Bank President Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina stated in an internal memorandum that international staff will be pulled from Ethiopia with immediate effect and that the office will remain open but under an Officer-in Charge. He also stated that the measure would not affect nationally recruited staff.
“These decisions follow the recent breach of diplomatic protocol and assault by Ethiopian security forces on two of our international staff. Specifically, on 31st October 2023, two Addis Ababa based staff were unlawfully arrested, physically assaulted, and detained for hours, without charge or official explanation,” the internal memorandum states.
The president goes on to say that that was a gross violation of personal diplomatic immunities, rights and privileges under the Bank’s Host Country Agreement with Ethiopia.
“Upon learning of this egregious incident, I promptly contacted the Prime Minister and the President of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia following which two colleagues were released,” Adesina stated.
The Bank formally communicated with the Government of Ethiopia via a Note Verbale on 6th November requesting a full and transparent investigation into the incident. It is also stated that a high level delegation from the Bank, led by the senior Vice-President was sent on 22nd November to engage with senior Ethiopian authorities on the matter.
“The assessment from our delegation indicates that the situation is not yet resolved in any satisfactory manner, nor does it provide full confidence that all our employees feel safe and secure to carry out their duties and move around the country without fear of harassment,” Adesina stated.
The Bank hasn’t provided any details on how this decision will affect its operation in Ethiopia where it has eight projects worth a total of around USD 308 million.