The Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Luigi Di Maio, and the Minister of Finance of Ethiopia, Ahmed Shide, recently signed a bilateral agreement, launching the “Building integrated agro-industrial parks in Oromia, Amhara, SNNPR and Tigray” initiative.
The Ambassador of Italy to Ethiopia, Agostino Palese, and the director of the Italian Development Cooperation Agency (Aics) office in Addis Ababa, Isabella Lucaferri, attended the signing ceremony.
The initiative provides for the creation of integrated agro-industrial parks in Ethiopia, thanks to the support of Italian Development Cooperation funds. The signing ceremony took place during Minister Di Maio’s official visit to Ethiopia (you can read our report here).
According to the Aics Office in Addis Ababa, the signing of the agreement initiates a €22 million soft loan to the Ethiopian government.
With an additional €2 million funds donated by Italy, UNIDO will provide technical assistance to the country to support the establishment of quality management and traceability systems, gender inclusion initiatives, and circular economy models within the parks.
The funds provided by Italy, as specified by the Ethiopian Ministry of Finance, will be used to support the development of the integrated agro-industrial parks of Bulbula, Bure, Yirgalem, and Ba’eker and the nearby rural transformation centers. The aim of the agreement is to create jobs in rural areas of the country, increase farmers incomes, generate export revenues, replace imports of agro-processed products and contribute to economic growth and the structural transformation of the country’s economy.
The Italian Development Cooperation has had a significant presence in Ethiopia since 1976. The African giant is one of the priority countries of the Italian Cooperation in Africa: from 2017 to 2019, Aics invested €125 million in the country: a 25% increase in investments compared to the 2014-2016 period.
Agriculture is a fundamental sector for the Ethiopian economy, and it is characterized by the prevalence of outdated models of production, and it is threatened by the frequent droughts that hit the region. For this reason, structural investments in an innovative and resilient agriculture can make a difference for the population and economy of this African country.