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

China’s Influence Grows With New Infrastructure Bank

Multibillion-dollar China-backed and BRICS-supported Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank seen as possible challenger to such lenders as IMF, World Bank More

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

Rabbi Michel Serfaty makes the rounds in his friendship bus to encourage dialogue and break down barriers between the two groups More

Post-deal Iran Leaders Need 'Economic Momentum' to Solidify Power Base

Economists say deal could inject more than $100 billion into coffers - not enough to entirely rescue ailing economy - but maybe adequate to create 'economic momentum' 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.
US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impacti
X
Michael Bowman
June 28, 2015 10:05 PM
Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impact

Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
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 S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
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 Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Syrian Refugees Return to Tal Abyad

Syrian refugees in Turkey confirm they left their hometown of Tal Abyad because of intense fighting and coalition airstrikes, not because Kurdish fighters were engaged in ethnic cleansing, as some Turkish officials charged. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer, in Tal Abyad, finds that civilians coming back to the town agree, as we hear in this report narrated by Roger Wilkison.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. 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.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Chemical-Sniffing Technology Fights Australia's Graffiti Vandals

Cities and towns all over the world spend huge amounts of resources battling graffiti writers who deface buildings, public transport vehicles and even monuments. Authorities in Sydney, Australia, hope a new chemical-sniffing technology finally will stop vandals from scribbling on walls in the passenger areas of commuter trains. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Cambodia Struggling to Curb Child Labor

Earlier this year a United Nations report found 10 percent of Cambodian children aged 7-14 are working – one of the highest rates in the region – and said one in four children in that age bracket are forced to quit school to help their families. Although the child labor rate has dropped over the past decade, Cambodia has a lot more to do – including keeping more children in school. Robert Carmichael reports for VOA from Phnom Penh.

VOA Blogs