POVERTY IN ETHIOPIA
Poverty in Ethiopia cannot be separated from the effects of climate change in the country. Ethiopia has the second largest poor population in Africa and it is the second poorest country in the world according to the New UNDP Human Development Multidimensional Poverty Index. More than 12 million people are chronically or at least periodically food insecure.
Poverty in Ethiopia is mainly felt in the rural areas. Poor people in rural areas face an acute lack of basic, social and economic infrastructure such as health and educational facilities, veterinary services and access to safe drinking water.
The households that are headed by women are particularly vulnerable to poverty in Ethiopia since women are less likely to receive education or health benefits, or to have a voice in decisions affecting their lives compared. For them, poverty means high numbers of infant deaths, undernourished families and lack of education for children to name a few.
Due to extreme poverty and hunger, some children of school going age are out of school and most are forced into child labor, child trafficking and most recently, child prostitution. Some children in Ethiopia are forced into petty trading especially along the major streets of big cities such as Addis Ababa (the capital of Ethiopia with a population of about 5 million people), Dire Dawa, Adama or Nazret, Gondar, Dese or Dessie, Mek’ele, Jimma and Bahir Dar.
Despite the sporadic changes in climate in Ethiopia, more than eight out of ten Ethiopians depend on agriculture as their main livelihood. Like its neighboring countries, it also suffers a great deal from natural challenges such as drought and unpredicted flooding. Agricultural production is extremely vulnerable both to climatic conditions and to the disruptive impact of war and civil conflict. The increased incidence and severity of drought has caused major fluctuations in agricultural and economic growth. Recurring droughts leave poor farming families without food crops, causing periodic famines and poverty in ethiopia.
People lack coping mechanisms for facing drought-induced famines as contingency planning is inadequate. The situation worsened recently because of the sharp increases in the prices of food and fertilizers on world markets. This made it more difficult for poor households in Ethiopia, as elsewhere, to secure adequate food supplies. Large numbers of poor households face a prolonged hunger season during the pre-harvest period.
The other rural poor in Ethiopia include women and men who depend on herding for a livelihood. These are also vulnerable to increasingly recurring droughts which wipe out their livestock and assets. There is a strong correlation between lack of livestock and poverty as livestock is the most important sign of wealth and status especially among households headed by women. In order to survive, most rural households resort to seasonal or permanent migration to urban areas in search of wage employment.
Statistics – Poverty in Ethiopia
- Only 22% of the population in Ethiopia has access to improved water for drinking (source: UNICEF)
- According to the New Multidimensional poverty Index, about 90% of the Ethiopian population are living below poverty line with about 62% deprived of adequate schooling.
- Poor governance and political instability in Ethiopia also drives investors away. The war with Eritrea a neighboring country (1998-2000 with the loss of about 80000 lives) for example crippled the entire Ethiopian economy and drove many investors away.
- With 80% of Ethiopians dependent on agriculture as their main livelihood, severe arid conditions due to persistent lack of rainfall coupled with civil disputes have worsened Ethiopian poverty. (Source:MAP.XL)
- 5.75% of poor families share their sleeping quarters with livestock overnight; and 40% of children sleep on the floor.(BY.Dr. Akhilesh Chandra Prabhakar)
- If the landless, refugees, the displaced due to war, and demobilized soldiers in poverty are included, there are a total of about 27 million people out of a population of about 52 million (52 percent) living in chronic and transitory poverty in urban and rural areas in Ethiopia.(BY:Dr. Akhilesh Chandra Prabhakar)
- Ethiopia is ranked at 210th out of the total of 210 countries in GNP per capita terms. Measured by per capita GDP, Human Development Index, health status as well as other macroeconomic indicators show that the level of poverty is so intense. Its per capita income, although varies slightly from one source to another, is one of the lowest in the world-only about $100 per annum.(BY: Dr. Akhilesh Chandra Prabhakar)
- Between 70 and 85 per cent of households in each community is classified as ‘worst off’. ‘Worst-off’ households are those with a family of 10 or more, or with at least three small children. These households cannot feed, clothe or wash their children, nor send them all to school or treat them effectively when they are sick. They are households where the husband has died, or which have no reliable (male) employment and survive on intermittent daily labor (by men) or on the proceeds of women’s petty trading.(BY:Dr. Akhilesh Chandra Prabhakar)
- Only 45% of households consume the World Health Organization’s minimum standard of 2200 kilocalories of food per adult per day and 42% of the children under 5 years of age are underweight (BY Dr. Akhilesh Chandra Prabhakar)
- Less than 50 percent of the population is within 10 km of a health facility of any kind. The number of people per physician in Ethiopia is about 79,000 compared with 25,000 in low-income economies in Sub-Saharan Africa. (BY:Dr. Akhilesh Chandra Prabhakar)