The European Union (EU) has announced new financial assistance for Ethiopia targeting projects that will, among other things, help to ensure basic services such as primary schools, health care and water supply, and to support female entrepreneurs. “The new support will also help Ethiopians better prepare for the recurring droughts that hit the country, helping them to withstand the next crisis” the EU said in a statement. A total of eight new agreements of an overall amount of almost €240 million have been announced during a visit by the European Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs, to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
“This support will boost Ethiopia’s efforts to increase economic growth and reduce poverty. Our cooperation has already had good results and changed many people’s lives for the better; together we will build on this, continuing to reduce poverty and foster sustainable growth. Strengthening the resilience of the population to future droughts and the economic shocks that result from them is also essential in Ethiopia”, Commissioner Andris Piebalgs said.
According to the EU, through one of the projects, EU assistance will contribute to drastically reducing the number of mothers who die around the time of giving birth. Some of the activities include giving equipment and supplies to hospitals and health centres, and training of health care professionals.
“The EU has already been working in recent years in improving access to basic services with quite some achievements,” said the statement, adding, the number of people below the poverty line has been reduced by one third. “There has also been an increase of primary school enrolment from 68 to 85% and significantly improved access to drinking water: the share of Ethiopians with access to potable water has risen from 52% in 2006 to almost 80% in 2011.”
The objective of the new project signed today is to expand even further access to these services, while improving its quality.
But other challenges remain. Ethiopia is faced with recurrent droughts; the last one occurred in 2011. One of the programmes will strengthen people’s ability to withstand such shocks by, among other things, helping fight animal diseases in the drylands of Ethiopia, improving nutrition among groups who are at risk of hunger and also by investing in better water management.
Caption: European Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs