Sweden Hopes for Democratic Dev’t in Ethiopia as Reform Intensifies

Addis Ababa December 05/2018  Sweden hopes for better democratic development in Ethiopia as the reform that the country has been through is intensified.

The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) Director General Carin Jamtin told ENA that they hope that the reforms can broaden the political space in the country.

In a statement issued in 2014, SIDA said “Supporting a democratic development in Ethiopia is a challenging balance act. The political space is limited and opportunities to work with civil and political rights are restricted. The cooperation with civil society has been hampered due to the legislation that regulates international funding to local organizations.”

According to the Director General, the situation in the Horn African country seems to be changed since it introduced a sweeping reform that aimed to ensure democratization and development.

She said the activities that aimed to revise laws that have been criticized for being restrictive such as media and civic society laws will help to widen the political space.

“It is in a very short time span that we are witnessing comprehensive changes in media, civil society and anti terrorism proclamations and laws though it is still in its early stage”, she said.

The Director General believes that revising these laws will help the two countries work in collaboration in democratic development with civil societies and media actors.

She also mentioned the release of prisons as a measure that will positively impact the democratization process.

“The political space seems to be broadening as government allows releasing thousands of prisoners and held discussions with various political parties”, she added.

Deputy Head of Mission, Swedish Embassy, Annika Nordin Jayawardenna told ENA that efforts in reviewing civil societies’, media and the anti-terrorism laws could enhance cooperation between the two countries in democratization.

Though the cooperation between Sweden and Ethiopia mainly focuses in democracy and human rights, they also work together in economic and social development.