The Rise of Nuclear Energy in Ethiopia

Blessing Edem
May 20, 2018

Submitted as coursework for PH241, Stanford University, Winter 2018


Fig. 1: Sergey Lavrov (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

In the this time of growing nuclear power and increasing reliance on technological advances, it is increasingly pertinent for developing countries to tap into these fields. A country that actively seeks to make its name known on the world stage will often look to nuclear power to signify their growing infrastructure and dominance. The African country, Ethiopia, is no different in this regard. Ethiopia has taken the first steps to becoming a nuclear power.

Ethiopia's First Nuclear Energy Deal

Ethiopia has been in discussion with Russia to create a nuclear project. The Russian Foreign Affairs Minister, Sergey Lavrov pictured in Fig. 1, has been in talks with Ethiopia's Foreign Minister Workneh Gebeyehu to cement a deal between these two countries. [1] Russia plans to build an Ethiopian center for nuclear science and technology according to Russian research reactor. [1]

Russia and Ethiopia have had a working relationship between the two countries for 120 years and on multiple projects, including development of a hydro power plant and Russia annulling about 5 billion USD in debt. [2] Pardoning Ethiopia's debt is framed in terms of debt for development. Rosatom had been in talks with Ethiopia to develop their nuclear energy. Development of Ethiopia's nuclear power is meant for peaceful which would include construction of the Ethiopian Center for nuclear science and technology. [2]

Russia had also written off 162 million US dollars worth of debt for Ethiopia prior to reaching an agreement to develop nuclear energy collaboratively. Continued collaborations between the two countries are said to further strengthen their relationship and improve trade and investment. [3] Currently, Russian Geological Survey firm Zaru Bezggeologia is providing technical assistance to help survey Uranium mines in Ethiopia, to get a better idea of how much uranium ore is in Ethiopia. [3]

© Blessing Edem. The author warrants that the work is the author's own and that Stanford University provided no input other than typesetting and referencing guidelines. The author grants permission to copy, distribute and display this work in unaltered form, with attribution to the author, for noncommercial purposes only. All other rights, including commercial rights, are reserved to the author.


[1] "Ethiopia and Russia Reach Agreement on Nuclear Energy Development," Borkena Ethiopian News, 9 Mar 18.

[2] Y. Yewandwassen, " Russia Looks to Work With Ethiopia on Nuclear Power," Capital Ethiopia Newspaper, 12 Mar 18.

[3] "Ethiopia, Russia Enter New Frontier," allAfrica , 5 Apr 18.