ADDIS ABABA – The United Arab Emirates pledged a total of $3 billion in aid and investments to Ethiopia on Friday, an Ethiopian official said, a major show of support for the new prime minister, Abiy Ahmed.
The UAE will deposit $1 billion in Ethiopia’s central bank to ease a severe foreign currency shortage, government spokesman Ahmed Shide told Reuters at a palace in Addis Ababa after Abiy met with Abu Dhabi’s crown prince, Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed.
No officials from the oil-rich Gulf state briefed journalists, but the UAE and its Gulf allies, in particular Saudi Arabia, regularly give large sums to cooperative governments in the broader region.
In 2013, the UAE was one of three Gulf monarchies that pledged a total $12 billion to the new government after the military ousted a president from the Muslim Brotherhood.
Abiy, a 41-year-old former intelligence officer, took up his position office in April after three years of unrest that had threatened the EPRDF coalition’s hold on power.
The coalition’s choice of Abiy, from an ethnic group that has long been marginalised, signalled its willingness to allow some political reforms, but he has already gone farther and faster than most had expected.
Two weeks ago the government said it would sell stakes in its lucrative telecoms monopoly and other assets including the national airline.
It also pledged to end a war with long-time enemy Eritrea, offering to implement a peace deal signed in 2000.