EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica visited Eritrea at the end of last week, launching an initial €20 million project for road connections between the Ethiopian border and Eritrean ports.
During his visit, Commissioner Mimica met President Isaias to explore ways for the EU and Eritrea to step up political relations and dialogue on matters of concern to both sides. He noted: “The European Union is committed to supporting Eritrea and Ethiopia in delivering their historic peace agreement, which ended twenty years of conflict. To back this, we are launching a €20 million program to rebuild the roads connecting both countries. This will boost trade, consolidate stability, and have clear benefits for the citizens of both countries through the creation of sustainable growth and jobs.”
The new project will be financed through the EU Trust Fund for Africa and through the United Nation's Office for Project Services. It will rehabilitate road connections between the Ethiopian border and Eritrean ports to boost trade and create jobs. This is the first phase of a broader support to Eritrea, which is planned to scale up later this year. It is part of the EU's new dual track approach of strengthening political dialogue with Eritrea, notably encouraging political and economic reforms and improvement of human rights, as well as pursuing development cooperation to tackle root causes of poverty, and to reinforce the peace agreement and economic integration.
One of the commitments in last year’s Eritrea/Ethiopia peace agreement is that transport, trade and communications links between the two countries would resume. To achieve this, it requires rehabilitating the main arterial roads between the Ethiopian border and the Eritrean port of Massawa. This is the focus of this road project.