News

Ethiopia Hails Poverty Reduction

A woman walks with her children to a transit center in the Dolo Ado refugee camp in southern Ethiopia, July 19, 2011.
A woman walks with her children to a transit center in the Dolo Ado refugee camp in southern Ethiopia, July 19, 2011.

Ethiopia, one of Africa's poorest countries, is heralding great strides in eradicating poverty. The number of Ethiopians living in poverty has dropped below one-third of the total, despite population growth and soaring inflation.

Finance Ministry officials told donor organizations Friday that about 25 million of Ethiopia's 80 million people live below the poverty line.  That figure represents a reduction of four million since 2004, even as the population has grown at a rate of more than two and a half percent a year.

Economists say the poverty line is based on a complex formula including food consumption. Ethiopia's poverty line is well below the internationally accepted rate of $1.25 a day.

Considering that the current rate of inflation is about 35 percent, Minister of State for Finance and Economic Development Abraham Tekeste called the decline in poverty a “remarkable achievement."

"The report has shown that poverty has declined overall in the country in spite of the global and national shocks that Ethiopia experienced in terms of increases in prices, drought in some pockets of the country despite all these shocks, [and] the financial and economic crisis in the world," Abraham said.

International economists attending the briefing called the figures encouraging.  But World Bank Country Director for Ethiopia Guang Chen expressed concern that inflation is undermining further progress.

"The trend is very positive, but at the same time, as the state minister says, still we're talking about 30 million people below the poverty line, and this is a very poor country, and when we're talking about rural poverty line, their poverty line is actually below the world accepted average. So there's still a lot of work to be done," Chen said.

The World Bank's lead economist on poverty reduction in Africa, Chorching Goh, cautioned that while Ethiopia's growth figures over the past decade are impressive, they start from a very low statistical base.  She said the Human Development Index that ranks countries by living standards still shows Ethiopia near the bottom.

"We have to commend efforts of the people and government.  However, HDI, in 2011, out of 187 countries, Ethiopia we are at 174, and ten years ago out of 163 countries were are 159, so in terms of our relative position, we haven't moved forward that much.  What does that say?  It just says other countries are progressing very rapidly, too,
Goh said.

Goh noted that Ethiopia is still in an early stage of development, with per capita income below $400 a year.

She and other economists are urging Ethiopian policy makers not to focus too much on closing the gap in income inequality.

Finance Ministry officials said Friday they had made progress in narrowing the inequality gap.  But Goh noted that the history of developed countries teaches temporary inequality is a necessary result of growth.  She urged Ethiopian officials to be patient when it comes to inequality, and impatient when it comes to the eradication of poverty.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs