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

Myanmar Fighting Poses Dilemma for China

To gain some insight into conflict, VOA’s Steve Herman spoke with Min Zaw Oo, director of ceasefire negotiation and implementation at Myanmar Peace Center More

Australia Concerned Over Islamic State 'Brides'

Canberra believes there are between 30 and 40 Australian women who have taken part in terror attacks or are supporting the Islamic State terror network More

Recreational Marijuana Use Now Legal in Washington, DC

Law allows adults 21 and over to privately possess and smoke 0.05 kilogram of pot, and to grow small amounts of the plant 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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More