Ethiopian researcher time and again popping up on global publication limelight:

23 Sep 2017

Yohannes Yebabe Tesfay, Senior Quantitative Scientist,

Econometrician and Supply Chain Process Engineer


Today’s guest is Yohannes Yebabe Tesfay. He was born and raised in the heart of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. When he was four, his parents sent him to Africa Andinent School's kindergarten (1986-88) found in the heart of Piassa, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. After that, he attended elementary school at WondeYerad (1989-96), Kotebe, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Later, he moved to Tikur Anbessa (1997-2001), Churchill Road, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to attend his high school. In 2002, he went up to Hawassa University and graduated with a Bachelor degree in Applied Mathematics in 2005. Then, he joined Addis Ababa Graduate School and graduated with a Master of Statistics in 2009.


What was your contribution to the education sector when you were at home?

Since childhood, I have enjoyed spending my time in tackling mathematical challenges. When I was a teenage, I liked challenging my limits in solving thought-provoking mathematical problems in texts and references. When I joined high school, I developed deep affection for physics. When I started high school,tragically my parents departed this ein. Life. If truth be told, it was pretty tough to proceed with my potential. An eleventh grader, I went through the story of I. Newton, F. Gauss and A. Einstein, latter L. Euler and E. Galois, which helped me recognize scores of challenges that I would come across down the road.

Without any exaggeration, I did not like subjects that required extensive memorization at all as my interest was about learning methods, techniques and formulas to solve problems. All things considered, I made up my mind to focus fully on mathematics and physics subjects. Hence, I developed ways of solving problems: “knowing one method or formula led me to find another way of solving the same problem.” I kept on frequently solving several problems by generating other two or more methods. Wherever I go, at any time my “goal was to find mathematical techniques to quantify the observed things,”

I believe this bent has helped me to utilize my sub-conscious mind to get the core objectives of mathematical sciences because I solve many problems even when I was asleep.

In 2002, I joined Hawassa University and I graduated with Applied Mathematics ,Minor in Computer Science, in 2005. During the four-year period of education of my undergraduate study, I developed my skills of analysis, numerical computations, optimization methods, solving ordinal and partial differential equations, mathematical modeling, statistical method I and II and programming. More importantly, I was obsessed with Abstract Algebra, which changed my view of understanding nature.

When I was a fourth year student, I tried to explore some scientific ideas in the areas of Mathematics (Theorem in Optimization of Irregular Bodies), which I have shown its applications in Optimal experimental techniques, economics and engineering. In addition, in physics (Quantum Mechanical theory of Time), I provided a mathematical proof that the quantity time as a discrete physical quantity, which is against Einstein’s conception of time. In 2005, the students council of Debub University awarded me a certificate of best researcher among the graduating class of the batch.

Then after I taught Mathematics and Physics for two years (2005-2007) at Sirre Preparatory School, Arsi, Ethiopia, I joined Addis Ababa Graduate School to attend Master Degree in Statistics.

During my postgraduate study, I acquired numerous knowledge and skills from both theory and methods of Statistics and Statistical Packages. Among the courses that I took, I accord special attention to Statistical Theory, Linear Statistical Models, Regression Analysis, Time Series Analysis and Survival Data Analysis. More importantly, the aforementioned courses helped me in teaching statistics courses, conducting research and advising researchers in economics, engineering, education, environment, health sciences and so on.

Since, my undergraduate study, I have placed much focus on “How to rigorously understand the core idea of the subject matter?”.Then I have been trying to “solve the problems referring many books in a way that I understand things, usually in my own way.” This allowed me to hone and sharpen my creativity ability.

Sometimes things could not be a bed of roses. It was frustrating to come across lecturers who ignored my creativity. I had two options: (1) to follow the order of the lecturers to score high grades, and (2) upgrading my own way of understanding the subject matter and solving problems. Then, I preferred the latter one. Hence, I knew that I was on the right track to achieve what great mathematicians accomplished.

From 2009 to 2013, I was a lecturer of Statistics at the School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences at Hawassa University, Ethiopia. During my stay at the University, I had taught undergraduate and graduate courses of Statistics. I also published several research papers in academic Journals, Conference Proceedings and books by publishers. Furthermore, I have assisted, encouraged and inspired MSc students to write and publish scientific articles. As a result, the students emerged successful in publishing articles in distinguished academic Journals like the American Journal of Mathematics and Statistics.

When did you go to Norway and why?

In 2013, the Norwegian government offered me a scholarship to attend another masters degree in Industrial Supply Chain Analysis. Then, I joined Molde Specialized University College. During my stay at the University, I had gained crucial knowledge of designing and analyzing complex industrial problems. During my stay there, I had showcased several academic achievements.

What significant publications have you done while you were studying your Master Program in Norway?

During my stay at the University, I revealed crucial knowledge of designing and analyzing complex industrial problems. However, the most important thing is that “By integrating my experience and knowledge of Mathematics and Statistics I conducted several research papers, some of which are published in High Quality Scientific Journals”. Furthermore, I had developed Business Strategy for two giant Norwegian companies, Statoil and Jotun.

In 2014, I scored above four-publishing point, which made me the top academic publisher at the institution, Molde Specialized University College. This “unfolding was an unprecedented one in the history of Norwegian Higher Education.” There were many debates about such an academic achievement: (1) Some professors were skeptical to accept my academic supremacy at the institution, and they tried to “stop me to do research”, (2) Some academicians suggested that “If Ethiopia has such “talented academicians why is the country still a developing one?”, (3) Most international societies felt proud of me as an achiever of young African Scholar, and (4) On the basis of my academic achievement several academic journals of USA, France, England, Germany and many others invited me to serve as scientific manuscript reviewer and as guest Editor.

During the publication process, “I faced extra–massive resistance from different scholars across the globe. However, passing through thick and thin,in 2015, I once again scored above four-publishing point, which made me the top academic publisher at the institution, Molde Specialized University College. For the third time in 2016 I emerged with flying colors.

In 2014, the Texas A&M University invited me to present my research papers. In 2015, the International Academy of Business and Economics (IABE), Las Vegas, USA awarded me among Best Scientific Paper contributors for my work entitled “Econometric Modelling and Forecasting for Norway's Revenue from Export of Ships: An Application to Two-Way Factorial With Interaction Model”. Journal of International Business and Economics®, 15(3), 7-28.

I have two masters degree and a good ability of conducting research. So, rather than attending PhD courses, I prefer to spend my time in conducting researches. Right now, I have already accumulated about 15 publication points based on European academic standard, which warrants me to complete my full professorship. In 2016, based up on my academic career, scholars of Taylor and Francis had conferred me as the title of a Senior Quantitative Scientist.

Could you brief us about your current researches, innovations and publications?

My research works are registered in the Current Research Information System in Norway. Furthermore, my papers are cited in the world’s leading academic publishers: Cambridge University Press, The Board Transportation, IGI-Global and others. Among these papers, the following are my innovations and discoveries:

Article Title (1): Modified panel data regression model and its applications to the airline industry: modeling the load factor of Europe North and Europe Mid Atlantic flights. 08/2016; DOI:10.1016/j.jtte.2016.01.006.

In this paper, I have modified the existing Panel Data Regression model by introducing dynamic-time effect parameter. The new model is called the Tesfay-Panel Data Regression model. The model is designed to measure the efficiency of capacity utilization of the airline. This model helps to solve complex operational decisions airlines make.

Article Title (2): Modeling the Causes of the Bullwhip Effect and Its Implications on the Theory of Organizational Coordination. Supply Chain Forum 08/2016; 16(2):30-46. DOI:10.1080/16258312.2015.11673827.

In this article, I have shown limitations of transaction cost analysis (TCA), which won a Nobel Prize in economics in 2009 based on deep analytically analysis on the causes of the Bullwhip effect. Consequently, I figured out, the solutions of the TCA are still insufficient to produce effective and efficient organizational coordination. In order to diagnose the drawbacks of the TCA, I introduced a new type of organizational coordination called the Hyper-Hybrid (Tesfay) Coordination. Finally, I have introduced the Kraljic-Tesfay Portfolio Matrix to solve complex problems and to improve the effectiveness and the efficiency of global supply chain analysis.

Article Title (3): A new econometric model to analyze variations and structural changes in international trade: Applications to the Norwegian import trade across continents and over time. International Journal of Trade and Global Markets 11/2015; 8(4). DOI:10.1504/IJTGM.2015.072825.

This paper proposed to develop a new econometric framework of international trade analysis by incorporating the Hecksher-Ohlin theory of international trade, which won Nobel Prize in economics in 1979. The newly invented equations are:

1. Hecksher-Ohlin model suggests that the item of import/export is a function of the country’s labor productivity and endowments of resources. In this new econometric modeling, the effect of the nested factor controlling the effect of the nesting factor (import/ export trading partners) and the mean, i.e. R(β α ,μ ) , measured and quantified such effects in the country’s international trade pattern. Such estimation is a new discovery of the econometric analysis of the international trade using the non-full rank hierarchical linear model. Therefore, we called the R(β α ,μ ) as the Hecksher-Ohlin-Tesfay effect on the country’s participation in the international trade.

2. The effect of the nesting factor (import/export trading partners) controlling the mean, i.e. R(α μ ), measured and quantified the origin/destination effect on the country’s international trade pattern. Such estimation is a new discovery of the econometric analysis of the international trade using the non-full rank hierarchical linear model. Therefore, we called the R(α μ ) as the Tesfay generalized extensive margin effect of the country’s participation in the international trade.

3. In traditional econometric analysis of identification of structural changes, the researcher assigns variables to identify the effect. However, in this new econometric analysis, we found that there is an important relationship between the sample size “n”, which is the expected value of the n-independently distributed chi-square values and the Eigenvalues of the information matrix of the normal equations. Therefore, only by adjusting the sample size, we can see the characteristics of the model parameters and this will aid us to evaluate structural changes in the country’s trade pattern. Therefore, we call the new methodology as the Tesfay Eigenvalue Technique of detecting structural changes on the country’s participation in the international trade.

Article Title (4): Derivations of estimable econometric functions of intra-trade industry: the case of the intra-continental trade pattern of Norway. International Journal of Computational Economics and Econometrics. Special issue in complex economics and economic complexity 2017.

The gravity equation was one of the most influential econometric model of bilateral trade pattern analysis. In this article, I have introduced a new Mathematical framework to analyze trade patterns. The newly introduced method called the Tesfay-Estimator of Trade pattern configuration, which recognizes significance of items on trade patterns. To perform the analysis, first I set a hypothesis whether the existing gravity equation is still the best econometric model against Tesfay-Estimator of Trade pattern configuration that has superior efficiency. The empirical result confirmed that the rejection of gravity equation is still the best econometric model.

Thus, I have shown model prediction power of the Tesfay-Estimator of Trade pattern. Then, after two-year deliberation, Professor Per B. Solibakke and I figured out linear combination of the Tesfay-Estimator of Trade pattern can be the best estimator of intra-trade industry. We called it the Tesfay-Solibakke Estimator of intra-trade industry. We have given a complete derivation of the Tesfay-Solibakke Estimator of intra-trade industry.

What is your impression about serving your people and working as a diplomat of your country in the area where you are residing now?

This is a crucially important question. I feel I should commit my full time for my home country, Ethiopia. I accept as true that I have showcased what Ethiopians can do to the academic world in a broad-array of scientific meetings. When the need arises, I give clear picture of my country, Ethiopia concerning the investment climate of the country. Unfortunately, most of them did not know much about Ethiopia.

One of my innovative papers entitled “Applications of the Kraljic-Tesfay Portfolio Matrix and the Hyper-Hybrid Governance in Global Supply Chain Analysis”, is designed to improve the supply performance of agricultural products. The aim of the paper is to increase the potential of farmers in the developing world, which includes Ethiopia through technology utilization. The paper suggests that the performance of global supply chain of agricultural products would be EFFECTIVE and EFFICIENT if and only if the most industrialized zones help to improve the performance of farmers who seek modern cultivation system. I recommend that the Ethiopian government will be a beneficiary if it upgrades its participation in Global Supply Chain system and if it restructures their coordination via the Hyper-Hybrid Governance.

In addition, all of us should focus on improving the quality of education. The education should be tailored in such a fashion to solve the problems of the country via proper experimentation. Therefore, I call up on all Ethiopians to do all they can to improve the quality of education. In this regard, if the government seeks my contribution I will definitely lend my helping hand forthcoming. Furthermore, I am still assisting my Ethiopian master students to publish scientific articles in credible journals.

What do you advise young researchers to emerge successful as you?

I emphasize on enthusing young fellow Ethiopians. In the global historic arena, it is a public knowledge that our forefathers had foiled colonial aggression in great showdowns. For this generation, it might seem a very simple historic occurrence. However, every nation knew that the independence of Ethiopia from foreign colonizers had changed the political terrain of the entire world, which declared the equality of human race! I personally believe that the independence of Ethiopia accelerated the independence of other nations in the world.

Our fathers did teach sovereignty, independence and equality to the world. Right here, we should ask ourselves about “our individual contribution(s) for our country. Therefore, youngsters should understand that the selfless sacrifices of our patriotic fathers to our beloved country is so huge that , the young generation has to repeat a similar victory in the development arena.”

I believe, hearing about my scientific achievements will motivate and mobilize my country’s fellow youngsters to contribute more than what I have so far achieved. To be a good scientist one must have: (1) identifying self-ability, (2) developing rational personality (3) good understanding of nature, (4) self-motivation and devotion, and (5) effective time management.

How could researchers here access your publications?

Regarding accessing my research publications for Ethiopian scholars, I had done a deal on my copyright argreemnts with the publisher companies.We made a deal that allow the accessiblity of my reseach papers for each Ethiopian Universities. This can spare the country millions of birr. To do that I just needed a formal request letter from concerned governmental bodies.

As a scholar and an expertise of the global airline industry, I am willing to avail expertise to the Ethiopian Airlines on advising strategic and operational decisions to optimize its yields, resolution and preparing of complex contractual agreements and increasing air transport capacity.

I would like to assist the government of my country in Transportation Planning, Financial and Budget Analysis, Developing Technology dissemination strategies, International trade performance and International Brand Management, and Designing Reaserch and Development with Universities and Stakeholders.

If you have anything to add?

I would like to call upon the government to create opportunities for researches, of my making abroad, to assist Ethiopia in research, education, designing strategies and principles. It sure will be good if it allows us share the problem of our people. Finally, I would like to praise God the Almighty, Jesus Christ, the only son of St. Mary, who gave me space to live and time to think. Second, I would like to thank St. Gabriel and St. Michael, who have protected me since my childhood. My special thanks go to professor Per Bjarte Solibakke for his continuous support and valuable improvements on my academic career. I also thank the Ethiopian Herald for approaching me for such an interview.

Furthermore, scholars and youngsters can directly communicate with me via my Facebook page and LinkedIn page of Yohannes Y Tesfay.





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