Humanitarian Energy Situation in Ethiopia

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Humanitarian Situation Background

Ethiopia is one of the least developed countries in the world. Approximately 34 % of its over 100 million inhabitants live below poverty line. It has one of the lowest rates of access to modern energy services, whereby the energy supply is primarily based on biomass. With a share of 92.4% of Ethiopia’s energy supply, waste and biomass are the country’s primary energy sources, followed by oil (5.7%) and hydropower (1.6%) (Read more about Ethiopia's Energy Situation here).

Ethiopia hosts a large number of refugees: 875,000 from surrounding countries such as South-Sudan, Somalia or Eritrea, and more than 4.5 million internally displaced people due to the conflict in the northern states[1].

Since armed conflict emerged in Ethiopia's Tigray, Amhara and Afar regions in late 2020, a worrying humanitarian crisis has developed in the north of the country. Here alone, there are 2.6 million IDPs and nearly 100,000 refugees in the aforementioned 3 regions. Armed forces regularly block humanitarian aid from accessing rural areas in the Tigray region. In addition, many refugees have no access to communications or electricity, which in turn limits health and water supplies[2].

But it is not only rural regions that are regularly cut off from electricity. For a year, the capital of the Tigray region suffered regular power cuts due to the war, until it was finally reconnected to the national grid at the end of 2022[3].

ESDS Region: Refugee Settlements

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  1. UNHCR (2022): Providing water, food and shelter for people displaced on the Horn of Africa.
  2. UNHCR (2022): Ethiopia's Tigray Refugee Crisis Explained.


GIZ's Energy Solutions for Displacement Settings (ESDS) project cooperate with UNHCR to enhance the access to sustainable energy in displacement contexts, and the Energypedia page has been created to share learnings across various practitioners to spur the development of clean energy solutions.

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