Source: Devex Newswire

By Stephanie Beasley // 14 April 2022

The World Bank board’s approval of a $300 million grant to Ethiopia to support people impacted by the conflict in the country could potentially disrupt the still fragile peace between the government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, according to the European Commission.

The European Commission, which is not a shareholder of the bank, tried to postpone the grant approval in hopes of getting the bank to take more time to assess the situation in the country, sources familiar with the matter tell my colleagues Vince Chadwick and Shabtai Gold.

“To us, peace is still too fragile to start financing the reconstruction in Northern Ethiopia,” a commission spokesperson said in an email to Devex on Wednesday. “In this regard, the World Bank’s $300 million grant for reconstruction decided at its Board meeting on April 12 is premature and could be counterproductive in the context of the current political stalemate.”

Still, the World Bank has decided to move forward with a plan to use funds from the International Development Association fund for the world’s lowest-income countries. It said that some of the money would be set aside to provide survivors of gender-based violence with “improved access to the services and comprehensive care needed to recover from the impacts of the violence they experienced.” The funding will be directly implemented by Ethiopia’s Ministry of Finance.