Ethiopia sent out a loud and clear message to the world with its Climate-Resilient Green Economy Strategy it adopted to be a carbon neutral economy by 2025: future development is to be fueled by greener power. Gosaye Mengistie Abayneh, CEO of Ethiopian Electric Utility (EEU), explains the country’s vast potential for renewable energy, their vision to interconnect African energy supplies, and Ethiopia’s win-win opportunities for its investors.
Could you please discuss the prominence Africa is gaining in the international arena and the regional integration efforts you are carrying out?
Nowadays, Africa is the most favorable continent for investment. There are many reasons for this. Just to mention some, most African countries are the source of raw materials, minerals, and energy resources. They have relatively cheap labor with productive age. There is a very good bilateral relationship and cooperation between governments, which has created a platform to discuss as to how to improve good governance.
Today Africa is on the move. According to the World Bank 2015 Report, out of 10 fastest economies in the world, six of them are in Africa, including Ethiopia, which ranked number one among African countries wanting to grow and modernize their economies.
There is a very good understanding of what the requirements are, and the people want to grow and they want to make peace. Progress of infrastructure, ease of doing business, and technological improvements are important factors that are gaining in the international arena, as well as the regional integration. The center of the global economy has been shifting from the developed to developing economies where Africa is one notable case.
Ethiopia has a very good relationship with all African nations and more specifically with Eastern African countries.
At this time, especially as being a fastest growing economy in the region, neighboring countries are cooperating and learning a lot from us. Some countries of the region were not stable, but now thanks to diplomatic efforts we are on very good terms with our neighbors. For example, we have a very good relationship with Djibouti, Kenya, Sudan, South Sudan, etc. But this didn’t simply come because we are neighbors, but thanks to our government, our people and neighboring countries’ confidence in our cooperation effort which facilitates a lot to address the issues.
Infrastructure is one of these triggering issues. The Ethiopia-Djibouti Power Interconnection has a huge impact beyond interconnectivity, as it was a turning point for the relations of both countries. Same with the positive relationship with Sudan and with South Sudan. We have also recently achieved an agreement with countries such as Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Tanzania to interconnect with infrastructure, including electric power. The Ethiopia-Kenya relationship is at an advanced stage because of the highway and the transmission line that is under construction. Once we finish the Ethiopia-Kenya Transmission Line we can interconnect with Tanzania and beyond, followed by the interconnection with South African Power Pool. We can also reach northern Africa through Sudan and Egypt.
Our vision is to interconnect the entire network in the African continent and beyond. This is a very good opportunity for us. There is a very good know-how these days and a very good confidence built among nations, especially among African countries. Africa is on the move; this is Africa’s time.
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