• Embassy of Ethiopia

Poverty in Ethiopia has dropped by 33 percent since 2000

The World Bank Group, in its latest Poverty Assessment, says poverty levels in Ethiopia have fallen from 44% in 2000 to 33% in 2011. This is the result of the strides made in the agriculture sector and investments made in basic services as well as the furtherance of an effective safety net policy. The report noted that this poverty reduction in people’s living conditions was accompanied by “high and consistent economic growth.” It underlined that agriculture was at the heart of the success in reducing poverty in the country, applauding the policies and strategies employed by the Government. These had enabled Ethiopia to witness steady reduction in poverty levels of 4% percent a year since 2005. The report said “high food prices and good weather ensured that increased use of fertilizer was translated into higher incomes for poor farmers with access to markets.” It also added that the investments made in basic services and in the effective rural safety net had paid off in supporting the least well-off in Ethiopia, pointing out that “the Productive Safety Net Program alone has helped 1.5 million people extricate themselves out of poverty.” Guang Zhe Chen, World Bank Group Country Director for Ethiopia, noted that “although Ethiopia started from a low base, its investment in pro-poor sectors and agriculture has paid-off and led to tremendous achievements in economic growth and poverty reduction, which in turn have helped improve the economic prospects of its citizens.” The report noted that Ethiopia’s steps in annual poverty reduction had been “impressive,” including the overall improvement of social services, including health, education, and living standards “with undernourishment down from 75 percent to 35 percent since 1990 and infant and child mortality rates falling considerably since 2000.” The report also dubbed Ethiopia as “one of the most equal countries in the world, and has remained so during this period of economic development and poverty reduction.” It noted that the country had challenges, with “37 million Ethiopians remain either poor or vulnerable to falling into poverty in the wake of a shock.” Ana Revenga, Senior Director for Poverty at the World Bank Group, said that “Ethiopia is often unfairly seen as emblematic of poverty and deprivation—but the progress it has seen over the past decade should help change that,” adding that “if this progress continues over the next decade, Ethiopia can propel itself and most importantly, its people into a new era of prosperity.” The report also noted that “while Ethiopia should continue focusing on agricultural growth and investments in basic services, the potential of migration and non-agricultural growth has been largely missed.” It stressed the need to enhance the involvement and growth of firms and households to “overcome constraints to urban migration could also further help Ethiopia to reduce poverty and promote prosperity for all of is people.”