Ireland Invested Over 5b Birr in 6 Yrs in Ethiopia, Pledges to Continue

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Addis Ababa July 5/2019 The government of Ireland has extended over 5.1 billion birr to support multifaceted development programs in Ethiopia since 2014 and pledged to continue its support in areas of social protection and humanitarian.

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkaris visited Ethiopia on January, 2019 where he had fruitful discussions on various issues of common concern with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and President Sahlework Zewde.

In an Exclusive interview with ENA, Irish Ambassador to Ethiopia Sonja Hyland said “we have quite significant partnership in working with the government of Ethiopia and for Ireland this is our biggest development cooperation partnership in the world.”

The main focus areas of cooperation include social protection, particularly Productive Safety Net Program (PSNP), maternal and infant health, governance, gender, and rural agriculture, she added.

“We are just coming to the end of our current strategic plan which lasts for six years from 2014-2019 and the total value of that investment was about 5 billion birr or 160 million Euros,” Ambassador Hyland pointed out.

Through the concerted effort of Irish government, international donors, and the Ethiopian government, she said, adding that “we have been able to contribute to a huge fall on maternal mortality.”

Maternal mortality in Ethiopia in the last fifteen years has fallen more than half, she said, and added however, there still a long way to go as maternal mortality rate in Ethiopia is still high.

“The ability for women to make decisions about how many children to have, to get good prenatal and postnatal care, and have healthy children right from birth and has been incredibly important achievement,” Hyland stated.

Mentioning that her country is keen to help the political and economic reform agenda in Ethiopia, she pointed out that financial support was provided to the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) to ensure free and fair election.

“The whole political environment in Ethiopia is opening up and becoming more democratic and so we really want to support the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia to deliver on their priority and to deliver in large and complex agenda to try and make sure elections in Ethiopia are fully free, fair and transparent,” the Ambassador added.

Furthermore, she indicated that her country’s interest of building the capacity of the parliament towards holding accountable the executive body whenever it is necessary.

Ireland had half of most of EU member states GDP when it joined the Union in 1970s, she said, and added “but we have managed to grow our economy mainly through attracting FDI and building domestic companies.”

Moreover, she said that pretty much focusing on European single market, they have transformed the country’s economy through access to market around them.

“Like Ethiopia now, we had a lot of monopoly in energy, financial services, insurance, and monopolies in telecoms and all of those we had to break up and put in well regulated environments and competitions. So it is very similar to what the Ethiopian government has decided to do now,” she added.