U.S. Ambassador to International Organizations in Vienna Joseph E. Macmanus visited the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia from February 11 – 14, 2014, on a regional trip to highlight U.S. government support for the peaceful uses of nuclear technology. Amb. Macmanus is also the U.S. Representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna. In addition to its much-publicized role in nuclear security and nonproliferation, one of the key roles of the IAEA is to provide technical assistance to Member States in the peaceful use of nuclear technology for the purpose of addressing their individual and regional development and energy goals.
Over 25% of the IAEA’s annual budget for peaceful nuclear assistance and technical cooperation comes from the United States; additionally, in 2010 the United States announced a five-year, $100 million effort to expand this support, providing the IAEA with additional flexibility and resources for high priority Member State projects. The United States pledged $50 million towards this effort, known as the IAEA Peaceful Uses Initiative (PUI), and has already committed over $31 million to IAEA projects that benefit more than 120 states. U.S. PUI funds support projects in human health, water resource management, food security, and nuclear power infrastructure development. An additional 16 Member States have also pledged over $12 million to this initiative.
In Addis Ababa, Amb. Macmanus met with officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Science and Technology, and the Ethiopian Radiation Protection Authority to discuss U.S. support for IAEA Technical Cooperation and Peaceful Uses Initiative projects in Ethiopia. He toured the Black Lion Hospital Radiological and Nuclear Medicine units, where Dr. Mathiwos Assefa demonstrated how training and equipment provided through these IAEA programs have increased Ethiopia’s cancer fighting capability. Dr. Seifu Kebede provided a tour of the National Isotope Hydrology Laboratory at Addis Ababa University to demonstrate how equipment provided by the IAEA is being used to map Ethiopia’s groundwater resources and conduct isotopic analysis of water samples. “The application of isotopic techniques at the National Isotope Hydrology Laboratory is already yielding immediate and practical results that affect individuals, villages, economies, and transportation,” noted Amb. Macmanus.
In Kaliti, Amb. Macmanus toured the Southern Tsetse Eradication Project (STEP), which has been working with the support of IAEA Technical Cooperation to eradicate Tsetse flies and combat the transmission of Trypanosomiasis in southern Ethiopia. Dr. Thomas Asfaw, Director General of the STEP project, explained how this is accomplished by sterilizing the male flies using radiation. STEP’s goal is to eradicate Tsetse flies in a larger area of the country in order to make land available for agriculture and livestock production. “The industrial scale of the STEP project is very impressive and demonstrates the many dimensions involved in addressing the Tsetse fly issue at a country level,” said Amb. Macmanus.