Ireland Pledges to Heighten, Deepen Economic, Political Relations with Ethiopia


Addis Ababa August 23/2019 Ireland is keen to increase and deepen its political and economic relations with Ethiopia while remaining committed to supporting Ethiopia’s ambitious economic and political reforms, outgoing Irish Ambassador to Ethiopia Sonja Hyland said.

In an exclusive interview with ENA, Ambassador Hyland said “we have had more and more visits in two years than we had in the previous decade and I think that demonstrates a strong commitment by the Irish government to continue to strengthen our relationship.”

Irish development cooperation with Ethiopia has been going on for the last twenty five years, she said, adding that “we are really trying to increase and deepen the political and economic relationship between our two countries.”

“Our commitment to support the political, economic reform agenda in Ethiopia so Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has set really ambitious agenda with ambitious time line for democratization and political and economic reform. I have been really happy to be able to push forward Ireland’s support for that,” the ambassador said.

Recent agreements signed with the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia and Speaker of the House of People’s Representatives (HPR) demonstrates Ireland’s commitment to support the ongoing political reform, Hyland noted.

“Our development cooperation program over the last six years is valued 160 million Euros that is about 30 million Euros each year and we are just in our planning phase at the moment for our next strategy. So, we’re committed to at least maintain that level of support and focusing on supporting political and economic reforms, helping to reduce humanitarian needs in Ethiopia and increase resilience of the vulnerable population,” she elaborated.

Mentioning that she will be appointed political director in Ireland with the responsibility for international peace and security, Hyland said “obviously looking at the Horn of Africa, Ethiopia is key partner for us in terms of understanding and reacting appropriately to peace and security issues in the Horn.”

She further appreciated Ethiopia’s remarkable contributions towards peaceful resolution of the conflict with Eritrea, and for brokering the Sudanese peace process in collaboration with the African Union (AU).  

“I think Ethiopia’s commitment in trying to support peace and stability in the Horn of Africa is really important one not just for the region but actually globally. The most striking element of work that Ethiopia has been doing in the Horn in trying to bring peace, stability and security and therefore prosperity to its people is incredibly important,” Hyland noted.

Speaking of Ethiopia’s recent major breakthrough in terms of starting to plant four billion seedlings, she said “it’s an incredible commitment and vision. I think from the prime minister climate change is something that Ethiopia does not create but is really suffering from.”

“The fact that Ethiopia has decided to proactively lead the way and show others what can be done and make that commitment publicly and internationally is really positive; it’s something that internationally people have recognized and commended Ethiopian leadership,” she noted.

She urged other countries to follow Ethiopia’s move towards minimizing the adverse impacts of climate change.