African Development Bank Reinstates Operations in Ethiopia Following Diplomatic Incident

African Development Bank

The African Development Bank (AfDB) lodged a formal complaint with the Ethiopian government following a serious diplomatic incident in which two of its international staff, based in Ethiopia, were severely assaulted by Ethiopian security agents. Despite a high-level mission’s visit and discussions with Ethiopian officials in November 2023, the issue remained unresolved, raising concerns about staff security and the respect for diplomatic immunities. As a result, the AfDB withdrew all its international staff from Ethiopia.

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To resolve the matter, the Bank’s President, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, met with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in Addis Ababa from December 29 to 31, 2023. These meetings led to a resolution, with the Prime Minister formally apologizing on behalf of the government and assuring the security and safety of the Bank’s staff and respect for their rights and immunities. The government also committed to investigating the incident and the issue of missing funds intended for the Bank, ensuring full accountability.

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Following these developments and the Prime Minister’s firm commitments, the AfDB expressed satisfaction with the resolution and will resume normal operations in Ethiopia, with all international staff returning. The Bank’s ongoing portfolio in Ethiopia totals $1.24 billion, covering 22 projects. The AfDB expressed gratitude for the support received during this incident and looks forward to a reinvigorated partnership with the Ethiopian government. ■

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