Natural resources, energy and environment
Hydropower is one of Ethiopia's most
important natural resources and a rapid expansion of
dams and power plants is ongoing. The construction of
the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam in the Blue Nile has
caused concern in Egypt, which fears that the huge dam
will affect the amount of water in the downstream river.
Of the mineral resources found in Ethiopia, only gold is
mined in larger quantities.
Ethiopian hydropower was hardly used at all for a
long time, but with the aid of foreign aid and
investment, a major investment was initiated after the
turn of the millennium. Capacity has increased rapidly
and now almost all electricity consumed in the country
is extracted by hydropower. Ethiopia exports electricity
to Kenya, Sudan and Djibouti.
Major exports by Ethiopia with a full list of the top products exported by the country. Includes trade value in U.S. dollars and the percentage for each product category.
With the help of foreign companies, the electricity
grid is expanded and the proportion of residents who
have access to electricity is increasing rapidly. It
does, however, come from a low level; In 2018, six out
of ten residents were reported to have access to
Among several major hydropower projects is the Gilgel
Gibe project on the Omo River. Gibe I and Gibe II were
completed in 2004 and 2010, respectively, while Gibe III
was inaugurated in 2016. The dam at Gibe III is one of
the highest in Africa and creates a 15-mile-long
artificial lake. Critics warn that it is destroying
sensitive ecosystems and drying large areas along Omo
and Lake Turkana at the Kenya border. It poses a threat
to livelihood and living conditions for half a million
people. Among them are several people groups with
traditional ways of living. Omo is the most important
inflow to the ecologically unique Lake Turkana.
In 2011, the construction of the Great Ethiopian
Renaissance Dam (formerly called the Millennium Dam)
started on the Blue Nile, not far from the border with
Sudan. The dam will be the largest in Africa. The
construction project has caused concern in Egypt and
Sudan, which is downstream and dependent on the Nile for
its water supply.
Abbreviationfinder: A popular acronym site in the world covering abbreviation for each country. For example, ET stands for Ethiopia. Visit itypeusa for more information about Ethiopia.
Ethiopia is also investing in other renewable energy
sources. A large wind power plant was inaugurated in
2013 in Tigray in the north. A geothermal plant is being
built 20 miles south of Addis Ababa.
There are also oil and natural gas deposits in the
country. The assets are mainly located in politically
sensitive areas, such as Ogaden in the south-east and
Gambella at the border with Sudan. This makes
exploration and production risky. No commercial
extraction of oil or natural gas occurs. Ethiopia is
dependent on imports for its oil supply.
Household energy consumption is based on wood,
charcoal and animal waste. The hunt for firewood has
resulted in large forest areas being felled, which has
caused soil erosion, among other things. More than a
third of Ethiopia was covered by forests more than 100
years ago, but in 2000 the figure was down to a few
percent. Extensive tree planting projects have since
reversed the trend, and according to official data, the
proportion of wooded land was up 15 percent in the
Gold production increased since the country's largest
gold mine, in Lega Dembi 50 km southeast of Addis Ababa,
was sold to a Saudi mining group in the late 1990s.
Extraction is also carried out of pot ash and lime and
marble, used in the construction sector, and salt for
households and the leather tanning industry.
Furthermore, deposits of platinum, tantalite, iron and
copper are found.
FACTS - ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT
Energy use per person
499 kilos of oil equivalent (2014)
Electricity consumption per person
70 kilowatt hours, kWh (2014)
Carbon dioxide emissions in total
11 599 thousand tonnes (2014)
Carbon dioxide emissions per inhabitant
0.1 ton (2014)
The share of energy from renewable sources
92.2 percent (2015)
Demonstrations ahead of parliamentary elections
Opposition parties are holding several demonstrations ahead of the elections
in May 2015. Nearly 100 people are arrested, including the secretary general of
the Blue Party. Most are released within a week.
Ethiopian authorities are accused of persecution and torture
Amnesty International accuses Ethiopian authorities of "systematic
persecution and torture" by members of Oromo, the country's largest ethnic
group. Since 2011, at least 5,000 oromo have been arrested for alleged
opposition to the government, says Amnesty. Dozens have been killed according to
the organization's report.
Four journalists are sentenced to prison
Three magazine publishers are each sentenced to just over three years in
prison for "stirring up violent resistance, spreading unfounded rumors and
participating in conspiracy to illegally abolish the country's constitutional
rule". All three are sentenced in their absence; they left the country when
charges were brought against their magazines Addis Guday, Lomi and Fact. A few
weeks later, journalist Temesghen Desalegn is sentenced to three years in prison
for "defamation and revulsion" for political chronicles he wrote in 2012 for the
now defunct magazine Feteh.
Prosecution against multiple media
The government is prosecuting six magazines, accused of encouraging
terrorism, threatening national security, stirring up religious and ethnic
hatred, and blaming public figures and institutions.
Most foreign refugees in Africa
According to the UNHCR UNHCR, Ethiopia is now the African country that houses
the most refugees from other countries, nearly 630,000. Nearly half of Ethiopian
refugees come from South Sudan.
Opposition leaders are arrested
Four representatives of three opposition parties are arrested, without any
charges being presented.
Detained journalists are charged with terrorism
Prosecutions are brought against the bloggers and journalists who were
arrested in April. They are officially charged with terrorism through contacts
with the banned organization Ginbot 7 and for having planned attacks.
Sentenced to death is handed over to Ethiopia
A doomed opposition politician extradited from Yemen appears on television
after returning to Ethiopia. Andargachew Tsige, who is a member of the Ginbot 7
Forbidden Movement, was convicted in his absence for terrorism in both 2009 and
2012. He also holds British citizenship.
Journalists are fired after reporting protests
Twenty journalists at the state Oromia Radio and Television Organization are
dismissed, without any formal reason. They themselves believe it may have to do
with reporting on the protests against plans to expand Addis Ababa.
Protests against urban transformation
Protests erupt when it becomes known that Addis Ababa will be formally
allowed to grow and incorporate part of the surrounding state of Oromia. At
least 17 people are reportedly killed, the majority of students, when police
open fire to protesters. Several hundred arrests.
Further arrests of journalists and bloggers
Six government-critical bloggers, who belong to a group that calls themselves
Zone 9, and three journalists are arrested and accused of inciting violence.
Amnesty International describes the arrests as yet another blow to opposition or
Ethiopian journalist receives press freedom award
Eskinder Nega (see July 2012) is awarded the International
Press Freedom Award Golden Pen of Freedom Award.
Ethiopia joins the peace force in Somalia
The Ethiopian soldiers who have been stationed in Somalia since 2011 formally
join the UN-supported peacekeeping force Amisom in the neighboring country.