Ethiopia powers up ambitions for green, climate-resilient industry

he hulking waste-to-energy power plant taking shape on the edge of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital, symbolises ambitions to convert the agrarian Horn of Africa country into an eco-friendly industrial powerhouse.

The government’s $120m (£76.8m) Reppie project, being built to EU emissions standards, will incinerate the city’s rubbish to generate 50MW of electricity. A computer-generated image on display at the site shows the future factory shrouded by a tree-filled park.

In about a year, green, cutting-edge Reppie will replace a vast rubbish dump picked over by hundreds of scavengers. Currently, toxic effluent from the landfill seeps into nearby rivers when it rains and methane perpetually drifts into the atmosphere.

The power plant is just one facet of Ethiopia’s four-year-old climate resilient green economy (CRGE) strategy, which aims for the nation to become middle-income by 2025 while limiting its carbon footprint to less than 2010 levels by 2030.

“In doing this we ensure our development is sustainable, and another thing is we ensure we contribute positively to the global interest,” said the minister of environment and forest, Belete Tafere.

Successful implementation of the plan, formally presented to the UN last month, would mean a reversal of existing trends in a nation that regularly suffers droughts and floods. Ethiopia’s deforested, intensively cultivated highlands are degraded and eroded. The capital has ageing vehicles spewing fumes and a dearth of green public spaces, while its rivers are choked with garbage.

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