Ethiopia Launches Industry Extension Service Package Targeting SMEs

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

In an attempt to replicate success stories from its ’Agriculture Extension Program’, which has been showing some good results in changing the lives of poor farmers, the Ethiopian government launched today ’Industry Extension Service’ package targeting urban Small and Micro Enterprises (SMEs).

Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutions will provide the new service package, which targets solving all the major headaches of SMEs in the country, according to the strategic document presented at the national conference opened today (February 22, 2011) at the Prime Minister Office.

Briefing on the strategies to regional government representatives, which includes heads of regional government’s, Arkebe Equbay, Advisor to the Prime Minister, stated that the government is committed to foster and support SMEs in order to solve unemployment in the urban areas.

As the ambitious five-year Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP) of the country focuses on laying the ground for the transformation of the economy from agriculture to industry, giving focus and priority to SMEs is also critical, according to Arkebe.

In addition, he also noted that economies of countries such as India and Japan, the two countries where the research team have visited before preparing the strategic document, are highly reliant on SMEs.

“Even though it will be difficult to provide Industry Extension Services to all SMEs at the beginning, we will start by providing the service to selected existing enterprises and to the enterprises engaged in development-focused sectors,” said Arkebe.

SMEs, who are engaged in manufacturing sector, especially those who produce products for export market or replace import items and those who are already clustered will primarily get Industry Extension Service, according to the strategic document.

The services that will be provided to the SMEs by TEVT institutions among other includes skills trainings on entrepreneurship, business management, best technology adaptation and transfer, productivity, quality maintenance and product standardization and certifications.

Source: New Business Ethiopia (link opens in a new window)