Skip to main content

Coffee and roses...

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Africa

Finally, I’m off and running… or perhaps crawling?

In August 2008 I moved to Addis Ababa with my wife and two small children to become Head of DFID Ethiopia. Many people think of Ethiopia as a dry and dusty country. Parts of it are. But here in Addis, the third highest capital city in the world, it’s actually lush and green. And the altitude – over 8,000 feet above sea level - means that it also gets pretty cold.

Prior to starting in Ethiopia, I ran the Secretary of State’s office in London for two and a half years. Before that I was based in India. All told, I’ve been with DFID since May 1997 when the department was created. In a little over 11 years I’ve done eight different jobs, culminating in my current challenge running DFID's largest programme in Africa.  More on that another time.

Coffee and roses?  You'll have to wait until my next post...

Sharing and comments

Share this page


  1. Comment by Alice Casey posted on

    Really looking forward to reading more-the blog is a great idea! I'd be interested to know particularly about how Ethiopia varies from city to countryside in terms of the access to healthcare and education - and the kinds of projects DFID supports there in rural compared with urban environments.

  2. Comment by Howard Taylor posted on


    The short answer to your question is that access to healthcare and education in Ethiopia does vary between urban and rural areas. This is an important disparity that DFID is helping the Government of Ethiopia to address.

    Two weeks ago I travelled to the South of Ethiopia to see the impressive impact that an innovative 'safety nets' programme is having. The headline is that the impact of the current food crisis in Ethiopia would be much worse if the safety nets propgramme hadn't provided just that - a safety net for families living in affected areas (see

    But more than that, the safety nets programme and other initiatives are laying the foundations for sustainable development, including schools and health centres.

    The Government here is committed to faster progress in areas such as health, education, gender, agriculture and food security, and to make sure that women, pastoralist communities, and those living in remote areas (this is a huge country, about five times the size of the UK) benefit from development.

    I'm planning to add something soon that captures in one place the latest facts and figures on development progress and challenges in Ethiopia, as well as an updated summary of what DFID does and what impact our work is having. In the meantime, if you follow the link at the end of this comment, you can see a summary of the sort of support that DFID provides in Ethiopia, including in health and education.