Hilary Benn (Secretary of State, Department for International Development; Leeds Central, Labour)
I visited Ethiopia on
All donors who have been giving budget support have now reached the same conclusion to withhold this form of support in the current circumstances and wrote to the Minister of Finance in December of last year to explain the decision.
However, the UK remains committed to supporting poor people in Ethiopia in their fight against poverty. Ethiopia is desperately poor and already receives less aid per head than any other country in sub-Saharan Africa. It would be wrong therefore to reduce our aid programme, and thereby punish the poor in Ethiopia for recent political events in the country.
We are therefore working with other donors and the Government to try to design a new mechanism for providing funds in a more transparent and accountable way. This is so that basic services such as health, education and water can continue to be provided throughout the country and that we can be sure that aid is reaching those in need. We are also looking at providing additional assistance to the Productive Safety Nets Programme. This is a programme which the UK is already supporting and which, as I was able to see for myself in Ethiopia, is enabling the poorest to earn or receive small amounts of money to invest in assets like clothes, chicken and goats and for communities to improve their conditions, for example by building roads, water springs and classrooms.