“The Reppie project is just one component of Ethiopia’s broader strategy to address pollution and embrace renewable energy across all sectors of the economy,” said Zerubabel Getachew, Ethiopia’s deputy permanent representative to the UN in Nairobi.

“We hope that Reppie will serve as a model for other countries in the region and around the world,” he stressed.

Samuel Alemayehu, managing director for Africa of Cambridge Industries, echoed this sentiment, saying to CNN that he hopes to develop similar waste-to-energy plants in major cities in Africa where landfill is over capacity, such as Lagos, Nairobi and Kampala.

“Having created a facility uniquely for Africa, our goal is to duplicate it in five locations,” he says. “We are targeting cities that are in need of building a new landfill.”

He added: “Our goal is to build this facility and also to create a renewable energy source that competes with fossil fuel-based power plants.”

Waste to energy has multiple benefits: saving land space, generating electricity, preventing the release of toxic chemicals into groundwater and reducing the release of methane into the atmosphere.