Dr. Seleshi Bekele Awulachew, Ethiopia’s Minister of Water, Irrigation and Energy, has 30 years of experience in leadership, research, teaching, and advisory work in the areas of water, energy, land, climate change, capacity development, and policy. The Ministry has an ambitious portfolio of creating 100% access to electricity by 2025 and advancing water supply and sanitation in one of the most rapidly growing developing countries in Africa. Ethiopia is putting in place the unique development partnership models for achieving rapid water supply and sanitation targets, as well as water for advancing rapid irrigation development to ensure national food security. Ethiopia is currently developing the biggest hydropower dams in Africa, which will generate 6,000 megawatts.
Dr. Bekele Awulachew worked at the UN headquarters in New York as Interregional Advisor in the Division of Sustainable Development in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA). He first joined the United Nations System, where he worked for the Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) as a Senior Water and Climate Change Specialist. At the United Nations, he contributed to mainstreaming sustainable development in national development plans of the member states in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Previously, for seven years, Dr. Bekele led the regional office of the International Water Management for the Nile Basin and East Africa, where he also served as a Senior Researcher, based in Addis Ababa. He developed this office from a small group into a major regional research hub, which still flourishes today. He also acted as a lead editor of the first comprehensive book on the Nile Basin, Nile River Basin: Water, Agriculture, Livelihood and Governance, coordinating the efforts of over 45 scientists from Africa and other regions. Early in his career, Dr. Bekele Awulachew was Dean and CEO of the Arba Minch University in Ethiopia, where he established graduate programs in dams and hydropower, irrigation and drainage, water resources and hydrology. He taught courses in hydropower, water resources, watershed management, and environmental impact assessment in Ethiopia and Germany.
He was educated as a civil engineer at Addis Ababa University and received his master’s degree in hydraulic engineering and hydrology at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom. He holds a PhD in water resources and hydraulic engineering from Dresden University of Technology, Germany.