Ethiopia announces agreement with UN for reconstruction project in Tigray region

The Government of Ethiopia announced Tuesday an agreement with the United Nations to launch a reconstruction project in the region of Tigray (north), shaken since November 2020 by a conflict between the Army and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).

The Ethiopian Ministry of Finance has indicated in a statement published on its website that it has signed a pact with the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) to “implement a recovery project” that is part of the “national recovery program”, financed by the World Bank.

Thus, it has detailed that the objectives are to “rebuild and improve access to basic services and climate resilience infrastructure” and “improve access to a multi-sectoral service response for survivors of gender-based violence in conflict-affected communities in Ethiopia.”

“Based on the agreement with UNOPS, the agency will implement activities identified under the first objective of the project in the Tigray region,” he noted, before adding that the second objective “will be implemented by another actor with whom negotiations are taking place.”

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In this regard, he explained that UNOPS will carry out activities to “provide rapid response services to communities in Tigray, following consultations with the community”, “rebuild basic services in infrastructure affected by the conflict, in consultation with communities” and “support social institutions at the community level”.

“UNOPS will implement the project in Tigray until the situation in Tigray improves and allows the Government to implement the project with its own structure, in which case UNOPS will hand over the activities to the Government,” it has concluded in a statement posted on its account on the social network Twitter.

The World Bank became in April the first financial institution to release funds to Ethiopia, a decision taken after the start of a “humanitarian truce” between the army and the TPLF at the end of March, although both sides have since accused each other of numerous violations.

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The conflict in Ethiopia erupted following an attack by the TPLF on the Army’s main base in the Tigray capital of Mekelle, after which the Prime Minister ordered an offensive against the group following months of tensions at the political and administrative level. A “humanitarian truce” is currently in force, although both sides have accused each other of impeding the delivery of aid.

The TPLF accuses Abiy of whipping up tensions since his arrival in power in April 2018, when he became the first Oromo to take office. Until then, the TPLF had been the dominant force within Ethiopia’s ruling coalition since 1991, the ethnically-supported Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF). The group opposed Abiy’s reforms, which it saw as an attempt to undermine its influence.

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