Ethiopia, France Sign 260 Mil Birr Grant Agreement To Preserve & Restore Lalibela Churches

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Addis Ababa, October 21,2022 The Ministry of Finance and the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) have signed a 260 million Birr grant agreement to conduct the preparatory phase of a program of Preservation and restoration of the churches of Lalibela, and of development of the city around its heritage jewel.

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In a press release sent to ENA, France Embassy in Addis Ababa said  France, through AFD, commits to preparing a new program of preservation, restoration and development of Lalibela.

The UNESCO World Heritage Committee has requested the Ethiopian government to deliver additional studies and a comprehensive strategy to preserve and restore the site of the 11 churches of Lalibela.

To support the Ethiopian government and the Ethiopian Cultural Heritage Authority (ECHA) in this endeavor, AFD is granting this additional support to the previous studies conducted in Lalibela from 2019 amounting 109 million Birr, it added.

The Embassy further said  it will moreover support the development of ECHA’s capacity and will enable the study of a complementary local development program for the city of Lalibela.

This support complements the financing of the immersive exhibition “Lalibela: Carving Faith”, currently presented in Entoto Fine Arts Center until the end of December, and of the “Sustainable Lalibela” project, implemented by the French Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), jointly with the Church of Lalibela and ECHA, the statement read out.  

Lalibela site preservation, restoration and enhancement was a commitment that the French President Macron took in March 2019 when he visited the site with Prime Minister Abiy, the press release said, adding, “AFD demonstrates today its strong support to Ethiopian authorities and Lalibela communities to preserve and promote their unique heritage in Lalibela.

Through this multiple support, we are not only trying to support the design of a long lasting solution for the preservation of this exceptional historical and cultural heritage.

 ”We also aim at contributing to the development of all actors’ capacities, in particular the Ethiopian Heritage authorities, and to the identification of further support to Lalibela communities and city to strengthen their economic and social development.”

According to the press release,  the France has a strong experience in using heritage as a lever for attractiveness and economic development and this multilayer cooperation can help Ethiopia to benefit from it”, said Valérie Tehio, AFD country director in Ethiopia.

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