SWITCH Africa Green Project Launch and Inception Workshop in Ethiopia

Switch Africa Green is being implemented in seven countries in Africa by the United Nations Environment Programme, with funding support from the European Union.

Opening Remarks by Mr. Steven Were Omamo, World Food Programme Director in Ethiopia, and Acting UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Ethiopia

H.E Prof. Fekadu Beyene, Commissioner for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Commission (EFCCC), Ethiopia


UN Colleagues,

Distinguished Participants and,

Ladies and gentlemen, 

All protocol observed

A very good morning to you. It is indeed a great pleasure and honour for me to give an opening remark on this important project launch for Ethiopia.

Switch Africa Green is being implemented in seven countries in Africa by the United Nations Environment Programme, with funding support from the European Union.

I would like to congratulate Ethiopia for being the latest addition to the Switch family and the only country in Africa to be part of phase 2 of the project that started in 2018.

The project has supported Africa’s transition to a green economy and, towards the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals - especially Goal 12 on responsible production and consumption, Goal 8 on decent jobs and economic growth, Goal 7 on Affordable and Clean Energy and Goal 17 on partnerships, among others.

Excellencies and Distinguished Guests

To date, Switch Africa Green has yielded multiple benefits through capacity development, deployment of Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) policies and knowledge management. More than 3000 micro, small and medium sized entrepreneurs (MSMEs) have directly benefitted from trainings, pilot demonstrations and skills development on sustainable consumption and productions applications. The project has indirectly outreached to 10,000 beneficiaries and these figures are growing as we speak.

One of the positive impacts from project are job creation. It is also important to note that 80% of the beneficiaries are youth and women group. 

In addition, more than 300 Policymakers and SCP Practitioners have been trained on the application of SCP policies as well as implementing sectoral policies.  A pool of resources in terms of toolkits, guidelines and best practices are readily available for replication and scaling up SCP activities Africa wide.

A survey conducted by UNEP shows that 64% of the entrepreneurs (MSMEs) had a positive impact on income generation and achieved an average cost savings of $ 7 million annually by improving efficiency –through eco - innovation, energy efficiency and water efficiency.

Excellencies and Distinguished Guests

Switch Africa Green is a success model of One UN Initiative. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) worked closely in each country to support private sector development in particular green business development. 

Lessons learned from phase 1 of Switch Africa Green will help fast track the project implementation in Ethiopia. While, Ethiopia is also well advanced in its greening strategies and is well positioned to be a role model for other countries in Africa and globally.

Through initial consultation with national stakeholders, Ethiopia identified Agriculture, Manufacturing and integrated waste management as the priority sectors for advancing on SCP and green business development in the country.

I believe Switch Africa Green project in Ethiopia will support the implementation of its Growth and Transformation Plan as well as the Climate Resilient Green Economy (CRGE) Strategy which contains Ethiopia’s vision and strategy to achieve a middle-income country status by 2025 while developing a green economy.

Phase 2 of Switch Africa Green will have a special emphasis on green investments and green financing as means to advance green businesses.

Excellencies and Distinguished Guests

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the European Union for the continuous support in facilitating the transition towards green growth and sustainable development through the SWITCH programme – which is also being implemented in the Asia and the Mediterranean regions.

I look forward to a successful collaboration with the Government of Ethiopia in implementing this important project that highly complements the national development objectives and Ethiopia’s commitments to global targets on Sustainable Development and Climate change.

With this brief remark, I thank once again organizers - the Environment, Forest and Climate Change Commission for organizing this event and all the participants who have come here today to participate and contribute to the meeting objectives.

Wishing you a fruitful deliberation in the next two days.

Thank you


Speech by
Dr. Steven Were Omamo
Picture of Steven Were Omamo
UN entities involved in this initiative
World Food Programme