USAID to support Energy, power development during GTP II

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) said it will augment its support for the second version of the five years development plan Ethiopia is putting together. The second Growth and Transformation Plan will be endorsed towards the end of the current year.
Dennis Weller, Mission Director of USAID, told Capital that his government will continue the support on four priority areas. The director said even though the second version of the Growth and Transformation Plan II (GTP II) is not made public yet, it would be similar with the past development program.
“In the first GTP, our focus here in Ethiopia was in four major areas including health, food security that includes emergency food and agriculture development, education and democracy and governance,” Weller said.
“Our effort in the coming development plan, GTP II, will be in health, food security, education, power and energy, the latter two are both new sectors.” He commented the private sector’s role on power development and generation will be another huge area that will get more attention in the coming years. Those are the programs that will be part of the coming five year plan, Weller hinted possible sectors USAID will continue to support.  
Power and energy is a new area that is part of the Power Africa Initiative which was launched by the US government back in June 2013. “This area is a new sphere that we will work in partnership with the private sector, which we expect to contribute to the growth of the country in the coming five years,” he said. Weller said that Ethiopia has registered good performance in the past five years in the development areas. “I think the numbers speak for themselves in poverty reduction, access to education and child mortality rate reduction.”
“We feel Ethiopia’s development pattern is in a very good path,” he added.
The US government has begun supporting the power sector in selected African countries. Power Africa Initiative a presidential initiative to double electricity access in sub-Saharan Africa. Although more than 69 percent of the population of sub-Saharan Africa is without electricity, the region has a significant potential to develop clean energy from renewable sources. Ethiopia is one of the countries that are included in this initiative.
Since the program commenced about a year ago,  Reykjavik Geothermal, a US-Icelandic private developer has been working on a geothermal energy project that will generate 1000mw.
The five years development plan, GTP II, is expected to be launched in July 2015. The government collaborates with several international partners to bring about social and economic development. USAID has been one of the major allies of the Ethiopian government on several state development projects during the past decades.
In a related news, USAID has launched two initiatives in Bale and Hararghe zones of Oromia region to enhance the resilience of communities to climate change shocks and stresses. Over 200 communities consisting of  one million people will be capacitated to withstand the changes that are triggered by climate change. International development community experts and colleagues along with  representatives of the government of Ethiopia and the United States were present at the launching ceremony that was held on March 18.
Ethiopia is facing a greater frequency and intensity of disasters due to a long-term natural and human effects exacerbated by climate change.
The two sets of initiatives will be implemented in vulnerable woredas in the Oromia region to reverse the damages and effects of poor natural resource management practices and climate change.
The resilience activities valued at more than 11 million US dollars are funded by the US Global Climate Change Initiative, Feed the Future Initiative, and the US Foreign Disaster Assistance office through USAID’s mission in Ethiopia.
USAID has been supporting resilience, climate smart agriculture, and early warning response and preparedness activities in Ethiopia for the last decade. This has led to mitigating risks of disasters and the adaptation of agricultural practices at community level that aim to improve access to food.