The governments of Ethiopia and Italy signed a cooperation framework agreement involving 180 million euros in the form of grants and soft loans during Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s one-day official working visit to Rome.
The PM and his ministerial delegation were received by Italian President Sergio Mattarella on Monday morning. The two sides went on to hold a meeting which was also attended by Antonio Tajani, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Italy.
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The bilateral meeting discussed continued relations between Ethiopia and Italy as well as other current global and regional issues, according to Prime Minister.
“Ethiopian-Italian relations spanning over many decades have been long-standing and defined by a fruitful partnership. We will continue to enhance existing relations,” he said.
In the afternoon, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni also hosted Abiy and his delegation at Palazzo Chigi for a working luncheon.
The two sides discussed multifaceted ties and cooperation between Italy and Ethiopia, as per Abiy who described the meeting as “productive.”
Ethiopia-Italy Framework agreement
Later, Abiy and Giorgia also signed the joint declaration that will launch an Ethiopian-Italian Cooperation Framework which runs from 2023 to 2025.
Accordingly, Italy will provide €100 million in soft loans and €40 million in grants to support economic development and job creation as well as access to basic services in Ethiopia.
The framework “is essential to forging ahead with activities in our homegrown economic reform program and our ten-year prospective development plan,” Abiy noted.
Italy backs coffee & other sectors
In Rome, Finance Minister Ahmed Shide and Italian Deputy PM Antonio also signed two additional agreements for new programs as part of the cooperation framework.
The first agreement amounting to €10.5 is ‘Minimizing investment risk in the Ethiopian coffee sector and institutional support to the Ethiopian Coffee Authority (ECTA).’
The second, ‘WaSH, resilience, energy in Ethiopia’s lowlands’ agreement involving €31.5 million will finance interventions in essential sectors, particularly in drought-affected areas.
The agreements signed in Rome brought Italy’s financed development initiatives in Ethiopia close to €200 million. It includes €17 million worth of support that Rome approved recently to back the coffee sector and three other initiatives in the East African nation.