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

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.
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.
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