United Nations Industrial Development Organization, UNIDO; Italian coffee roasting company, illycaffè; and the Ernesto Illy Foundation are to develop the value chain of Ethiopian coffee, making the production more inclusive and sustainable and benefitting both farmers and consumers.
The new public-private partnership, according to a statement by UNIDO was noted in a memorandum of understanding, MoU signed in Milan yesterday during the Coffee Cluster of the Milan EXPO 2015.
It said the event was attended by Andrea Illy, Chairman and CEO of illycaffè; Anna Illy, Vice President of the Ernesto Illy Foundation; and Philippe Scholtès, UNIDO’s Managing Director.
Others listed include, Mebrathu Meles, State Minister of the Ethiopian Ministry of Industry, and Luca Zelioli, Head of the Multilateral Development Cooperation Office, DGCS at the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
The statement explained that the public-private partnership will help introduce new technologies that will improve the quality and production capacity of small Ethiopian coffee growers and increase their income, advancing sustainable production, processing and international marketing.
It added that these activities will be supported under UNIDO’s project, “Improving the sustainability and inclusiveness of the Ethiopian coffee value chain through private and public partnership”, funded by the Italian Development Cooperation.
Philippe Scholtès said, “UNIDO’s partnership approach is part of the organization’s focus on promoting inclusive and sustainable industrial development,” said.
“This project will support thousands of small Ethiopian coffee growers and their families on their path to prosperity”, the UNIDO chief further stated.
He added, “The new public-private partnership seamlessly integrates into the Programme for Country Partnership for Ethiopia, which was recently developed by UNIDO to bring together investors and specialists in support of the country’s progress towards becoming a middle-income country by the year 2025”.
The statement informed that Ethiopia is considered as the birthplace of coffee. Currently, over 20 million Ethiopians depend on its production and sales.
It stressed that the project will also help introduce effective cluster and sustainable supplier development models, including the “Illy responsible supply chain process certification”.

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