Archive for February 25, 2011
The funds, $246.6 million of which is a grant, will be used by districts to improve education, health, agriculture, water and sanitation, and rural roads, the Washington-based bank said in an e-mailed statement today.
Ethiopia, Africa’s second-most populous nation, will also contribute $523 million to the Protection of Basic Services program that runs until July 2012, while other donors, such as the U.S. and the European Union, have given $131.7 million.
The Horn of Africa nation, one of the world’s biggest recipients of aid, has made progress against development goals, although it has been criticized by campaign groups for human rights abuses and political repression.
Primary school enrollment increased to 87.9 percent from 68.5 percent in the five years through 2010, the child immunization rate rose to 82 percent from 70 percent, while rural access to drinking water increased to 65.8 percent from 46 percent, according to the statement. Budget transparency and accountability have also improved, the bank said.
Improving the quality of education should be a focus, according to the bank’s country director, Ken Ohashi.
“Expanding access has been the relatively easy part,” he said in the statement. “Increasingly, the challenge is quality.”
A “large component” of funds will continue to go toward “strengthening accountability and transparency systems,” Ohashi said in a phone interview today from Addis Ababa, the capital. “We do recognize there are concerns and we are working on that.”
In October, New York-based Human Rights Watch accused donor-funded programs, including the Protection of Basic Services, of being used by the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front to maintain control by denying political opponents access to resources and services.
The allegations were rejected by the government.
To contact the reporter on this story: William Davison in Addis Ababa via Johannesburg at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gold is now Ethiopia’s second largest export item as well as the country’s second foreign exchange earner, after coffee.
The country has tried to diversify its coffee dominated agricultural sector by encouraging the export of oil seeds, live animals, hides and skins and khat, a mild narcotic. Very recently flower was listed as one of the country’s main foreign currency generating export items.
The Trade Ministry’s report shows that gold is now the country’s second foreign currency earner securing US$ 179.2 million of the total export revenue generated within the six month period.
Coffee, the country’s main foreign currency earner, maintained its leading position with US$ 320 million, the report revealed.
According to this year’s 6-month export performance data, obtained from the of Ministry of Trade, oil seeds, which was the second largest export item last year in terms of foreign exchange earnings, lost its place to gold and is now listed as Ethiopia’s 4th foreign exchange earner.
The country earned US$ 76.6 million from the export of live animals (in 5th place), followed by flower exports with US$ 76.5 million.
The rise in gold export earnings, in the last two years alone, shows a dramatic change for Ethiopia’s agriculture based economy. The precious metal generated US$ 300 million in the 2009/10 fiscal year, almost tripling the US$ 105 million earned in the 2008/09 fiscal year.
Ethiopia’s mining sector has recently been attracting foreign mining companies. And Monday, the London-listed gold exploration firm, Stratex International Plc announced its plan to start mining gold and silver in the northern part of Ethiopia.
Stratex said in a statement that it had acquired 75 per cent of the AbiAdi project in northern Ethiopia which has a significant corridor of high-grade gold-silver deposits.