AfDB to resume Ethiopia work after assurance on security, probe into funds

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) -The African Development Bank (AfDB) said on Friday that all its international staff would return to Ethiopia a month after it withdrew the employees following an assault on staff members by government security forces.

The bank will resume normal operations in the country after receiving an assurance of security from the authorities, an AfDB statement said.

In a meeting between AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina and Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed late last month Abiy issued an apology to AfDB and assured the bank and its staff of safety and security, the statement said.

It added that the Ethiopian government had committed to cooperate on investigations into missing funds that were to have been transferred to the bank.

It is the first time the bank has commented on circumstances that led to the assault on its staff. Ethiopia had not issued any statement about the incident.

“In light of the productive meetings between … Abiy and … Adesina, and the formal apologies of the government and the firm commitments … to address the issues related to the incident, the bank will now resume its normal operations in Ethiopia,” AfDB said.

In a post on his account on X, Abiy said the bank was an essential partner in Ethiopia’s pursuit of food sovereignty.

“We remain committed to strengthening our relations through the support of my brother President of the Bank …Adesina,” Abiy said.

AfDB says it has a portfolio of 22 projects in Ethiopia worth a total $1.24 billion.

(Reporting by Dawit Endeshaw; Additional reporting by Bhargav Acharya in Johannesburg ; Writing by George ObulutsaEditing by Gareth Jones, William Maclean)