Finance Minister Ahmed Shide (right) and World Bank’s country director Ousmane Dione. (Photo File)

Ethiopia, World Bank Sign $730mln Grant Agreement

ADDIS ABABA – The government of Ethiopia on Sunday signed a 730 million US dollar grant agreement with the World Bank Group (WBG).

The grant will fund a project that sets out to upgrade Ethiopia’s major foreign trade route along the Addis Ababa–Djibouti corridor.

The project grant deal was signed virtually between Finance Minister Ahmed Shide and WBG’s Regional Integration Director Boutheina Guermazi on Sunday.

The signing took place five weeks after the WBG board of directors approved the $730 million Horn of Africa Regional Economic Corridor project.

The Ministry of Finance says the scheme aims to enhance the connectivity and logistics performance of Ethiopia along the strategic Addis Ababa-Djibouti road that handles more than 90% of Ethiopia’s maritime trade.

Its Mieso-Dire Dawa section is currently in poor condition, forcing road users to take a longer route through Mille, adding 146 kilometers to their journey.

The project will upgrade the 142km road into a four-lane expressway to reduce travel time and costs, as well as increase the transport capacity and efficiency.

It will also support local communities along the road by constructing education, health, and water infrastructures as well as secondary roads to link them with the main corridor, per the Ministry of Finance.

The project is part of the HoA Initiative, a regional partnership platform that promotes integration among countries in the region through infrastructure development.

Minister Ahmed has appreciated the World Bank for supporting the project and reiterated Ethiopia’s commitment to regional integration.

“As a current Chair of the HoA Initiative and Finance Minister, I strongly believe that infrastructure development is essential for achieving long-term growth and stability in our region,” Ahmed said.