Cash transfers – Past, present and future: Evidence and lessons learned from the Transfer Project


Since 2009, the Transfer Project has generated rigorous evidence on the impacts of cash transfers in sub-Saharan Africa and has supported their expansion. The Transfer Project is a collaborative network comprising UNICEF (Innocenti, Regional and Country Offices), Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, national governments and researchers. It aims to “provide evidence on the effectiveness of cash transfer programmes, inform the development and design of cash transfer policy and programmes, and promote learning across SSA on the design and implementation of research and evaluations on cash transfers”.

This brief summarizes the current evidence and lessons learned from the Transfer Project after more than a decade of research. It also introduces new frontiers of research.


Source: UN Children’s Fund

Universal Health Coverage day: “the hospital is like a mother to me”

On Universal Health Coverage Day, we honour healthcare workers around the world. They are battling on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic. And push things to the limit to provide other essential health services for their communities.

Omo Nada hospital in Jimma, Ethiopia, is one of the hospitals which Cordaid has been supporting through our performance-based financing system. Let’s have a look at the work carried out by the hospital throughout the pandemic.

Ensuring universal health coverage during COVID-19

Globally, the world has witnessed the ravage caused by a global health disaster, with frontline health workers bearing most of its burden. The pandemic has disrupted health systems and society at large. It has halted, or worse, reversed years of progress towards eliminating other killer diseases, such as malaria or tuberculosis, and toward advancing sexual and reproductive health services for all.

This is why Universal health Coverage (UHC) bears more significance than ever. We know that health institutions are a complex machine to run, let alone in low-income countries in the midst of a pandemic. At Omo Nada hospital, performance-based financing (PBF) supports health workers and helps the facility to provide quality health services for all throughout the pandemic.

CEO Nurezeman Gali explains: “I can say that PBF is the best thing that happened to this institution. The staff is also getting motivated not only by the bonus they receive from PBF, but also by the improved work environment. The hospital is one of the youngest hospitals in the zone. It is becoming amongst one of the top hospitals in a very short time”

The PBF programme is made possible by the collaboration between the Oromia Regional Health Bureau, Cordaid and the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Universal Health Coverage: a plea for health as a basic human right

What does Universal Health Coverage stand for? UHC is first and foremost a plea for human rights because it is based on the common understanding that health is a basic requirement for a productive and dignifying life. With strong health systems, other public service systems like education can be safeguarded. And with stronger education, greater economic development can be fostered.

UHC Day commemorates the anniversary of the unanimous 2012 UN resolution calling for all countries to provide accessible, affordable and quality healthcare for everyone, everywhere.


Source: Cordaid

Farmers in JICA’s SHEP Project Heading to Market

JICAs Smallholder Horticulture Empowerment and Promotion (SHEP) project has been training farmers in Amhara and Oromia region on techniques for sowing their seeds, spacing, seed bed and fertilizer preparation to aid in producing quality potatoes, cabbages, carrots, peppers and onions.

In Amhara Region Dembecha Woreda, lead famer Mr. Enawgaw Belisty has been at the forefront with fellow farmers transplanting cabbages at a demonstration plot. After completing hands-on training on sowing, crop rotation, management of soil fertility and pest prevention, the farmers have been receiving assistance with making market linkages and assessing demand and market price so that they can sell their harvest at competitive prices.

While some farmers are heading to the market early, most of the farmers in the program will be ready to sell their produce in January.


Source: JICA Ethiopia

Foreign Affairs Council: Press remarks by High Representative Josep Borrell

That was the last Foreign Affairs Council of the year and it had a very dense agenda. Let me start with two concrete decisions we took to react to negative developments:

Today, we adopted two sanctions decisions.

First, a new sanctions regime allowing to target persons and entities obstructing the political transition in Mali.

Second, we adopted sanctions against persons and entities in relation to the Wagner Group. The activities of this group reflect Russia’s hybrid warfare, present a threat and create instability in a number of countries around the world.

The sanctions will cover the Wagner Group itself, three companies with links to this Group and eight individuals responsible for serious human rights abuses or destabilising activities in Ukraine, Syria, Libya, the Central African Republic, Sudan and Mozambique.

Apart from these two very concrete decisions – very important ones – we also discussed Ukraine and Russia’s military build-up on their borders:

Allow me to say once again firmly that the European Union stands united in support of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Ministers – all of them – have been very clear today that any aggression against Ukraine, will come with political consequences and with a high economic cost for Russia.

We are closely coordinating with our transatlantic and like-minded partners. Yesterday at the G7, we talked about it. This topic remains high on the agenda and will be taken up also at the European Council leaders meeting on Thursday.

Staying in our Eastern neighbourhood, we reviewed the situation in Belarus. There, our decisive actions against the misuse of migrants brought results. But, the domestic repression by the [Alexander] Lukashenko regime continues, and it is even getting worse. The number of political prisoners in Belarus has passed 900. We stand in solidarity and continue supporting the Belarusian society. I met with several representatives yesterday and we discussed about how we can support them on their fight for a democratic Belarus. It was also a good moment to announce an increase of €30 million to support their activities.

We also discussed the impact of the unilateral actions taken back in July by Turkish Cypriots and by Turkey in Varosha that run counter to United Nations Security Council Resolutions. All Member States expressed their solidarity vis-a-vis Cyprus and their support to the United Nations process and to the new United Nations Secretary General Special Representative.

We presented an option paper. We agreed to make an evaluation of the options on the table, which include also the creation of a specific sanctions regime focussing on persons and entities with direct involvement in the opening of part of Varosha after last July. Coreper will follow up on this important issue on the basis that we have been doing today.

It is essential that Turkey re-engages seriously with the United Nations process and refrains from any action that would further deteriorate the situation on the ground.

The Council considers that creating the conditions for an environment conductive to a positive solution remains crucial. Confidence-building measures with regard to Varosha are of key importance and will help for the comprehensive solution of the Cyprus issue.

Then we went over to Afghanistan. We had the opportunity to discuss it over lunch with the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Qatar [Sheikh Mohammed Al Thani], with whom I also had the pleasure to exchange with before, bilaterally.

Qatar plays a strategic role in dealing with the situation in Afghanistan on various tracks: it facilitates our interactions with Taliban interim authorities, it ensures a safe passage for those in need, [and] it facilitates the delivery of humanitarian support.

We share with Qatar the understanding that some operational engagement with the interim government is necessary, but without granting them any legitimacy. This engagement has to be conditional upon progress made by [the] Taliban along the five benchmarks we defined back in September just after the summer in our meeting in Slovenia.

And talking about Afghanistan, it brings us to the internal discussion about Central Asia. There are new regional dynamics in Central Asia that create opportunities to step up our cooperation with partners there.

This is our will, to intensify our political engagement with the region. I have been there a couple of times this year and I hope to go back in the framework of helping them to fight COVID-19 and developing important flagship projects on our Global Gateway, especially in the field of water.

Africa had [formed] an important part of our meeting today. You know that we are ahead of the European Council this week and in preparation of the African Union – European Union Summit foreseen for February next year.

We agreed, after a long discussion, that Europe can be and should be more concrete, more practical, more visible and more operational in its dealings with African partners.

The key areas of our enhanced engagement include the fight against coronavirus, vaccine distribution, because it is not only [about] providing vaccines, but facilitating vaccination. If you store vaccines, you need to vaccinate. And to vaccinate requires vaccines, certainly, but also logistic capability of the health system. Engagement on peace, security – more and more important in Africa, good governance, green and digital recovery, once again the initiative of our Global Gateway, and better cooperation in the multilateral fora. It has been a good preparation for our Summit next year.

On Venezuela, we heard the first-hand assessment of the recent regional and local elections. We invited the Chief Observer of the European Electoral Observation Mission, the Member of the European Parliament Isabel Santos, who made a wonderful presentation of the mission and how it was: the obstacles, the problems, the results. I want to congratulate Isabel Santos and all the team of this Electoral Observation Mission for the extraordinary work they have done.

Ministers agreed that we will continue to promote democratic transition in Venezuela, all interventions were very much supportive of the decision of sending this Electoral Observation Mission, because the ultimate goal remains a Venezuelan-led solution to a crisis through inclusive and transparent elections at all levels.

We had to talk about Ethiopia, because the conflict in the country has further worsened, expanded, producing a devastating humanitarian crisis. It undermines not only the stability of Ethiopia, but of the entire region. Only a political solution can reverse the negative and dangerous dynamics we are seeing now.

All the efforts of the European Union and international like-minded actors, notably the African Union, Kenya and the United States, should be directed towards achieving a ceasefire and bringing the warring parties to the negotiation table.

Only 10% of the humanitarian help needed in the North of Ethiopia is reaching the people in need. Only 10%. There are more than 9 million people starving in the North of Ethiopia. The fight has been very fierce, but more than the fight itself, there have been grief violations of human rights by both sides. The fight continues nearby the capital.

And I want to stress that, being this my last press conference this year, I want to recognise that Ethiopia is one of the issues that we have debated the most this year. It is also one of my biggest frustrations, because we were not able to react properly to the large-scale human rights violations, mass rapes, using sexual violence as a war arm, killings, and concentration camps based on ethnic origin. We have not been able to stop it and we have not been able to take coercive measures due to the lack of unanimity in the Council.

This is a frustration, but on the other hand, there were situations where we managed to reverse negative developments and prevent a crisis from erupting fully. This is the case of the migration situation at the borders with Belarus. Through intense diplomatic outreach, we have been able to stop the flow into Belarus and to the European borders of migrants being cheated and being sent there with the false promise of finding their way to Europe. We cut the flow in, Lukashenko has not got his purpose, now it is him who is in trouble. This shows that when we act together, united, we can achieve results. I want to stress that this is, for me, a source of satisfaction, because on this endeavour, the European External Action Service and myself, we have been doing – I think – a good job. Every week you will have a report of our relations with 24 countries that were the origin of this flow of migrants and you will see there, what is the situation.

That is what we are trying to do in 2021, and that is what we will continue doing next year: looking for more European unity, more European ability, more European capacity to defend our interests and to stand up to the challenges of the international rules and order.

It has been also a satisfaction to share with you during this year the developments of the Foreign Affairs Council. I remain at your disposal.


Link to the video:  EC AV PORTAL (



  1. What kind of ad-hoc sanctions did you discuss today for the people who are physically?  And what does physically mean in Varosha?  And if you could describe the timeline from now on. When should we expect the first measures? 

Today we were discussing an option paper. As the name of the option paper means, it was a paper about options. It was not a proposal to decide on something concrete, but to analyse the different approaches and the different possibilities to guide action. And this discussion conducted to a decision to start working on a new legal framework specially fitted for the situation araising in Varosha. This could lead to sanctions, but first the Coreper has to study and to evaluate closely the different proposals, and in particular, to start working on that. I cannot give you a detailed timeline. But it is clear that this decision of sending to the Coreper the proposal of a close evaluation of the options and start working on the creation of a specific sanctions regime focusing on what has happened and could be happening in Varosha is an important to step for that.

  1. You did not mention anything about Beijing Winter Olympics, I was wondering whether that came up during the Council, what was the nature of the discussion and whether you moved any closer to having a common position on this, as we were maybe expecting.

I have not mentioned anything about it because there was nothing to mention. The issue has not been discussed today. It was not on the agenda and it was not part of the discussion.

  1. Ukrainians are really grateful for a strong position of the European Union and G7 in supporting Ukraine against the military aggression from the side of Russia, but from my perspective we are missing at least one important point. Sometimes [in] counting that price, Russian Federation could pay for aggression, we are missing the role of Ukraine itself. Because for sure that nobody in Ukraine wants war, but everybody is ready to fight. My question is pretty simple: do you count on that situation and that readiness in your operation in Russia against aggression because it would be great of tool for deterrence and their prevention? 

I understand perfectly the situation of the Ukrainian people. In this kind of situation you have to expect the best and prepare for the worst. And that is more or less what we are doing. To prepare for the worst, expecting  the best. And in order to expect the best, we are now on deterring mode, in dissuasion mode to try to avoid the crises. To try to avoid any kind of military action to start happening, because once it starts, it is very difficult to stop. Before being prepared for organising a military response of Ukraine – and, by the way, we are supporting [them], the other day we granted €35 million to the logistics of the Ukrainian Army from the European Peace Facility. We are supporting, but the most important thing now is to prevent, to deter, to dissuade. Whatever you want to use, these are the words. To be prepare for the worst and to expect the best.

  1. Do you have a list of options that will be submitted to the leadership on Thursday in the event of Russian aggression in Ukraine? The second question, I am a little surprised by the very serious accusation that you have made on Ethiopia, by saying that due to the lack of unanimity in the Council, in fact the European Union has completely missed the possibility of resolving or help resolve this conflict? It is very serious to hear that. Who are the countries, what are the reasons that have been given for not reaching unanimity on the measures that would have been able to avoid a great conflict or prevent this tragedy in Ethiopia? 

No, I did not say that the measures would have been able to avoid the Ethiopian drama. If we had had measures capable of avoiding that. No, I spoke out of my personal frustration, I spoke in a personal capacity, because in my opinion, in the case of Ethiopia, restrictive measures should have been taken, but a lot of countries did not. considered an adequate solution. This is not the first time that this has happened and, therefore, there was no unanimity to take restrictive measures. But, from here to believe that if we had done that, we would have stopped the Ethiopian drama, there is a huge distance. Unfortunately, no doubt, it would not have stopped, but it would have been, in my opinion, it would have conditioned the behavior of the actors. But don’t extrapolate.

And I would like to stress and notice the intensity of this drama, which has already been going on for a year, which has claimed thousands of victims. We have seen massive sexual violence converted into a weapon of war, famine converted into a weapon of war, violent clashes, killings. I wonder how much effort it will take for Ethiopia to heal the wounds of this war.

[On Russia] we are, we have it is a series of scenarios. The Council will study, will look at different possibilities and, for each possibility, possible measures to be taken. It’s a classic study in this situation. We have scenarios and, for each scenario, we draw an answer. But, of course, I cannot make this analysis public now. That is what I am going to report to the Council.



Source: EU in Ethiopia

AAU Hosts Lawrence Freeman’s Experience Sharing Seminar: Lifelong in Africa

The Associate Dean for Research and Technology Transfer of College of Social Sciences, the Center for African and Asian Studies of AAU conducted a Seminar focused on Mr. Lawrence Freeman’s experience sharing with a view of some prominent leaders’ visions at Ras-Mekonnen Hall on December 10, 2021.

Mr. Freeman’s topic of speech was entitled, “Realize the Vision of Diop and Nkrumah: Industrialize and Energize the African Continent”, which states the Pan-African idealists’ views by who were leaders of Senegal and Ghana respectively.

Mitike Molla (PhD), Vice President for Research and Technology Transfer of AAU said in her welcoming address that, Mr. Lawrence Freeman has been dedicated for more than three decades of his life for the development of Africa in promoting economic growth which emphasizes infrastructure, transportation and electricity in particular.

“He is a political analyst currently standing on Ethiopian side for fighting cause of injustice by unveiling the truth in relation to the current political situation, interpreting happenings drawn from within and other countries based on experience. These types of discourse will help the audience to understand the current situation and exchange views from different perspectives,” Dr. Mitike stated.

Lawrence Freeman, Political-Economic Analyst for Africa, is a physical economist who promotes real economic growth with an emphasis on hard infrastructure, particularly rail transportation and electricity. He believes that economic development is a fundamental human right and is a strong defender of national sovereignty for African nations.

In his presentation on the topic stated that previous African leaders like Cheikh Anta Diop and President Kwame Nkrumah understood what was essential to develop the nations of Africa in concern of infrastructure, energy, industry, and science. Africa suffers from a deliberate policy of forced economic under-development, which must be prevailing over, not only for the sake of Africa, but for the very future of our planet, he added.

“The future of our planet in this century will be dependent on the African continent with its projected population of 2.4 billion and one billion youth by the year 2050 G. C. Either we set in motion now policies to develop African nations and realize the potential of the one billion young creative minds, or we fail to do so, which will lead to more misery, and instability. The whole world will suffer from insecurity on the African continent,” Mr. Freeman said.

“Africa should start Industrial Revolution in order to develop the nation that also helps to solve electricity, water and transportation problems which lead to industrialize and energize the African continent,” he added.

Lawrence Freeman has been involved in economic development policy for Ethiopia, Sudan, Mali, Chad, Nigeria, Central Africa Republic, and Côte d’Ivoire in his lifelong dedication in Africa.


Source: Addis Ababa University

Sudan Denies Ethiopian Accusations Of Supporting Rebel Forces

Sudan denied Ethiopian accusations of supporting the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which is fighting the Ethiopian army.

“Sudan controls all of its internationally recognised territories and borders with neighbouring Ethiopia, and has never, and will never, allow its use for any aggressions,” said Sudan’s foreign ministry, in a statement yesterday.

The ministry made the statement, in response to news reports from an Ethiopian news outlet, in which it accused Sudan of supporting the TPLF.

“The ministry would like to affirm Sudan’s full commitment to the principles of good neighbourliness and non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries,” the statement said.

The Sudanese foreign ministry further urged Ethiopia to stop accusing Sudan of taking aggressive stances and practices, that are not supported by evidence on the ground.

The conflict in Ethiopia’s northern region of Tigray has turned into large-scale battles across the country, where the Tigray rebels were seeking to control the capital, Addis Ababa.



Tigray Rebels Said to Recapture Lalibela, UNESCO World Heritage Site

ADDIS ABABA — Residents of the Ethiopian town of Lalibela, a U.N. World Heritage site, say Tigray rebels have captured the area from federal forces for a second time.

Town residents who spoke to Reuters said the rebel forces captured Lalibela on Sunday, following the exit of Ethiopian troops.

The eyewitnesses say that for reasons that are unknown, government soldiers began to leave Lalibela Saturday night and they heard an exchange of fire from a distance.

Neither the Ethiopian government nor the Tigray forces have commented on the situation in Lalibela.

However, AFP has reported that the TPLF has launched attacks on many towns around Lalibela. TPLF affiliated media also report an engagement with Ethiopian forces around the Gashena area, 59 kilometers from Lalibela.

Ethiopian government troops took over Lalibela, home to 11 ancient rock-hewn churches, two weeks ago, driving out the TPLF forces who had been in control of the town since the beginning of August. The town was freed a week after Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed went in to battle to lead the fight against the Tigray rebels.

Lalibela Church, a UNESCO-recognized world heritage site, is a place of pilgrimage for Ethiopian Orthodox Christians. Recently, government run news outlets reported on preparations to celebrate the upcoming Ethiopian Christmas at the site.

Speaking to AFP, residents of the town say the TPLF rebels were tough on residents but treated the holy site well during their months’ stay.

The Ethiopian government accuses the TPLF rebels of destroying hospitals and basic infrastructures in areas they occupy.


Source: Voice of America