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Experts, academia express concern about population explosion

Anxious about what would happen once Ethiopia’s population doubles in 2050, a group of professionals and academics have decided to air their concerns and make recommendations on the required approaches to abate the socioeconomic misfortune that might befall the country in the coming thirty years because of an impending uncontrolled population explosion, The Reporter has learnt.   

The Joint Ethiopian Engineers Professional Association, the Ethiopian Academy of Science, the Ethiopian Economics Association and Unity University, have teamed up to co-host an international conference dubbed: “Ethiopia 2050: Grand Challenges and Opportunities,” which will be held on December 19-20, 2019 at the Skylight Hotel.

In a joint press conference held on Thursday, leaders of these institutions as an organizing committee of the conference have highlighted that Ethiopia is expected to face challenging times with its fast-growing population.

Tesfaye Workineh, managing director of United Consulting Engineering PLC, also representing the Joint Ethiopian Engineers Professional Association said that by 2050, Ethiopia’s current population size is expected to double, exceeding 200 million and that entails the need for an appropriate intervention and policies measures.

The mounting gaps in the socioeconomic infrastructure in the face of the population growth warranties a scientific reflection and alternatives, the scholars pointed out.

Arega Yirdaw (PhD), Chief Executive Officer of Midroc Group, representing Unity University, one of the subsidiaries of Midroc, said that the conference will provide policy recommendations to the government. Tsige Gebremariam (prof.), President of the Ethiopian Science Academy, also highlighted, how Ethiopia 2050 will set out a platform to discuss a common developmental agenda for the country. A think tank has also been formed to follow-up and gauge outcomes of the recommended policy interventions.

According to the joint organizers, the conference will be attended by 300 participants and according to Tesfaye, 40 local and international intellectuals are expected to present papers addressing the thematic issues.

As population pressure and its fast growth presses Ethiopia, experts have opted to focus on: integrated water resource management, large scale urbanization, food security, sustainability and environment, energy demand and supply, advanced manufacturing, transportation infrastructure, ICT infrastructural expansion, access to healthcare and STEM education, workforce and employment, as major topics to be dealt with on the conference.

Previously, the Ethiopian Economics Association (EEA) used to have a similar theme: Vision 2020, where since the turn of 2000, the association kept highlighting on what Ethiopia’s future would look like after two decades. Demirew Getachew, head secretariat of EEA told The Reporter that Vision 2020 is under review and outcomes of the evaluations will be announced soon.