Russia stepping up support to Ethiopia in the field of technology


Ethiopia and Russia have age-long diplomatic cooperation. The cooperation first began seeing similarities in culture and history but then they shared common ideology and world view. The two countries’ relation evolved overtime and reached this momentum as they are cooperating in range of fields like international diplomacy, military, cultural exchange, education, trade, investment and technology.

Lately, the cooperation and exchange of visits between the two countries is increasing. On Februray, Russian Navy delegation led by Major General Alexander Ostrikov arrived in Ethiopia to visit Ethiopia’s attempt to rebuild a modern navy, according to a report from Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF). An agreement was also reached with the Russian Navy to collaborate in various fields of training so that Ethiopia can unlock its potential in becoming a competing naval force in the Red Sea.

Russia’s support to Ethiopia in the fields of technology was the newst addition but anchored as major area of cooperation. Four years ago, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov indicated Russia’s interest to expand areas of cooperation to technology and education. “We have agreed to give an additional boost to the work of the Intergovernmental Commission for the sake of implementing joint projects in a number of domains such as energy including nuclear energy, hydropower, biological research connections and many others.”

Then, Ethiopia and Russia signed an agreement to develop a nuclear facility for civilian purposes in March 2022. They again struck a deal in April 2019 for Russia to construct a nuclear power plant in Ethiopia within ten years. It is also approved by The Ethiopian House of Peoples’ Representatives (HPR) in December 2020. As the two sustained supporting each other in the international stage, cooperation in technology has caught the interest of Ethiopian officials. Ethiopia has mainstreamed technology and see it as a way to hasten its development ambition. Any help in this area therefore gets special attention.

On the round of visits and discussions to materilaize the agreements, they have held the 8th Ethio-Russia Intergovernmental Commission meeting here in Addis Ababa this week. The aim of the forum is to enchance and advance relation in trade, investment, scientific and technical cooperation. In an opening remark, Ethiopia’s Technology and Innovation Minister Belete Molla (PhD) acknowledged Russia’s unwavering solidarity and the support the latter showed when Ethiopia was invaded by foreign aggressors and its territorial integrity and sovereignty has been challenged. Straight to the point, Belete requested Russia to strengthen support for the digital transformation aspirations of the Ethiopian Government and people.

Maxim Parshin who is a leader of Russian delegation and deputy minister of digital development, communications and mass media of the Russian federation “confirmed that “Russia will work to increase its cooperation with Ethiopia in the field of digital technology,” according to the Ethiopian Ministry. He further pledged that the Russian Federation will cooperate with the Ethiopian government in improving electronic government services, digital skills, information network security and similar other areas.

Russia has also been supporting Ethiopia in economic and education fields, Belete recalls. “Dejazmach Balcha Hospital is a living testimony for the Russian’s contribution during Italy’s Invasion of Ethiopia. Our shared vision and mutual trust for values of freedom, equality and mutual trust that hold us together, could serve as a solid foundation for the future cooperation we envision to build a better future for the coming generation.”

Belete said that Ethiopia is now on the right track to achieve its vision of sustainable, green economic growth, and Russian investors need to take part in the former’s development endeavors. Ethiopia’s potentials in the manufacturing, mining, energy, agriculture and pharmaceutical sectors will also provide ample opportunity for Russian businesses.

Head of the Federal Agency for Mineral Resources of the Russian Federation Evgeny Petrov said for his part that Ethiopia remains one of his country’s most important partners in Africa. One of Russia’s main tasks is to increase the volume of bilateral trade and diversify it qualitatively. At the end of 2021, the trade turnover amounted to 225 million USD. At the same time, for nine months of this year, the trade turnover decreased by 66.7 percent to 45.1 million USD due to an artificial reduction.

The Russian Federation is ready to share experiences and technologies and organize training for professionals. “It is necessary to focus on the development of trade, investment, financial and banking cooperation. We will also discuss prospects in the field of energy, geology and management of mineral resources and agriculture, information and communication technologies, healthcare and education.”

The deliberation would advance and transform people- to- people relations and the strategic partnership between them. ICANN to Advance Africa’s Digital Transformation The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) launched the Coalition for Digital Africa this week. The coalition is an initiative aimed at expanding the Internet in the continent.

The Coalition which is conceived by ICANN is an alliance of like-minded organizations committed to building a robust and secure Internet infrastructure to bring more Africans online. Africa has one of the fastest-growing Internet penetration rates in the world as it is home to the the youngest population on the planet.

According to Cision PR NewsWire, internet connectivity is growing by leaps and bounds – from 1.2 percent in 2000 to 43 percent in 2021 – driven by a digitally savvy, young, and educated urban workforce for whom adopting and using online services is second nature.

ICANN President and CEO Gӧran Marby said: “The Coalition for Digital Africa provides an opportunity for new ways of cooperating and collaborating among diverse stakeholders.” The Coalition will further promote innovation aimed at building technical capacity and encourage entrepreneurialism by enabling people to access the Internet using their own  languages and scripts.

While its official launch took place during a press conference at the 17th annual Internet Governance Forum, being held in Addis Ababa, the Coalition already has rolled out activities in pursuit of its goals.

John Omo, Secretary General, African Telecommunications Union, noted that the establishment of the Coalition will play the important role of enhancing confidence in many online systems that are now being mainstreamed, even as the continent looks forward to growing Internet penetration in Africa from the current 43% to globally competitive levels. One way the Coalition will tackle this is through a project led by the Association of African Universities aimed at making email and other systems within higher education UA-ready.

“This is an important and welcome initiative for Africa. Improving the technical capacity of higher education institutions across the continent is imperative for a digital Africa,” said Olusola Bandele Oyewole, Secretary General of the Association of African Universities. The Coalition for Digital Africa comprises governments, regional and international organizations, and the local Internet community.

The Ethiopian Herald December 9/2022

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