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Ethiopian Delegation Discuss Dev’t Priorities with World Bank Officials

ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopia’s Finance Minister Ahmed Shide held discussion with World Bank Group (WBG) officials on his country’s priorities and the support sought from the bank to address current development challenges.

The Minister is Washington DC leading Ethiopia’s delegation, attending the annual WBG and IMF meetings starting from Monday.

On the margins of the meeting, the delegation held discussion with WBG’s Vice President for Eastern and Southern Africa, Victoria Kwakwa, and Country Director Ousmane Dione.

It focused on the country program as well as the government’s priorities and the Bank’s support sought to address current development challenges, says the Ethiopian embassy in the US in a statement issued on Wednesday.

The discussion was held a month after the WBG reiterated commitment to its partnership with Addis Ababa for the benefit of all citizens despite its concerns about the conflict in northern Ethiopia.

Finance Minister Ahmed thanked the World Bank for its commitment and support to respond to the multiple challenges and compounding shocks that Ethiopia faced over the last few years.

During the discussion, the Minister highlighted Ethiopia’s development priorities such as tackling the urgent economic challenges and ensuring macro-fiscal stability to address the tremendous economic hardships that Ethiopians are facing, in particular the poor.

Ahmed stressed on the need to unlock the full potential of the productive sectors with highest prospective to support inclusive job creation and sustained growth, supporting social cohesion and resilience, including conflict recovery and reconstruction.

Tackling disaster and climate risks, equitable distribution of resources, inclusive and participatory approaches, as well as addressing drivers of fragility such as poverty, food insecurity, and climate disasters were also mentioned by the Minister as focus areas that require a coordinated measure.

– ‘Seeks Balancing Act on Assistance’ –

The Finance minister underscored the importance of balancing the immediate-term emergency assistance with the longer-term development interventions.

The Bank is currently supporting Ethiopia to address demands for basic human services such as education, food security, health, and clean water. It also granted $300 million to the reconstruction and recovery efforts in the conflict-hit communities.

Finance Minister Ahmed said, while humanitarian assistance is undoubtedly needed to address the short-term needs of saving lives, a broader and longer-term development assistance “is critical in tackling the root causes of the challenges our country faces while ensuring to sustain the hard-earned development gains of recent years.”

‘Support to continue’

World Bank Vice President Kwakwa commended Ethiopia’s resilience in dealing with the multiple shocks while noting the persistent challenges facing the country, reads the Ethiopian embassy statement.

Kwakwa also stressed on the need for bold economic reforms and actions to manage the fiscal risks, foster private sector led development by creating the enabling business environment, and implementing actions to address fragility risks for resilient and sustainable development.

She reassured the delegation of the World Bank’s commitment to use all financing instruments and analytical services to help Ethiopia implement the new phase of transformative reforms as well as support its long-term development needs.