African Development Bank president lauds Ethiopian economic growth

African Development Bank (ADB) President Donald Kaberuka said here on Sunday Ethiopia is remarkably performing in the economic sector.

At a press briefing, Kaberuka said Ethiopia ranks among the leading countries in the portfolio of the bank, as it is registering a remarkable economic growth in recent years.

Ethiopia registered an 8.9 percent growth in gross domestic product (GDP) during the previous budget year that ended on July 7, 2005, according to official data.

He said Ethiopia is one of the major operations of the bank for many years.

He added the country is in many ways the test to evaluate the operations of the bank in attaining the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in Africa.

The MDGs, adopted in the Millennium UN Summit, include a series of concrete objectives in fighting poverty, reducing hunger, expanding primary education, and containing the spread of HIV/AIDS, among others.

The ADB has signed with the Ethiopian government a grant agreement amounting to 62 million U.S. dollars to co-finance a rural water supply and sanitation program in Ethiopia, he said.

The grant, which is part of the bank's Rural Water Supply Initiative, reflects the commitment of the bank and the Ethiopian government to the attainment of the MDGs in the areas of water and sanitation.

The program, to be carried out through the grant, will help improve access to water and sanitation for about 2.5 million Ethiopians, he said.

Kaberuka reaffirmed the commitment of the bank to continue supporting Ethiopia's economic development and poverty eradication efforts.

Kaberuka arrived here on Friday to pay a three-day working visit to Ethiopia. He held discussions with Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and other top officials, including Minister of Finance and Economic Development Sufian Ahmed, on ways of facilitating the operations of the bank in Ethiopia.

The ADB was established in 1964 under the auspices of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and began operation in 1966. The main office is in Cote d'Ivoire. The bank obtains its funds from cash subscriptions from regional and non-regional members. In order to retain the bank's African character, regional members subscribe two-thirds of the total capital stock.

Ethiopia is one of the world's poorest and most indebted countries. It is chronically unable to feed its population and has to rely on massive foreign aid.

Source: Xinhua

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