RE: “An import substitution lesson: Ethiopia assembles AU’s anti-Al Shabaab tanks” (The New Times, November 8).
Good to learn that at Bishoftu, in Ethiopia, “there are few degree holders there, only certificates and gifted hands from vocational technical colleges”.
But in the writer’s indirect call upon Rwanda and the rest of Africa to emulate Ethiopia, I wish he had told us more about those few degree holders.
Who are they? How, by whom, for how long, and in which mind perspective have they been trained?
No doubt they are the ones whom the entire experiment is derived from. They certainly devised it, and they are the ones implementing it.
“Certificates and gifted hands from vocational technical colleges” only execute plans made by the former, and follow given instructions. Competent product and service thinkers are therefore the key to such an endeavor in imports substitution.
Before insisting on countrywide TVET training—which is very important indeed—I think, Rwanda and Africa ought to set up, first and fast, high level training in locally appropriate product and service research and development centres.
If Ethiopia has done it, other countries can do it as well—just a question of mindset change.