Introducing our newest International Fellow:
By Agnethe Ellingsen
In the summer of 2011, a delegation of government officials from Tajikistan visited Armenia to learn about Armenia’s experience with developing its renewable energy potential. Today, the high potential of hydropower has attracted international organizations as well as international enterprises - such as Norwegian and Iranian ones - to contribute in different ways to the development of the hydropower industry in both countries. However, the high level of labor migration in both Armenia and Tajikistan raises an interesting question that has not been well researched: To what degree does brain drain have an impact on the development of the hydropower industry in Tajikistan and Armenia?As a Norwegian student, my interest in this question is especially strong, since Norwegian companies are running hydropower projects in both countries and their success or failure could depend on local capacity.
Landlocked, one of the poorest countries in their respective parts of the former Soviet Union, surrounded by mountains, located in earthquake prone areas, and punished by war during the 90s; both Armenia and Tajikistan have faced an uphill battle in the economic transition that followed the breakup of the Soviet Union. Today, energy is seen as an important catalyst to the economic development of Armenia and Tajikistan. While Iran and Iranian enterprises are among the most active regional partners for both Tajikistan and Armenia in the hydropower industry, Norway and Norwegian enterprises are among the most active western actors in this sector. NorskEnergi is a leading Norwegian consultant firm in the fields of energy, environment and safety, financing large and small projects on energy efficiency and greenhouse gas reductions, and often cooperates with the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Over the past few years, NorskEnergi has started small hydropower projects in both Tajikistan and Armenia. The support for renewable energy in developing countries is one of the priorities of Norwegian development politics today.
Through the activities of NorskEnergi and considering the fact that in 2006 the UN recognized the nexus between migration and development, I became interested to investigate that issue more extensive. This led finally to my idea of analyzing the effect of labor migration and brain drain on the development of the hydropower industry in Tajikistan and Armenia, as the hydropower industry is an important part of the economic development in both countries.
|Here you can see the reservoir of Nurek. Standing here, I got a feeling of Norway, since it looks so similar to my Norwegian fjords.|
A little about myself: my name is Agnethe Ellingsen, and I am the new International Fellow at the Caucasus Research Resource Center in Yerevan. I am a current Norwegian master’s student at Humboldt University of Berlin in Central Asian and Caucasian studies with a major in Geography and Development. Before joining CRRC in Yerevan, I interned at the Eurasia Foundation of Central Asia in Dushanbe, where I began my research for the above-mentioned project. I am very excited to continue exploring this topic here in Armenia and share the final results I will obtain by the end of my stay!