Ethiopia has committed itself to a “green deal” long before the European Union. With its ambitious Climate Resilient Green Economy strategy of 2011, the least developed country wants to become one of Africa’s “green pioneers”. What is its motivation? Wealthy countries, with their fossil-fuelled consumption and economic infrastructure, produce much higher emissions. In 2022, Austria reached its Earth Overshoot Day already on April 6: Since then, Austrians have been living at the expense of future generations. Furthermore, we are also living at the cost of poorer countries, which are more challenged by the environmental, social and economic effects of climate change. Ethiopia does not even have an Earth Overshoot Day, as it is among the world’s top 10 countries with the lowest CO2 emissions per capita. Shouldn’t rich nations first and foremost curtail their excesses in emissions and over-consumption before least developed countries make ambitious efforts?
Mahlet Eyassu has explored the background of the Ethiopian state-led Climate Resilient Green Economy strategy. Her new VIDC study “Green Industrialisation in Ethiopia – Challenges and Potentials on the Road to a Net Zero Green Economy” continues the VIDC’s exploration of the topic of green industrialisation and structural transformation in Africa.
Mahlet Eyassu will present Ethiopia’s green industrialisation strategy and its implementation. Nafkote Dabi will discuss her findings against the broader background of climate change inequalities and cleavages in international climate action. Valentine Chukwu will consider other green economy strategies and inspirational examples of climate change action in Africa. This includes necessary compensation schemes for African economies which heavily rely on the export of fossil fuels.
What was the motivation to start a “green deal” in Ethiopia? What were the reasons for successes but also drawbacks during its implementation? What un/intended effects did the action plan have? Does the Ethiopian green economy strategy offer a viable pathway to a future climate-friendly African economy? What other examples and experiences do exist in Africa? In face of common but differentiated responsibilities, what kind of international climate action should be taken to avoid new climate injustices? What are appropriate strategies in the Global North and South?
Mahlet Eyassu Melkie
is an expert on national climate change adaptation and mitigation policy planning in Ethiopia. She also has extensive experience on the United Nations Convention on Climate Change Negotiations with a special focus on climate finance and the governance and work of the Green Climate Fund. Mahlet has a Bachelor of Arts Degree on Sociology and Social Administration as well as a Masters of Arts on Environment and Development from Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia. She obtained her second Masters of Arts on Climate and Society at Columbia University, New York City, USA.
is the Climate Change Policy Lead of Oxfam UK. She has worked with international charities across Africa in various roles, including as Food Security Advisor in South Sudan; Regional Policy Lead for the Lake Chad Basin based in Nigeria; Senior Policy Advisor on Peace, Security and Governance at the African Union Liaison Office in Addis Ababa; and Drought Policy Advisor in Ethiopia. Nafkote has a master’s degree in International Social and Public Policy from The London School of Economics and Political Science and a bachelor’s degree in Cultural Anthropology from Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts, USA.
is a consultant and a fellow at the Institute for Development Research (Dataville Group). He has a bachelor`s and master`s degree in Forest Resources Management from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. His field of expertise is forest degradation as well as nature- and community-based solutions for deforestation. Valentine worked for the African Heritage Institution in Enugu and Richflood International, an environmental company in Abuja, which offers environmental trainings, monitoring and impact assessments, among others.