Deliveries of food aid from the United States to Ethiopia will resume throughout the country, the US Development Agency (USAID) announced on Tuesday, following the conclusion of an agreement to monitor the distribution of aid.
USAID announced the resumption of deliveries from next month, for an initial period of one year during which the agency will monitor whether the Ethiopian government keeps its commitments, against a backdrop of accusations of misappropriation of aid for the benefit of soldiers.
“These far-reaching and significant reforms will profoundly change the food aid system in Ethiopia and ensure that aid reaches those suffering from acute food insecurity,” USAID spokeswoman Jessica Jennings said in a statement.
The US agency had already announced in early October a limited resumption of food aid deliveries to meet the needs of thousands of refugees in Africa’s second most populous country. The resumption was to affect around thirty camps in Ethiopia, which is home to almost a million refugees, mainly from South Sudan, Somalia and Eritrea.
The UN World Food Programme (WFP) made a similar announcement a few days later.
Ethiopia is plagued by serious internal violence, a deteriorating economic situation and chronic natural disasters.
Around 17% of Ethiopia’s 120 million inhabitants depend on international food aid. But last June, the UN and the United States suspended the distribution of food aid throughout the country because of “widespread and coordinated” misappropriation.
In May, they had already done the same for the northern region of Tigray, ravaged by two years of war, before extending the suspension to the whole country. At the beginning of October, the WFP stated that it had resumed aid deliveries “after a total reorganisation of the safeguards and controls” on refugee operations.