Wednesday 25 April 2018

Irish funds 'made desolate land productive'

President Michael D Higgins with Dr. Nkosazana Dalmini Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union Commission at the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia on the fifth day of the President's 22 day official visit to Ethiopia, Malawi and South Africa
President Michael D Higgins with Dr. Nkosazana Dalmini Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union Commission at the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia on the fifth day of the President's 22 day official visit to Ethiopia, Malawi and South Africa

Brian Byrne and Joyce Fegan

Irish funding has turned a "desolate landscape into a productive valley supporting thousands of families" in Ethiopia, according to President Michael D Higgins.

Speaking in the Tigray region on the fifth day of his 22-day official visit to Ethiopia, Malawi and South Africa, Mr Higgins praised the "new management techniques" pioneered by Irish Aid and local government in the Gergera watershed, which have been replicated nationwide.

Mr Higgins said: "They have been replicated not just here in Tigray but across all of Ethiopia and have become, in due course, a central feature of the federal Productive Safety Nets Programme.

"It is an achievement of which we can be jointly proud; a shared success and an inspiring example of Tigray leading the way for the rest of your country," Mr Higgins said at a dinner hosted by President of the region of Tigray, HE Abay Woldu yesterday.

"The work, of course, continues and this year, for example, I am pleased that you will plant three million trees, build six maternal and child health facilities and renovate another five.

"Ireland's commitment to Tigray and our fruitful relationship will, I am sure, endure. We know, however, that the global community is changing, and that Tigray and Ireland must remain creative and imaginative as we work together towards further achievements.

"I am confident that the great spirit of partnership that exists between our two peoples will continue to inspire that work," he added.

Mr Higgins will conclude his travels with a visit to South Africa on November 21.

Irish Independent

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