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Brussels 28 January 2011

Commissioner Piebalgs to visit Ethiopia to discuss strengthened relationship and sign €13.7 million climate change project

European Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs will meet the Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and other members of the national government in Addis Ababa on 31 January. Their discussions will provide an opportunity to further strengthen EU development cooperation with Ethiopia, an important regional partner to the EU and recipient of the single largest share of EU aid.. Commissioner Piebalgs will explore ways to support the government's five-year "Growth and transformation" national strategy and will sign an agreement for the implementation of the Global Climate Change Alliance in Ethiopia.

Ahead of his trip, Commissioner Piebalgs said: "Ethiopia is a valued partner for the EU and we wish to further strengthen this relationship. I particularly look forward to deepening our dialogue on how to reach the Millennium Development Goals and on economic policies. I am grateful that Ethiopia is at the forefront of climate change debates in international fora. It is also one of the priority countries that the EU has chosen for projects under the Global Climate Change Alliance. Our signing of a €13.7 million grant agreement will be an important step in helping Ethiopia to build a climate-resilient economy."

Commissioner Piebalgs will meet:

  • Meles Zenawi, Prime Minister

  • Desalegn Hailemariam, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs

  • Sufian Ahmed, Minister of Finance and Economic Development

  • Tefera Deribew, Minister of Agriculture

Discussions will focus on Ethiopia's new drive to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and economic growth. In 2010, the Ethiopian government adopted a five-year national strategy, the Growth and Transformation Plan, which aims to ensure high annual growth rates and progress on the MDGs, particularly in health, education and access to water. This national strategy will be an opportunity for the EU to intensify and focus policy dialogue on key reform issues, such as the implementation of a new industrial policy or the modernisation of the national banking system.

In this respect, the Commissioner will also visit the Exchange Commodity Board and will meet with representatives of the business community.

Signing of project to fight Climate change

Commissioner Andris Piebalgs and Sufian Ahmed, Minister of Finance and Economic Development, will sign a grant agreement of over €13.7 million for the implementation of the Global Climate Change Alliance (GCCA) in Ethiopia. The main objective of the programme is to contribute to a carbon neutral and climate resilient economy. This project will be implemented in several watersheds alongside the Nile Basin. An estimated of 110,000 households in these five regions are expected to benefit from this. This will be done through

  • institutional support to policies and programmes, mainly benefitting the Environment Protection Agency

  • raising stakeholders’ awareness on climate change issues and enhancing their knowledge

  • identifying and testing climate change practices in specific areas


Ethiopia is one of the biggest recipients of European Development Fund (EDF) funding amongst all ACP countries. The total national amount for the 10th EDF, which covers the period 2008-2013 is €644 million. The EU as a whole (European Commission plus EU Member States) represents the largest donor to Ethiopia, with commitments totalling around €1 billion every year (40% of total official aid to Ethiopia). The EU represents the main export market for Ethiopian products. The average economic growth rate over the last five years was 10%, with a projected slow-down to 7% for 2010.

Initiated in 2007 by the European Commission, the Global Climate Change Alliance (GCCA) intends to deepen dialogue, cooperation and enhance support on climate change between the European and developing countries that are the most vulnerable to climate change, in particular Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS). Main GCCA activities include: financial agreements with selected beneficiary countries, regional dialogue events to enhance cooperation on climate change and technical assistance such as project development and capacity building activities.

More info:

Website of EuropeAid Development and Cooperation DG:

Website of the European Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs:

Website of the EU Delegation to Ethiopia:

Website of the Global Climate Change Alliance:

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