrail has proved itself to be a huge technological gain for the country. Opening in 2015, the transit system is made up of two lines, 39 stations, and covers nearly 20 miles. Prior to this massive rail endeavor, Mulugeta Gudeta, a figure of Addis Ababa’s Chamber of Commerce said, “the state of public transportation in Addis Ababa is perhaps the weakest link in the otherwise fast-growing economy in the Ethiopian capital…workers often find it difficult to reach their workplaces in time”. Additionally, while the region only has 2% of the world’s registered vehicles, it has some of the highest road mortality rates in the world due to the lack of road safety infrastructure. Data from 2015 shows that the country recorded more than 10,000 traffic-related accidents and 418 traffic-related deaths in Addis Ababa alone.

At present-day, the fully operational light rail can hold 60,000 passengers per hour. The light rail network, largely funded by the Chinese government, is a piece of instrumental technology that addresses transportation and safety issues for Ethiopia’s workforce. The innovation of the city’s light rail system holds a promise of hope for higher employment rates for the impoverished and safer means of travel.

Technology in Education

Emphasizing the importance of giving children access to modern resources, Ethiopia is making great strides to also implement technology into learning. A U.S. based organization, ET Learns, has been the leading champion in stimulating growth in educational technology in Ethiopia. Their creation of Learning Labs gives students access to digital learning tools and internet resources. Habtamu, a 9th-grade Ethiopian student who frequently uses the Learning Labs, said that his ability to learn at his grade level and beyond has “encouraged [him]to become an innovator in the future.” Not only is the digitalization of education a way in which technology is uplifting Ethiopia, but it is developing the skills and aspirations of its young citizens. With the aid of developed countries abroad, Ethiopia hopes to accelerate its development as a nation with the implementation of technology in education.

The Implications

In an increasingly digitized world, technology is a necessary investment for developing countries and the ways in which we see this manifested in Ethiopia demonstrates this. Due to their high ambition, Ethiopia reduced extreme poverty from 37.2% to 27.3% during the years 2004 to 2015. However, lack of capital and poor infrastructure continue to be the country’s biggest hurdles. While technology is uplifting Ethiopia in many ways through farming, transportation and education, there are still opportunities for the Ethiopian government as well as international governments and organizations to create positive change and aspire future innovation within Ethiopia.

Source: Borgenmagazine