From Alberta to Africa: UAlberta MBA Students Arrive in Ethiopia

An organization called Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) reached out to the Alberta School of Business to help them research and write a business plan to establish a Regional Cancer Centre of Excellence (RCCE) in Ethiopia. IGAD consists of eight (8) member countries; Ethiopia, Eritrea, Uganda, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Kenya and Djibouti. The Regional Cancer Centre of Excellence will serve patients from all the member countries.

In September 2016, MBA students were given the opportunity to apply to be a part of this unique Frontiers of Business Initiative. Many students applied but only nine (9) students were chosen to be a part of the team. The nine students chosen are as follows: Hickimatu Braimah, Beatrice Artadi, Sean DeWitt, Sarah Prendergast, Doran Walker, Jodi-Ann Sadler, Tim Buckland, Diane Turner and Nevil Shah.

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Nevil & Diane

This was a start of an adventurous, fun, stressful and perspective changing project. After months of research, lots of meetings and discussions with the client (IGAD), the team of nine along with their professor Dr. Emily Block are finally in Ethiopia to do some on the ground research.

On January 5th 2017, the first of nine students arrived in Ethiopia and on January 6th another 6 students along with their professor arrived. Due to the long flight to Ethiopia, the first day was spent getting over jet-lag, familiarizing ourselves with Addis Ababa and also meeting a key person in from IGAD, Dr. Girum Hailu.

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Hickimatu, Dr. Girum and Doran

Key highlights of our first day includes:

  • Exploring the city centre of Addis Ababa
  • Witnessing the traditional Ethiopian coffee roasting and brewing ceremony
  • Enjoying dinner at a traditional Ethiopian restaurant
  • Meeting with Dr. Girum to discuss meetings we will be having while in Ethiopia
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Did you know? Ethiopia celebrates Christmas in January. The project team took part in an Ethiopian coffee brewing tradition to celebrate.

Written by Hickimatu Braimah