The French Development Agency (AFD) has signed two grant agreements amounting to €20 million in support of the culture and agriculture sectors in Ethiopia.
With the first agreement, AFD commits to provide a €12 million grant to support the first phase of the Restoration and public opening of Addis Ababa National Palace Project. This Project is part of the commitments taken by French Government during the Head of State visit in Addis Ababa in March 2019 in favour of Ethiopian Heritage program.
The National Palace was built during Emperor Haile Selassie reign and has become one of the most emblematic national buildings of Ethiopia, though it was never opened to the public and was used as an official residency that is currently used as the official quarters of the President.
The first phase of the Project would cost €20 million in total, and will consist in opening the Palace to the public along with the park in front of the Palace. A complementary grant of 8 million euros is expected to be provided by AFD in 2021 after the launch of the works.
This Project, which will be implemented in line with international best practices, will contribute to the capacity building of Ethiopian administration in terms of preservation and management of urban heritage, the development of a new touristic attraction in the city of Addis Ababa and the reclaim of the site and associated History for the local population.
The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia Palace Administration will be in charge of the implementation with the support of Expertise France, a French public agency and a key actor in international technical cooperation, specialized in designing and implementing technical cooperation projects especially through participation of French public institutions such as Versailles’ Palace organization which will intervene and provide assistance to this project.
The second agreement refers to an AFD’s 8 million euros grant in support to the Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA). This project is part of the Agriculture Commercialization Cluster (ACC) program, supported by other development partners, such as the Danish and Dutch Embassies and the European Union, and aims to develop agribusiness capacities and access to finance in the agriculture sector.
Agriculture is the backbone of Ethiopia’s economy and society. The objective of this financing is to develop the investment capacity of smallholder farmers and the small and medium-sized agribusinesses by providing them with inputs and capacity development services and by upgrading and adding value to the commercial chain of their production (processing, marketing and exporting companies).
Within 5 years, it is expected to develop productivity and revenue generation of 1.8 million small farmers and 1,340 agri-SMEs, including them in the value chains from production to marketing, and developing their access to credit and dedicated financial services in order to increase their investment capacity.
Additionally to strengthening Ethiopian Agribusiness, diversifying their economic model, developing their productivity and creating the conditions for a sustainable economic development and jobs creation in rural areas, the objective is also to develop dedicated strategies to support agribusiness among financial institutions, which is the missing link today to sustain the agricultural sector’s development.
This new grant is in line with France willingness to support the Homegrown Economic Reform program and the National Development Plan as the agricultural sector will remain one of the main drivers of growth, inclusive development and wealth in Ethiopian economy.