THE world’s leading analysts –including the likes of the World Bank Group (WBG), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the relevant Agencies of the United Nations Organization (UN) –published glowing reports on Ethiopia’s economic ‘progress’ a year or so ago.
Almost all of them ‘saw’ a new Ethiopia emerging from troubled times!
For example, Senior Writer of ‘Formative Content,’ Alex Gray, wrote on May 4, 2018 as follows: “Ethiopia had an image problem. For decades, mere mention of the country conjured up images of famine and conflict. But, a new Ethiopia is emerging from troubled times –and the latest International Monetary Fund forecast says Ethiopia will be the fastest-growing economy in sub-Saharan Africa in 2018...”
For its part, the IMF predicted in its ‘World Economic Outlook’ that Ethiopia’s Gross Domestic Product(GDP) would grow by a relatively phenomenal 8.5 per cent in 2018 –“far outstripping that of advanced economies.”
By comparison, the IMF said, growth of the United States’ GDP was projected to reach 2.9 per cent in 2018, while that of Europe was put at 2.4 per cent... and 1.2 per cent for Japan’s GDP.
Put in a wider context, “the global GDP growth was expected to tick up to 3.9 per cent this year (2018) and the next (2019).” [See ‘IMF forecasts predict Ethiopia’s GDP will grow 8.5 percent in 2018’ by Alex Gray. Formative Content: May 4, 2018].
A quick look at Ethiopia’s Economy in 2016: GDP at the official exchange rate was US$79.74bn; GDP per capita: US$2,000; real GDP growth rate: 8 per cent; Gross National Saving: 32 per cent of GDP; Labour Force: 52.82million; Population below World Poverty Line: 29.6 per cent; Public Debt: 54.5 per cent of GDP (External Debt: US$24.82billion); Inflation Rate: 7.3 per cent; Export Earnings: US$2.814billion; Imports: US$16.03billion; Forex Reserves and Gold: US$3.022billion; Exchange Rate: 21.732 Ethiopian birr per one United States dollar... [CIA World Fact Book].
According to a February 28, 2018 update by the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) –a multitalented, multipurpose ‘intelligence’ maestro of the ‘Land of the Free and Home of the Brave’ –“for more than a decade before 2016, Ethiopia’s GDP grew at a rate between 8 and 11 per cent annually–one of the fastest-growing economies among the 188 IMF member-countries.”
As if that weren’t enough of a laudable development, “Ethiopia has the lowest level of income inequality in Africa –and one of the lowest in the world, with a Gini coefficient comparable to that of the Scandinavian countries.
[The Gini coefficient is a statistical measure of the degree of variation represented in a set of values, used especially in analysing income inequality].
“Yet – despite progress toward eliminating extreme poverty – Ethiopia remains one of the poorest countries in the world, largely due both to rapid population growth and a low starting base!”
With an annual population growth rate averaging 2.5 per cent, Ethiopia’s population rocketed from 99.87millionsouls in 2015 to 108.964million on January 19, 2019– and is still on the up, up and up trajectory...[<HYPERLINK “http://www.worldometers.info/world-population/ethiopia”www.worldometers.info/world-population/ethiopia>]. Sheesh!
It’s no wonder, then, that Ethiopians have been fleeing their motherland in search of greener pastures elsewhere, including ‘Mandelaland,’ South Africa.
Indeed, if evidence of this unholy exodus were required, then just google for the following recent headlines on Ethiopians ‘intercepted’ in Tanzania on their way to God knows where...!
‘Tanzania: Coast Police arrest six Ethiopians, Somalis for illegal entry ...;’ – June 17, 2018. [Google for<HYPERLINK “https://allafrica.com/stories/201806180085.html”https://allafrica.com/stories/201806180085.html>].
‘Tanzania: Immigration Dept. arrests 25 illegal immigrants from Ethiopia;’ Aug. 18, 2018. [<HYPERLINK “https://allafrica.com/stories/201808200701.html”https://allafrica.com/stories/201808200701.html>].
‘8 Ethiopians arrested in Tanzania over illegal stay.’[Xinhua. Sep 21, 2017].
‘Tanzania arrests 45 illegal Ethiopian migrants’ hiding in maize farm [Xinhua.July 1, 2017].
‘Police arrest 83 Ethiopian illegal immigrants’ in Mbeya Region... [The Citizen, January 18, 2016].
‘Tanzania: 80 Ethiopian migrants arrested’ on the border with Malawi. [<Africanews.com>; January 18, 2016; [<www.bbc.com/news>].
55 immigrants from Ethiopia arrested in Tanzania.’ April 29, 2014. [<HYPERLINK “https://ecadforum.com”https://ecadforum.com>].
21 illegal immigrants of #Ethiopian origin arrested in Tanzania’... Daily News-Tanzania. March 13, 2014.[<HYPERLINK “http://www.facebook.com/SodereEthiopia/”www.facebook.com/SodereEthiopia/>].
Oh, there is much of that not-so-juicy stuff on the Internet.
This, then, raises the 64-thousand US-dollar question...
If Ethiopia is doing so well in economic growth and socio-economic development terms: why are its citizens risking life, limb, patriotism and freedom to furtively traverse strange countries half-starved and weakened –including Tanzania, where they are arrested and imprisoned/or repatriated?
Clearly, they’re in search of succor outside their God-given mother-country that is otherwise so lauded by ‘Economists!’
It has been suggested elsewhere that the Ethiopians are fleeing an unfriendly Administration in search of political freedom and human rights in South Africa... Really...? What kibosh; tell it to the proverbial birds!