African Unity for Renaissance Conference held in Ethiopia for the first time
The 10th annual African Unity for Renaissance Conference (AURC) that is intended to foster a conducive environment for Africa’s development through science, technology and innovation was held in Ethiopia for the first time.
The 10th annual African Unity for Renaissance Conference (AURC) that is intended to foster a conducive environment for Africa’s development through science, technology and innovation was held in Ethiopia for the first time. The conference took place from May 25 – 28, 2021 at the Radisson Blue Hotel in Addis Ababa with a wide range of participants coming from various stakeholders in Ethiopia including some from the Technology and Innovation Institute (TECH-IN) and others from South Africa.
The South African participants took part in the panel discussion via zoom on the theme Africa’s Unity Beyond COVID-19 while the other four different presentations were shared on the second day by presenters from the Ethiopian side.
One of these presentations made by Mr. Belachew Alemayehu, a researcher from TECH-IN, was the findings of the national survey conducted by the Institute on the innovation performance of small, medium and large enterprises in the country. Mr. Belachew highlighted that more than ETB 8.9 billion revenue was generated by local organizations as a result of their investment in innovation activities during the survey period in 2017 and 2018. The innovative firms on aggregate invested about 525 million birr while they received about 25 million birr from public and other foreign funding sources, which was not more than 5% of their total investment.
The findings of the survey also highlighted the types of innovation and the motivating factors for the organizations to embark on different types of innovations including product, process, organizational and marketing innovations that have been assessed in the survey. The current level of innovation in Ethiopia was found to be very low with not more than 20% of the total number of firms surveyed were engaged in innovative undertakings. The limited level of innovation and registered IPR ownerships show the need for enforcement of intellectual property rights, the provision of financial support and enhancement of knowledge transfer as well as other relevant recommendations.
The other presentation shared by Mr. Nigatu Belayneh a researcher from TECH-IN highlighted the research findings regarding the influence of tyre inflation pressure on the level of fuel consumption and vehicle performance that was demonstrated in a study conducted on Anbessa City Bus in Addis Ababa. The study used three-vehicle tyre models, and considered load on the tyres, rolling resistance variations and rotational aerodynamic effect of the tyres to analyze fuel consumption of the vehicles. According to the results of the study, the third model with underinflation showed more than 11% fuel efficiency than the first model with the standard inflation pressure at a speed of 60 km/hour.
There were also a couple of more presentations on other topics such as Thermal Regulating Leather for Hot Environment, and Analysis Factors Affecting Firm-Level Innovation Activity in Ethiopia, by Mr. Wogene Demise, again a researcher from TECH-IN, and Mr. Abebaw Abibo, another researcher from the University of Gondor, respectively.
Participants attending the conference reflected their views on the presentations shared and the issues raised in the panel discussions held during the conference.
The African Unity for Renaissance Conference (AURC) is an annual flagship conference organized by the Africa Institute of South Africa (AISA) in collaboration with other partners.
The conference has been organized successively in the past 10 years in South Africa, and it was for the first time it was now organized in another African country.
Though the conference was originally scheduled to be held last year, it was postponed to this time of the year due to the outbreak of COVID 19 across the world.