Ethiopia will boost economic growth by investing in renewable energy sources, introducing new cooking technologies for the rural folk and boosting livestock trade in efforts to cut greenhouse gases, officials said Monday.
Abraham Tekeste, State Minister of Finance and Economic Development, said investments in renewable energy, roads, rail, water supply and healthcare facilities enabled Ethiopia to hit economic growth rate of 11.2% in the past thee years.
“We recognise the gains we have made need to be sustained for several decades to realise our vision of becoming a middle income economy over the medium term,” Abraham told experts meeting at the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).
The UNECA has launched a series of studies across Africa to determine the impact of “green economic” policies.
They are examining investments in key sectors of the economy which favour skills development and job creation to boost economic growth.
“There already exists a wide range of policies and policy instruments that countries can develop and apply to shift to an inclusive green economy,” said Fatima Denton, Director, Special Initiatives Division at the UNECA.
The UN organ is asking African countries to shift economic policies from over-reliance on agriculture and the mineral extraction and oil, to new industrial sectors with renewed emphasis on manufactured goods and industrialised sectors.
Denton said focusing on investments which do not increase the emission of carbon and minimising industrial and household pollution could accelerate economic growth in Africa, faster than the reliance on natural resources, which contribute to pollution.
“Evidence is mounting on the benefits which can yield from investments in inclusive green economy transitions,” Denton said at the opening of a meeting to discuss a new Report on Inclusive Green Economy Policies and Structural Transformation.
The study suggests investing in green economies – renewable energy, wind power projects and geothermal sectors – could contribute to enormous amounts of economic growth, as high as 12% in the next 15 years, as shown by a study in Kenya.
“Adopting an inclusive green economy approach to structural transformation could enable African countries to ensure efficient, equitable and sustainable use of their natural resources and reduce the adverse impacts of economic growth,” said Denton.
Denton said the study on the benefits of shifting economic growth plans to more climate friendly technologies in Kenya, showed it has the ability to save 3.1 million people from poverty by 2030.
In Ethiopia, the country’s economic blueprint, the Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP) which advocates investments in roads, railways and a Mega-electricity dam, could produce what the ECA experts called “very good outcomes.”
UN officials say studies altogether confirm investing in climate-friendly technologies in the fields of agriculture, energy and focusing on economic policies would make it possible to produce more food, cut carbon pollution and reduce land degradation.
The experts are meeting to identify and define areas where ECA could contribute to support Ethiopia on green economy and economic reform strategies.
The Report on Inclusive Green Economy Policies and Structural Transformation in Ethiopia was prepared within the framework of the ECA study on Inclusive Green Economy Policies and Structural Transformation in selected African Countries.