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Finland's development cooperation in Ethiopia

Development cooperation between Finland and Ethiopia started in 1967. As an important regional player Ethiopia creates stability in the otherwise volatile Horn of Africa. In 2014, Finland's bilateral support to Ethiopia is about EUR 13.8 million.

 Country Strategy for Development Cooperation with Ethiopia 2014-2017 (PDF)

Ethiopia is one of the poorest countries in the world, but also one of the fastest growing economies, evidenced by an average annual GDP growth of 10.6% in 2004–2011. Its economy is based largely on agriculture. Over 80% of the 87 million Ethiopians live in the rural areas.

Ethiopia is committed to the eradication of poverty. The poverty rate has been down by nine per cent over the past five years, which means that 2.5 million people have been lifted out of poverty.

Photo: Milma Kettunen.Ethiopia has more than tripled the percentage of education in its national budget over the past 20 years. Finland is involved in the GEQIP programme aimed at enhancing the quality of education. Photo: Milma Kettunen.

Ethiopia's development also shows in an improved UN Human Development Index (HDI) ranking. The Government has invested in education and health, and Ethiopia is well on track to achieve the majority of the MDGs by 2015.

However, poverty is still a major problem, and Ethiopia will remain one of the biggest recipients of development assistance in the world in the coming years.

Aim: a carbon-neutral, middle-income economy

Development cooperation between Finland and Ethiopia is based on Ethiopia's Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP). Ethiopia has a vision to become a middle-income country and a carbon-neutral economy by 2025.

The Strategy emphasises the Ethiopians' universal participation in the development processes that affect them and everyone's access to services.

The objectives of Finnish Development cooperation with Ethiopia are:

  • to reduce poverty especially among small-holder farmers by improving access to the markets, processing methods and storage facilities
  • to support rural Ethiopians' economic wellbeing by promoting sustainable use of natural resources and improved land tenure security
  • to contribute to the quality of general education and teacher training, and to support children with special educational needs
  • to improve the coverage of rural water supply and sanitation services, and to alter hygiene behaviour patterns.

In 2012, Finnish NGOs' support to Ethiopia amounted to approx EUR 2.9 million. Funding at grassroots level was directed, for instance, to developing the education, health and rural sectors.

Finland supports local NGOs' grassroots work and the development of Ethiopia's civil society development through the Local Cooperation Fund (LCF). The LCF has been used to support the human rights, democracy and environmental sectors, and equality work, education, and special groups, such as persons with disabilities and pastoral communities.

In addition, a major part of Finnish development assistance to Ethiopia is channelled through the EU, the World Bank, the African Development Bank, and the UN.

Strengthening regional governance and citizen participatin important

The Ethiopian Constitution acknowledges political and civil rights, and Ethiopia has ratified most of the important international human rights conventions. However, there are still problems in the implementation of human rights obligations.

Risks to the success of Finland's development cooperation in Ethiopia involve, among other things, structural changes and staff turnover in the public sector in Ethiopia, which may lower the level of commitment to the cooperation. The risks are mitigated through regular contacts and policy dialogue and by means of strengthening the local governments. Citizens' participation in the development processes is also promoted.

Inflation, climate change and natural disasters may also hamper success in attaining the objectives. Finland will raise awareness of the risks and supports measures to minimise their influence.

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