Ireland, UNDP Sign Deal to Fund 2020 Ethiopia Election

ADDIS ABEBA – The Irish government has joined the United Kingdom and Denmark to offer financial support to Ethiopia’s 2020 general election.

The European nation, through its embassy in Addis Abeba, has signed a €700,000 (ETB 23 mln) agreement on Thursday with the UN Development program Ethiopia (UNDP).

The finance will be channeled through UNDP’s ‘Supporting Elections for Ethiopia’s Democracy Strengthening’ or SEEDS Project.

The UN agency has already signed with Ethiopian election officials a 40 million USD document last month in a bid to support the east African nation’s democracy and capacity to hold transparent and credible elections in a coordinated manner.

According to UNDP, the SEEDS project will be financed by Ethiopia’s major development partners including the United Kingdom, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Japan, Norway, Sweden and more.

On Thursday, the Ireland government has become the third country, next UK and Denmark, to be on-board of SEEDS project by signing the €700,000 agreement.

“The government of Ireland initiated this partnership as this is a crucial time in Ethiopia’s transition into democracy,” said Hyland Sonja, Ireland ambassador to Ethiopia, after signing the agreement.

She also said the national electoral board of Ethiopia “has an important job over the next year to make Ethiopia ready for free and fair democratic election”.

UNDP’s role is to integrate contributions from different partners towards the realization of transparent, inclusive, credible and peaceful elections in Ethiopia.

The SEED project assists NEBE to decentralize its units and departments to the regions. These include building staff capacities in the electoral processes; enhance communications, dialogue, public trust, and confidence; and introduce new technologies, standards, and protocols, among others.

Last month, the Chairwoman of the NEBE Birtukan Midekssa, said ‘The upcoming general election will be one of the significant events in the Ethiopian political history”.

“We are working to make it different from the previous electoral record of our nation with broadening political space, changes in the political and electoral laws and frameworks,” she added.

Caption: (From L) Ambassador Hyland and UNDP Ethiopia Resident Representative Turhan Saleh (Photo UNDP)

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