News / Africa

Inflation, Drought Deal Ethiopia a Double Blow

Ethiopians line up at a government-operated stand in Addis Ababa to purchase cooking oil and sugar, April 13, 2011
Ethiopians line up at a government-operated stand in Addis Ababa to purchase cooking oil and sugar, April 13, 2011

Ethiopia has been dealt a double setback with word that inflation is rising rapidly at a time when drought is threatening crops and adding to the numbers of people needing food aid.

Ethiopia’s Central Statistical Agency Friday announced the consumer price index was 25 percent higher in March than a year ago. That follows a 16.5 percent increase in February.

The agency’s monthly report said the rolling 12-month average inflation rate had jumped to 11.3 percent in March. The food inflation rate stood at 5.8 percent. Deputy Director Ysin Mosa said the March figures were the highest since October, 2009.

The rise in food prices comes despite ceilings set by the government on several essential commodities in January, as protests over price increases triggered unrest in North Africa. Ethiopia’s price ceilings led to shortages in the market, prompting the government to bypass the market and take over the sale of cooking oil and sugar.

Economists say Ethiopia’s overall inflation rate is expected to jump again in April, reflecting a 14 percent hike in gasoline prices a few days ago.

On another front, the country’s disaster relief agency this week revised its estimate of the number of Ethiopians in need of food assistance. Earlier this year the agency asked international donors for help in feeding 2.8 million people suffering from malnutrition.

In a telephone interview, Agency director Tadesse Bekele said the figure has been revised upward to 3.2 million in light of the severe drought gripping the southern and southeastern parts of the country.

"We have prepared a national response plan for the southern and southeastern part of the country to enable our partners to intervene on the requirements we have set," Bekele said. "So basically this will by and large be [nutrition], on animal feeding, and child health as well, so we want partners to intervene in these area."

A World Food Program (WFP) report issued Friday tells of a "rapid increase in the magnitude" of water shortages threatening livestock in pastoralist areas of southern Ethiopia. The report says there is a high danger of conflict between pastoralists over scarce grazing land.

WFP spokeswoman in Addis Ababa, Susannah Nicol,  says shipments of water and cattle feed have not been enough to prevent the deaths of the animals that are at the heart of the region’s economy.

"Shortages of water and pasture in particular have become critical in most areas," she said. "Of course the knock on effect of that will be that people’s livelihood are affected and indeed their ability to feed themselves."

Ethiopia’s troubles come as the World Bank is releasing figures showing a 36 percent rise in global food prices over the past year. Bank President Robert Zoellick this week warned "we are at a tipping point."

The United States, according to U.N. figures, is the largest single donor of food aid worldwide. The latest World Food Program report indicates U.S. food assistance to Ethiopia in the first three months of this year totaled more than $58 million.

You May Like

Video Obama Announces Plan to Send 3,000 Troops to Liberia in Ebola Fight

At US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Obama details troop deployment and other pieces of US plan More

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

Muslims in Kunming say that they condemn the violence, it is not a reflection of the true beliefs of their faith More

Humanitarian Aid, Equipment Blocked in Cameroon

Move is seen as a developing supply crisis in West Africa More

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.
Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Communityi
X
September 16, 2014 2:06 PM
Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid