Browsing: Ethiopia

Ethiopia's economy

Undoubtedly, the return to peace after two years has restored hope Ethiopia’s economy can regain its growth momentum. According to officials, a permanent return to peace will help unlock more than $4bn in frozen funding. The funds will ease a crippling shortage of foreign exchange that plagued the economy even before the war began. Agriculture, the primary sector driving Ethiopia’s economy, should provide the much-needed boost to economic recovery.

To have only 3 of the eligible countries in Africa signing up for the initiative is tragic especially given the global economic environment of the world presently. A crippling sovereign crisis is looming on the African horizon. Catalysts of the crisis include a strong United States dollar which has been resurgent during the year.

Debt on the on the books of most African countries is denominated in the greenback and its strength will have an adverse impact on their public finances and their ability to service their loan obligations timeously.

This problem is further compounded by rising interest rates which are certain to make the cost of debt that much more expensive for countries that already cannot afford to be overextended financially.

The debt of most African countries is in the hands of private creditors who in recent time have become as important as their multilateral counterparts. These private creditors are less likely to be concessionary in terms of discussions around restructuring of debts.

Dr. Tiberio Chiari, former Manager of the Agricultural Value Chains Programme in Oromia- Ethiopia, within the Ethio-Italian Development Cooperation Framework, offers some of these efforts that the government has implemented in the Ethiopian wheat value chain that other African countries can learn from.

Launch and execution of suitable growth policies

The government keeps working harder to ensure the country’s current dependence on wheat importation (of about 1.7 million tonnes) is fully nullified. After years of field experimentation, in 2021, the Ethiopian government launched its new plan.

The objective of the plan is to cut down the import of wheat by producing during the cold season in pastoral dry areas currently available in the Awash, Omo and Shebelle river basins. The approach includes the cultivation of 400,000 hectares of land and the deployment of a large-scale commercial farming model to achieve a productivity of 4.4 tonnes/ha.

The Entebbe airport stands to transform Uganda’s movement over time as it advances to become an oil economy alongside Tanzania.

South Africa, one of the wealthiest countries, has the largest road network, 750,000kms, while Tanzania, East Africa’s competitive economy, has more than 86,000km of roads.

In the current economic scenario, where uncertainty brought by economic shocks from the pandemic and political tensions force nations to expand their horizon of influence, the past years have shown why African infrastructures must be robust and conducive to enhancing value creation.

Whoever moves fast and swiftly dominates the economic conversation. South Africa, Kenya, Namibia and Nigeria are among the top African nations with more robust economies.

Ethiopia is the biggest Wheat producer in Africa, producing about 5.1 million tonnes in the 2020/2021 financial year. Russia’s restriction on the importation of Wheat has created a business gap in the African market and all over the globe.

Russia and Ukraine account for more than 70 per cent of Egypt’s imported wheat demand. In 2019, wheat imports from Russia to Egypt were worth US$2.55 billion, and Nigeria’s imports amounted to US$394 million. Other countries that import Russian Wheat include Sudan, Senegal, Tunisia and Morocco. Ethiopia will hold talks with Egypt and Sudan in March 2022 over the Nile waters’ use. Both countries are importers of Wheat, and production in Ethiopia could fulfil the demand from these two countries without exerting pressure on their production.

UNCTAD World Investment Report 2021 specifically states that “Greenfield investments in industry and new infrastructure investment projects in developing countries were hit especially hard.”

These financial flows of investment dollars have deep-rooted implications for Africa in the sense that they are vital for sustainable development in less developed and poorer countries.

The decline in investment flows was disproportionately skewed towards developed countries where FDI fell by 58 per cent according to UNCTAD. Investment flows in developing economies fell by a moderate 8 per cent mainly because of resilient flows in Asia.