Parliamentary State Secretary Thomas Silberhorn pledges support for Ethiopia to respond to refugee crisis
Successful conclusion of Ethiopian-German government negotiations
Addis Ababa – Germany will support Ethiopia in the current refugee crisis. This was confirmed by Thomas Silberhorn, Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, during his stay in Addis Ababa. Ethiopia is currently hosting some 630,000 refugees from neighbouring countries, mainly from South Sudan, Eritrea and Somalia. This presents the country in the Horn of Africa with enormous challenges.
In Ethiopia, Silberhorn chaired the German delegation at the Ethiopian-German government negotiations on development cooperation for 2015 to 2017. New commitments for Ethiopia for the next three years total 119 million euros.
The Parliamentary State Secretary lauded the enormous progress which the country had made, saying: "Ethiopia has achieved a lot and has become a linchpin for stability in the region. The Ethiopian government has made major strides on social and economic development. At the same time, we would like to encourage Ethiopia to become even more open politically. Individual initiative, innovation propelled by the private sector, and ideas put forward by civil society are all beneficial for a country's development."
Silberhorn lauded the thrust of Ethiopia's development plan, which focuses on rural development and agricultural productivity. The plan's ambition is to catch up on industrial development. Even though Ethiopia has seen constantly high growth rates for quite a number of years, and even though there is great agricultural potential, more than half of the country's people are still living in poverty.
Silberhorn called on the Ethiopian government to ensure that the parliamentary elections scheduled for 2015 would be free and fair. The itinerary of his visit also included talks with the African Union Commission. The BMZ is engaged in close cooperation with the African Union (AU), focusing on the priority areas of peace and security, regional integration and agricultural development. The BMZ is supporting the AU, for instance, in developing an African peace and security architecture. At the Institute for Peace and Security Studies at Addis Ababa University, Silberhorn announced that, in 2015, Germany would make a contribution to the Tana High-Level Forum on Security, thus providing continued support to the Institute, which is a think tank for peace and security policy.
The government negotiations with Ethiopia focused on the challenges of undertaking a long-term reform of the country's education system and of strengthening and modernising the agricultural sector. Germany will continue to support the Ethiopian government with regard to related reforms.
In the priority area of education, German assistance has focused on engineering. In future, Germany will expand its support to include the agricultural sector, helping Ethiopia to improve vocational training in agriculture.
Together with the German Agriculture Ministry, the BMZ will also assist Ethiopia in improving agricultural productivity, thus enhancing food security. These and other activities are part of the BMZ's special initiative "One World – No Hunger".
In addition, Germany will address a new priority area under bilateral cooperation: the conservation of biodiversity in certain national parks and biosphere reserves in Ethiopia.
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