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From Land of Famine to Land of Hope

Will Ethiopia Become a Model for an African Upswing? (2018)

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Ethiopia is one of the world’s least developed states. Yet for the past two decades, the country has made extraordinary progress. Targeted investment in health, education and employment has improved the standard of living and triggered a rapid decline in the fertility rate. If it succeeds in consolidating these achievements, Ethiopia could become one of the first sub-Saharan countries to benefit from a “demographic dividend” and demonstrate how development can work in Africa. Hopes are now pinned on the young prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, to introduce the necessary reforms and measures to break out of the vicious circle of poverty and rapid population growth. The study shows which factors have helped Ethiopia along its development path and which challenges it still needs to overcome in order to become a model country on the African continent.

The Berlin Institute would like to thank the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) for funding the project with funds from the Austrian Development Cooperation, as well as the DEG – Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft mbH and the GfK Verein for financial support.

Themes: Focus on Africa, International population policies, Demographic dividend
published: 21th September 2018
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Selected Figures

average annual growth rate of the GDP in Ethiopia
Since the mid-2000s, Ethiopia has been attracting attention above all through its continued high economic growth rates. For more than ten years, average annual GDP growth exceeded 10 percent. No other sub-Saharan country can report such success. But Ethiopia is also a heavyweight in Africa on account of its large population. With more than 100 million inhabitants, the country in the Horn of Africa is the second-most populous on the African continent.© Berlin-Institut
GDP per capita in Ethiopia
Targeted investment in health, education and employment has improved the living standards of many people in Ethiopia. This goes for their incomes as well. Although the average Ethiopian today still has less than half the disposable income of an average sub-Saharan African, incomes in Ethiopia have risen much more sharply than elsewhere. Since 1995, the average Ethiopian income has almost tripled, whereas the average income in sub-Saharan Africa as a whole has risen by a factor of only 1.5.© Berlin-Institut
Population Pyramid of Ethiopia
Ethiopia’s development progress has contributed to the fact that since the mid-1990s the fertility rate has declined more than in any other country south of the Sahara. The declining number of births probably means that Ethiopia’s population pyramid will assume a teardrop form in the future. This age structure – the so-called demographic bonus – could bring the country a demographically determined boost to development of the kind experienced by the Asian tiger states. Whether this happens will depend on whether employment can be provided for the growing number of young people of working age with an increasingly high level of education.© Berlin-Institut


Alisa Kaps

Head of Department of International Demography

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Alisa Kaps Ressortleiterin Internationale Demografie

© Berlin-Institut


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