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Yemane Gebreab: "Eritrea would welcome help"

Yemane Gebreab (left) and Peter Schwidtal (right). Photo: Ulrich Coppel

The following is Ulrich Coppel's interview with Yemane Ghebreab during a visit to Asmara:


By Peter Schidtal

Are there any success for the people of Eritrea, which result from policy decisions and laws adopted?

Gebreab: Despite the difficult external environment, with the Eritrea faced in the past 15 years, the country has made ​​a number of significant achievements. It is peaceful, stable and secure in a region that suffers from radicalization, terrorism, violent conflicts and fragmentation. The Eritrean society is diverse and yet united; nine ethnic groups as well as Christians and Muslims live in harmony here. In the past decade, Eritrea has consistently invested in agriculture and particularly in the preservation and protection of soil and water. Result of these efforts is a growing food production that puts Eritrea in the situation, hunger and a dependence on food aid to avoid. Another cornerstone of the Eritrean development strategy is the expansion of human resources. Educational opportunities have increased, also for girls, and the inhabitants of Eritrea have access to free education from kindergarten to university. After years of difficulties, the Eritrean economy is growing and has a good chance on the young generation to offer employment and business opportunities.

Would Eritrea accept Western aid – or does it remain against it? 

Gebreab: Eritrea welcomes partnerships for mutual benefit with all, including western countries as well as with multilateral institutions such as the Department for Development Cooperation of the United Nations. Our development partners confirm like them, more with each euro, which they make available than in any other country. You will see the beneficial effect of their cooperation on the inhabitants of Eritrea, as well as on the economy. There are currently a very successful cooperation with the EU, the focus concentrates on renewable, clean energy, agriculture and economic control.

Can you imagine the beginning of a new dialogue with Germany, and what could be the basis for this?

Gebreab: Germany is the political and economic power of Central Europe, and of course Eritrea is keen to enter into a comprehensive dialogue with Berlin. We build on successful partnership experiences. In addition, there is a significant Eritrean society in Germany, as well as relations between our two countries. Eritrea's strategic location on the southern part of the Red Sea, which is very critical for the international seafaring, and its constructive regional role is yet another dimension of the dialogue and partnership. Eritrea would welcome a contribution from Germany in all areas of the construction of the country.

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