Energy deficit aggravates unemployment in Ethiopia


Admasu Bahiru, 31 spends most of his time gazing at the vacancy notice board at Arat-Kilo, a central venue in Addis Ababa in search of job. Since he came from his rural neighborhood six months ago he has been eagerly looking for such vacancy announcement but to no avail, he says with feeling of desperation.

“Currently due to coronavirus there is no any vacancy, but even so far I have not found any opportunity”, he said. As to him, the main problem in Ethiopia is most available jobs are in government offices due to lack of expansion of the private sector.

As to him, the capacity of the available industries in creating job opportunity is limited although industries are expanding in recent years. Hence, most hiring institutions are governmental institutions and it is difficult for those non certified youths, like him to get job opportunity in governmental institutions.

According to Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs currently the backlog of unemployment reached quite over 11 million on which some three million added every year.

Ministry’s Public Relation and Communication Director, Dereje Taye told The Ethiopian Herald that, although government has planned to create three million jobs very year, so far it was able to hit only 50 per cent of its annual target.

As to the director, from these job opportunities, the role of the industry sector is too limited up to recent years although in the modern world, the industrial sector is the main job creator due to its labor intensive nature. For searching job opportunities, hundreds of thousands of Ethiopian youths migrate to the Middle East risking their lives through the dangerous journey of human trafficking.

As to him if the industry sector is expanding and grows its role of creating job opportunities, it is a chance to create job for those millions of citizens. Beyond that Dereje stated it will help to minimize future unemployment challenges, illegal migration and human trafficking which consume many lives.

Ethiopian Investment Commission Public Relation Director Mekonnen Hailu on his part told The Ethiopian Herald that, Due to its suitability for investment, availability of labor force, government incentives Ethiopia is becoming among the top investment destinations with special focus on manufacturing sector. yet power interruption and limited access to energy is a major set back to the sector, he added.

In this case, Minister of Water, Irrigation and Energy Engineer Seleshi Bekele (PhD) during his briefing to African Resident Ambassadors on GERD recently said that energy availability in Ethiopia is 220 KWH/C/year, but the required industrialization is 500 KWH/C/Year.

Dr. Seleshi also noted that Ethiopia’s power demand, even with the current limited industrialization, is growing by 19 per cent every year where the country’s total energy supply is limited to 4,200 MW. Hence, Dr. Seleshi said, GERD is key project to attain the available energy deficit.

According to Mekonnen, even after completion Industrial Parks are waiting up to one year to get energy access. For example, after Adama Industrial Park became operational it was forced to start operation using generators due to lack of energy. This limits the companies to use their full capacity of production which also limits them to create job opportunities.

Similarly Arerti Industrial Park was also challenged during its initial phase energy access timely. As to him, timely energy provision is the major headache for industrial parks and other industries at the initial time, additionally, power interruption is also affects the production of companies.

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