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Press Releases, 1/7/2015

Minister Sirpa Paatero to Ethiopia to review the results of development cooperation

Press Release 2/2015

Minister for International Development Sirpa Paatero will visit Ethiopia on 7 to 10 January. The purpose of the visit is to learn about the results achieved in the bilateral development cooperation projects and to discuss about developments in Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa.

During the visit, Minister Paatero will meet with implementors and beneficiaries of development cooperation projects, the Ethiopian and Horn of Africa leaderships and other members of the international community in Ethiopia.

Ethiopia is a country of over 90 million people. Over the past decade, its economic growth has been very strong, about 8 per cent a year. Ethiopia has also invested heavily in education and health and is about to attain the majority of the Millennium Development Goals in 2015.  However, the civil and political rights have not developed as has been hoped by the international community.

Development cooperation between Finland and Ethiopia started in 1967. Ethiopia is one of Finland's long-term partner countries. Development cooperation is conducted in the sectors of water, education and rural economic development. The projected annual disbursements in 2015–17 are EUR 14 million.

The cooperation has been the most successful in the water sector; the construction of more than 8 600 water points by the local communities has provided access to clean water to nearly three million people. Cooperation in the education sector is also extensive and it has continued for a long time. Finland supports the General Education Quality Improvement Programme (GEQIP) administered by the World Bank.

About 21 million primary school children, of whom 48 per cent are girls, benefit from this project. In addition, over 7 000 teachers have been trained so far in a bilateral special teacher project (2013–17).

In recent years, the economic development of rural areas has also been supported. Small-holder farmers are supported through the Agro-Business Induced Growth in the Amhara National Regional State (Agro-BIG) programme in 2013–15. The REILA (Responsible and Innovative Land Administration in Ethiopia) project in 2011–16 promotes poverty reduction among farmers and sustainable use of the environment by means of giving farmers' legal land use rights. 

Minister Paatero will also meet with representatives of Ethiopian and Finnish civil society organisations and learn about civil society projects supported by Finland. Finnish civil society organisations are supported by about EUR two million a year. The annual contribution to local organisations is about EUR 0.5 million.

Additional information: Sonja Kekkonen, Special Adviser to the Minister, tel. +358 295 351 599; Helena Airaksinen, Director, Unit for Eastern and Western Africa, +358 295 351 583.

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