News / Africa

Hunger Costs Ethiopian Economy Billions Of Dollars

A mother quenches her child's thirst while waiting for food handouts at a health center in drought-stricken remote Somali region of Eastern Ethiopia, also known as the Ogaden, July 9, 2011.
A mother quenches her child's thirst while waiting for food handouts at a health center in drought-stricken remote Somali region of Eastern Ethiopia, also known as the Ogaden, July 9, 2011.
Lisa Schlein
Hunger costs Ethiopia billions of dollars in yearly economic losses, according to a new study.  Led by the African Union Commission, the UN World Food Program (WFP) and Ethiopian government agencies, it says reducing undernutrition will save lives and boost Ethiopia's struggling economy. 

The study shows Ethiopia lost an estimated $4.7 billion in 2009 because of child undernutrition. This is equivalent to 16.5 percent of the country's Gross Domestic Product.  

Currently, the report finds more than two out of every five children in Ethiopia are stunted and more than 80 percent of all cases of child under-nutrition go untreated.  It says malnutrition in Ethiopia causes more than 20 percent of child deaths.  It says these deaths have reduced Ethiopia's workforce by eight percent.

Undernutrition is a huge drain on the country's economy, said WFP spokeswman Elizabeth Byrs.

"The study estimates that Ethiopia could reduce losses by $12.5 billion by 2025 if it reduces underweight rates to five percent and stunting to 10 percent," Byrs said.

Stunted children in primary education have a higher-grade repetition rate than non-stunted children, according to the report. In addition, it says stunted children in Ethiopia also are more likely to drop out of school.

Byrs noted stunting does not end with childhood, but remains a life-long problem with long-term consequences for both the individual and the society.  The report says nearly 70 percent of adults in Ethiopia have suffered from stunting as children, which means more than 26 million people of working age have not been able to achieve their potential.

For example, adults who suffered from stunting as children are less likely to do heavy manual jobs because they tend to have lower body mass, resulting in a loss of income. The study said these adults have a high rate of absenteeism from their jobs.

The ramifications of undernutrition are so serious that the Ethiopian government recently launched a half-billion dollar National Nutrition Program to tackle this issue, said Byrs.

"The program of the government, in tight cooperation with WFP, will provide supplementary feeding and nutrition vitamins to young children since the pregnancy until the age of five to be sure during the first 1,000 days those children get sufficient nutriments and vitamins to avoid stunting," she said.

The program, which is due to last two-and-one half years, will also increase school feeding schemes.  Byrs added support programs for pregnant and lactating women will be developed in health centers and hospitals.

You May Like

Missouri Town Braces for Possible Racial Unrest

Situation in Ferguson hinges on whether white police officer will be indicted for August shooting death of unarmed black teen; decision could come Monday More

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of 1930s Deadly Famine

President Poroshenko compares Soviet-era ‘genocide’ to current tactics of pro-Russia rebels in Ukraine's east More

S. Philippines Convictions Elusive 5 Years After Election-related Killings

Officials vowed to deliver justice as the nation marked the anniversary of the country's worst political massacre that left 58 dead, more than half media More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: seyoum777 from: ethiopia
June 26, 2013 8:00 AM
Undeniably Ethiopia's economy is growing. The growth is felt across the wide spectrum of the economy. We may dispute the rate of growth, but Ethiopia is indeed growing. This might be a sad story to the die-hard opposition members who live in the diaspora, but Ethiopia is conspicuously growing. Come to Addis and see for yourself.

In Response

by: mesfin from: us
June 26, 2013 2:03 PM
giving Example like India not solution for Ethiopia people ..we have to find ETH.solution ..as I know India has billion population I have never seen problem as Ethiopia. god only knows the numbers pf people that hiding by Ethio govt not seen by western donors. The solution will be 1. avoid one family leaders in the administration..2..give freedom for journalist to report every govt project 3. give opportinuty to oppostion group.4 . avoid corruption on taxes( some family group not paying fair tax like other people...this some must Hailemariam Desalegn do for for Ethiopian people other wise it will be nightmare/

In Response

by: Mesfin from: USA
June 26, 2013 1:23 PM
Infrastructure only not sign of development ..most of building built by a few corrupted political group ..Ethiopia economy is based on agriculture more than 85% is living in rural area still suffering by fertilizer debt . Ethiopia getting more than 4 billion dollar a year from the west still our problem is growing ...so I advice that donors must be investigate where their money spent . Don't tell me ETV report..


by: Ken Girtz from: Cyber Space
June 25, 2013 5:17 PM
Maybe Egypt will realise what its demands for Nile waters cause upstream and start with the man in the mirror.

In Response

by: Alem
June 26, 2013 9:28 AM
The fact that poverty is deepening has little to do with opposition groups. It is that in 2009 the ruling party put out new laws to stifle activities of civil societies, turned to one-party system, jailed journalists and shut down independent papers, blocked Facebook and searched emails and telephone conversations at will. Now you don't expect poverty to go away where transparency does not exist. You also need to remember the growth/development we talk about is largely dependent on foreign aid, is jobless and racked with corruption.

There has not been any accounting of billions because party-owned businesses operate without proper auditing. Over $16 billions have been smuggled out of the country in the past 10 years [according to Office of Global Financial Integrity] and Obama Admin is simply looking the other way. The late-Prime Minister Meles, his wife and comrades own bank accounts and real estate abroad, etc. The question no one is asking is why the US continues to fund a corrupt regime and why any one is surprised at the scale of poverty in Ethiopia when we know ruling party members steal aid money and/or refuse to allocate resources to communities that refuse to vote for it.

In Response

by: Akbarr from: US
June 26, 2013 3:41 AM
@ Mesfin Asfha... The problem with poverty specially in deep rooted poverty like Ethiopia, 10% growth for the last 10 years will not pull out everyone out of poverty. Look at India, It has the 4th largest economy and grows faster than any other countries, but 1/3 of the population is still in extreme poverty. The next thing is population growth and natural resources are not compatible in Ethiopia.

In Response

by: MESFIN ASSEFA from: USA
June 25, 2013 8:14 PM
Goverment telling us Ethiopia economy growing double digit for the last 10 years but this economy growth mystery for 90% percent of peoples..as we know economy growing for some political groups...so world donors have to investigate where their money spent....voa thank you for reporting this ..our farmers suffering by lack of fertilizers and fertilizer debt.,the only Ethiopia country farmers hung them selves for not paying for debt.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid