The African Development Bank (AfDB) announced an “immediate” withdrawal of all international employees from Ethiopia following a physical assault on its staff by government security forces. The formal complaint lodged last month highlighted the seriousness of the diplomatic incident, with the bank expressing concern about the lack of resolution and the safety of its employees. Despite a high-level delegation’s visit to Addis Ababa on Nov. 22, the situation remained unresolved, prompting the withdrawal decision.
AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina stated that the Ethiopian government’s failure to share investigation details further contributed to the bank’s lack of confidence in its employees’ safety. Ethiopian officials have not responded to requests for comment.
The bank’s ongoing portfolio in Ethiopia, totaling $1.24 billion across 22 projects as of Sept. 30, remains unaffected, with the Addis Ababa office staying open. However, Adesina warned that the incident’s full resolution would impact the bank’s operations and future presence in Ethiopia.
Details about the assault are limited, but an internal memo revealed that two Addis Ababa-based staff members were unlawfully arrested, physically assaulted, and detained without charge on Oct. 31. The memo emphasized the violation of diplomatic immunities and rights under the bank’s Host Country Agreement with Ethiopia.