February 27, 2024

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African Development Bank Group and Ethiopia Resolve to Normalize Relations

The African Development Bank is delighted with and reassured by the strong personal leadership and firm commitment shown by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed

Following a serious diplomatic incident in which two international staff of the African Development Bank Group based in the Bank’s Country Office in Ethiopia were severely assaulted by security agents of the Government of Ethiopia, the African Development Bank lodged a formal complaint with the Government of Ethiopia over the incident.  

While a high-level mission dispatched by the Bank visited Ethiopia in November 2023 for direct engagement and discussions with senior government officials, the matter remained unresolved. Concerns remained about the security, safety, and the protection of the rights, privileges and diplomatic immunities of the Bank’s staff and the respect for the Host Country Agreement with the Bank.  

Consequently, the African Development Bank withdrew all its international staff from Ethiopia. 

In further pursuance of a resolution of the matter, the President of the African Development Bank, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, travelled to Addis Ababa and held meetings with the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Abiy Ahmed, from 29 to 31 December 2023.

The meetings were fruitful and have brought a resolution to the matter.  

The Bank has subsequently received formal apologies from the Prime Minister on behalf of the Government of Ethiopia, with firm assurances of 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.  

The Bank further received 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.  

Furthermore, the Government 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 African Development Bank wishes to thank the general public, the international community and the Bank’s shareholders, as well as its staff, management and Boards of Directors, for their concerns, understanding and support over the incident.  

The African Development Bank looks forward to a more reinvigorated partnership with the Government of Ethiopia.

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