From left to right: Professor Yosef Mamo, Hawassa University; Dr. Araya Asfaw. Hoarec, Ms. Tehut Tesfaye, ECIC
Ethiopia has set ambitious targets for its sustainable growth. The Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP) identifies small and medium enterprises as key actors not only in jobs creation and private sector development, but also in the country’s green growth agenda. To support Ethiopia’s development goals and meet the needs of this growing cohort of clean-tech entrepreneurs, the Ethiopia Climate Innovation Center (ECIC) has launched two regional centers in Hawassa and Bahir Dar - two main urban areas located in the country’s southern and northwestern regions respectively - and is planning two more in the cities of Adama and Mekelle.
The ECIC regional centers – established in partnership with the local universities of Hawassa and Bahir Dar – have been developed to amplify the reach of the ECIC beyond the vibrant capital of Addis Ababa and catalyze the growing interest in clean-tech entrepreneurship in other less connected areas of the country.
“The purpose of the Ethiopia CIC and its regional centers is to establish collaborations,” said Tehut Tesfaye, CEO of the Ethiopia CIC. “Collaborations with partners, stakeholders, regional governments, existing and potential clients, and the media to further support climate technology entrepreneurs and contribute to Ethiopia’s green economy.”
Innovative clean-tech ventures are becoming increasingly critical as climate change forecasts call for major impacts on the country’s agriculture production and overall economy. Solar-powered drip irrigation systems, for example, can help farmers adapt when rainfall slows or temperature patterns change, while small hydro and water filtration technologies can be used to reduce the vast energy and clean water needs throughout the country.
“The Ethiopia Climate Innovation Center has been established with two clear goals,” said Welela Ketema, World Bank Program Officer. “The first one is to strengthen the Ethiopian private sector by providing a suite of services tailored to the specific needs of emerging entrepreneurs; the second is to foster the identification and scale of much-needed solutions to climate-related issues.”
In addition to providing key services to local clean technology ventures, the centers have been designed to promote a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship among students and staff from local universities.
“Working in partnership with the ECIC will support graduate students to develop climate change related business,” said Professor Yosef Mamo from Hawassa University. “Linking university researchers with the ECIC and the Entrepreneurship Center will enable them to convert their research into businesses.”
The inaugural events of the two ECIC hubs represented a good opportunity for a first group of supported green ventures to showcase their innovative business concepts before an audience of investors, potential partners, and media. Dan-Ant-Cide presented a completely natural pesticide that farmers can use to treat several types of local crops, while GM Clean Energy introduced a new efficient biogas stove that allows people to cook traditional Injera, reducing GHG emissions and harmful smoke from firewood use.
Dan-Ant-Cide (left) and GM Clean Energy (right) presenting their products
The Ethiopia CIC is part of infoDev’s Climate Technology Program (CTP), which is currently implementing a global network of innovation centers across six 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. For more information, visit the ECIC website.