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Fighting poverty amidst impressive economic growth

The Government of Ethiopia has identified a real need for assessing the country’s prospects for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015.  In collaboration with the United Nations Country Team (UNCT), the government has conducted the MDG Needs Assessment and produced a Synthesis Report based on the detailed sectoral review in 2004-2005.  The report consolidates the findings into an overall investment plan aiming at reaching the MDGs based on the needs and bottom-up approach.

Ethiopia has formulated its Five-Year MDGs-based Medium-Term Development Plan entitled A Plan for Accelerated and Sustained Development to End Poverty (PASDEP), which was approved by the House of People’s Representatives in May 2006 following a wide range of consultations by various stakeholders.  The 2005-2009 PASDEP is a continuation of Ethiopia’s First Generation Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper entitled Sustainable Development and Poverty Reduction Program (SDPRP) that covered the period 2002-2004.  The PASDEP has benefited from the MDGs Needs Assessment prepared with support from UNCT, The World Bank and The Millennium Project. The government noted that the MDGs are well integrated in its development plans, programs, and strategies, and the SDPRP and PASDEP are considered vehicles towards reaching the MDGs.

As indicated in many official reports, the country registered an impressive annual growth rate of about 11 percent per annum for the past four years ending in 2006-2007.  This marks a significant progress, not only compared to the 7 percent annual growth target required to meet the MDGs, but also to realize Ethiopia’s objective to become a middle-income country in the next two decades.

Though progresses towards PASDEP and MDG targets to date are encouraging, a lot remains to be done by the government and development partners to accelerate progress towards the MDGs. According to the most recent Human Development Report 2007-2008, the country stands at 169 out of 177 in rank.  In spite of tremendous efforts and impressive achievements in social sectors, around 26 million people out of a total of over 75 million lived below the poverty line by the end of 2006-2007.

A number of challenges and issues in the implementation of PASDEP and achieving the MDGs have been discussed in the recently issued Annual Progress Reports (2005/06 and 2006/07).  Low level of per capita aid, unpredictability of aid, still low level of productivity of agriculture, vulnerability to both external and domestic shocks, pressure on the Balance of Payments due to the recent oil price increase, inflationary pressure largely driven by food inflation, and weak implementation capacity at Woreda level are some of the major outstanding challenges.  Standing in the middle of MDGs timeframe and looking back at the trends, all concerned actors should immediately and concurrently act now for the realization of the MDGs in Ethiopia. The government, donors, civil society and citizens need not spare any effort to jointly mobilize resources and work together to end poverty and meet the MDGs. 

Last updated 19 August 2008

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GDP growth
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Human Development Index
(Rank 1 - 177):
Life expectancy at birth
Population below PPP $1 per day
Net enrolment ratio in primary education
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Carbon dioxide emissions per capita
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Unemployment, total
(% of total labor force):

NOTE: The MDG data presented here is the latest available from the United Nations Statistics Division. The World Bank has recently released new poverty estimates, which reflect improvements in internationally comparable price data. The new data estimates set a new poverty line of US$1.25 a day and offer a much more accurate picture of the cost of living in developing countries. They are based on the results of the 2005 International Comparison Program (ICP), released in first half of 2008. Country-specific poverty estimates will be released by the World Bank in late 2008