Japan Commits Support for Ethiopia’s 2020 Election

ADDIS ABEBA – The Government of Japan has signed an agreement with UNDP to provide 3 mln USD today for the multi-partner program Supporting Elections for Ethiopia’s Democracy Strengthening (SEEDS).

The 40 million USD multi-partner SEEDS program seeks to strengthen the institutional capacity of the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) to efficiently deliver on its mandate to enhance public trust and confidence in the election process, among others.

The financing agreement was signed by Ambassador Daisuke Matsunaga of Japan with UNDP Ethiopia’s Resident Representative Turhan Saleh in the presence of the chairperson of the National Election Board for Ethiopia Birtukan Mideksa.

The chairperson of  Election Board Birtukan noted that the transparency of the ballot box was symbolic of the commitment of NEBE to ensure a transparent election process that would make everyone proud.

She also 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.

During the signing ceremony, Japanese Ambassador Matsunaga said that his country supports to provide ballot boxes and indelible ink to mark people’s fingers to determine if they have voted.

The support is worth a total of 336 million yen, or approximately 3 million USD.

UNDP Resident Representative Saleh, on his part, said, “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”.

“There is a lot at stake – with much to be gained if there is a success, but also serious risks that will need to be overcome should things fall short,” he added.