Ethiopia’s grand plans for regional power distribution

posted in: Africa

Toby Smith, Getty Images Reportage


Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – Ethiopia hopes to transform itself into a regional player when the Ethiopia-Kenya high-voltage transmission line is completed in 2015, according to official sources here Tuesday.

To undertake the project, Ethiopia has secured US$ 1.26 billion funding.

Co-funded by the World Bank, the African Development Bank (AfDB), the French Development Agency and the Ethiopian and Kenyan governments, the project is already resulting in valuable tenders with construction companies trying yo pay considerable attention to these opportunities and how this will open up the market to the private sector.

Once completed, the economic benefits for Ethiopia and its neighbouring economies will be felt far and wide,

Additionally, the US$ 289 million Ashegoda wind farm was inaugurated three days ago, contributing 120MW to Ethiopia’s national grid, which further showcased the strength of the partnership between Ethiopia and its international donor communities.

Most recently, the ground-breaking partnership with US-Icelandic firm Reykjavik Geothermal was established to build Ethiopia’s first private power project; at 1000MW, the largest geothermal facility in Africa.

With a total US$ 4 billion private sector investment, projects such as these which will enable Ethiopia to tap into its vast geothermal power resources and open up the private power market.

Also in Ethiopia’s impressive project pipeline is the 6000 MW Ethiopian Grand Renaissance Dam, potentially the largest hydroelectric power plant in Africa. This will be wholly funded by the Ethiopian government at a cost of US$4.8 billion and scheduled for completion in 2017.

According to Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, Ethiopia’s economy is set to maintain a growth rate of 11 percent in 2013/14 with prominent plans to upgrade infrastructure as a priority focus in its annual budget.