ETHIOPIA – Leading coffee producing country in the region, Ethiopia is set to build its first institution of higher learning focusing on the coffee industry, that will deliver courses and conduct research.
To be established with an investment of 50 million euros, the institution known as Coffee College, is scheduled to start delivering the courses in the first quarter of 2021.
According to Addis Fortune, it will offer six courses at the undergraduate level i.e. Roasting, Trading and Branding; Metal & Engineering; Power & Decentralized Power Generation; Water & Water Distribution; Media; and Nursing & Kindergarten.
They partnered with Technical University of Munich (TUM), one of Europe’s leading university to craft the curriculum.
After finishing the first four semesters in Ethiopia, students will go to Europe for six months to pursue the remaining courses.
The College, which has been undergoing preparations in the last three years, will also provide inspection, testing and verification of coffee services.
It will offer diploma and bachelor’s degree after two and four years respectively, while an additional two years is required for a master’s degree.
With a campus in Austria and its Scientific & Research Headquarters in Munich, Germany, the College plans to build an administrative headquarters in Addis Abeba.
The owners of the College, who run a coffee roasting business in Austria, chose Ethiopia as its destination because of the tremendous potential for the coffee industry, according to Erich Fussl, president of the College.
The College will have academic and commercial wings. The academic wing is responsible for the university programme delivery.
On the other hand, the commercial wing will be in charge of utilising the knowledge and findings of the university programme for business purposes.
All developments, findings and patents will be collected at the Special Investment Fund, a department that is responsible for the commercial utilisation of intellectual property.
It plans to source funds for research and development projects mainly from the European Union, as well as from the Malaysian Sovereign Wealth Fund, the World Bank, the United Nations, the Asian Development Bank and the African Union.
“If well-exploited, the coffee industry is very important for every sector,” said Erich. “The College wants to actualise this.”
Coffee is the major foreign currency generator for the country with more than 400 coffee exporters and 30 import-export companies.
According the Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Ethiopia’s coffee production for 2020/2021 is forecast to be 450,000 metric tons an increase from previous season’s 447,000 MT.
Exports during the period are forecasted to reach 4.15 million bags (247,200 metric tons), 250,000 bags more than 2019/20 exports.
With the establishment of the institution, it will boost the quality of the country’s coffee and make it trade competitively in the global market which has seen its unit value declining in the recent times.
A kilogram of Ethiopian coffee was sold for US$3.90 three years ago, but it dropped to US$3.30 in the 2018/19 fiscal year.
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