Our Programs

Bright New Ideas is involved in Rwanda through our partnership organization, the Solar Oven Society.  Ethiopia is an impoverished nation in East Africa near Somalia and Kenya with a population approximately the same as Germany’s.  Over a third of the entire population does not have access to electricity – and those that do suffer from yearly blackouts due to the fact that the country’s electric grid is dependent upon a hydroelectric system which suffers due to droughts.  We strive to bring solar lighting and capacity-building technology to this emerging and ambitious nation.  Our current primary focus is building partnerships with local organizations through the Solar Oven Society to evaluate use and feasibility of various models of solar lanterns.

Ethiopia Economy Snapshot

According to the CIA World Factbook:

Ethiopia’s poverty-stricken economy is based on agriculture, accounting for 45% of GDP, and 85% of total employment. The agricultural sector suffers from frequent drought and poor cultivation practices. Coffee is critical to the Ethiopian economy with exports of some $350 million in 2006, but historically low prices have seen many farmers switching to qat to supplement income. The war with Eritrea in 1998-2000 and recurrent drought have buffeted the economy, in particular coffee production. In November 2001, Ethiopia qualified for debt relief from the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative, and in December 2005 the IMF forgave Ethiopia’s debt. Under Ethiopia’s constitution, the state owns all land and provides long-term leases to the tenants; the system continues to hamper growth in the industrial sector as entrepreneurs are unable to use land as collateral for loans. Drought struck again late in 2002, leading to a 3.3% decline in GDP in 2003. Although GDP growth has since rebounded, soaring commodity prices in 2007 and 2008 and the global economic downturn led to balance of payments pressures, partially alleviated by recent emergency funding from the IMF.

Ethiopia Statistics

Population 83 Million
Land Mass (Sq Miles) 435,186
People per Sq Mile 186
Life Expectancy 49
Under Age 5 Morality Rate 12%
Literacy Rate 36%
Access to safe water 22%
Average Annual Income (USD) $180
% Below Poverty Level 38%
% Access to Electricity 22%
Rural Population % 84%
Rural Per Capita Energy kWh 119
Unemployment % 16.7%
Primary Education Enrollment 72%
CO2 Emissions Per Capita 0.103 metric tons