By: Suleiman Osman, HornDiplomat correspondent in Addis
Addis Ababa – Two grant agreements amounting to €20 million were signed today July 16, 2020 between the Federal republic of Ethiopia and the French Republic to finance “the National Palace Renovation Program” and “Agriculture Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) Development Program” via a virtual ceremony held to ensure the WHO recommended social distancing due to the current global Novel Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak.
According to Ethiopian Finance Ministry, The first grant agreement amounting to €12 million (Twelve Million Euros) will be used to partially Finance phase I program of the renovation and opening of the National Palace to the public while the second grant agreement amounting to €8 million (Eight Million Euros) will be used to support the Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA) MSMEs Development program, which is part of the Agriculture Commercialization Cluster (ACC) program that has been supported by other development partners, such as the Danish and Dutch Embassies and the European Union.
The National Palace Renovation program is introduced based on the joint declaration entered between the government of Ethiopia and French on March 12, 2019, on heritage cooperation. The aim is financially and technically supports the opening of the National Palace to the national and international public by restoring and enhancing the heritage in accordance with international standards. Furthermore, the program will strengthen Ethiopian skills in the management of urban heritage and creating conducive environment for the emergence of a new tourism opportunity in the capital. The program has three phases: Phase 1: Restoration and opening of the Palace (front part of the palace), Phase 2: Creation and opening of a second part of the park (central part); and Phase 3: Restoration and opening of the third part of the park up to the hot springs and river banks.
Whereas; the Agriculture MSMEs development program is designed in line with the Ethiopia Homegrown Economic Reform program and the National Development Plan so as to strengthening Ethiopian Agribusiness through diversifying their economic model, developing their productivity capacity and creating the conditions for a sustainable economic development. The project is expected to develop productivity and revenue generation for 1.8 million small farmers and 1,340 agri-MSMEs.
Ethiopia Minister of Finance Ahmed Shide representing the Government of Ethiopia and Ms. Valerie TEHIO, Country director of AFD, in witness of Frederic Bontems, Ambassador of France to Ethiopia and African Union representing the French Republic were signed the grant Agreements.