Ethiopia banks on 7.5% growth, Abiy tells parliament

By The Africa Report, with Reuters

Posted on Tuesday, 15 November 2022 11:55
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed arrives for the inauguration ceremony of the Meskel square, marking the last election rally he will hold in Addis Ababa
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed arrives for the inauguration ceremony of the Meskel square, marking the last election rally he will hold in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, June 13, 2021. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri

Ethiopia's economy is expected to grow by at least 7.5% in the year to July 2023, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed told the country's parliament on Tuesday, lower than the 9.2% projection officials had previously forecast.

“Taking those challenges I previously mentioned, last year’s GDP growth was 6.4% and for this year, if we maintain the peace we have now, we expect to grow at least by 7.5%,” Abiy told lawmakers, referring to the challenges of the internal conflict and Covid-19.

Ethiopia’s state finance minister Eyob Tekalign Tolina told Reuters last month that the GDP forecast for the year to July 2023 was 9.2%.

The nation of 115 million has been one of the world’s fastest-growing economies in the past 15 years, boosted by heavy infrastructure investment, but the Covid-19 pandemic and the conflict in the Tigray region has slowed expansion in the past two years.

The Ethiopian federal government and forces from Tigray this month signed a ceasefire agreement to end fighting in the region after two years of brutal war.

“Humanitarian access permissions”

A statement from the African Union (AU) Commission says it “applauds the parties on these significant confidence-building measures and encourages them to continue towards the full implementation of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement, as part of overall efforts to end the conflict and restore peace, security and stability in Ethiopia”.

The spokesperson for the US State Department, Ned Price, has also commended the agreement. “We welcome the humanitarian access permissions that have already been restored as well as the firm commitments for humanitarian assistance to flow to the Tigray Region and the affected areas of the Afar and Amhara Regions to address the needs of the most vulnerable,” he says.

The AU’s mediator, former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, said Saturday’s agreement in Nairobi was signed “with immediate effect”. However, on Monday morning, a UN official told The Africa Report that aid trucks were yet to depart for Tigray, where millions need help after more than two years of restrictions on aid.

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