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World Bank Considers Reducing Aid to Ethiopia


The World Bank is considering reducing aid to Ethiopia in the wake of current political unrest.

In an interview with Voice of America, the Bank's country director in Ethiopia, Ishac Diwan, said if governance improves, aid will likely rise. If it deteriorates, he said assistance will be scaled back over a period of time.

The World Bank currently gives $400 million to $500 million a year, making the lending institution Ethiopia's largest donor.

Mr. Diwan told VOA the key issue is making sure that possible future cuts do not affect the poor. He said, as such, the World Bank is working to insulate programs from political manipulation to ensure aid is used for projects to improve the lives of the poor.

He also said the World Bank is reaching out to the Ethiopian government and the opposition, urging that critical conditions for development be re-established as soon as possible. Mr. Diwan listed these as the rule of law, freedom of the press and the participation of civil society in decision making.

Ethiopia has been roiled by allegations of election fraud and deadly street protests against May parliamentary polls in which Prime Minister Meles Zenawi's ruling party was declared the winner.

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