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Ethiopia Workshop Proceedings, 2000


Mr. Mengistu Teferra


Ethiopia has about 65 million people and encompasses 1.1 million square kilometers. The vast majority of its peoples’ (85%) reside in rural areas and derive their livelihood from agriculture. The country’s economy is principally agrarian where agriculture account for half of gross domestic production (GDP per capita is about US$ 100) and for practically all of exports.

Ethiopia has a federal form of government. It is a federation of 11 Regional States each with its own regional government structure and institutions. The regions are empowered to set their own development priorities and strategies. The Regional States vary in size where some are only city states with a few hundred thousand people while the largest has more than 20 million people.

Ethiopia’s energy system is mainly characterized by biomass fuel supplies and household energy consumption. Total energy consumption in 1998 is estimated to have been 722,870 Tera Joules. From this total, biomass fuels accounted for 94% (77% from wood fuels, 17% from agricultural residues), petroleum fuels for 5% and electricity for less than 1% of supplies.  The household sector takes up nearly 90% of total energy supplies.

The modern energy sector is small – per capita electricity consumption is only 20kWh and per capita petroleum fuel consumption about 16 liters. Public electricity generation capacity is only about 450MW (including supplies outside the power utility). Less than 10% of households (practically none in rural areas) have access to electricity.

Access to energy resources and technologies in rural Ethiopia is especially constrained. Physical and economic access to biomass resources is deteriorating because resources are exploited beyond their carrying capacity resulting in higher household expenditures of labour, time or cash; while modern energy services are totally unavailable. The energy infrastructure is underdeveloped because of low economic capacity of the government and other development agents and users.

This workshop was initiated to enable both public and private sector agents involved in rural energy development to exchange ideas and set sector development strategies and priorities.

The workshop has deliberated on policy and institutional issues, technology development and dissemination strategies, on energy resource development priorities, and Federal-Region collaboration.

A total of 50 participants attended the two-day workshop. Participants included representatives from the various departments of the Federal Ministries of Mines and Energy, and Economic Development and Co-operation, Energy Bureaus of all 11 regions of the country, and the private sector.

At the end of the workshop participants passed an eleven–point resolution. The main points of the resolution were:

  1. Energy bureaus both at Federal and Regional level should be strengthened and that the Federal Rural Energy Development and Promotion Centre should also work on alternative energy technologies (solar, wind, hydro) in addition to biomass technologies.

  2. Renewable energy development should be given priority.

  3. Energy sector institutions should follow participatory development approaches.

Import duties on renewable technologies should be rationalized to attract private sector investment in the sector

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