Ethiopian Companies Meet to Discuss Applications of New Technology as Country Eyes Rapid Economic Growth

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Leading organisations and technology implementers from across Ethiopia are discussing ways in which new technology can help drive the country’s economic growth. The industry stakeholders convened in Addis Ababa for a tech-based forum this June, along with experts from global software application company, SAP.

The aim of the meeting was to discuss how intelligent technologies such as artificial intelligence, predictive analytics and conversational interfaces could be applied to create a step-change in productivity and innovation and transform how companies conduct business.

According to Pedro Guerreiro, Managing Director for Central Africa at SAP Africa, the mass adoption of cloud, big data and mobile technologies over the past two decades has left organisations generating huge volumes of data that can be leveraged by intelligent technologies to drive innovation and business growth.

“Ethiopia’s rapid economic growth and development has created immense opportunities for organisations in the region to digitise and establish Intelligent Enterprise capabilities,” he said.

“Doing so will enable them to draw meaningful insights from their data that can be used to improve resource allocation, increase operational efficiencies and achieve game-changing business outcomes,” Guerreiro added.

He was speaking at an event dubbed SAP Innovation Day Ethiopia, which was held in Addis Ababa and featured presentations by some of the country’s leading organisations. The event also showcased SAP-led innovations, demo booths, and networking with some of the region’s most innovative organisations and SAP implementation partners.

The affair was graced by SAP executives, among them, Robin Njiru, General Business Director for SAP East Africa.

Ethiopia is Africa’s second most populous country and is the third-fastest growing economy in the world. According to data by the World Bank, Ethiopia’s growth is fuelled by the services industry, construction, agriculture and manufacturing. Its government aims to reach lower-middle-income status by 2025.

“Ethiopia is one of only two African countries that are expected to attain 7%-plus GDP growth in the 2020s, which if sustained would double the country’s GDP in a single decade,” Guerreiro explained.

“This could completely transform the country’s economic prospects while unlocking unprecedented prosperity for its citizens. Technology has an important role to play, both as a catalyst for greater productivity and innovation,” he continued.

Also at the event was Zemedeneh Negatu, Global Chairman of the Fairfax Africa Fund, who was the keynote speaker. He noted that Ethiopia’s growing manufacturing sector has already attracted the likes of Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger, while the country’s aviation industry has grown to become one of the largest in Africa. This comes even as Ethiopia Airlines is currently taking its place as the largest airline on the continent in terms of passengers, destinations, fleet size and revenue.

“As industries mature, the ability to leverage the latest technologies and accelerate innovation while delivering positive customer experiences will be crucial if organisations are to unlock new global market opportunities and compete successfully. Technology partners such as SAP will play a vital role in enabling the country’s on-going transformation into a powerful player in the global digital economy,” he explained.

Commenting on the same, Guerreiro added that the Ethiopian government has already committed to increasing the technology sector’s contribution to GDP over the next two years.

“Government efforts to equip young professionals with skills in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) fields are already bearing fruit, with 70% of students in higher education now pursuing qualifications in STEM related fields, while initiatives such as Africa Code Week further introduce growing numbers of youth to basic coding skills that will enable them to participate in the digital economy,” he elaborated.

“We look forward to working with our partners and customers in the public and private sector to accelerate the application of technology to solve some of the country’s biggest challenges and take advantage of its greatest opportunities,” he concluded.

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