East Africa: Ethiopia Has Taken So Much Responsibility for the … – AllAfrica.com

by Zelalem
Photo: Guy Oliver/IRIN

Ethiopian soldiers of the African Union Mission in Somalia.


In yesterday’s edition, The Ethiopian Herald published the exclusive interview with Swedish Ambassador Jan Sadek and Minister Counselor and Head of Development Cooperation Section, Annika Jayawardena in relation to the 70th Anniversary of Ethiopia and Sweden’s diplomatic relations. Here follows the second and last part of the interview. Excerpts:

Ambassador Jan Sadek also responded to issues related with Partnership in climate change, Ethiopia’s commitment to ensure peace in the Horn, Peace building effort at global stage, and Ethiopia’s role in furthering Swedish-Africa relations as follows.

Ethiopia’s commitment to ensure peace in the Horn

The horn of Africa is one of the most unstable regions in the world, considering the situations of Somalia historically and South Sudan recently. In this regard, Ethiopia has taken so much responsibility for the security and stability of the region. We know Ethiopia’s operation in Somalia with its military both inside AMISOM and outside. We understand the sacrifices made. Ethiopian lives are risked and lost.

Right now, Somalia is standing at the verge of a very important election ahead of them. So, Ethiopia has done a lot for the development of Somalia. When it comes to south Sudan, as I was in Khartoum few years ago, I know Ethiopia’s constructive role in the negotiations and relations between Sudan and South Sudan.

The other is the issue of Ethiopia and Eritrea. It is known that there are border agreements between the two countries but still it’s not agreed on how to implement it. I would like to take this opportunity to urge both Eritrea and Ethiopia to come to their senses about this and manage the situation, because if that case is resolved the region can focus on other important matters. The peace and stability inside Ethiopia is also very important to bring peace outside the border, so the situation in the country should also be carefully addressed in a more pluralistic and inclusive approach.

Peace building effort at global stage

It is known that Sweden and Ethiopia have become non-permanent members to the United Nation Security Council (UNSS). We are very proud to be in the Security Council and would like to thank Ethiopia for the support to our candidacy. The agenda of the Security Council are mostly decided by the realities on the ground, and in that sense we would like to work together accordingly. Very soon, we will have an important visit from Sweden, where the two governments will discuss on how to conduct the work in the Security Council. Sweden really wants to be voice for Africa in the Security Council.

We know that 60 percent of the work of the Security Council relates to Africa and African conflicts. We also know that the link between the Security Council and Africa as well as the African Union could be improved and we want to work with Africa to make sure this happens. So we are very optimistic about our joint membership of the Security Council, and hopefully discussions will be held soon at high level from both governments as it is a good opportunity for us to meet on the global arena.

Ethiopia’s role in furthering Swedish-Africa relations

Ethiopia is sort of a gate way to Africa. As our country wants to strengthen its relations to Africa, both the Country Ethiopia and the African Union are very important to Sweden. Meanwhile, the participations in the African Union summits have been an important component.

Our Prime Minister visited Ethiopia repeatedly in a single year: to attend the AU summits, and also the Finance for Development Conference that was held in Addis, and of course conferred with the Ethiopian Prime Minister here. For the fact that Addis is the Capital of Africa, it is very important for us to be here to be able to deal with Africa. It is extremely important that the AU is hosted here in Ethiopia.

Ethiopia is taking responsibilities and initiatives not only for the region but also for global issues. Therefore the country could be a role model for Africa to be outward looking as the continent needs to do that as part of its foreign policy.

Partnership in climate change

As Ethiopia is embarking upon Climate Resilient Green Economy Strategy (CRGE), it’s a privilege to work with Ethiopia on climate issues both at the global level and inside the country, as Ethiopia is a champion on climate issues. First of all, you have this plan to become a climate neutral country in 2025 for your own sake. Moreover, the country is leading the developing countries on the global debate regarding the issue of climate. This is actually related with the weather changes, as the drought that happened here last year is as the result of the weather change.

We knew the humanitarian situation. Sweden is also committed to supporting Ethiopia on the humanitarian assistance, and last year we came in with 25 million US dollars in various ways of humanitarian support. I believe we were able to manage the crisis much better than the previous times, and this is something we should be proud of together. It’s the result of the government much better plan and organization as well as our own generosity.

On the issue of climate change, Annika Jayawardena also added the following:

There is a Strategy for Sweden’s development cooperation with Ethiopia for the period 2016-2020. We have increased our ambitions in the rule of law, social protection, and renewable energy, sexual and reproductive health in the strategy.

Sweden is one of the largest donors when it comes to climate and green energy. Now at a global level, we have a green climate fund that came after the discussions and negotiations at Copenhagen. Here as well Sweden is one of the largest donors and Ethiopia is accredited to this fund. Hopefully, Ethiopia will benefit a lot from this fund and this is one of the areas we can cooperate.

Recently, we have signed an agreement with UNDP, Norway and the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change aimed at building the capacity of the ministry. Besides, as we have international knowledge on the issue, we have discussed with the minister on how to bring some Swedish institutions here. This project will also work with business enterprises in ways of conserving, the environment, and forest and at the same time make money out of it. We are also working with NGO’s like Forum for Africa and other local organizations, which are working on environment and resilient agriculture. Moreover, we also work on land issues.

Sweden would also like to work on political and economic inclusiveness in the Country. Currently, there are reforms going on in the country and we support those reforms. Since, there is a big demand for democracy and human rights, we would like to support on that based on what the government wants to do in the regional and federal level.

In the meantime, we are supporting the civil societies as well with our civil society fund. This is directed towards working on peoples’ right to education and health in relation to the issues of children, women, and people with disabilities. The fund is all about the livelihoods of people. It’s also part of our government’s strategy to work on building the capacity of people and their livelihoods, with the presupposition that the support will contribute to people’s engagement in small scale enterprises to improve their lives.

In the same strategy, there is also a mandate to start working on social protection for the most vulnerable groups. These people are those who cannot go forward to industrial parks and big enterprises and people who need support.

For this year as well we have funds for humanitarian aid. As a donor, we would like to work on humanitarian aid to save lives, however we are more concerned about working on long term basis like resilient issues, so that the country and the people would be able to be more prepared when similar kinds of problems happen. Now, we can see that how Ethiopia became more and more prepared from time to time.

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