Monday, August 27, 2012

What Next for US Aid in Ethiopia? (By Sarah Jane Staats )

(Aug 27, 2012, CGdev)--The death of Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi after twenty-one years in charge raises fresh questions about the future of US foreign aid to the country – including all three of President Obama’s development initiatives – and the conundrum of focusing aid in countries whose leaders hang on to power for more than a decade. Could a new rule banning foreign aid to long-serving heads of state help?

US Secretary of State Hilary (C) talks to PM Zenawi, (L) and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon (Getty Images)
Ethiopia is:
  • The largest aid recipient in Africa.
  • A selected partner country in all three US presidential development initiatives: Feed the Future, Global Health Initiative, and the Global Climate Change Initiative.
  • One of the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition’s three focus countries, announced by President Obama in the run up to this year’s G8 Summit. (Some attendees may recall the outburst of one participant while Meles was on stage.)

The United States is Ethiopia’s largest bilateral donor, allocating close to $800 million in FY2011 ($570 million plus emergency food aid funding).  In their Engagement Amid Austerity report, Connie Veillette and John Norris highlighted the complex aid and security relationship between the United States and Ethiopia. They argued the United States “could be making a dangerous long-term bet with its assistance dollars by placing so little emphasis on governance in Ethiopia” and said US policymakers should limit expectations for future development results.

What next:
Meles’s death may unveil the results of the United States’ development bet in Ethiopia. US policymakers and aid watchers are paying close attention to the transition of power and the future of US presidential development initiatives in the country. And they’re hoping Kenyan Prime Minister Ralia Odinga’s fears that instability will fill the void left by Ethiopia’s strongman won’t be realized. Read more the original article from Center for Global Development »

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