15 August 2019, Addis Abeba - The Government of Japan has signed an agreement with UNDP to provide three million US dollars for the multi-partner programme Supporting Elections for Ethiopia’s Democracy Strengthening (SEEDS).

The 40 million USD multi-partner SEEDS programme seeks to strengthen the institutional capacity of the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) to efficiently deliver on its mandate to enhance public trust and confidence in the election process; adopt relevant technologies; resolve election related disputes; and complement NEBE’s voter-education programmes.

The financing agreement was signed by Ambassador Daisuke Matsunaga of Japan with UNDP Ethiopia’s Resident Representative Mr. Turhan Saleh in the presence of the chairperson of the National Election Board for Ethiopia Ms. Birtukan Mideksa.

 chairperson of the National Election Board for Ethiopia Ms. Birtukan Mideksa noted that the transparency of the ballet box was symbolic of the commitment of NEBE to ensure a transparent election process that would make everyone proud. Ms. Birtukan Mideksa recalled that in previous elections Ethiopia had not used transparent ballot boxes and this had been a cause for complaints and suspicions.


Japan’s financial support will go towards the procurement of ballot boxes and indelible ink markers to avoid double voting, in line with internationally approved standards, to enhance the credibility and transparency of Ethiopia’s election scheduled for 2020.

During the signing ceremony, Ambassador Daisuke Matsunaga said that the Government of Japan supports to provide ballot boxes and indelible ink to mark people’s fingers to determine if they have voted, worth a total of 336 million yen, or approximately 3 million USD, which is equivalent to nearly 87 million Birr. In Ethiopia, where various reforms are underway due to the efforts of Prime Minister Abiy, I expect that the upcoming election will help to improve the lives of the Ethiopian people.

UNDP brings extensive experience to Ethiopia, on average, annually providing electoral assistance to about 60 countries, including in fragile and post-conflict settings. From the UN side, UNDP is joined by IOM, OHCHR, UNESCO and UNWomen.

UNDP Resident Representative Mr. Turhan Saleh on his part noted that “Even in my short time here, I have sensed the importance of this event in the national conversation and in popular expectations about the future of governance and development in Ethiopia. There is a lot at stake – with much to be gained if there is success, but also serious risks that will need to be overcome should things fall short. “

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