October 7, 2017
The KAIZEN movement has gained unprecedented acceptance and momentum in Ethiopia above any other country in Africa. With the full commitment of the Ethiopian Government Kaizen methodologies are being implemented across the country in multiple sectors, including manufacturing and TVET schools.
Ethiopia is seeking to transform itself into a middle-income country by 2025 mainly by transforming the industrial sector; the nation is pushing towards increasing its industrial competitiveness through quality, productivity and competiveness (QPC) improvement.
The Ethiopian Kaizen Institute (EKI), established in 2011 with the strong initiative of the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, held its fifth award ceremony at the Ghion Hotel in Addis Ababa on October 07, 2017. Invited guests included Minister Tagesse Chafo, Ministry of Public Service and Human Resource Development (MoPSHRD), Ambassador Shinichi Saide, Embassy of Japan and Mr. Ryuichi Kato, Director General of Africa Division, JICA Headquarters among representatives of companies and agencies that are currently implementing KAIZEN activities in their work places.
With the assistance of the Japanese government, EKI has been training consultants and teaching KAIZEN to companies and micro enterprises. To date, more than 630 companies have introduced KAIZEN, thereby increasing their productivity by an average of 37.2% and reducing waste by an average of 55.2%.
During the awards ceremony, Mesfin Industrial Engineering, located in Mekelle city, Water Drilling Enterprise in Amhara Region and Lideta Manufacturing Training Institute in Addis Ababa were awarded first, second and third place respectively, during the national KAIZEN Awards portion of the ceremony.
"Winning these awards means taking on more responsibility," said Mr. Mekonnen Yaie, Director General of EKI. EKI is looking towards becoming a KAIZEN Center of Excellence in Africa and to achieve that more and more companies and individuals need to be trained and certified in KAIZEN methods. In March 2016, JICA held a KAIZEN Knowledge Sharing Seminar in Ethiopia and shared Ethiopia's experience with participants from 11 other African countries. It is JICA's hope that KAIZEN will be widely practiced in the continent, to contribute to industrial promotion.
Speaking at the event Mr. Kato shared a popular saying in Japan with attendees that the KAIZEN philosophy says "If you do not have money, use your mind". KAIZEN is a philosophy that can flourish in Ethiopia as it can be implemented by anyone anywhere, with very little resources.
KAIZEN activities in Ethiopia