Ethiopia and UN Sign Agreement for Rehabilitation of Country’s Northern Tigray Region
The Ethiopian Ministry of Finance (MoF) announced Tuesday it has signed a third-party implementation agreement with the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) for the rehabilitation of infrastructure projects in the East African country’s northern Tigray region. The MoF said in a press statement that the agreement is part of the Ethiopian government’s national recovery program financed by the World Bank (WB), which is titled Response-Recovery-Resilience for Conflict-Affected Communities in Ethiopia Project.
The agreement with the UN Office for Project Services (UNOPS) means the agency can begin rebuilding certain basic social services with funding from the World Bank which announced the grant earlier in April. The World Bank through its International Development Association (IDA) arm had approved a $300 million grant for Ethiopia’s Response-Recovery-Resilience program to rehabilitate all regions affected by conflict or violence in the country.
“Based on the agreement with UNOPS the agency will implement activities identified under rebuilding and improving access to basic services and climate-resilient community infrastructure,” the MOF statement said.
The MoF also said under the agreement the UNOPS will implement activities of providing rapid response services to communities in Tigray in consultation with communities. The UNOPS will also reconstruct basic service-providing infrastructures affected by the conflict in consultation with the communities, as well as support community-level social institutions in Tigray.
Humanitarian aid is recently heading to the Tigray region after the Ethiopian government and the rebel Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) agreed to a conditional cessation of hostilities and unhindered delivery of humanitarian aid into the region. The TPLF and the Ethiopian National Defense Force, backed by allied forces, have been engaged in a 20-month conflict that has reportedly left tens of thousands of people dead and millions of others in urgent need of humanitarian assistance.
A dispatch from Ethiopia’s Finance ministry said UNOPS will work in Tigray “until situations in Tigray improve to enable the government to implement the project with its own structure in which case UNOPS will hand over activities to the government.”
The agreement signed by Ethiopian Finance minister Ahmed Shide and UNOPS representative Werknesh Mekonen says the UN agency will focus on the Tigray bit of the World Bank-funded project. Its tasks will include providing “rapid response service” including reconstructing damaged basic facilities as well as supporting “community social level institutions.”
World Bank to provide Ethiopia with $715m
Last month, the World Bank agreed to provide $ 715 million in grants and loans to Ethiopia, which has been ravaged by drought and a devastating conflict, the country’s government said. Several international partners have suspended aid since the outbreak of conflict between the federal government and rebels in the Tigray region in November 2020, which has become a humanitarian crisis.
In a statement, the Ethiopian Ministry of Finance announced the signing of a ‘financing agreement’ with the World Bank. It includes ’$ 600 million ($ 200 million in form of grant and $ 400 million in form of credit), for the implementation of the Food Systems Resilience program’. These funds ‘will be used to finance the improvement of the resilience of food systems and food insecurity preparedness’, the ministry said.
The agreement is then set to provide grant funding of $ 115 million for a Horn of Africa pastoral economies project. This will ‘enable the region to adapt to the impacts of climate change, commercialize livestock production in pastoralist communities, and ensure inclusion of the marginalized and vulnerable groups such as women in the sector,’ the ministry said.
Some observers noted a link between the funding and the Ethiopian government’s recent announcement of a ‘humanitarian truce’, which had been called for by Washington. Ethiopian prime minister Abiy Ahmed announced on June 19 that a committee was studying possible peace negotiations with the Tigray People’s Liberation Front.