ADDIS ABABA – France has granted 5 million euros to Ethiopia to support efforts to take Lalibela Churches’ preservation and restoration program off the ground.
The grant agreement was signed between the ministry of finance and the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) on Thursday.
The grant signing came after the UNESCO World Heritage Committee requested the Ethiopian government to deliver additional studies and a comprehensive strategy to preserve and restore the site of the 11 churches of Lalibela.
the french development agency the fund will help the Ethiopian Cultural Heritage Authority (ECHA) to conduct the preparatory phase of a program of Preservation and restoration of the churches of Lalibela, and around the heritage site.
“AFD demonstrates today its strong support to Ethiopian authorities and Lalibela communities to preserve and promote their unique heritage in Lalibela,” said Valérie Tehio, AFD country director in Ethiopia.
The grant will also support the development of ECHA’s capacity and will enable the study of a complementary local development program for the city of Lalibela, the agency added.
The grant complements the financing of the immersive “Lalibela: Carving Faith” exhibition, currently open for public visitation at the Entoto Fine Arts Center, and the “Sustainable Lalibela” joint project, implemented by the French Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), the Church of Lalibela and ECHA.
“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,” Tehio said. “We also aim at contributing to the development of all actors’ capacities,” particularly the ECHA, and the Lalibela city.
Lalibela site preservation, restoration, and enhancement was a commitment that French President Macron took in March 2019 when he visited the site with PM Abiy.
Featured Image Caption: One of the Rock-Hewn Churches in Lalibela in a file photo taken on 25/10/2005 [Photo © UNESCO]
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