Private Sector Engagement to improve the local book industry in Ethiopia

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blueTree Group is working strategically and systematically with Ethiopia’s READ II project (funded by USAID) and local printing companies to address the bottlenecks faced by the local industry to achieve a sustainable book supply chain.

blueTree Group’s Short-TermTechnical Assistance (STTA) trip to Ethiopia in January 2020 focused on policy support through private sector engagement. Private Sector Engagement (PSE) is a strategic approach to international development through which USAID projects consult, strategize, aligns, collaborates, and implements with the private sector for greater scale, sustainability, and effectiveness of development or humanitarian outcomes (source definition: usaid.gov/work-usaid/private-sector-engagement).

The STTA trip which took place between January 19 and 31 2020, mobilized 13 local printing companies. These companies will work with the Ministry of Education (MOE) to advocate for the review of the import policy for paper which significantly reduces the price competitiveness of the local book industry.

The policy support involved meetings with key stakeholders to establish the need for a policy review, agree on the strategy and form a working group to further work on the advocacy process through the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

This is a unique example of how NGOs, public and private partners can come together to help governments create and accelerate sustainable book supply chains in the Education sector. The successful partnership in Ethiopia is expected to help scale the impact of the USAID funded, READ II project.

Viola Kirongo