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Ethiopia’s success in achieving some of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) needs to be explored, as the country’s policies and multidimensional approaches to poverty eradication are noteworthy. According to multiple studies, including one by Development Progress, a research project funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Ethiopia has shown effectiveness in moving forward on its goals.
Ethiopia has been hailed as one of the most successful developing countries that meet the MDG targets on education, poverty reduction and child mortality by a considerable degree.
According to the report, the efficiency of the country’s agricultural development strategy has been proven during the 2005 to 2011 period, when the sector was the chief factor for a seven percent decline of poverty.
In addition, the government gave due attention to infrastructure development with increased road coverage enabling farmers to take their produce to markets on time. Access to market was one of the most significant challenges faced by producers. The country allocated over 15 percent of its GDP to agriculture, which is a significant portion when compared with the rest of the African continent which allocates an average of just 2.7 percent.
The country’s Productive Safety Net Program (PSNP), which is the largest social protection program in Africa, was introduced in 2005 as a response to the inefficient use of aid food, used to resolve periodic crises resulting in food shortages. The PSNP was hailed as a success in curbing food deficits in the country’s poorest areas.
Although the progress in Ethiopia has been impressive, the study suggests that it has not been completely transformative and the country needs to pay attention to this reality in the coming years.
Low quality of education is among the main challenges the country needs to address. Despite the significant decrease in unemployment rate over the last decade, the quality of jobs remains a concern, the study suggested.
“Unemployment in urban areas and low-quality employment in rural areas are limiting the extent to which this progress has contributed to material wellbeing for the poor. These patterns are related to limited structural change in the economy due to low levels of manufacturing growth along with inefficiencies and limited competition,” the study reads.
Among the lessons learned from Ethiopia’s experience, the study underlines a few important issues: economic development plans need to be implemented consistently ; priority must be given to public investment in pro-poor sectors; long-term planning with a clear division of responsibilities, and continuous debate can build foundations for broader transformation; and coordination between sector policies and different levels of government are required to address multidimensional challenges.