ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, 27 March 2014 — A new World Bank–supported business hub, the Ethiopia Climate Innovation Center (ECIC), was launched today in Addis Ababa to support pioneering clean technology enterprises that address climate change while creating jobs and improving livelihoods. First of its kind in the country, the center will help over 3.1 million Ethiopians increase resilience to climate change and is expected to create more than 12,000 jobs in the next ten years.
Ethiopia’s agriculture, which is highly sensitive to fluctuations in rainfall, represents the basis of the national economy. It accounts for approximately 46% of the GDP and 80% of the jobs of the working population. According to the World Bank report ‘Economics of Adaptation to Climate Change,’ without a proper green growth strategy, the total climate adaptation costs for Ethiopia could range from US$1.22 billion to $5.84 billion per year.
To reduce climate adaptation costs and create opportunities of growth, the Ethiopia CIC will provide financing, mentorship, and advisory services to the growing number of local clean-tech entrepreneurs working in agribusiness, energy efficiency, renewable energy and biofuels.
“This initiative supports key components of the Government of Ethiopia’s Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP) and the Climate Resilient Green Economy (CRGE) strategy,” said Guang Zhe Chen, World Bank Country Director for Ethiopia. “The CIC is a unique initiative which will help to unleash the growth potential of local entrepreneurs, while at the same time enabling them to come up with innovative business solutions to challenges related to climate change. By employing emerging clean technologies – such as off-grid solar energy, green building design and agricultural waste to energy plants -- these entrepreneurs will continue helping Ethiopia adapt to climate change while creating jobs and improving the livelihoods of local citizens.”
By supporting local entrepreneurs and ensuring the transfer of modern technologies, the ECIC is expected to improve access to energy for 265,000 Ethiopians and increase agricultural efficiency for 120,000 farmers. Furthermore, the center will promote Ethiopia’s climate resilience by mitigating almost one million tons of CO2 and avoiding the loss of 31,000 acres of forest.
“Injera cooking accounts for about 90% of all household energy consumption. I decided to develop an efficient biogas stove that drastically reduces fuel wood consumption,” said Getu Alemayehu, one of the innovative entrepreneurs supported by the center. “The ECIC is like a wake-up call for all small initiatives in Ethiopia: it stimulates us to keep on developing ourselves, to further improve our technologies, to establish a company; it calls us to be entrepreneurs.”
The Ethiopia CIC is part of infoDev’s Climate Technology Program (CTP), which is currently implementing a global network of innovation centers across seven other countries. The Ethiopia CIC is supported by the government of Norway, UKAid and the World Bank. It is managed by a consortium led by the Horn of Africa Regional Environment Center (HoAREC) — a regional institution hosted by Addis Ababa University (AAU) and other public and private sector partners.