The Prime Minister of Ireland Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is currently in Addis Ababa as part of efforts to strengthen the relationship between both nations. Varadkar is expected to be in the East African country until January 11.
The visit was announced by the Ireland embassy in Ethiopia. According to a statement released by the embassy, the visit of the Irish PM coincides with the anniversary of bilateral relations between Dublin and Addis Ababa. Both countries established ties in 1994.
“2019 marks 25 years of diplomatic relations between Ireland and Ethiopia and 25 years of Irish Aid’s work in Ethiopia. The official visit of Prime Minister Varadkar will highlight the depth and strength of the relationship between the two countries and the achievements of our partnership to date,” the statement said.
Varadkar is scheduled to meet with high-ranking Ethiopian officials including Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and President Sahle-Work Zewde. He is expected to commend and extend support to Abiy on the social and economic reforms that have been underway since his election. The Irish leader will also be meeting with some Irish NGOs operating in the African country.
Since 1994, Ireland has been running a development operation in Ethiopia. This program is reportedly the largest that Ireland is involved in overseas. Ireland is expected to increase its aid to Ethiopia in 2019. In 2018, the Irish government spent about £30 million as part of its development aid to Ethiopia.