Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Reassessing Priorities to Expand Engagement in Ethiopia

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Senior Program Officer Tess Russo said the foundation is at an “exciting moment where we’re reassessing what the priorities for delivery of innovations within Ethiopia will be.”

In an exclusive interview with ENA, the senior program officer said the foundation will this year re-establish what Ethiopia-specific goals are for the entire team to work on.

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has been working closely with the Ministry of Agriculture and Agricultural Transformation Agency and several other partners.

According to Russo, the foundation will be making some decisions this year; and “of course, those are coming from the priorities of the government.”

It is not possible to know exactly what the budget is for any given year, the senior program officer said, adding that once the new priorities are set there will be a new budget along with that.

“In terms of priority for Ethiopia, we’re actually at the exciting moment where we’re reassessing what the priorities for delivery of innovations within Ethiopia will be; and the process for that will be engagement and stakeholder conversations with the Ethiopian government,” Russo elaborated.

She further pointed out that the foundation’s agriculture team has been working across a whole spectrum of activities from upstream research development for crops and livestock down to reaching the farmers and pastoralists with digital services and advisory.

The senior program officer added that there are some locations within Ethiopia in the highlands where climate change is going to decrease productivity because of the slight temperature increases, whereas in other parts of the country, the increase in temperature is causing major challenges and problems.

There may be opportunities where the foundation can help identify and where productivity will increase as climate changes for the next 10 or 15 years, Russo explained, adding that this is something that the foundation is working on in terms of climate management, looking at weather risks and opportunities.

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