On September first, the Ethiopian-German Energy Cooperation celebrated its inauguration event-in a virtual format. As a special highlight of the opening event, the “Innovation competition on decentralised energy solutions for Ethiopia” was launched.
The energy cooperation was signed in November 2019, between the two governments at the G20 Compact with Africa conference in Berlin. The launch event was opened by the head of development cooperation of the German Embassy in Ethiopia, Ms. Laura Schmidt. In her opening words, she welcomed all participants, among them Mr. Gosaye Mengiste, Special Advisor to the Minister Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy (MoWIE), who spoke in behalf of H.E. Minister Dr. Seleshi Bekele and Mr. Falk Bömeke, the Head of Unit in the German Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. Furthermore, she featured the long-time engagement of the GIZ in Ethiopia, that exists for more than a half century and the importance for Ethiopia to build sustainable energy infrastructure. H.E. Dr. Frehiwot Woldehannna honoured the successes of the Ethiopian- German Cooperation, provided insights into the ambitious goals of the Ethiopian government into the energy sector and its importance for Ethiopia’s young population.
In the second part of the event the innovation competition for students, youth, start-ups and researchers to develop business ideas for decentralised energy supply was introduced. Project proposals will be submitted by the online application and rated in criteria’s such as: environmental impact, innovation, viability and social impacts. The winners of the competition will receive not only a monetary price high quality trainings and coaching and exposure to an international network of energy experts. The introduction was supported with two excellent presentations on decentralised energy production. Mr. Mathias Bieswetter of the German Solar Energy Association reflected on the German experiences in the solar sector and the opportunities for international cooperation. The Founder and managing director of ON ENERGY, Ms. Filagot Tesfaye, highlighted the importance of energy entrepreneurships, and shed light on current challenges as well as proposed solution to these problems from her perspective. After the presentations, a panel discussion took place on the future of decentralised energy in Ethiopia, especially in concern of entrepreneurship, research and innovation in achieving Ethiopia’s Energy goals. Questions and remarks from the audience were also taken into consideration e.g. on the problem of getting access to foreign currency and local manufacturing of solar equipment.
The event was completed by the launch and presentation of the official energy cooperation website, that was conducted by Ms. Karin Franzen from the GIZ Energy partnership team in Germany. Closing remarks were given by Ms. Corine Weisebach, of the GIZ in Ethiopia where she thanked all attendees for their participation.