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Ethiopia has obtained more than USD 1.69 billion in loans and grants in the past six months of the current Ethiopian fiscal year, said Teodros Adhanom (PhD), Minister of Foreign Affairs, presenting his Ministry’s performance report to the House of Peoples Representatives last Thursday.
The overwhelming majority of the finance, USD 1.04 billion, was acquired from bilateral sources while the remaining balance, USD 646.6 million, came from multilateral financial sources. The country also managed to convince donors and creditors to release USD 976.8 million, promised earlier as grants and loans, in the same period.
England topped the list of countries, providing 14.9 billion birr in grants to Ethiopia followed by Italy, which injected 80 million Euros into the Ethiopian economy also in the form of grant. The US came up with USD 69.9 million, the European Union (EU) with 35 million Euros, Germany with 24 million Euros, the Czech Republic with USD 3 million, Norway 127 million birr and the Netherlands with 70 million birr are among the countries who have injected taxpayers’ money into Ethiopia’s financial coffer in the past five months of the current budget year, according to the report presented by the Ministry to the House of Peoples Representatives. Ethiopia has also secured more than USD 1.15 billion in loans from the World Bank (WB) to finance basic social services like health, education and economic infrastructures like roads in the second half of the last Ethiopian fiscal year.
Halting human trafficking
In a bid to prevent illicit human trafficking, Ethiopia recently established a task force, chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen. It is also preparing a proposal which will introduce a legally binding document.
“It is a serious issue that needs due consideration. We have sealed a deal with Kuwait, Jordan and Qatar in a bid to ensure the safety of our citizens working in these countries. There is also a work in progress to do the same in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. These are long-term plans. But in the short term, the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (MoLSA) is training citizens leaving the country through legal means. Apart from that, we need to train more journalists, in order to enlighten our citizens about the risks involved while travelling abroad and look into opportunities at home,” said the Deputy Minister.
The lack of coordination between the police and the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (MoLSA) in particular, the deficiency of an effective communication strategy in general and lack of a detailed study about push-and-pull factors of immigration, made illegal migrations go unnoticed in the eyes of authorities, according to experts.
In the past six months of the current budget year, the ministry has collected more than USD 3 million, of which USD 2.7 million was in bond sales and the rest in grants. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) collected USD 7 million from the Ethiopian Diaspora for the construction of the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) through bond sales last year. It hopes to further strengthen its efforts in the sale of bonds through the newly formed Diaspora Renaissance Council.
“Though the assistance we have received from the Ethiopian Diaspora is commendable, we feel that they haven’t realized their full potential. We still need more assistance in order to realize the mega projects we have envisioned in our grand economic plan, the Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP),” said the Minister, while appreciating the assistance extended so far.
MoFA roughly estimates that more than two million Ethiopians and people of Ethiopian origin reside outside Ethiopia.