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AfDB Resumes Operations In Ethiopia After 2 Months Of Diplomatic Row, Moves To Probe Missing Funds

6 months ago
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The African Development Bank Group has announced that it will normalise relations with Ethiopia and resume operations in the country after two months of a diplomatic row following the “unlawful arrest and assault” of its staff by government agents.

AfDB had reported that two of its international staff based in Addis Ababa were on October 31, unlawfully arrested, physically assaulted, and detained for hours by government security agents without any specific charge or any official explanation.

The bank said such action by the security forces grossly violated the personal diplomatic immunities, rights, and privileges of the staff under the African Development Bank Group’s Host Country Agreement with the Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.

Following subsequent communication with the Ethiopian government by the AfDB president, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, the affected staff were released.

The bank subsequently withdrew all its international staff from the country after the Ethiopian government failed to conduct full and transparent investigation into the incident, resolve the matter satisfactorily and guarantee the rights of safety, protection and freedom of the staff.

However, in a statement released on Friday, 19 January 2024, the bank revealed that the matter has been resolved after meetings by the AfDB president and the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Abiy Ahmed, from 29 to 31 December 2023.

It said the prime minister formally offered apologies on behalf of the Government of Ethiopia, over what happened and assured the security and safety of the Bank and its personnel, “the respect for the rights, privileges, and diplomatic immunities of staff and the Host Country Agreement of the Government of Ethiopia with the African Development Bank.”

READ ALSO: AfDB Pulls International Staff From Ethiopia Following Diplomatic Breach, Assault

“The Bank further received a firm commitment by the Government to investigate and share the formal report of the investigations into the incident with the Bank and to ensure full accountability for all involved,” the statement added.

The bank further revealed that the Ethiopian government has committed to fully cooperate with the Bank on investigations into the issue of missing funds that were to have been transferred to the Bank.

“The African Development Bank is delighted with and reassured by the strong personal leadership and firm commitment shown by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, which have led to the resolution of the impasse following the incident.
“The African Development Bank has always had an excellent relationship and partnership with the Government of Ethiopia. The Bank’s ongoing portfolio in Ethiopia is $1.24 billion covering 22 projects.
In light of the productive meetings between Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and the President of the African
Development Bank, Dr. Adesina, and the formal apologies of the government and the firm commitments of the Prime Minister to address the issues related to the incident, the African Development Bank will now resume its normal operations in Ethiopia.
“All international staff of the African Development Bank will now return to Ethiopia.

The bank thanked the general public, the international community and its shareholders, as well as staff, management and Boards of Directors, for their concerns, understanding and support over the incident.

It added that it looks forward to a more robust partnership with the Government of Ethiopia.


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