Every year we come to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development to sign bi-lateral assistance agreement that describe the mutually agreed upon plans for development cooperation between the U.S. Government, through USAID, and the Government of Ethiopia, through the Ministry, working on various sectors of social and economic development. Today’s signing ceremony symbolizes the continuation of cooperation begun 50 years ago with the establishment of USAID operations in Ethiopia. So 2012 is a significant marker on the road we travel together to promote the development of Ethiopia and the wellbeing of all Ethiopians.
Yet this year’s signing ceremony is also significant for another reason. I am especially pleased and proud that the documents we sign today represent the first year’s operation of a new USAID country development cooperation strategy for Ethiopia for the five years from 2011 through 2015. We have called the new strategy “Accelerating the Transformation to Prosperity”.
The strategy is the fruit of much analysis and many consultations with our partners throughout the Government of Ethiopia and the donor community and is designed to support and complement the goals of Ethiopia’s own Growth and Transformation Strategy. I want to recognize that here today we have our team from USAID who will manage the implementation of this new strategy.
USAID’s portfolio of programs in Ethiopia is too large to briefly present here, but let me share some highlights of our new strategy and our prime goal to help speed Ethiopia’s transformation to a prosperous and resilient country. Achieving this goal will transform our relationship with Ethiopia from one of assistance to one of economic and social cooperation, trade and investment.
For food self-sufficiency and economic growth, our Feed the Future Initiative will promote rural development where the majority of Ethiopians reside through agricultural growth and trade and we are strengthening our engagement of the private sector in this effort. We have started many new programs to start businesses and to modernize and increase farm production and exports.
In the area of health, under the U.S. Global Health Initiative, we are integrating all our various health activities to focus on mothers and children. We will redouble our efforts to have more people using health services and to improve their quality, as well as to combat malaria, TB, and HIV/AIDS. We have launched new programs to improve nutrition and to better protect highly vulnerable children and allow them to lead productive and happy lives.
In the area of basic education, we are refocusing our support to improve the quality of teaching to produce better learning overall, and in particular better reading skills. We also give special emphasis to helping young girls to continue their education as their contribution is critical to overall development. We are also developing new programs to build the capacity of young people to join Ethiopia’s workforce.
In the area of governance, across all our programs, we are making new efforts to improve good governance and public accountability, to promote the transparent management and appropriate use of resources for development programs, to prevent disputes and conflict, and to support the participation of civil society in this effort.
Of course, as long as there is need we will respond with emergency and humanitarian assistance. We are continuing our support to Ethiopia’s Productive Safety Net Program and we have created new initiatives to promote resiliency to weather events in drought-prone and pastoral communities.
Finally, I want to take this opportunity to say I am pleased to be here today to see a new USAID Ethiopia strategy put into action as I complete my term of three years in Ethiopia. It has been my privilege to serve on behalf of the American people as Director of USAID here. As I depart for new challenges, I am proud to have worked with our partners in government, my counterparts among international donors, and our own USAID implementing partners, to bring opportunities to the majority of Ethiopians to better their lives. I have traveled to every corner of this country and I am confident that the hard-working people of Ethiopia will progress as they strive for peace and prosperity for the generation to come.
Last updated: September 19, 2013