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

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

Ali Regained Title in Historic Fight 40 Years Ago

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license 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.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid