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Investing in human and natural capital: An alternative paradigm for sustainable development in Awassa, Ethiopia

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  • Reynolds, Travis W.
  • Farley, Joshua
  • Huber, Candice

Abstract

Ethiopia remains underdeveloped due to limitations in natural, human, social and built capital. A 2006 scientific atelier conducted in the city of Awassa, Ethiopia investigated investments in human and natural capital as a sustainable development strategy. Local stakeholders identified firewood shortages, degradation of croplands, rising lake levels encroaching on croplands and poor water quality as major impediments to development. They further identified ecological degradation as a key component of these problems, and they acknowledged multiple vicious cycles compounding the environmental and economic threats to the Awassa community. Proposed solutions included investment in natural capital in the form of reforestation activities, investment in human capital in the form of promoting more efficient wood stoves along with increasing public awareness of environmental threats, and investments in social capital in the form of inter-institutional coordination to address environmental problems. All recommended investments rely primarily on national resources, in distinct contrast to the extensive imports required for most built capital investments. Unfortunately, Awassa lacks the surplus necessary for major capital investments of any kind. The atelier therefore helped local participants identify potential funders and write grant proposals for various projects, though none have been funded so far. Reversing the ecological degradation on the scale necessary for sustained economic development in Ethiopia however will require a steady flow of substantial investments, and cannot rely solely on the short term generosity of funders. International payments for carbon sequestration and other ecosystem services could help provide the necessary resources.

Suggested Citation

  • Reynolds, Travis W. & Farley, Joshua & Huber, Candice, 2010. "Investing in human and natural capital: An alternative paradigm for sustainable development in Awassa, Ethiopia," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(11), pages 2140-2150, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:69:y:2010:i:11:p:2140-2150
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Reynolds, Travis W. & Anderson, C. Leigh & Slakie, Elysia & Gugerty, Mary Kay, 2015. "How Common Crop Yield Measures Misrepresent Productivity among Smallholder Farmers," 2015 Conference, August 9-14, 2015, Milan, Italy 212485, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    2. Mogues, Tewodaj & Petracco, Carly & Randriamamonjy, Josee, 2011. "The wealth and gender distribution of rural services in Ethiopia: A public expenditure benefit incidence analysis," IFPRI discussion papers 1057, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    3. Reynolds, Travis W., 2012. "Institutional Determinants of Success Among Forestry-Based Carbon Sequestration Projects in Sub-Saharan Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(3), pages 542-554.
    4. Luederitz, Christopher & Brink, Ebba & Gralla, Fabienne & Hermelingmeier, Verena & Meyer, Moritz & Niven, Lisa & Panzer, Lars & Partelow, Stefan & Rau, Anna-Lena & Sasaki, Ryuei & Abson, David J. & La, 2015. "A review of urban ecosystem services: six key challenges for future research," Ecosystem Services, Elsevier, vol. 14(C), pages 98-112.
    5. Kemkes, Robin J. & Farley, Joshua & Koliba, Christopher J., 2010. "Determining when payments are an effective policy approach to ecosystem service provision," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(11), pages 2069-2074, September.
    6. Kai Ren & Jianqiang Yang, 2019. "Social Landscape Optimization of Towns and Villages at the County Level by Developing a Compound Ecological Capital System," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 11(10), pages 1-21, May.
    7. Alem, Yonas & Hassen, Sied & Köhlin, Gunnar, 2014. "Adoption and disadoption of electric cookstoves in urban Ethiopia: Evidence from panel data," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 110-124.
    8. Reynolds, Travis W. & Anderson, C. Leigh & Slakie, Elysia & Gugerty, Mary Kay, 2015. "How Common Crop Yield Measures Misrepresent Productivity among Smallholder Farmers," 2015 Conference, August 9-14, 2015, Milan, Italy 212294, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
    9. Alem, Yonas & Hassen, Sied & Kohlin, Gunnar, 2013. "The Dynamics of Electric Cookstove Adoption: Panel Data Evidence from Ethiopia," Discussion Papers dp-13-03-efd, Resources For the Future.
    10. Farley, Joshua & Costanza, Robert, 2010. "Payments for ecosystem services: From local to global," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(11), pages 2060-2068, September.

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