ATTN: ALL MEDIA
HoAI holds the 15th Ministerial Roundtable in Nairobi as Ethiopia takes over as Chair
Horn of Africa Initiative Secretariat, Nairobi: March 9th, 2023: Finance Ministers from 6 countries under the Horn of Africa Initiative (Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Somalia, and South Sudan) held the 15th Ministerial Roundtable in Nairobi, Kenya, on March 8th, 2023. The Ministers reviewed the progress made on implementation aspects of the HoAI over the last year and discussed measures for enhanced private-sector partnerships in Innovative Pathways (Livestock Resilience and Trade Facilitation) and formulation of policies and scaling up of digital integration.
At the Roundtable, the rotation of the Chair also took place, with Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for National Treasury and Economic Planning, Hon Prof Njunguna Ndung’u handing over the baton to Ethiopia’s Finance Minister, H.E Ahmed Shide.
In his remarks earlier on, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary said the HoAI had realized significant milestones in areas of Trade Facilitation and continued to focus on Digital Convergence and Energy, through the support of the African Development Bank, European Union, and the World Bank. He applauded the partners for supporting the Initiative, advancing the agenda of regional integration, and strengthening the economic, developmental, and social ties.
Prof. Njuguna noted that while resource mobilization efforts had increased significantly in 2022, there remained project financing gaps, especially in the areas of climate change, mitigation, and adaptation programs.
“The year 2022 witnessed more than doubling of commitments from US$4 billion by end of the year 2021 to about US$8.7 billion by February 2023”, the Cabinet Secretary said. “This leaves a financing gap of close to around US$7 billion. In other words, about 55 percent of the priority package identified in 2020 and described in “project profiles” finalised in 2021 are being funded”, the Minister added.
On his part, the in-coming HoAI Chair and Finance Minister of Ethiopia, Hon Ahmed Shide, (who attended the meeting virtually), reiterated Ethiopia’s commitment to the HoAI while thanking development partners for the recent financial support to regional projects in the Water, Agriculture, and Livestock sectors. He said it was important to mitigate the effects of drought in lowland areas by complementing ongoing development interventions and humanitarian assistance.
“I thank the Development Partners also present here today. We welcome their continued support so we realise a fully-fledged partnership”, the Minister remarked.
Other Ministers present and who spoke at the occasion, included: the Minister of Economy and Finance, Djibouti, H.E. Ilyas Moussa Dawaleh, Dr. Elmi Mohamud Nur, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Somalia, and H.E. Dr. Dier Tong Ngor, Minister of Finance and Planning for South Sudan. Eritrea was represented by the Ambassador in Kenya, H.E. Mr. Beyene Russom. The Ministers pledged their commitment to ensuring successful partnerships under the aegis of HoAI. The issue of drought following the fifth consecutive failed rainy season was raised with delegates informed that an estimated 36 million people in Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Djibouti, are severely affected by the impact of climate change, making food security a major constraint. It was stated that the HoAI’s priority package, notably the De-risking, Inclusion, and Value Enhancement (DRIVE) projects and Underground Water projects, resilience measures, and other support provided by Development Partners are intended to alleviate this situation.
The Development Partners at the Roundtable included the World Bank led by the Director of Regional Integration, Africa and MENA Regions, Ms. Boutheina Guermazi, and the AfDB team led by the acting Vice President in charge of Regional Development, Integration, and Business Delivery) Ms Marie-Laure Akin-Olugbade. The European Union’s Commissioner for International Partnerships, Ms. Jutta Urpilainen sent a recorded message. The EU Special Representative for the Horn of Africa, Ms. Annette Weber was however present. Japan, the UK, and IGAD participated in the Roundtable as observers.
At a brief handing-over ceremony, the Deputy Head of Mission of the Ethiopian Embassy in Kenya, Ambassador Workalemahu Desta, received the instruments from the outgoing Chair, Hon Prof Njunguna Ndung’u.
NOTES TO EDITORS
The Horn of Africa Initiative (HoAI) was launched in 2019 by the Finance Ministers of the five Horn of Africa countries — Djibouti, Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Eritrea. The Initiative seeks to address common development challenges that hamper growth through regional, coordinated, and concerted action among the countries. The mandate of HoAI is to support projects under four pillars: (i) improving regional infrastructure connectivity (transport corridors, energy, and digital integration) (ii) promoting trade and economic integration (iii) building resilience, and (iv) strengthening human capital development. Kenya is currently the Chair of the HoAI.
For more information, contact: Bobi Odiko, Communications Specialist, Horn of Africa Initiative Secretariat: Email: [email protected]