Addis Ababa August 15/2019 The Government of Japan has signed an agreement with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to provide 3 million US dollars for the multi-partner SEEDS (Supporting Elections for Ethiopia’s Democracy Strengthening) program.
The financing agreement was signed by Ambassador Daisuke Matsunaga of Japan and UNDP Country Resident Representative, Turhan Saleh, in the presence National Electoral Board of Ethiopia Chairperson Birtukan Mideksa.
The 40 million USD multi-partner SEEDS programme seeks to strengthen the institutional capacity of NEBE to efficiently deliver on its mandate to enhance public trust and confidence in the election process, it was learned.
During the signing ceremony, National Electoral Board of Ethiopia Chairperson Birtukan stated that the transparency of the ballet box was symbolic of the commitment of NEBE to ensure “a transparent election process that would make everyone proud.”
She recalled that in previous elections Ethiopia had not used transparent ballot boxes and this had been a cause for complaints and suspicions.
Japan’s financial support will go towards the procurement of ballot boxes and indelible ink markers to avoid double voting, in line with internationally approved standards, to enhance the credibility and transparency of Ethiopia’s election scheduled for 2020, according to a joint press release of the Japanese embassy and UNDP.
Ambassador Daisuke Matsunaga said in Ethiopia, where various reforms are underway due to the efforts of Prime Minister Abiy, he expects that “the upcoming election will help to improve the lives of the Ethiopian people.”
UNDP Resident Representative Saleh stated that “even in my short time here, I have sensed the importance of this event in the national conversation and in popular expectations about the future of governance and development in Ethiopia.”
Furthermore, he noted that there is a lot at stake – with much to be gained if there is success, but also serious risks that will need to be overcome should things fall short.
UNDP brings extensive experience to Ethiopia, on average, annually providing electoral assistance to about 60 countries, including in fragile and post-conflict settings.