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Energy workshop: Lessons from Ethiopia

A workshop, titled ‘Sustainable energy transitions in low and middle-income countries: lessons for Ethiopia’ was held on June 1st to 3rd in Ethiopia to explore the potential for a new research program on the drivers and impacts of energy transitions. The planning workshop is organized by The Environment and Climate Research Center at the Ethiopian Development Research Institute (EDRI), in collaboration with Environment for Development initiative (EfD) and Duke University’s Household Energy and Health Initiative (DHEHI). In order to develop a multi-disciplinary research program in the long run, near term outcomes include, among other things, a special issue of a journal or an edited book, and a white paper focused on social science drivers and impacts of sustainable energy.

The 3-day workshop with focus on (i) energy policy issues in Ethiopia, (ii) showcasing social science research by invited scholars and EDRI, EfD and DHEHI research, and (iii) discussion of future research scholars to draw lessons for continued development in the energy sector. Ethiopia is hosting the workshop because of the ambitious plans of the government. The country is at the forefront of the planning of a global green economy through the development of its Climate-Resilient Green Economy (CRGE) strategy. The ambition of the CRGE is for Ethiopia to reach middle-income status by 2025, based on carbon neutral growth. The energy sector is central to this aspiration, and sustainable development will be encouraged by supporting green growth locally and potentially in exporting energy regionally to secure a source of income, to contribute to development, and ultimately to decouple its economy from the fluctuating prices and unsustainable nature of an oil-based economy. Equally, carbon finance could play an increasingly important role in the global economy and Ethiopia will aim to benefit from this opportunity of international support within financing.

The collaborative program envisioned here aims to contribute to the sustainable energy initiatives in low and middle-income countries, and the associated positive impacts effect on health, social outcomes, economic growth, climate change and natural resources.