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Statement by Ethiopia to the Twenty-Eighth Session of the IFAD Governing Council

Statement by H.E. Dr. Mengistu Hulluka
Ambassador of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

Mr. Chairman,
Lennart Båge, President of IFAD
Distinguished Delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

On behalf of the delegation of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, it gives me great honor and privilege to address the Twenty-Eighth session of the Governing Council of IFAD.

At the outset, on behalf of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and myself I would like to congratulate Mr. Lennart Båge for his re-election as President of IFAD. His personal effort in realizing the objective and mission of IFAD, as entrusted upon him by the Governing Council, was admirable.

As we are all aware, IFAD is mandated to combat hunger and rural poverty in developing countries. To this end, IFAD has pledged to work towards enabling the rural poor to overcome poverty by fostering social development, gender equity, income generation, environmental sustainability and good governance. Despite its financial constraints and global challenges, it has registered some tangible achievements in addressing the needs of the poorest of the poor through strengthening their capacity and their organizations, by increasing access to financial resources and technologies. My delegation is convinced that much work remained to be done to fulfil its goals in general, as well as to meet its objective of its strategic framework in particular.

Mr. Chairman,

Ethiopia, as a family of developing nations has faced with enormous challenges of economic development in addition to the recurring drought and famine problems that has preoccupied my government's attention for long.

With the aim of countering the challenges and bring about sustainable and sound economic development, the government has launched Agricultural-led Industrialization Strategy to improve the quality of life of the population, with greater focus to the rural poor that comprises 85% of the country's 70 million population. This strategy, which is compatible to one of the millennium development goals to eradicate poverty, has made significant headway to attain food self-sufficiency within a relatively short period of time.

Our development strategy and policy based on transforming the rural settings into more productive one would make use of the gain there from as a driving force for our ultimate goal of rapid economic development. The encouraging recent achievements were mainly by strengthening farmer's capacity through the use of appropriate technologies, fertilizers and improved seeds, which is part of the reason for recent bumper harvest. Another important factor to the whole episode is the generosity of donors and international organizations toward our development effort.

Mr. Chairman,

As my country is one of the beneficiaries, I could state confidently that IFAD's contribution towards eradication of poverty based on its mandate is significant.

These documents, so far circulated by IFAD, have indicated that a significant number of approved projects are slated for Africa, out of which, Ethiopia enjoys a large share of them for agriculture and rural development. IFAD's Program in my country involves in capacity development, in research, in credit facilitation, marketing, livestock development, and in training. As these projects have substantially improved our capacity to reduce poverty, I am confident that IFAD will continue to play its expected role along this road.

I would also like to take this opportunity to draw to the attention of IFAD the importance on irrigation to agricultural development, in particular top countries stricken repeatedly by drought like Ethiopia. To this effect, I call on IFAD to give proper consideration to small-scale irrigation development for use by peasants and pastoralists alike. We tend to believe that Ethiopia can fulfil all its food needs by harnessing a network of irrigation systems rather than relying on the annual erratic rainfall alone.

Mr. Chairman,

The key to development lies on the countries themselves. By recognizing this basic fact, African countries demonstrated their capacity to tackle the challenges that affect their development. To this effect, ownership and partnership have been the guiding principles to address and implement development projects and programs through popular participation. These basic principles were well reflected in the realization of the goals of NEPAD and African Union.

Being aware of resource limitation in the continent, we have appealed to the international community to be part of our continent development initiatives, such as NEDAP, by allotting the necessary financial resources based on the principle of partnership that has already been accepted to address global challenge. It is incumbent upon us to call on IFAD to double its efforts in combating poverty and backwardness thorough the coordination of donors and development partners.

Finally, Mr. Chairman, I would like to conclude my remarks by reaffirming Ethiopia's commitment to uphold IFAD's mission objectives towards the realization of eradication of poverty based on our policy and strategy in order to being about rapid economic development.

Thank you.