EWI Director Tewodros Ashenafi Discusses Ethiopia's Future

News | April 16, 2012

Tewodros Ashenafi, a member of the EastWest Institute's board of directors and founder of South West Energy, spoke with Kaleyesus Bekele of The Reporter on his experiences as a member of the World Economic Forum and prospects for energy in Ethiopia.

Tell us about the World Economic Forum.

The World Economic Forum is an independent international organization committed to improving the state of the world by engaging business, industry, political and other leaders of the society to shape the global agenda. It was founded by Professor Klaus Schwab 42 years ago.

You were nominated as the first Ethiopian Young Global Leader (YGL) in 2009; tell us a bit about the Young Global Leaders.

The YGL is a unique multi-stakeholder community of young leaders within the WEF community who, when nominated, are under the age of 40, coming from all regions of the world and representing business, government, civil society, arts and culture, academia and media, and social entrepreneurs. We meet several times a year to convene, catalyze and positively impact the global agenda through community initiatives and task forces. We try to work on some of the major challenges we face in the 21st century.

World Economic Forum for Africa will soon be held in Ethiopia. I know that you were one of the people that helped make this happen. How was this initiative started?

South West Energy is the only Ethiopian company which is a member of the World Economic Forum even till now, and we hope that this will change in the near future. So when I got involved in the World Economic Forum community a lot of people were not familiar with Ethiopia or about the potential we have. I tried to spend a lot of time working on this fact both within the WEF and YGL communities. The WEF Africa Forum usually takes place in Cape Town. A few years ago there was a decision to hold the Forum every other year in another African city. When the time came to select a choice for the 2012 Summit, working closely with the Africa team we helped the WEF in selecting Addis Ababa as the venue for 2012.