On October 8th, Project Gaia and its partners, Gaia Association, the Former Women’s Fuelwood Association (FWFCA) Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), and the Nordic Environment Finance Corporation (NEFCO) inaugurated the first ethanol micro distillery of its kind in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The Minister of Energy, Deputy Manager of Waste Disposal and Recycling, UNIDO, Spectrum Technologies, the World Bank, partners from Kenya were among the event’s attendees. The program included remarks by partners, a tour of the facility, lunch, and music.
The significance of the project was widely noted, with the former Minister of Energy, Alemayehu Tegenu, declaring it to be hugely “important for rural development.” Though the project may seem simple, he observed, it holds “multifaceted promise,” particularly for the rural poor. “There will be many replications of this project in Ethiopia,” he predicted.
The other speakers shared Mr. Tegenu’s desire to see the project replicated throughout the country. “We want to see more of this,” said NEFCO’s Kari Hämekoski. “This is absolutely something we want to support… it is innovation in Ethiopia.”
Acknowledging the challenges that accompanied the project, the speakers applauded the partners’ efforts and perseverance. Noting that the project was “more than a standard project,” SEI Deputy Director Jakob Granit remarked, “…all involved demonstrated significant entrepreneurial spirit, innovation, and persistence.”
Moreover, each speaker demonstrated a steadfast commitment to the project and its continuation. The Deputy Manager of Waste Disposal and Recycling indicated his office’s dedication to the success of the project, saying, “this project is also our project… we are eager to see it prosper.” This sentiment seemed to be widespread; all attendees were excited by promise displayed by the distillery.
The inauguration of the project marked a significant achievement for all partners involved and signaled the arrival of a new frontier for clean energy.