Ethiopia, Italy Sign €22mln Loan Agreement

ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopia and Italy signed a concessional loan agreement amounting to 22 million euros (approx. 1.23 billion ETB) after the visiting foreign minister of the European nation, Luigi Di Mao, met with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Monday.

The loan will finance the development of Bulbula, Bure, Yirgalem, and Ba’eker Integrated Agro-Industrial Parks (IAIPs) and rural transformation centers or RTCs in the proximity of the IAIPs.

These facilities would help to create jobs in the rural areas of the country, increase farmers’ incomes, generate export revenues, and substitute imports of agro-processed goods, according to the Ministry of Finance.

Through this agreement, Italy will be supporting industrial parks throughout Ethiopia in the agricultural sector, to favor a business-oriented approach, its embassy in Addis Ababa said.

Finance Minister Ahmed Shide and the visiting Foreign Minister of Italy, Luigi Di Maio signed the loan agreement on behalf of the governments of their respective countries.

Minister Di Maio said that Ethiopia, as a priority country for Italian Cooperation, is one of the largest beneficiaries of the Italian Official Development Assistance. Today, the Italian Cooperation has more than 60 development projects underway in Ethiopia, with 84 million euros in grants and 118 million euros over nine credit lines.

– ‘Unlocking Wheat Farms’

Prior to the signing of the deal, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed met with Foreign Minister Di Maio and discussed national and regional issues of mutual interest, said PM Office.

The Italian Foreign Minister also held a similar discussion with Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Demeke Mekonnen.

In a Facebook post after the meetings, Di Maio expressed Italy’s commitment to work with Ethiopia in particular and the African continent in general in various areas.

“Let’s strengthen the historic relations between Italy and Ethiopia and continue to work for the stability of the African continent,” the minister said.

“We are also on the forefront of unlocking wheat exports, and the next few weeks will be crucial,” he said, stating his country’s commitment “to ensure food security for the most vulnerable countries, starting in Africa.”

Di Maio is expected to conclude his two-day-long official working visit to Ethiopia today and will head to neighboring Kenya on a similar mission.

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