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Ethiopia’s resettlement programme is working

By Angela Kolongo
Press Assistant Embassy of Ethiopia, LONDON
Tigrai Onlne - July 10, 2014

The Guardian has published a highly misleading article on Ethiopia’s resettlement programme ('Britain is supporting a dictatorship in Ethiopia', online on 6th July 2014, and in the print edition on 7th July 2014).  

The programme has lifted hundreds of thousands of Ethiopian farmers out of poverty. This was not made clear in the article. 

Here are some of the facts missing from the article:

  • Ethiopia’s villigisation programme operates on a voluntary basis. 
  • The prime objectives are to help farmers increase yields and provide them with better access to social services, which can all be better delivered in a community setting, along with improved seeds and farming techniques. 
  • The programme has been successful in bringing schools, healthcare, clean water supplies and roads to communities in rural areas, enabling them to benefit from the structural transformation that is taking place across the whole country. 
  • Though minor problems were encountered during the early stages of the implementation process, these were squarely addressed. The lives of hundreds of thousands of Ethiopians have been transformed, as the International Development Group, who scrutinise DFID spending, has confirmed. 
  • Pro-poor development strategies have brought about remarkable results, both economically and socially, to the extent that Ethiopia is one of few developing countries that will achieve most, if not all, of the Millennium Development Goals. The villigisation programme has helped make this progress possible.
  • The Guardian piece harks back to the Ethiopia of 30 years ago, yet largely dismisses the manifest achievements that have been made in the last twenty years or so, during which Ethiopia has become food self-sufficient at national level. 
  • Donors, UN organisations and civil society confirm that the resettlement programme has radically improved livelihoods and that human rights have not been violated in the course of the programme’s implementation. 
  • Ethiopia remains one of the few developing countries that fully satisfy the value-for-money principle which underlies all British Government development programme funding. 

Advocacy groups, such as Human Rights Watch, continuously engage in fault-finding missions. We appeal to responsible media not to be part of a campaign to tarnish the image of a country that is engaged in a protracted but ultimately successful struggle to eradicate poverty and build a thriving economy. 

We call upon them to discharge their responsible in accordance with internationally recognised media ethics.

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