The 21 st general assembly of the Ethiopian Association of Civil Engineers (EACE) has accentuated the importance of
professional certification to improve ethics and development in the sector.
The annual assembly of the association held at the Economic Commission for Africa under the motto ‘Promoting Efficiency through
Reduction of Waste in Construction’ was attended by professional members including the former Prime Minister Hailemariam
Dessalegn, who is a civil engineer by profession.
During the conference Hailemariam said that the sector actors have to be ready to sacrifice to alleviate the challenges talked
about in the assembly. “Our association has to have additional value and help the sector play a role in controlling violations with
the goal of improving the profession,” Hailemariam added.
Tesfaye Workineh, President of EACE, said that to expand the role of the association the government has to give adequate
attention and support. He said that a professional certificate has to be given jointly by the association and the government.
“As per the experience of other countries the certification is given by similar associations, due to that the government has to give the
mandate fully or partly,” the president said. Tesfaye stressed that the certification issue has been frequently proposed to the government
but no results have been seen so far. Several participants have also added that empowering the association for the professional certificate
will improve the sector and exclude those go against the ethics of the profession.
During the session participants expressed complaints about the certification issue. They also claimed that they are expected to
travel to places like Nairobi and Dubai to get professional certification.
They criticized the government saying that lack of certification in the country has affected their business when it came to
participating in international businesses.
Yohannes Tsegaye, General Manager of G and Y Engineering Consult and member, said that he believed that EACE is the
proper body to come up with professional license and take action against those who breach ethics. “The association has to be
prepared for that mandate,” he said.
“After we accomplish the capacity building of every association besides the current further changes to the rules and regulations
we will work with them,” Khalid Abdulrahman, State Minister of Urban Development and Construction told Capital. “We will
narrow the gap mentioned by participants in the assembly,” he added.
The President of the association said they appreciated the current officials at the ministry. He said that top officials at the ministry
have expressed their strong support for the association and the sector in the latest meeting between the ministers and leaders of
EACE a week ago.
Currently Ministry of Urban Development and Construction is responsible for giving license registration, while professional certificates
are not given in the country. “Now we will facilitate the issuing of professional certificates via the association to improve the sector and
the profession by themselves and the licensing issuance will be also transferred for the association in process when they get an adequate
capacity,” the State Minister added.
Tesfaye said that even though the association has asked for support from the relevant government bodies they have not gotten
acceptable results. There are other things that they say would make their lives easier like access to adequate hard currency for
bilateral overseas cooperation with similar associations.
“The construction sector is the second economic pillar after agriculture. So strengthening the construction sector is directly
improving the country’s economic growth,” Tesfaye said.
“The yearly motto of the association targets saving resources which are wasted in the sector.”
He added that with regard to projects from planning to implementation on mega projects shall be undertaken in an inclusive manner
otherwise it will consume a significant amount of resources, money and time.
The association head has also stated that several trainings, workshops and seminars have been facilitated by the association but it
is not as much as needed because they need more training to improve their skills.
Jantirar Abay Minister of Urban Development and Construction, said that the association and its members are responsible for
improving the sector. He said that EACE should have a code of ethics since it is one of the priority professional associations for
the country’s development. “I believe that we all have to hplay a role in improving the capacity of the association,” he said.
Tesfaye said that his association has been working to expand the skill of professionals. “We have been working to expand civil
engineering, providing additional trainings, producing papers, working the government to improve regulations and focusing on
environmental work,” he added.
He said that his association is working to provide practical trainings for new graduates, who are untroubled to get jobs, while its
limited capacity affects the rate of practical training that played significant role for new graduates to access new jobs.
The former PM promised he would give his full effort. The association president underlined that EACE is working to branch out in
regions. The general assembly began with a moment of silence for the late Simegnew Bekele (Eng), former project manager of the
Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. (Capital Ethiopia)