Minister Paolo Gentiloni signed three new cooperation accords with Ethiopia during a visit to Addis Ababa, on food security, socio-economic support for women and healthcare system development.
Ethiopia important for Italian cooperation
“Ethiopia is one of our cooperation’s most important countries”, Gentiloni underscored, expressing his satisfaction with the results of this past year within the framework of a 3-year programme for which Italy earmarked 100 million euro. “Money well-spent, and Italians should be proud”, the minister added. On the same visit, he also signed a culture collaboration protocol for the next five years.
A country key to stability in Horn of Africa
The minister is in Ethiopia to bear witness to that nation as key to stability across the Horn of Africa. Meeting with his Ethiopian counterpart and Premier Haile Mariam Desalegn, he stated that Italy stands by Ethiopia, current president of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and that hosts the African Union. “A crucial actor”, Gentiloni said, in fostering “reconciliation in Somalia”, finding a peaceful solution to tensions at the border between Sudan and South Sudan, and confronting the highly sensitive issue for Europeans of people trafficking and illegal immigration.
Intense bilateral relations
Rome and Addis Ababa enjoy intense bilateral relations (Italy is Ethiopia’s second trade partner and top European supplier), which also have ample margins for improvement, Gentiloni asserted. Italy is planning to host a new Country Presentation on Ethiopia, to follow up on that of 2012, aimed at promoting investment in that country.