6 June 2018

Ethiopia: Green Economy - More Than Novelty for Ethiopia

Ethiopia is integrating green economy agenda in all its cross-sectoral issues, and national and regional plans, which is allowing the country to take a better seat to harness the benefits and reduce the risks in a forward-looking and comprehensive manner.

By designing an overarching green economy strategy - Climate Resilient Green Economy (CRGE) - and by encouraging climate smart investments, Ethiopia has showed that green economy is not a mere novelty idea, but a crucial part of its development strategy.

Of course there are some concerns raised in some quarters stating that it would take huge amount of investment to transition to low carbon economy for a developing country; money these countries do not simply have laying around. They reckon that such transition will not be an easy process for developing countries as they lack the needed technology.

However, developing countries can benefit from a shift to a green economy as economic growth and emission growth has one-to-one relation, and can also provide the possibility to generate more socio-economic advantages.

In this regard, the government of Ethiopia is targeting to harness the comparative advantage green economy brings in a double-prong manner - fostering sustainable development through agricultural productivity, and promoting energy-efficient technologies.

New environment-friendly technologies, or climate smart technologies, that emerge as a result of transitioning to green economy will help developing countries like Ethiopia achieve economic efficiency by increasing agricultural productivity, reducing economic costs, and preserving long term sustainability of natural assets.

As an agrarian economy that is largely dependent on the performance of the agriculture sector, Ethiopia benefits from transitioning to a low carbon green economy hugely, which is not lost on the government.

Through its green economy strategy, the government is working (to a success) to cultivate sustainable economic growth by improving the productivity of the agricultural sector, and by creating a competitive advantage out of sustainable use of natural resources and higher productivity growth.

And major results have been achieved in this regard. According to various reports and data, there have been headways made in improving agricultural practices like mechanizing farmlands, developing small and large irrigation, streamlining climate smart technologies, and in improving land and seed use - all culminating in increase agricultural productivity and reduction in emission. In addition to this, significant amount of lands have been rehabilitated through various reforestation programs.

Obviously, all this trickles down to increasing economic development and creating jobs.

Green economy is greatly linked with clean energy use. In this context, Ethiopia's CRGE strategy targets "electricity generation from renewable sources of energy for domestic use and regional markets". It aims at not only expand electricity coverage from renewable sources of energy, but also to transition it into a modern and energy-efficient technology that will help power the green economy.

In this regard, Ethiopia has covered a lot of ground in moving up the energy ladder. With a meager five percent access to electricity, and with most (rural) households using biomass fuel for cooking, Ethiopia has been at the bottom of the "energy ladder" despite its enormous (renewable) energy potential.

To this end, the country has started work to exploit its potential in hydro-power, geothermal, solar and wind whilst introducing modern energy saving technologies like clean stoves to households. In addition, Ethiopia is tapping into its energy potential to provide clean and renewable energy to the industrial and transportation sector, and to its industrial zones as well. Another aspect of this is that the country plans to export power to neighboring countries to generate foreign currency, and assist them in reducing their emission.

All in all, Ethiopia see green economy as a viable and practical development initiative that interlinks with its overall national development vision, and not as some novelty to be used to bring prestige and applaud from the international community. The government has carried out the agenda with greater commitment, and need to continue in this manner so as to maintain the momentum and be in the position to harness the advantages.


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