Ethiopia minister visits Afar to discuss humanitarian needs

Minister of Finance of Ethiopia Ahmed Shide, accompanied by Mr. Ousmane Dione, World Bank Country Director for Ethiopia, Sudan, S. Sudan & Eritrea, held a two-day visit to Afar to discuss humanitarian assistance to the region.

The delegation et with the President of Afar region Awol Arba to discuss emergency support for recovery from the recent conflict and management of recurrent flood-related risks. The Minister, together with the regional President, also visited cotton and wheat fields as well as the Tendaho Irrigation Dam, which has been built to enhance productivity toward commodity import substitution.

During the visit, the Minister updated regional authorities about the upcoming $300 million World Bank Response, Recovery, Resilience for Conflict-Affected Communities Project, which supports affected regions with urgent reconstruction of damaged infrastructure, basic service provision for internally displaced people, and psychosocial and clinical support to conflict-affected women.

In his remarks, he indicated more efforts are underway to ensure adequate recovery support across the country. He also reminded the authorities that reconstruction interventions will be prioritized based on the multisectoral conflict damage and needs assessment and recovery plan currently under preparation covering all affected regions, coordinated by the Ministry of Finance, and supported by development partners.

The World Bank Country Director discussed the new integrated disaster risk management (DRM) project currently under preparation, which focuses on prevention-oriented watershed management intervention (including on the Awash River in Afar) to mitigate flooding, and institutional capacity strengthening activities to comprehensively address disasters.

The Country Director of the World Bank emphasized the importance of flood mitigation infrastructure, disaster preparedness, and readiness in advance of adverse natural events, to reduce their impacts and ensure resilient and rapid recovery following disasters.

The President took the Minister to visit wheat farm sites. Based on wheat self-sufficiency roadmap for Ethiopia’s future program, the Afar region, much like other regions in the country, is playing its role toward reduction of wheat imports through enhanced local production.