Ethiopia, Japan holds 14th Round of Policy Dialogue on Industrial Development

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Addis Ababa, 15 August 2014 (WIC) - Japan and Ethiopia are holding the 14th Round of Policy Dialogue on Industrial Development in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 11 to 15 August, 2014.

This Dialogue was referred to in the Joint Communiqué by Prime Minister Mr. Shinzo Abe and Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn issued on the occasion of the state visit of Japan’s Prime Minister to Ethiopia in January where “Prime Minister Hailemariam applauded the Industry Policy Dialogue for its high-quality input leading towards the transformation of industrial sector, which is one of the main pillars of the GTP."

The current round is an important follow-up to Prime Minister Abe’s visit to Ethiopia.

Based on the request by the late Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Meles Zenawi, Professor Kenichi Ohno and Professor Izumi Ohno from the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS) have led the Dialogue since June 2009.

Meles had taken great interest in the Asian experience of development for a long time, and in July 2008, he was impressed by the two professors’ research presentation on the industrialization approach based on the East Asian model.

This led Meles to request that Japan provide intellectual support to Ethiopia through holding a Policy Dialogue on Industrial Development. Under the Policy Dialogue, the two professors have held talks with the late Prime Minister Meles 8 times, and with Prime Minister Hailemariam 6 times, including the one being held currently.   

The Policy Dialogue has been conducted as a technical assistance project by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and thus, has been coordinated closely with the "Kaizen” initiative that the Ethiopian Government is implementing across the country with assistance of Japan. This is also the platform that created the “Champion Products approach,” which is a tool for promoting trade and increasing exports.   

This 14th Round of Policy Dialogue received high level attendance headed by Newayekiristos Gebreab, Economic Advisor to the Prime Minister, and ranks of ministers and state-ministers from economic development related Ministries and agencies of Ethiopia, including the Ministry of Industry.

The discussion covered such topics as the positioning of “Kaizen” in the next GTP2, a direction of scaling up industrial capacity to achieve industrial development and a light manufacturing vision (for example, human resource development, capacity building for supporting agencies in order to strengthen domestic industry), points Ethiopia should note (for example, the correlation between labor productivity and wage, corporation compliance, labor issues). During the discussion, the Japanese side, including Professor Ohno, introduced best practices and lessons learned from Asian and African countries.

In addition, from the point of investment climate, wage, labor productivity and incentives for promoting investment, the situation of the “Latest Comer” countries, namely Myanmar, Cambodia and Bangladesh, where Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows are increasing, was introduced and an active exchange of views and discussions were conducted on policies to encourage more FDI based on other countries’ experiences or the necessity to implement industrial policy step by step.

Furthermore, during the discussion with Prime Minister Hailemariam on 13 August, participants exchanged views on various issues including the future vision of Ethiopia’s economy, in particular, the appropriate strategy to achieve Ethiopia’s vision.