Background

Ethiopia is one of the poorest countries in the world, with a per capita income (GDP) of only USD $ 220. This is low even by African standards, where the average is USD $ 450. The poverty of Ethiopia is aggravated by its huge, and growing, population of 84 million people. With an average of 6 children borne by each Ethiopian woman, the country has to feed, educate and accommodate 2 million new inhabitants each year, or an additional 2.7 percent to the population.

Ethiopia’s destitution is reflected in basic demographic data. It is the 169th out of 175 countries in the United Nations Development Programme’s Human Development Index. Life expectancy is 48 years. Infant mortality rates are nearly ten percent of live births (98 per thousand). 46 percent of eligible children enrol in primary schools, and 53 percent of the population is illiterate. The majority (80 %) of the population works in the agricultural sector, and contributes to 40 percent of the economy – three times the average of sub-Saharan Africa.  >>>

 

>>>Agricultural self sufficiency has been a priority for the Ethiopian government in its entire modern history, and is indeed the main priority goal for the current government. It is estimated that 80 percent of the urban population is living in sub-standard housing. Half of these are either living in shacks* or homeless. The abysmal living conditions may contribute to the continued low proportion (16 %) of Ethiopians living in urban areas.The majority of the urban population live in small settlements scattered around the country. A wide definition of urban settlements allows for a total of 925 cities. As a result, the majority of cities (80%) have no more than 10 000 inhabitants. There are only ten cities with more than a 100 000 inhabitants. A quarter of the urban population lives in the capital, Addis Ababa, which is 8 times larger than the second largest city of Dire Dawa.