UNDP Africa Regional Head wraps up visit to Ethiopia

Feb 7, 2014

UNDP Regional Bureau for Africa Director Abdoulaye Mar Dieye holding up a jar of Teff grains.Tef is very nutritionally rich one of Ethiopia’s most important cereal crops.

The Director of UNDP Africa, Abdoulaye Mar Dieye ended a  nine-day visit to Addis Ababa,   where he met with the Ethiopian Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn and State Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Ahmed Shide, discussing with them Ethiopia’s growth, its development progress and its regional presence. Ethiopia is aspiring to become a Middle Income Country with a fully-fledged green economy by 2025.

This is Mr. Dieye’s first official country visit since taking up his post in late 2013, as head of UNDP’s largest regional portfolio.

He also met with the UNDP Ethiopia Country Office and spoke of the vision and plan for the years ahead at UNDP, briefing staff on the strategic plan and change management effort. Having repositioned itself, UNDP Ethiopia is now involved in a series of programmes that reflect the upstream policy work the organization is leaning towards.

In addition, the RBA Director had the chance to meet with UNDP’s key partners in Ethiopia such as the Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA) that is working on the ground to help push forward Ethiopia’s development agenda through identifying systematic bottlenecks in the agriculture sector.

“We always overlook the bottlenecks”, Mr. Dieye reflected saying that the Ethiopian experience in this case could be used as a lesson for interventions in other areas of Africa such as the Sahel region. 

UNDP Regional Bureau Director Abdoulaye Mar Dieye also visited the Entrepreneurship Development Centre (EDC), a UNDP supported centre that was established in 2013 and seeks to help create 100,000 new businesses and expand a further 100,000 existing businesses within three years. Ethiopia’s five year Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP) places emphasis on the transformative role of the private sector as the engine of the nation’s growth.

During his stay in Ethiopia Mr. Dieye attended the 22nd Summit of the African Union (AU) and held a series of meetings with the African Union Commission Chairperson H.E. Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma and Deputy Chairperson Erastus Mwencha. He also met with the Commissioner for Economic Affairs of the African Union Commission (AUC), Anthony Mothae Maruping, focusing in on UNDP’s support for a regional project led by the AU that aims to strengthen trade and economic integration across the continent.

The Summit hosted a donors' conference in Addis Ababa to raise money for the African-led peacekeeping force in the Central African Republic. Mr. Dieye promised to make UNDP’s expertise, country presence and South-South network available to support Africa’s peace and security efforts.

“Pan-Africanism and solidarity are rooted in our African heritage, culture and tradition. African solidarity yields high returns on peace security and development,” he told participants in his address.

International donors pledged $314 million to fund an African peacekeeping force known as MISCA in the Central African Republic. “Whenever there is a crisis UNDP is the last to leave,” Mr. Dieye told the media.

Mr. Dieye also met with the Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), Carlos Lopes, aiming to strengthen the collaboration between the two institutions on issues such as extractive industries and the generation of knowledge.

At the end of his visit, Mr. Dieye attended a two-day retreat at the recently inaugurated Regional Service Center for Africa. He discussed with staff the center’s role in partnerships with regional institutions, Country Office support, oversight of UNDP Africa’s ambitious new regional programme and generation of knowledge and innovation.

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