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Volume 450: debated on Thursday 26 October 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what conditions relating to good governance his Department places on the distribution of development aid to Ethiopia. (95515)

DFID’s programme in Ethiopia is subject to our conditionality policy, published in March 2005 This policy is applied in accordance with a commitment to three important development objectives: reducing poverty and meeting the millennium development goals; respecting human rights and other international obligations; and strengthening financial management and accountability, which reduces the risk of funds being misused through weak administration or corruption.

Concerns about human rights and governance in Ethiopia, during the unrest which followed the elections last year, led the UK and other donors to stop providing the Government of Ethiopia with assistance in the form of direct budget support. In order to ensure that the poor do not suffer as a result of this decision we developed the protection of basic services grant which is accompanied by stringent measures to ensure transparency and accountability. The grant aims to protect the delivery of basic services, such as education, health, agriculture and water and sanitation, by local government in Ethiopia.

We made a commitment in our White Paper, published in July this year, to conduct quality of governance assessments in partner countries, and we intend to do so in Ethiopia. We have a number of programmes in Ethiopia designed to promote better governance, and the assessment will help us to identify how these programmes might be strengthened.