H.E Dr. Eyob Tekalign met Ms. Gerda Verburg, UN Assistant Secretary General and Coordinator for Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement

Nov. 24, 2022

Nov. 24 /2022 – H.E Dr. Eyob Tekalign, State Minister of Financ, stated that the timing that Ms. Gerda is doing a great moment where few weeks ago his excellency the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Dr. Abiy Ahmed, has launched the Yelemat Turufat Initiative where the government promote production of diversified foods from animal source, vegetables and fruits. He also observed production of vegetables, fruits and animal sources in his recent visit out of Addis Ababa. 

During the meeting Ms. Gerda stated that Ethiopia joined the SUN Movement in 2012 and that opportunity it will create to mobilize the private sectors, United Nations, donors, businesses as well as the academia. In this regard, utilizing the SUN platform will help the government for donors and the UN Nutrition and others to align behind the government plan.  Ms. Gerda also indicated that the private sectors has raised few challenges and one of them is the tax imposed to import food premix is affecting the production of products that need premix. Moreover, access to finance for SMEs is also something that the government could consider.

Ms. Garda also indicated that that many countries are affected by climate induced drought and flooding, COVID-19 and conflict, hyperinflation of the food price is making it difficult for the countries to pay their debt. In this regard, she suggested Ethiopia to be a strong voice for other countries and utilize the debt relief for programs such as improving the food and nutrition status of their citizens.

Dr. Eyob on his part stated that there is significant transformation on the leadership understand of the rational for the investment for Seqota Declaration, which was not the case before. Currently the government high level officials are converted disciples and fully support the investment for Seqota Declaration. He also recognized the leadership provided by the Ministry of Health on this.

Moreover, Dr. Eyob stated that we will be using the opportunities that Ms. Gerda indicated to mobilize resources for nutrition.  Dr. Eyob also indicated that 60 percent of the government budget goes to pro-poor activities. Ethiopia is advocating for debt relief and though not easy the government will utilize debt relief to be used for people focused investment through discussion with lenders. Dr. Eyob also stated that the government supports SMEs and also there are financial institutes to provide finance for SMEs. The issues raised on access to finance and premix tax relief is something that he will follow up.