Weather radar systems to Ethiopia – first new type of public sector funding advances

Ministry for Foreign Affairs 15.10.2019 14.48
News item

Vaisala Corporation together with the National Meteorology Agency (NMA) of Ethiopia and the Meteorological Institute of Finland are launching a project to help prepare for extreme weather phenomena.

Vaisala and the Ethiopian National Meteorology Agency signing a contract. Vaisala and the Ethiopian National Meteorology Agency signed a conditional trade agreement at a Climate seminar in Addis Abeba on 15 October.

On 15 October, Vaisala Corporation, a Finnish manufacturer of measurement systems and instruments, and the Ethiopian National Meteorology Agency signed a conditional trade agreement with a value of EUR 13 million. The project aims to support Ethiopia in preparing for extreme weather phenomena and in adapting to the effects of climate change.

Vaisala will supply Ethiopia with three solar-powered weather radar systems, lightning detection system and a meteorological forecast production system. Training related to the systems will be provided by the Finnish Meteorological Institute. The project is planned to be funded through the Public Sector Investment Facility (PIF) for developing countries, which is administered by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

Much needed support for adaptation

 “We consider this an excellent project. It combines the kind of high technology products and know-how in which Finland genuinely represents state-of-the-art expertise and where Finnish companies have much to offer to other countries, such as Ethiopia,” says Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade Ville Skinnari.

The majority of global climate investments are currently directed at climate change mitigation. However, adaptation to climate change is important for many African countries, which are particularly vulnerable to extreme weather phenomena.

“Ethiopia faces extreme and hazardous weather events, such as droughts, floods, hail and heavy precipitation” says Jarkko Sairanen, Executive Vice President of the Weather and Environment Business Area at Vaisala. “These events are expected to increase in both frequency and intensity,” he continues.

Fetene Teshome, Director General from Ethiopia’s NMA is looking forward to the project. “This helps to reduce loss of life and damage to property from the increasing number of extreme weather events,” Teshome says. Teshome also expects that agriculture, water management and aviation will benefit from the project, because they are among the sectors that are hit by weather phenomena most severely.

First new form of funding via the Public Sector Investment Facility

This is the first PIF project that has advanced to the stage of an agreement. The Public Sector Investment Facility is a development cooperation instrument for supporting such public sector investments in developing countries that promote sustainable development and utilise Finnish expertise and technology.

PIF funding for the poorest countries, including Ethiopia, has a 50% grant element that covers the financing costs of the loan and a large part of the investment. The loan is significantly smaller than the price of the trade agreement and it carries a zero interest rate for Ethiopia.

PIF funding will replace concessional credits that were previously used in Finland's development cooperation. In connection with the new instrument, particular attention is paid to the assessment of development impacts.

The trade agreement and loan agreement are conditional until the financing decision is signed.