Light Manufacturing: Is It Light to Realise?


Izumi Ohno (Prof.) and Kenichi Ohno (Prof.), of the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS),led the 13th round of policy dialogue between Japan and Ethiopia in Addis Abeba, held from February 24 to February 27, 2014. The dialogue focused on Ethiopia’s industrialisation strategy and its desire to embrace light manufacturing.

The couple, who have been married for 20 years, believe that with the policy directions put forward by the incumbent government, Ethiopia can reach a stage where industrial growth is faster than agricultural growth, helping redundant labour move from rural areas to urban areas, where there will be manufacturing – as has been the case in Asia. For this to happen, however, they argue that Ethiopia must extricate itself from the current complicated business environment. Bureaucratic red-tape and a lack of coordination between the various governmental bodies must also be avoided, according to them.

Izumi Ohno is a graduate of economics and development policy from Princeton University, in New Jersey, United States. She, then, graduated in economics and international relations from Tsuda College in Tokyo, Japan.She has been a professor at the Development Forum Project of the GRIPS since January, 2002.

Kenichi Ohno (Prof.) has a Doctorate Degree in economics from Stanford University, United States. He has specialised in development economics, industrial policy, exchange rate management, financial integration and development policy regimes in East Asia. From 2003 to present, he has been research director at the Vietnam Development Forum based in Hanoi and Tokyo.

In this interview, with BINYAM ALEMAYEHU, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, Kenichi Ohno and Izumi Ohno discuss the overriding concerns of the dialogue, particularly focusing on the prospects of light manufacturing for Ethiopia’s structural transformation to industry.


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