Out of 80 million people in Ethiopia, only 15% have access to power.
It’s a staggering statistic. And for a country that boasts rapid economic growth in recent years, an embarrassing truth. In order to continue on the illusive path of development, the delivery of electricity and its associated infrastructure can serve to bolster confidence in a government and have positive outcomes for its people. So when Meles Zenawi and the Government of Ethiopia in 2006 announced it would begin construction on the Gibe III dam, it seemed like a win-win. Once completed this hydropower dam will provide double Ethiopia’s current electricity production and offer the opportunity to sell excess to Kenya through a transmission line – undoubtedly a tantalizing proposition for this East African economy. But for close to 500,000 indigenous peoples living in Ethiopia and in the northern region of Kenya, the reality is that the dam threatens to ruin the natural environment and their very way of life. Continue reading