Local labour can replace two-thirds of non-nationals who are legally engaged in various lines of businesses in the country, a new study reveals.
Commissioned by the Ministry of Labour & Social Affairs (MoLSA), the study was undertaken for over three months in Amhara, Oromia, Southern Nations & Nationalities and Tigray regional states as well as Addis Abeba with a cost of nearly half a million Birr.
The primary rationale of the study was to measure the effectiveness of technology transfer in the country, where over 15,927 non-nationals are issued work permits every year.
‘The research also highlights the role of technology transfer and government innovation policy in supporting locals.
About 163 Ethiopians and 132 non-nationals were sampled during the study. Both quantitative and qualitative analyses were implemented during the research.
Tak-Innovative Research & Development Institute – the company that conducted the study – sampled individuals working in 10 sectors and industries. Tak, incepted five years ago, is known for its engagement in studies done in collaboration with Addis Abeba Chamber of Commerce & Sectoral Association (AACCSA).
About 84pc of the locals sampled in the research acquired new technological skills from expats; the study indicates, while 67pc of the respondents are confident enough that they can replace the non-nationals.
“This shows that non-nationals are engaged in areas where the work can be easily done by locals,” said a consultant who participated in the research by Tak.
Half of the respondents rated the tech transfer from expats as high, whereas 36pc of the found it moderate and 21pc rated it low.
Out of the respondents who have confirmed the successful technology transfer to the locals, people engaged in the areas of business, economics and engineering took the lion’s share.
Resource management, handling machines and quality assurance management skills are the areas where the non-national professionals believe they have succeeded in transferring knowledge and expertise, the study affirms.
Nevertheless, this had not been without challenges.
Low salary and benefits and absence of an exclusive directorate that follows the existence of tech transfer at the Ministry are its main constraints, according to the study.
The absence of a database at the Ministry is also a major obstacle to identify the number of non-nationals who receive work permits in the country.
The Ministry must replace its manual system with a digital one to accurately enumerate individuals who have been issued work permits so far and ensure tech transfer in the country, the research concludes.
Among the sampled companies, SVS Salt Processing Factory- owned by Turkish and local investors- managed to reduce the number of non-national experts in the firm from 26 to six. Addis Abeba Light Rail projects can be also regarded as the best example of successful technological progress and transfer. Formerly, the railway was operated by 63 Chinese drivers. But now, 126 locals have replaced the Chinese fully.
For Assefa Admassie, an economist who has done studies about human resource economics and tech transfer, the parameter of the tech transfer is essential to determine its success.
“The study should have set parameters to identify the real level of the tech transfers. Otherwise, it is hard to quantify,” he said.
One of the policies implemented by the government in the second edition of the Growth & Transformation Plan (GTP II) is strengthening a link between international and local companies in a bid to promote technology and knowledge transfer.
In Ethiopia, the labour force has reached over 47 million and more than 270,000 students graduate from private and public colleges and universities yearly, of which more than 20pc are unemployed.
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