War, conflicts cost USD 3.6 billion in recovery

Damage to health and education infrastructure in six regions of Ethiopia resulting from conflicts need a USD 3.6 billion recovery budget, according to a new Recovery and Rehabilitation Plan document released by the Ministries of Health and Education.

The ministries outlined an intervention plan for the five-year rehabilitation project that will be implemented in three phases. The recovery intervention plan is part of the “Response – Recovery – Resilience” project launched by the Ministry of Finance in March 2022.

The ministries assessed the damage that occurred in Tigray, Afar, Amhara, Benishangul-Gumuz, Oromia, and Konso zones of the Southern Nations Nationalities and People’s (SNNP) regions. The assessment and recovery plan were prepared by the government, with a technical assistance from the World Bank.

Education suffered the most harm. According to the recovery plan, the sector requires USD 2.2 billion to recoup lost learning and rebuild destroyed facilities.

The Ministry of Health’s plan proposed a USD 1.4 billion intervention.

As the assessment shows, the conflict destroyed 2,681 schools completely and another 4,158 schools partially in these regions. 38 Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) institutions and three universities have also sustained varying levels of damage. The number of destroyed TVETs and universities in the Tigray region is not included due to a lack of data.

This destruction of the education sector has affected more than 4.2 million learners and close to 200,000 teachers and education staff, the report reads.

The number of people affected by the damage to the health sector is estimated to be close to 24 million people. The people in conflict-affected area have been “adversely impacted.”

The assessment showed that 3,217 health posts, 709 health centers, and 76 hospitals were partially or completely damaged in the six conflict-affected regions.

Among the six regions that were affected, the Amhara region suffered the most damage to the sectors. Out of the 3,217 health facilities that sustained damage, 69 percent of them are found in the Amhara region. Furthermore, out of 248 ambulances that were damaged or looted, 50 percent were in the region.

The region’s 4,020 schools have also been destroyed, accounting for 58.7 percent of the total damage across all six areas.

However, given the region’s penetration of health institutions, the damage to health facilities in Tigray is substantially greater. 82.9 percent of the region’s hospitals have been damaged. The same fate has befallen Tigray’s 76 percent of health posts and 50 percent of health centers.

In the health sector, out of the overall estimated recovery cost, USD 1.4 billion, the largest share, USD 501.19 million, is for health centers. General and specialized hospitals follow at a cost of USD 342.54 million.

In the education sector, USD 1.36 billion is planned to recover damaged primary and secondary schools in the six regions.

The recovery and reconstruction program will be implemented for five years in three phases, according to the documents prepared by the ministries. The program’s early recovery phase needs will be met within the first six months. Short-term demands range from six to 24 months, whereas medium-term needs range from three to five years.

According to the ministry’s Stakeholder Engagement Plan document, the implementation of the program will be led by a Federal Project Coordination Unit (FPCU) in the Ministry of Finance. Various sectoral ministries and other mandated offices are responsible for the implementation of the program.

In the Tigray region, where the ministries have no access, the recovery project is planned to be implemented by a third party. The Ministry of Finance signed a third-party implementation agreement with the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) last month.

The World Bank granted USD 300 million in May for the implementation of this project. While the government, which has just begun its fiscal year, has allocated 20 billion birr.

By ethionegari@gmail.com

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