World Bank report praises poverty reduction in Ethiopia

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A New World Bank Report recognizes Ethiopia’s success in reducing poverty in the country. According to the latest Poverty Assessment report released on Tuesday January 20, in 2000 Ethiopia had one of the highest poverty rates in the world, with 56 percent of the population living below the poverty line and it now has managed to cut down that number to 31 percent.
The report identified agriculture as the main driver for the reduction of poverty in Ethiopia. This particular sector has been responsible for reducing poverty by 4 percent every year since 2005 and this shows that the agricultural growth strategy implemented by the government has paid off.
With the fact paced economic growth and poverty reduction, health, education and living standards have also improved. Undernourishment has decreased from 75 percent to 35 percent since the 1990’s and infant mortality has also decreased considerably.
With all the positive developments, there is always some room for challenges and the report finds that 37 million Ethiopians remain either poor or vulnerable to falling into poverty in an unexpected crisis. Adding to that, the report also states that despite the significant social economical development, the poorest in the country have become even poorer.
The report further states that, although high food prices have improved the income of poor farmers, it makes it very difficult for the poor to buy food. As the majority of the population in Ethiopia lives in the rural area and works in agriculture,enabling mobility across sectors and locations needs to be one of the main areas of focus going forward to continue the country’s movement toward ending poverty. As urban centers grow, policies to address poverty in these areas will become increasingly important, it says.
According to Ana Revenga, Senior Director for Poverty at the World Bank Group, if the progress that is being seen in Ethiopia continues over the next decade, the country can propel itself and its people into a new era of prosperity.