Ethiopian Strategy Support Program: Country-led, country-driven development

The overall goal of IFPRI’s Country Strategy Support Program (CSSP) is to promote greater progress toward sustainable and pro-poor growth in developing countries by improving the design and implementation of development strategies. One of these successful efforts is the Ethiopia Strategy Support Program (ESSP), launched in 2004 with support from DFID and other donors. ESSP promotes sustainable development and poverty reduction in Ethiopia through policy-oriented research, capacity building, strengthening of institutions, and an open dialogue on economic and agricultural policy issues.

IFPRI’s research and technical support for agricultural commodity markets led to the 2008 launch of the Ethiopia Commodity Exchange, which now generates market information for farmers and contributes to increased transparency of certain commodity prices such as coffee, sesame seeds, and wheat. Policy research conducted by ESSP also contributed to important decisions and strategies of the Government of Ethiopia and donors, such as the design of the country’s national development strategy, the Growth and Transformation Plan (2015–2020). A 2012 study, Economic Benefits and Returns to Rural Feeder Roads: Evidence from a Quasi-Experimental Setting in Ethiopia, suggested that investments in rural feeder roads are a cost-effective means of addressing poverty. The findings contributed to the United Kingdom’s decision to give the Government of Ethiopia an £80 million (US$104 million) grant for its rural road program.

ESSP’s active engagements with Ethiopian institutions—through targeted training, technical support, and research collaborations—strengthened the capacity of the Ethiopian Development Research Institute, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, the Central Statistical Authority, and the Ethiopian Institute for Agricultural Research, according to an independent impact assessment. ESSP also successfully trained more than 1,200 national researchers in modeling and mapping techniques, which have informed Ethiopia’s Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) goals.