Ethiopia instructs UN to rebuild infrastructure in Tigray


The Ethiopian government instructed a UN agency on Tuesday to rebuild some destroyed infrastructure in Tigray, a region in conflict with Addis Ababa and controlled by rebel authorities, as part of a project funded by the World Bank (WB).

The WB awarded Ethiopia a $300 million grant in April, funding a project to help communities affected by conflict in the country.

This project aims on the one hand to rebuild the infrastructure destroyed by the conflict and improve access to essential services, and on the other hand to enable victims of gender-based violence to benefit more easily from aid programmes.

An agreement concluded with the United Nations Office for Project Services (Unops) provides that the UN body "implement in the Tigray region the activities defined by the first objective of the project", the ministry said on Tuesday. Ethiopian Finance in a statement.

In particular, it will be responsible for "rebuilding infrastructure providing essential services affected by the conflict".

"Unops will implement the project in Tigray until the situation in Tigray improves and allows the government to implement the project through its own structures", according to the text.

The second objective of the project "will be implemented by another third party" about which negotiations are underway, the ministry continues.

Several of Ethiopia's international partners have suspended their aid since the start in November 2020 of a conflict between the federal government and the Tigray rebels, marked by numerous abuses and which led to a serious humanitarian crisis in the north of the country. .

In April, the WB was the first major financial institution to release funds for Ethiopia since the start of the war. Some observers had seen a link with the announcement, a few days earlier, of a "humanitarian truce" in Tigray.

Since this truce, the fighting has ceased in Tigray and the federal government has again authorized, after a three-month interruption, the delivery by road of the humanitarian aid which the region desperately needs.

But it remains deprived of most basic services - electricity, telecommunications, banking services - and several of Ethiopia's partners continue to demand that they be restored.

At the end of June, the WB granted an additional 715 million dollars in loans and grants to Ethiopia to help pastoral communities - affected by the conflict and an unprecedented drought - to cope with food insecurity.

A few days earlier, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said for the first time he was open to negotiations with the Tigray rebels, who regained control of most of the region in 2021.

The Editorial Board (with AFP)

Image credit: Shutterstock / Rudi Ernst

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