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Ethiopian households bear the brunt of rising inflation



Addis Ababa

– Some residents of the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, are experiencing financial difficulties due to rising prices of basic goods, especially food.

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They said in recent interviews that rising inflation is making life very difficult.

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“I have come to the situation where I cannot provide enough food for my family,” said Temechew Aklilu, a resident of Addis Ababa, adding that food prices are rising rapidly in the market.

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Aklilu said the purchasing power of his limited monthly income has turned out to be too weak to cope with the daily rise in commodity prices.

“The price of teff (a staple grain in Ethiopia) has risen from about 40 birr to 60 birr (about US$1.13) per kilogram, while the price of five liter cooking oil has risen from 400 birr to more than 1,000 birr,” he said. she said.

Samuel Gebremariam, a father of three, said that with a monthly salary of 7,000 birr, the rising cost of living has become unbearable.

“I am afraid of the current cost of living. The prices of renting a house, transportation, food and non-food items are increasing, which makes things get out of control,” he said.

Adem Feto, a researcher at the Ethiopian Economic Association, who has conducted research on the performance of the Ethiopian macroeconomy, also expressed concern.

Feto said the Ethiopian economy has been experiencing huge macroeconomic imbalances, including budget and trade deficits, as well as payment imbalances amid severe foreign exchange shortages.

“Inflation is one of the phenomena in Ethiopia in recent years,” Feto said, attributing the recent rise in inflation to the widening gap between production and consumption, the COVID-19 pandemic and the conflict in the northern part of the country. country.

According to figures from the Ethiopian Central Statistical Agency, as of October 2022, the year-on-year headline inflation rate in Ethiopia stood at 31.7%, after reaching 30.7% the previous month.

The recent United Nations World Food Program Ethiopia Market Watch report released last week also noted that household purchasing power continues to weaken.

Feto cited structural imbalance as the main cause of inflation in Ethiopia, where the agricultural sector, which is the mainstay of the economy, is characterized by using outdated technology and an ancient agricultural system, which does not produce enough food to sustain the economy and satisfy the food demand of the population.

The researcher linked rising inflation in the East African nation to declining foreign exchange reserves, which he said also contributed to the decline in the value of the Ethiopian birr.

“Ethiopia exports primary goods, mainly agricultural products, but imports finished goods such as machinery and oil, which has put the nation in a trade deficit, exacerbating the country’s foreign exchange shortage,” Feto said.

The Ethiopian government has been introducing a package of economic measures to curb the rising cost of living and stabilize the food market.

Gebremariam said the government’s effort to boost local wheat production is really encouraging. He also appreciated the school feeding program that the government is carrying out to ease the burden on low-income families. ■


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