Ethiopian Officials Reject Allegations of Politicization in Food Aid Program

A family in Ethiopia receives food aid. A senior Ethiopian official has dismissed claims that members of opposition groups are excluded from a national initiative that provides cash and food aid for work. Photo by: Andrew Heavens / CC BY-NC-ND

A senior Ethiopian official has dismissed claims his government is excluding members of opposition groups from a national initiative that provides cash and food aid for work or directly to vulnerable families in the country.

The productive safety net program, or PSNP, benefits all Ethiopians regardless of political affiliations, Tadesse Bekele, the country’s deputy head of food security and early warning systems, said, according to the Guardian.

The Ethiopian government was criticized last year by an international human rights group, which claimed the government was denying members of the opposition access to the program, which provides food and cash in exchange for work or directly to those incapable of working. The government dismissed these allegations while some donors sought a probe to determine whether the claims held ground.

In a recent conversation with Ethiopian journalists, Bekele maintained that no one dictates who should receive aid through the program, the Guardian says. 

“I hear these stories, but I do not see this when I am on the ground. No one would say to someone you are from the opposition, you can’t get food. The community would not allow this to happen. There are places where there are people who support the opposition, but food is reaching them,” he said as quoted by the U.K.-based newspaper.

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About the author

  • Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.