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NEWS: New research to assess green growth potential of Ethiopia’s industries


In Ethiopia, great progress has been made to mainstream climate considerations into the agricultural and energy sector, but more can be done to integrate climate in the fast growing industrial sector. A new CDKN research project, carried out by University College London (UCL), the Ethiopian Development Research Institute (EDRI), the University of Reading and Quantum Global Research Lab (QGRL) will aim to support industrial-sector green growth strategies at a crucial time in Ethiopia’s development.

Ethiopia has pledged to become a zero net emissions economy by 2025, while also graduating to the ranks of middle income countries. It is expected that the industrial sector, currently growing at 21.2% a year, will feature heavily in Ethiopia’s next Growth and Transformational Plan and this new research will contribute to unlocking the potential in green growth within this sector.

The 18 month project will aim to build innovative measures to bring a green growth agenda to three key industrial sectors; leather, cement and garments. Project researcher, Professor Yacob Mulugetta explains “the leather and garment industries make up a substantial and growing portion of Ethiopia’s exports and are expected to grow in the coming years. Similarly, the cement industry will continue to grow as Ethiopia industrialises and urbanises. These three sectors present significant opportunities for greening industrial processes in Ethiopia.”

The design of the next 5 year national plan which will determine the way in which Ethiopia takes on industrialisation, requires practical recommendations to better incorporate green strategies into Ethiopia’s industrial strategy. It is this opportunity that this new research will seek to feed into, while addressing the lessons learned from the first Growth and Transformational Plan phase.

It will do this by creating and sharing new knowledge that will directly contribute to the design and delivery of climate compatible development policies and practices for the growing manufacturing and cement sectors. Professor Mulugetta tells CDKN Ethiopia’s development ambition should be applauded, and mainstreaming the Climate Resilient Green Economy strategy into the country’s industrial policy and practices will have multiple benefits, such as implementing resource efficiency measures that add value to the economy in the long-term.”

It is hoped that exploring the links between the green growth strategy and industrial policy in Ethiopia will lead to increased and improved dialogue among key stakeholders, namely the ministries of industry, environment and science and technology; as well as the private sector and civil society. This way, the benefits, costs and uncertainties of greening industrial development will be properly explored and communicated.

The researchers at UCL, the University of Reading and QGRL will work closely with the Ethiopian Development Research Institute (EDRI) to evaluate the governance and policy frameworks, build baseline data of resource flows, and assess existing innovation systems.  The team will collaborate with the wider policy and practitioner community in the spirit of co-generation of knowledge and for the research results to have real policy traction.

The project has the potential to transfer its results and messages to inform other sub-Saharan African countries that are exploring green industrialisation as part of their development agenda.

Image credit: Gavin Houtheusen/DFID

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