- Two ministries to receive USD 470 million
Signing a USD 470 million financing deal on Thursday with Abraham Tekeste, minister of finance and economic cooperation, Carolyn Turk, WB country director for Ethiopia, Sudan and South Sudan, said that the financing commitment the bank entered with Ethiopia is growing fast and, in line with that, the bank has decided to extend USD 1.8 billion for a period of six months in the current fiscal year.
This is the biggest monetary commitment ever in the bank’s history in such a short period of time. Some five billion dollars have been disbursed since September 2017.
The USD 470 million would be channeled to the Ministries of Education, and Livestock and Fisheries, to be receiving USD 300 and 170 million, respectively, through the general quality education project and for the enhancement of productivity and commercialization of products of the livestock and fishery sectors.
Accordingly, the USD 300 million committed to the Ministry of Education is a grant to be provided by the bank’s International Development Association (IDA). The recipient is expected to implement the second phase of the “General Education Quality Improvement Program for Equity (GEQIP-E)” the bank has been funding since 2008.
So far, according to Turk, positive outcomes have been witnessed in the education sector, but signaled there was still room for improvement. She noted that significant improvement has been made in the teaching-and- learning process in 40,000 primary and secondary schools across the country ever since the general education quality improvement program has been introduced. With the previous and the newly approved programs, some 250 million textbooks have been provided or are to be availed to schools. She added that 300,000 teachers have undergone skill-upgrading training programs.
The country director also outlined expected outcomes the bank would like to see during the second GEQIP-E period. In this regard, some 27 million students from zero grades to secondary schools, and some 500,000 teachers are expected to benefit from quality improvement and equity program. According to Turk, female students and those with special needs will be included in the program. Students in regions such as Afar, Benshangul Gumuz, Somali, and Gambella are expected to get special considerations. The number of students with special needs, currently at 3,000, is expected to increase to 20,000.
“Make sure that female students go school-safe”, Turk stressed.
Tilaye Gete (PhD), state minister of education, assured both Turk and Abraham that his ministry would spend every penny to provide quality education “for 25 million kids who are currently in schools”.
Speaking about receipt of USD 170 million for the first time from the WBG, Fekadu Beyene (Prof.), minister of livestock and fishery, said that his ministry is catering to smallholder farmers in Amhara, Oromia, Southern Regional State, Tigray, Benshangul Gumuz, and Gambella engaged in the production and processing of dairy, poultry, meat and the like. Striking a humorous tone, Turk said: “Ethiopian chickens should learn to lay more eggs as they have been lazy for some time.” A fivefold increase in the production of fishery is the least the bank expects. In her remarks, she noted that some 1.2 million smallholder farmers are expected to be part of the program the ministry is about to implement in the livestock and fishery sectors.
It is to be recalled that the bank publicized a few weeks ago a “Country Partnership Framework,” an approach in which the bank aligns its activities in the country with government plans and programs. During that time, WBG has made a commitment of USD 5 billion for Ethiopia for the coming three years and has identified more projects to receive billions in the coming five years. Since September 2017, the bank has disbursed USD 3.87 billion loan money and USD 78 million in grants.
According to information the bank posted on its website, USD 9.5 billion is expected to be disbursed during the current fiscal year. Of that amount, the government of Ethiopia is supposed to contribute close to half of it.
The country director presented three soccer balls as Christmas gifts to officials present at the signing ceremony.