Ethiopia A Pioneer In Regional Integration
BY STAFF WRITER
Endowed with river basins from which hydroelectric power could be generated, Ethiopia has also a considerable level of geothermal, solar and wind farm energy which would be exported to neighboring countries and East African region.
Ethiopia has been implementing a ten-year development plan, 2021-2030, to extricate itself from poverty. As water tower of Africa, Ethiopia has 16 hydroelectric power generating dams across the country, generating some 4818.2 MW. Moreover, the country has 5 wind farms with the capacity of 564.18MW and 6 geothermal sources with the capacity of 202.3 MW as well as solar energy.
The country mainly generates a comparatively affordable and clean hydroelectric power with cheapest investment on hydro dams on top of other proportionally limited energy sources mentioned above. Ethiopia is currently generating 4, 818.2 MW of electric power and is expected to exponentially increase to 17,000 MW in 10 years.
Ethiopia has started exporting hydroelectric power to its neighboring countries. Efforts are also being made to export power to other East African countries as part of its pioneering power integration and export plan to the sub-region.
Ethiopia has agreed with South Soudan to export 100 MW of electric power over the next three years, quadrupling the target gradually, according to the Ethiopian Electric Power. The country is working to supply electric power to its neighbors with the view to fulfilling the power demands of South Sudan. Ethiopia has planned to increase the power export to South Sudan to 400 MW gradually.
Electric Power Transmission Lines and Distribution Stations Construction Sector Executive Officer, Kibrom Kahsay recently told media crew that Ethiopia has started sale of electricity to Kenya. According to the agreement, Ethiopia would supply 200 MW of electric power to Kenya for the next three years and that amount will double to 400 MW after three years.
By supplying cheaper renewable electric power to East Africa, Ethiopia is directly contributing to the expansion of manufacturing industries in East African countries. Apart from raising its foreign exchange earnings from power selling, Ethiopia effectively meets the target set both in Agenda 20663 and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). By extending its power transmission grids to neighboring countries, Ethiopia has demonstrated its solidarity with African countries, trying to spearhead sub-regional economic integrations and cooperation in the spirit of Pan Africanism.
Ever since the establishment of the former OAU and now AU, the forefathers of the AU had focused on the importance of economic integration as a tool to foster the ideals of Pan Africanism. Since then, the AU formulated a continental strategy in the form of Agenda 2063 in which multiple strategies were enumerated to ensure economic integration in which energy integration would play a pivotal role.
So, Ethiopia’s power integration envisages contributing its share in meeting Africa’s economic integration. As explained above, enhancing Africa’s economic integrations is the vision shared all African countries, envisioning to withstand external pressure from the world economy and reduce poverty and ensure better life for their citizens.
Ethiopia’s regional electrification initiative is pivotal for win-win cooperation among African countries to withstand common shocks together. The country is already vigorously engaged in integrating African economies through its aviation transport networks across the continent. The Ethio- Djibouti Railway Line has also a huge potential for promoting economic development and integration among the countries of the Horn and East Africa. Ethiopia is also an active player in the LAPSSET Corridor Program, which is the Eastern Africa’s largest and most ambitious infrastructure project bringing together Kenya, Ethiopia, and South Sudan.
All told, Ethiopia’s hydroelectric power transmissions to its neighboring countries promotes economic interdependence and withstand external shocks. Despite multiple challenges over the last two three years, Ethiopia has worked relentlessly to pave the way for economic cooperation and strong regional connectivity through infrastructure development with its neighbors.