NZ Considering to Support Ethiopia’s Renewable Energy : Ambassador Ramsden

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Addis Ababa August 20/2020 (ENA) New Zealand (NZ) is looking to support Ethiopia’s plans to enhance renewable energy capacity through exploiting its geothermal resources, Ambassador Mark Ramsden said.

In an exclusive interview with ENA, the ambassador revealed that “the New Zealand-Africa Geothermal Facility is under discussion with Ethiopian authorities on how best New Zealand can support this.”  

It is to be recalled that New Zealand and the African Union had signed partnership agreement for providing a framework and basis for the establishment of and implementation of the “New Zealand-Africa Geothermal Facility” in 2017 with the view to expanding access to affordable, reliable and clean energy in Eastern African countries.

According to Ambassador Ramsden, Ethiopia and New Zealand have cooperated in recent years in addressing climate change and both countries are members of the Carbon Neutrality Coalition, and share similar high ambitions for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The countries have also joined the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases as agriculture is a very important area where cooperation between the two countries can deepen, he noted.

Ambassador Ramsden further said that there are a small number of New Zealand firms that have invested in Ethiopia, including the most notable joint venture marketing like Anchor Milk products in Ethiopia.

Although the private sector in New Zealand is independent of the government and makes its own decisions about offshore investment, the ambassador stated that the embassy is able to support companies with advice and contacts.

“New Zealand has noted the emphasis the Ethiopian Government has put on reforms to improve ease of doing business in Ethiopia. This will be important for encouraging foreign investment,” he observed.

New Zealand was pleased to learn that Ethiopia has resumed the process of accession to the World Trade Organization, the ambassador said, adding that “we will continue to engage with Ethiopia as it goes through that process.”

Ambassador Ramsden also pointed out that his country has been encouraged by the progress with the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) and Ethiopia’s strong support for it.

Explaining New Zealand’s approach to COVID-19, he noted that his country has relied on evidence, science and clear communication to manage the pandemic and break the chain of transmission.

” Every country is different and there is no one-size fits all solution. An important principle of New Zealand’s response has been that it is science-based. We consider that our response has been effective because it is grounded in the health advice of scientists and health professionals.”

Yet, he stressed that global cooperation is crucial if  the world is to quickly develop a safe, effective vaccine and achieve universal access.

“We have contributed towards domestic and international vaccine research, including to CEPI (the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations), and made a specific contribution towards equitable distribution, through Gavi (the global Vaccine Alliance),” Ambassador Ramsden elaborated.

New Zealand has made 4.5 million USD contributions to the UN’s Global Humanitarian Response Plan for COVID-19 (which includes Ethiopia) through the OCHA-administered Central Humanitarian Response Fund (CERF).

Moreover, the ambassador added that the country has also maintained its commitment to supporting humanitarian work in Ethiopia, with 1.1 million USD contributions to the Ethiopia Humanitarian Fund.