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Currently estimated at around 96 Million inhabitants, Ethiopia is one of the most populated countries in the world and is seen as the cradle of mankind and one of the early advanced civilizations.
Besides many other challenges, the country also suffers from very limited access to electrical energy. While the national electricity grid is generally available in the metropolitan regions and other parts of the country, it is characterized by high unreliability and frequent power cuts that pose a major difficulty for businesses and private individuals.
The situation for the rural population of around 80 Million people is even more challenging: Due to the high access costs and the often widely dispersed settlements in these regions, the chances of many areas to get connected to the national grid in the near future are very low. Where available, diesel generators are used for communal buildings and most rural households today still use firewood or petroleum lanterns for lighting. Besides the adverse health effects due to the smoke and risk of fire of these lighting solutions, this situation causes the average African to spend around 70% of the available household income on fossil energy sources (World Future Council, 2009).

Fossil energy sources, where available, are subject to global developments, i.e. strong price increases, and its usage leads to many communal objects as well as families not being able to pay for their ongoing energy demand. This does not only pose numerous challenges on people’s everyday lives, but also hinders the capacity of the rural communities to develop and grow.

A basic supply of clean, cost-effective and reliable solar energy by using mini-grid solutions or small solar home systems can already lead to great leverage effects. This supports small local businesses as well as socio-economic developments alike and plays a major role in a sustainable and environmentally friendly future energy supply of Millions of rural people. Providing access to basic electricity therefore leads to strong ecological, social and economic benefits that increase further with a growing availability and distribution of solar energy.

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  • ca. 86 Million inhabitants with around 50% below the age of 15 (2013)
  • up to 80% of the people live in rural areas, mostly without access to electrical energy
  • around 10% economic growth per annum for several years
  • strong efforts to reach Millenium Development Goals (MDG’s)
  • Human Development Index (HDI): position 173 out of 186 countries (HDR 2014)
  • GDP per capita: Ethiopia USD 550 (Germany: USD 45.600)

Source: UNDP 2015

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