Sunday, September 21, 2014

Building on Ethiopia’s development progress

Ethiopian student. The World Bank has approved funding to boost delivery of key services in Ethiopia, including helping the government hire teachers. Photo: Stephan Bachenheimer / World Bank / CC BY-NC-ND
The World Bank approved Tuesday (Sept. 25) new funding to boost economic growth and the delivery of key services in Ethiopia.
A total of $600 million in interest-free credit from the bank’s anti-poverty arm will go to the third phase of the African nation’s Promoting Basic Services program. The money will be used to help the government hire teachers, health workers and other “crucial staff” in the areas of food production, water and sanitation.
The program, launched in 2006, contributes to Ethiopia’s goal of achieving the Millennium Development Goals, according to World Bank Country Director Guang Zhe Chen. For one, child mortality rates in Ethiopia fell to 88 per 1,000 live births in 2010 from 123 per 1,000 live births in 2005, according to a press release.
It is not clear, however, how much of the reported progress can be attributed to the program, which is also supported by the European Union, the U.K. Department for International Development and the African Development Bank, among others.

The bank also approved $415 million for Ethiopia’s Transport Sector project. The interest-free credit, which will also come from the bank’s anti-poverty lending arm, will be used to “upgrade” five main roads in the country. This is expected to provide people better access to services and “stimulate local development,” Chen said.
The projects are in line with the bank’s new country partnership strategy in Ethiopia, which the board of directors endorsed Tuesday. The strategy, which covers the period 2013-2016, aims to help Ethiopia increase its productivity and improve the delivery of social services, among other things. It builds on the country’s achieved development progress in the past five years, according to the CPS document.