Washington suspends food aid to Ethiopia due to misappropriations

The US Government has announced the suspension of its food aid to Ethiopia due to a massive detour of this assistance, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) announced on Thursday.
“USAID has discovered, in coordination with the government of Ethiopia, a widespread and coordinated operation to divert food aid. As a result (…) we cannot continue to provide food aid until we are confident that reforms are in place”, said a USAID spokesperson.
USAID “intends to resume food aid immediately as soon as we have confidence in the integrity of the distribution systems to get aid to its intended recipients”, he assures us.
The American agency had already decided in May, at the same time as the UN World Food Programme (WFP), to suspend food aid to the Ethiopian region of Tigray, which had just emerged in November from two years of conflict, due to the detour of part of this aid, “sold on the local market”.
Some 20 million people, or 16% of Ethiopia’s 120 million people, depend on food aid, as estimated by the UN humanitarian agency (Ocha) at the end of May.
On Thursday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met Ethiopian Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen on the sidelines of a diplomatic meeting in Riyadh and “welcomed the Ethiopian government’s commitment to work together to fully investigate the detour of US food aid and hold those responsible to account”, said the US Embassy in Addis Ababa.
The United States is the largest bilateral donor to Ethiopia, providing more than $1.8 billion (€1.67 billion) in vital aid since fiscal year 2022, USAID says.

About Geraldine Boechat 2731 Articles
Senior Editor for Medafrica Times and former journalist for Swiss National Television. former NGO team leader in Burundi and Somalia