The State Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Berhane Gebrechristos, today (December 17th) signed a legal framework agreement for international institutional cooperation with Mrs. Abby Maxman, Vice-President of International Programs and Operations, CARE USA.
The agreement enables CARE USA to set up an International Program and Operations Office in Ethiopia, and creates favorable conditions and an appropriate environment for the activities of the office.
The Office will be responsible for facilitating, monitoring and supporting the country offices of CARE in various regions of Africa. During the signing program at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Berhane said that Ethiopia valued the role that CARE USA played, particularly during such times as the famine emergency in Ethiopia in 1984.
He expressed Ethiopia's belief that civil societies can make significant contributions in filling possible gaps in development. The Government, indeed, fully recognized the considerable role of NGOs in supporting the country's efforts in development and democracy. NGOs provided a third line of action along with government and the private sector. Ambassador Berhane also expressed the Government's readiness to engage with civil society organizations on a project basis in matters pertaining to good governance and democracy.
Such an approach enables Ethiopians to own these issues and ensure effective delivery of operations in a mutually acceptable manner. In this regard, he noted, the Civil Societies law does enable effective engagement despite fears of a few organizations that the law was detrimental to their operations. Ambassador Berhane expressed his hope of greater convergence between different actors and government interests as this would enable greater and more effective mutual cooperation.
He assured the Vice-President of the Government's readiness to support all the activities of the new CARE Office as detailed in the agreement, and he expressed his belief that the establishment of the new office would contribute to consolidate the existing excellent relationship between Ethiopia and the US. Vice-President Maxman said she is delighted at the opportunity to open CARE's new office in Addis Ababa. She said her office recognized the important role Ethiopia played in development, and expressed its readiness, in consultation with donor countries, to provide support for the country's development efforts.