Poverty reduction is one of the core missions of the international community that aims at improving life of people through the world. Poverty is “the result of economic, political, and social processes that interact with each other and frequently reinforce each other in ways that exacerbate the deprivation in which poor people live” (“Attacking Poverty” n. d., p. 1).
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In this light, improving economical, social and cultural standards of living to reduce poverty is one of the main objectives of international development and, as though, Ethiopian government, “the goals for international development address that most compelling of human desires—a world free of poverty and free of the misery that poverty breeds” (“Attacking Poverty” n. d., p. 5).
Economic and social underdevelopment cause high rates of illnesses, violence, inability to resist natural disasters and overcome their consequences, and profound economic shock that impacts, first of all, rural population. Poverty is related to many areas that require institutional strengthening and adjustment.
The institutional adjustment should be aimed at supporting local and national efforts directed on structural transformation that can contribute to the poverty reduction (“Field trip to Mek’ ele, Ethiopia – 2011” n. d.). The aim of this paper is to provide the scopes and objectives of the team, which focuses on infrastructure, with specific reference to electricity.
First of all, the background of the problem should be discussed. According to recent statistics:
“The world has deep poverty amid plenty. Of the world’s 6 billion people, 2.8 billion—almost half—live on less than $2 a day, and 1.2 billion—a fifth—live on less than $1 a day, with 44 percent living in South Asia and Africa” (“Attacking Poverty” n. d., p. 3).
These days, Ethiopia is one of the poorest countries in the world. More than 44% of its population live under the line of poverty, and almost 13 million people are food insecure. The majority of poor population lives in rural areas which have bad access to various services and resources due to poor infrastructure. Within the national context, the region is characterized by bad economic development, a high level of poverty and fast urbanization.
The urban economy of the region feels lack of infrastructure, employment opportunities and extensive informality. Some contribution to the poverty reduction has been helped by internal trade liberalization (“Field trip to Mek’ ele, Ethiopia – 2011” n. d.), however, Ethiopia is still facing considerable challenges that deal with poverty.
In the policy context, some steps have been done in terms of trade liberalization and privatization, policy initiative “a process to formulate a Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP)” contributed to the poverty reduction in the region, however, further steps should be taken in this direction.
As it has already been mentioned, the biggest part of the population of the country live in rural areas, thus, the main occupation of people is agriculture. This sector is much dependent on the weather conditions and climate change. However, poor development of the agriculture sector is only one of the “stones” that constitute reasons of poverty in the region.
Poor infrastructure and underdeveloped electricity sector are one of the main dimensions of poverty in the country. Ethiopia’s surface and transport infrastructure are still very poor explored and organized. The road density in the country is one of the lowest in the world and only 13 % of the roads are paved. Poor infrastructure is the main reason of bad interconnection between regions.
Thus, many parts of the country are isolated and live solely on agriculture resources and use pack animals for transportation. The electricity sector is also seeks improvement. Hydropower is the main source of electricity (90%). The main provider of the electricity is Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation.
However, Ethiopia has an untapped natural potential to develop this sector, which can greatly contribute to the economic growth of the region. Ethiopian oil and gas resources haven’t been explored.
Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation plans to create more hydroelectric plants to supply people with electric power, but without improving infrastructure, it will be very difficult to deliver electricity services to rural areas, which are extremely in need for them.
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As such, the approach to reducing poverty is dependent on understanding of the complexity of development of different sectors of national and international economics (“Attacking Poverty” n. d., p. 6).
In the recent years, the emphasis of the international community was placed on “improving economic management and allowing greater play for market forces” (“Attacking Poverty” n. d., p. 7).
Thus, in the light of the global context, there is a defined strategy for reducing poverty that should be implemented step by step. The tree major steps are: promoting opportunity, facilitating empowerment, and enhancing security. The background of the problem and international goals for poverty reduction define the scopes and objectives of our mission.
In this light, we have the scopes and objectives that follow:
First of all, we see that poor infrastructure of the region puts obstacles in the way of poverty reduction. Thus, the improvement of the infrastructure can contribute to the support of transformation, with water, electricity, and communication networks (Garcia and Rajkumar 2008, p. 16).
Consequently, one of the core ideas of our mission is to encourage government support building of infrastructure assets, which will be accessible for poor people and provide interconnection and communication between different regions of the country, especially rural ones.
This strategy is also aimed at promoting material opportunities for poor people. It will help create more workplaces, jobs, electricity services and health services, which will create a basis for reduction of inequality and, as a consequence, attack poverty.
Second, our mission is targeted at providing advice to strengthen the roles of urban areas in contributing to national and rural development (“Field trip to Mek’ ele, Ethiopia – 2011” n. d.). In other words, we are aimed at facilitating empowerment.
Active collaboration among different groups of society, and “interaction of political, social, and other institutional processes” (“Attacking Poverty” n. d., p. 7) can become a moving force that will cause changes in the government structure so that legal institutions, public administration, as well as various public services were accountable to the citizens, “It requires providing social and economic infrastructure in poor, remote areas, including transport, telecommunications, schools, health services, and electricity” (“Attacking Poverty” n. d., p. 9).
We also see our mission in reducing social and institutional barriers as a result of the economic growth of the country and poverty reduction.
Third, we should attract the government’s attention to the decentralization policies.
We are intended to lead work in attraction of foreign investments and private companies to develop projects for improvement of infrastructure and support of the wind energy program TERNA.
We are also intending to strengthen the work of communities to create more opportunities for poor people to be involved in decision-making process and make the market work for people.
The region has a good potential for wind power projects, “With 95 % of its primary energy consumption coming from renewable energy sources, Ethiopia, theoretically, could be a country with a principally sustainable energy system” (Jargstorf 2004, p. 12) Thus, we are aimed at identifying favorable sites for initiating the projects.
Next, enhancing security is one more important issue to be addressed by our mission. National actions should be taken to reduce vulnerability to natural disasters, disabilities, poverty and economic instability. In this light, we are aimed at encouraging government to provide insurance mechanisms to prevent people from the issues mentioned above. Moreover, work of local communities can be a great help in controlling security policies.
Finally, we also work out the strategy to generate the use of renewable sources of energy in the country.
We will also work on the project of changing the core policies to create more opportunities to involve extra actions to reinforce the improvement of infrastructure and electricity sector.
These opportunities presuppose: effective private investments, greater involvement into international trade, creating assets of poor people, ensuring delivery of quality services to poor people, getting infrastructure to poor areas, improving community development in the poor areas and providing decentralization.
We consider that there is a direct relation between infrastructure, poverty and electricity issues. First of all, less than 1 % of rural population in the region has access to electricity services. Modern energy infrastructure is not developed appropriately and only 10% of population has physical access to these facilities.
However, we know that energy infrastructure plays a great role in transportation, commercial and industrial sectors and other sectors that contribute to the development of the country. The improvement of the electricity sector will cause the improvement of the country’s economy and thus contribute to the poverty reduction.
The key actors that should be involved into implementation of our mission’s objectives are: Ethiopian Electric Agency (EEA), Ethiopian Rural Energy development and Promotion Center (EREDPC), Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPCo), Rural Electrification Executive Secretariat (REES), as well as foreign investments and foundational programs for community-based organizations.
Thus, we can see that considerable work should be done in order to improve the infrastructure of the electricity sector that will contribute to development of the country’s economy and provide opportunities for poverty reduction in the region. In order to achieve this objective, governance of the country should work out an effective strategy for poverty reduction.
It should involve rich countries, international organization and private companies to create and implement effective, consistent and homebred programs of improving infrastructure aimed at providing access to electricity resources that will contribute to the poverty reduction in the region.
Local and global forces should be geared for poor people to promote global financial stability and reduction of poverty in such countries as Ethiopia is a core of this strategy.
In this light, the scope and objectives of our research team are directed on exploring the opportunities for poverty reduction regarding infrastructure and electricity sector while creating basic framework for implementing the strategy of poverty reduction and involving rich countries and financial organizations to participate in the process.
“Attacking Poverty: Opportunity, Empowerment, and Security.”, World Development Report 2000/2001. Web.
“Field trip to Mek’ele, Ethiopia – 2011. An Assessment of Poverty Reduction in the Context of Ethiopia’s National and Urban Development Strategies”. Web.
Garcia, M. & Rajkumar, A. S. 2008. Achieving Better Service Delivery Through Decentralization in Ethiopia. World Bank Publications, Washington, DC.
Jargstorf, B. 2004, “Wind Energy Programme TERNA: Information for Project Appraisal: Ethiopia”, Factor 4 Energy Projects GmbH. Web.