From February 28th to March 2nd, the Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Marina Sereni, took part in a mission to Addis Ababa, together with a delegation from the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MAECI) composed of the Director for Sub-Saharan African Countries, Giuseppe Mistretta, the Minister Plenipotentiary, Giuseppe Cavagna and the Head of External Relations and Communication of AICS, Emilio Ciarlo.
The Vice Minister initially wanted to meet the various Italian Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) present in Ethiopia. During the meeting, Vice Minister Sereni had the opportunity to underline how these organizations are fundamental actors in establishing close relationships with the local authorities. At the same time, the Head of the AICS Office in Addis Ababa, Isabella Lucaferri, emphasized the widespread presence of CSOs in the territory that allow activities to be implemented in even the most remote communities.
The mission was also an opportunity to inaugurate, together with the Director-General of the African Union Commission, Fathallah Sijilmassi, the Continental Situation Room built at the African Union. Financed by AICS with 5 million euros, the Situation Room has benefited from the technical support of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) and the scientific support of the CIMA Foundation. The facility aims to strengthen continental, regional and national capacities of early warning and multi-risk systems and facilitate cross-border risk management in Africa. The one in Addis Ababa is the Hub connected with the Situation Rooms in Kenya and Niger to facilitate the exchange, monitoring and analysis of information through an open-source platform created and already used by the Italian Civil Protection Service.
On the second day, the Vice Minister, together with the Delegation, met the Minister of Finance, Ahmed Shide, to sign the technical agreement of the project “Strengthening the Civil Registration System in Ethiopia”.
The initiative, funded by the Italian Cooperation and implemented by the Agency for Nationality and Vital Events (INVEA), will provide a standardized system of civil registrations including all the basic steps to ensure the official recognition of individuals: birth, death, marriage and divorce in all regions of Ethiopia.
In the afternoon, the Delegation went to visit the Coffee Training Center (CTC), where they met Sofia Kassa, Deputy Minister for Investment and Input Supply, the Director of the Ethiopian Coffee and Tea Authority (ECTA), Adugna Debela and the Director of UNIDO’s Regional Office, Aurelia Patrizia Calabrò.
The creation of the CTC falls under the activities of the project funded by AICS and implemented by UNIDO, entitled “Strengthening sustainability and inclusiveness of the coffee supply chain through public-private partnerships”. Following a first phase that established an intervention strategy, the project has developed an approach targeting some key steps of the coffee supply chain in Ethiopia. Among the activities planned to strengthen public institutions, starting in 2017, the second phase of the project supported the then newly established ECTA, increasing its capacity to represent the interests of the supply chain in Ethiopia and abroad. Among the various activities to strengthen the competencies of supply chain actors, the CTC represents its most innovative component, thanks to the partnership between UNIDO, ECTA, Illycaffè, Fondazione Ernesto Illy and the University of Coffee of Trieste.
The project pursued a holistic approach in developing the coffee value chain in Ethiopia, requiring several different interventions: from infrastructure improvement to the development of strategies aimed at fostering market access, to capacity building of cooperatives and public institutions, and partnerships with the private sector.
The Delegation then met the President of Ethiopia, Sahle-Work Zewde, at the Creative Hub.
The structure is the result of a collaboration between public institutions, private entities, and international partners, and provides a physical and digital meeting point to support innovative young entrepreneurs, mainly women and designers in the leather and fashion sectors.
Moreover, a consortium of 2 local companies, the ICE Addis IT incubator and the event organizer African Mosaique, has been created to manage the Hub.
On the last day of the mission, the Vice Minister and the Italian Delegation visited the Salesians of Don Bosco at two different centers in Addis Ababa. Both structures welcome numerous Ethiopian children and young people, among the neediest, accompanying them from childhood to adult life, guaranteeing them with educational prospects and bringing them closer to the world of work.
The vocational training center, located in the district of Mekanisa, in the sub-city of Nefas Silk-Lafto, is the first in Ethiopia to develop training and graphic design courses related to printing operations and visual arts. In the center, there is also a printing shop co-financed by the Italian Cooperation through the project promoted by “Print Your Future”, carried out by the Italian CSO, VIS – Volontariato Internazionale per lo Sviluppo.
At the Salesian center Don Bosco Children, there are several TVET (Technical and Vocational Education and Training) laboratories in which young people from the local community are involved and a program of reception and reintegration of street children from the capital is carried out.
Afterward, the Delegation moved to the district of Goro, where the cooperative LOMI manages a leather processing cluster which was established thanks to AICS funding in the framework of the “Technical Assistance Project to improve the leather industry in Ethiopia – New phase”.
Finally, the Chief of External Relations and Communication of AICS, Emilio Ciarlo, visited one of the ongoing projects of the WaSH sector for the rehabilitation of riverbanks in Addis Ababa.
The initiative intends to rehabilitate and upgrade the river banks of a section of the Kebena River through the collection and treatment of wastewater flowing into the selected area of the river. The project includes the construction of sanitation infrastructure for public and private use and water points and systems for the collection of municipal solid waste.
The creation of eco-sustainable recreational facilities that will allow greater usability of the area and awareness campaigns on issues of hygiene, environment, and waste management is also being planned.
The project includes a component entrusted to the Italian CSO, CIFA, which supports the construction of two small composting plants. These facilities represent a particularly innovative aspect of the project, as they are the first examples of community composting in Addis Ababa.
“The visit of the Vice Minister and the Delegation underlined the ongoing commitment of the Italian cooperation in Ethiopia both by continuing to implement the development initiatives already underway and by supporting the interventions on the humanitarian level” said the Head of AICS Addis Ababa office, Isabella Lucaferri.