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Ethiopia needs to decentralise administration and implement development programmes in remote areas as well. Thirteen times the size of Austria, the country is assisted by the Austrian Development Cooperation in this, which in turn helps to advance democracy.
Agriculture makes up the backbone of the country at the Horn of Africa, with about three-quarters of the labour force engaged in this sector. This is why one of the two priorities of Austrian Development Cooperation in Ethiopia is rural development and food security, with geographical programme concentration on the North Gondar Zone (Amhara Region). By improving cropping methods, imparting know-how in livestock breeding or running dairy projects, assistance aims at raising agricultural output and securing income. This enables Ethiopian farming families to build reserves and earn money so that they can survive periods of drought or crop failures without having to go without food.
The decentralization of public administration is a fundamental concern of the national development policy of the country. These include in particular the provision of basic services at the local level such as health care, education, agriculture, water and sanitation. Transparency and the improvement of public finance administration are equally important in this context. Considerable attention will be paid to ensure citizens' equal access to services and their participation in planning and decision–making processes. The goal is to optimize the quality of services and strengthen accountability at the local level. Moreover, the promotion of basic services allows regular dialogue with the responsible line ministries on key development issues (macroeconomics, finance administration, budget) and contributes significantly to the attainment of the goals of the national development plan.
Ethiopia has been a priority country of Austrian Development Cooperation since 1993. A foreign office has been in operation since 1996 in the capital Addis Ababa.