Ethiopia chapter - African Economic Outlook 2016

23 May 2016

Report Summary

Ethiopia has experienced double-digit economic growth, averaging 10.8% since 2005, which has mainly been underpinned by public-sector-led development. Real gross domestic product (GDP) is estimated to have grown by 10.2% in fiscal year 2014/15. The agriculture, services and industry sectors accounted for 38.8%, 46.6% and 15.2% of real GDP, respectively. Public investments
are expected to continue driving growth in the short and medium term with huge investments in infrastructure and the development of industrial parks, prioritised to ease bottlenecks to structural transformation, which will still have to take shape with industry playing a significant role in the economy.

Fiscal policy has remained prudent, focused mainly on increasing spending on pro-poor and growth-enhancing sectors, and on boosting efforts in tax-revenue collection. The monetarypolicy stance has been geared to ensure a stable exchange rate and single-digit inflation targets. Despite this, inflation has tended to rise from single digits and reached 10.1% in December 2015.
Although Ethiopia has been pursuing a sound debt-management policy, debt-burden indicators signalled a rise in debt distress from low to moderate in 2015, as indicated by the World Bank/International Monetary Fund (IMF) debt-sustainability analysis. Moreover, poor performance and volatility in export earnings, and ever-increasing demand for imports have led to a deterioration
of the balance of trade deficit.

In 2015, Ethiopia faced one of the worst droughts in 30 years caused by the El Niño climate conditions, leading to failed harvests and shortages of livestock forage. Some 10.2 million persons have been affected by the drought and will need emergency food and non-food aid into 2016.

Ethiopia, the second most populated country in Africa after Nigeria, is also the least urbanised,with urbanisation at only 19%, significantly below the sub-Saharan average of 37%. The urban population has grown at an average 3.8% per annum since 2005 and is expected to triple from 15.2 million in 2012 to 42.3 million by 2037. This could pose a significant development challenge
if not addressed. Since 2004/05, the government has focused more on developing housing, upgrading slums, providing infrastructure and promoting small urban enterprises.