Increased development aid to Ethiopia to strengthen human rights and prevent natural and climate-related disasters

The Government will today approve a new five-year aid strategy for Ethiopia, Africa’s second most populous country. The previous strategy dates from 2003 and there was a major need for a relaunch.

Despite economic progress, Ethiopia is still one of the world's poorest countries, with a rapidly increasing population. The challenges are substantial. Climate change is exacerbating the drought and creating recurrent humanitarian crises, the human rights situation is serious, and the scope for civil society is restricted. At the same time, Ethiopia is Africa's largest contributor of troops to peacekeeping operations, and the country has taken in 700 000 refugees from neighbouring countries and has one of the continent's most ambitious climate policies.

"It is high time that we update our support to Ethiopia. Sweden's engagement for the Ethiopian people goes back half a century. We will use this unique position to strengthen efforts for human rights and a free civil society," says Minister for International Development Cooperation Isabella Lövin.

The ongoing drought caused by the el Niño weather phenomenon is the worst in 30 years, and risks causing a famine affecting millions of people.

"The recurrent humanitarian crises are bringing the Ethiopian people to their knees. We must both assist them in this acute situation and also work with a more long-term perspective to ensure that in the future, people there – including the hundreds of thousands of refugees – are better equipped against drought and extreme weather events that are being exacerbated by climate change," says Ms Lövin.

The three priority areas of the strategy are:

  • Strengthened democracy and gender equality, and increased respect for human rights, including sexual and reproductive health and rights.
  • Strengthened resilience to environmental impacts, climate change and natural disasters.
  • Improved opportunities for poor people to improve their living conditions, access to livelihoods and work.

Ethiopia was the first country to which Sweden gave development assistance: cooperation began in 1954. The new strategy includes annual support averaging SEK 200 million.

Contact

Annika Flensburg
Press Secretary to Minister for International Development Cooperation Isabella Lövin
Phone (switchboard) +46 (0)8-405 10 00