ADDIS ABABA, Feb. 22 (Xinhua) -- A 30-million-euro program was launched in Ethiopia on Wednesday to address protection and development challenges facing refugees and host communities in the Horn of Africa nation.
Ethiopia is a major refugee-hosting country in Africa, sheltering many who fled conflicts in neighboring South Sudan and Somali.
The program dubbed Regional Development and Protection Programme (RDPP) is part of the wider RDPP in the Horn of Africa, which is led by the Netherlands in cooperation with the EU Delegation to Ethiopia.
Speaking during the launch in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, Chantal Hebberecht, Head of EU Delegation to Ethiopia, hailed Ethiopia's open-door policy towards refugees.
She noted that the program supports basic services delivery in water, energy, and education, livelihood activities and job creation, legal aid and capacity building of local authorities.
"The strategic approach of RDPP Ethiopia is to promote integrated solutions, which will benefit both refugees and host communities to ensure a more coordinated and sustainable use of funding and also to create greater self-reliance, stimulate socio-economic development and reduce tensions between refugees and host communities related for instance to scarcity of resources," said Hebberecht.
Also speaking on the occasion, Zeynu Jemal, Ethiopian Deputy Director of the Administration for Refugee and Returnee Affairs (ARRA), noted that the number of refugees in need of protection and assistance has increased sharply in the last few years.
Limited livelihood opportunities for the refugees and their host communities together with the lack of quality basic and essential social service provision are now resulting in their limited potential for self-reliance and their dependence on humanitarian assistance, he said.
Ethiopia hosts the second-largest refugee population in Africa -- almost 800,000 refugees from neighboring countries, according to the EU.