Posted by: africanpressorganization | 14 January 2010

Minister Frattini’s mission to Africa: meeting with Ethiopian Premier, focus on area crises





Minister Frattini’s mission to Africa: meeting with Ethiopian Premier, focus on area crises



ROME, Italy, January 14, 2010/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Minister Frattini’s mission to Africa: meeting with Ethiopian Premier, focus on area crises


“Unfortunately, piracy is increasing and is linked to terrorism”. Speaking was Foreign Minister Franco Frattini at the end of his meeting with the Ethiopian Premier, Meles Zenawi, in Addis Ababa. This was the third stage of his mission to Africa, after a brief visit to Mali. Minister Frattini explained that he and Premier Zenawi “spoke at length on the subject of Somalia. Italy is always asked to play a particularly active role, and we do so. We will be working even harder in coming months on training the Somali police force and the border police. Ethiopia is also working on this, but Italian expertise is in high demand”. In addition to the Somali question, Frattini and Zenawi discussed the situation in Eritrea, the outlook in Sudan and bilateral relations. This last topic was the focus of Minister Frattini’s discussion with his colleague Seyoum Mesfin.

Minister Frattini inaugurated the Gilgel Gibe II dam, built by Salini, an Italian company, with the help of an aid credit of 220 million euros. As Minister Frattini pointed out, “Italy has helped build a dam that will give millions of Ethiopian citizens access to electricity – a fact that will change their lives”. The opening ceremony was attended by Premier Zenawi and Ethiopia’s highest authorities. In addition to the Italian funding (59%), the project also received funding of 50 million euros (13%) from the European investment bank for electro-mechanical supplies.

In 2008-09 Italy was again Ethiopia’s leading European supplier, with trade amounting to over 122.5 million euros. About 1600 Italians are currently living in Ethiopia, and nearly 8000 Ethiopians in Italy.

Tens of Italian companies operate in Ethiopia, and the country is priority no. 1 in Italian Cooperation’s guidelines. Indeed, Italy is the 4th donor country in absolute terms. For 2009-11, 46 million euros have been earmarked for health, education, access to water and rural development.

Ethiopia has also benefited from the cancellation of its debt with Italy, amounting to 367 million euros. Important – albeit not decisive – measures for a country that has always been in the news for famine and drought, and where 35 million people (out of a population of 77 million) suffer from hunger. UNICEF predicts that 270,000 Ethiopian children will need help in 2010 for severe malnutrition.



Italy – Ministry of Foreign Affairs


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