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Ethiopia’s electricity needs have risen by a third since 2002, according to the International Energy Agency. As a result, the Ethiopian government is working to expand its electricity grid.
In this photo gallery, SciDev.Net visits the Tatek transformer factory near Addis Ababa, one of seven factories run by Ethiopian Power Engineering Industry, a state firm that manufactures power grid supplies and trains staff to maintain the grid.
The factory pays its employees about US$40-US$60 a month. By itself this is barely enough to survive, but there are rare benefits such as paid holiday and maternity leave. And the government provides affordable bus transport for staff, enabling them to take jobs further than walking distance from home.
Tatek aims to employ as many women as men, which challenges traditional gender roles and provides women with an independent income. However, Ethiopian societal norms require women to be main carers for children, so many stop working once they have a family.