Ethiopia, home to over 800,000 refugees, has announced a partnership with the European Investment Bank (EIB) to build two industry parks. The project will lead to some 30,000 refugees being employed in a move aimed at curbing migration to Europe.
The total amount of the both projects is pegged at $500 million. The government stated that the World Bank, Britain, and other EU nations will provide the rest of the financing.
‘‘Ethiopia proposed the plan and the EIB said that 30,000 refugees will be included among the 100,000 people who will be employed altogether in the two parks,’‘ the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.
Ethiopia is for many a stopping point before making the dangerous onward journey to final destinations in Europe, and initiatives and projects like this provide people with a choice to stay closer to home.
EIB – the EU bank (@EIB) September 21, 2016
Mr. Hoyer, the President of the European Investment Bank said in a statement on Wednesday (September 21) that “Ethiopia is for many a stopping point before making the dangerous onward journey to final destinations in Europe, and initiatives and projects like this provide people with a choice to stay closer to home and an opportunity for economic growth as well.”
For her part, the UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, said the project would be a model for how to support poorer countries housing large numbers of migrants. Under the current arrangement, Ethiopia will grant the refugees employment rights while other jobs will be reserved for locals.
Ethiopia currently hosts the largest number of refugees on the African continent, refugees from South Sudan, Eritrea and Somalia live in the country. An estimated 160,000 refugees from Eritrea in particular try to make the journey into North Africa and across the Mediterranean to Europe.
The European Union says more than 33,000 Eritreans sought asylum in Europe last year. The Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalgen said they will continue to provide shelter to refugees and activities to improve their condition.
He added that as part of its plans, the government is providing the chance for refugees to get access to education and engage in income generating activities including agriculture.
‘‘The government is facilitating conditions to make refugees access 30 percent of job opportunities to be created in various industrial parks, as part of improving their condition,’‘ he is quoted to have said.
Currently 65 million people, roughly 1 percent of world’s total population are displaced worldwide. World leaders are discussing ways of tackling the growing global migration crisis, the biggest migration crisis in which the number of displaced people surpassed those of World War Two, at the 71st UN General Assembly.