EU, Ethiopia sign 212.4m euros aid deal for roads, health
THE European Union on Monday signed a development grant with Ethiopia worth 212.4 million euros to help finance road construction and projects targeting maternal health and drought resilience.
Ethiopia, Africa’s second most populous country after Nigeria, is midway through a five-year economic plan that foresees almost tripling the country’s road network and beginning the building of 5,000 kilometres of new railway lines.
Addis Ababa’s big push on infrastructure is aimed at connecting remote regions and has propelled the economy to double-digit growth for much of the last decade.
“Expanding and upgrading the road network are playing a central role in the country’s economic development, notably in improving access for the rural population to markets and basic service,” Andris Piebalgs, the EU’s Commissioner for Development, said at the signing ceremony.
Once run by communists, Ethiopia’s economy is now sub-Saharan Africa’s fifth biggest economy, leapfrogging Kenya, after a decade of robust growth, but however, remains one of the world’s largest aid recipients.
The package includes 49 million euros earmarked for road building. Another 50 million euros will be to help fight the effects of drought in the country’s arid south and east and 40.4 million euros will go to improving maternal health.