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Practices and Challenges of Innovation in the Ethiopian Cement Sector Practices and Challenges of Innovation in the Ethiopian Cement Sector

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Kassahun Yimer Kebede(PhD)

Assistant Professor of Technology and Innovation Management Addis Ababa Institute of Technology, AAU, Ethiopia

As part of a large scale research project, we had tried to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the emerging sectoral systems of innovation in key manufacturing sectors in Ethiopia including the cement sector.  The purpose of the study was to see how green innovations are practiced and promoted as part of the green industrialization effort of the nation. The extent of green innovation, defined as innovations that aimed to reduce energy, water and material inputs or solid, liquid and gaseous wastes, was substantially lower. The rates of both product and process innovation were less than 20 per cent amongst cement enterprises; only 12 per cent of firms reported green product innovations, and 15 per cent engaged in green process innovation. Two of the important drivers of innovation included increasing market share and reducing unit costs; meeting environmental regulations and sustainability considerations were not mentioned. Technology and knowledge transfer links between research institutions and firms were found to be weak, although industry development institutes are playing a key role in promoting linkage and innovation in the sector. The study policy recommendations include enhancing the inter-ministerial coordination of innovation policies and support activities, building capacity to monitor and enforce environmental regulations, and providing incentives for firms to introduce green innovations.

Dr. Kassahun has worked for more than 13 years as a university lecturer, researcher, and consultant in Industrial Engineering, Technology Management, and Industrial Business Development fields. Kassahun has worked in the academia and the private sector at different capacities and roles. He has got his B.Sc. in Industrial Engineering in Ethiopia and his M.Sc. and PhD in Technology Management in Netherlands and Japan, respectively.

Currently, he is an assistant professor and chair holder of Industrial Engineering at Addis Ababa Institute of Technology, Addis Ababa University. He has worked as a director for Corporate R&D, officer for Business Development and Project Manager in the private sector. He has recently founded a consulting firm, AFRINOVATION Engineering and Business Solutions PLC and works as a consultant, researcher and trainer.