Ethiopia plans to become a top regional exporter in electricity under a new 2015-2020 development plan. It is attempting to tap several rivers for power generation, which is a part of its plans to boost its manufacturing, help to industrialize its agrarian economy, and to export power to countries in Northern and Southern Africa. A $4 billion deal was signed with an U.S.-Icelandic firm in 2013 to build a private-run 1000 megawatt geothermal plant and more power generating projects are being negotiated with other international companies. Egypt is dependent on the Nile, and is concerned that the Renaissance Dam would reduce the river’s flow. In addition, Kenya stated that the Gibe 3 dam and its related irrigation scheme could reduce the volume of water in its Lake Turkana. Low levels of rainfall this year have had an adverse impact on existing dams, and currently four hydropower plants are producing at low levels due to low water levels. There are several more concerns about these projects, namely the current ongoing severe drought and the environmental ramifications.
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The Nile River is a major influence on the economies it encompasses, and in the past it has been controversial how the energy, space, and water is allocated amongst the countries it passes through. Ethiopia is constructing a massive dam costing billions of dollars on the Blue Nile, which will distort the previous allocation of water agreed by the countries surrounding the river. Most of the disagreement in the initial stages of project development stemmed from this allocation dispute, but the presidents of Egypt and Sudan, as well as the Ethiopian Prime Minister, all recently signed a contract pledging to better share the water and resources of the Nile. On Monday, Egypt agreed to a preliminary deal with Ethiopia on the construction of the dam.
Ethiopia is home to rich natural, cultural, and historical sites, yet the number of foreign tourists it attracts ranks only 17th across the African continent. There is no question that Ethiopia has the destinations to attract overseas visitors; however, currently it is lacking adequate infrastructure to meet tourists’ expectations. Ethiopia needs investment to build up its infrastructure and domestic and foreign investors alike are beginning to see the country’s largely untapped tourism industry as an excellent investment opportunity.
Ethiopia is one of the poorest nations in the world. However, they have seen GDP growth in each of the past 7 years. One of their major businesses is livestock, but recently they have been suffering due to animal smuggling. Livestock is an essential part of Ethiopia’s economy. They exported about $53 million worth of animals last year, but unfortunately, criminal activity is cutting into the small country’s profits.