Ethiopia Strategy Support Program

At the request of the Government of Ethiopia, USAID and IFPRI, with support from the UK Department for International Development (DFID), the Canadian International  Development  Agency,  the  Netherlands, and Irish Aid launched the Ethiopia Strategy Support Program (ESSP), the first CSSP, in 2004. ESSP is a collaborative program between IFPRI and the Ethiopian Development Research Initiative (EDRI). The program provided  significant  technical  and  analytical  support that helped establish the Ethiopia Commodity Exchange (ECX) in 2008. By generating vital market information on important crops, the ECX created a more transparent commodity pricing system in Ethiopia.

Policy research conducted by ESSP contributed to important strategies and decisions made by the Government of Ethiopia and donors. Teaming up with Ethiopia’s Economic Policy Analysis Unit, ESSP presented evidence on the effects of particular types of agricultural investment on growth and reducing poverty, which contributed to the design of the country’s Growth and Transformation Plan (2015–2020)—the national development strategy. Another study in 2012, 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 even in unfavorable settings where  agricultural  productivity  is  low,  farmers  lack nonfarm  income  opportunities,  and  motorized  transport services are not readily available. The findings contributed to the United Kingdom’s decision to give the Government of Ethiopia an £80 million grant for its rural road program.

ESSP’s active engagement with Ethiopian institutions through targeted training, technical support, and research  collaboration  strengthened  the  capacity  of the Ethiopian Development Research Institute (EDRI),  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)  targets  and strategies.