Current issues and what the World Food Programme is doing
Ethiopia, with nearly a million km square, is almost synonymous with the Horn of Africa. By recent estimates, its population may have passed a hundred million.
The last two decades have seen the country register big development gains. A number of Millennium Development Goals were achieved ahead of target, with significant progress made on progress towards gender equality and reducing maternal mortality. Nine out of 10 Ethiopian children are enrolled in primary school; the country's five-year plan aims to foster sustainable, broad-based development. But a number of significant challenges remain as Ethiopia seeks to sustain this unprecedented progress. Food insecurity and undernutrition are a significant drag on economic growth. The Cost of Hunger in Ethiopia study, for example, indicates that annual cost of stunting is equivalent to 16.5% of GDP.
Current issues in Ethiopia
According to the 2016 Humanitarian Requirements Document, 10.2 million people in Ethiopia need emergency food assistance; many will require support until the next main harvest at the end of the year. WFP is tasked with supporting the Government in meeting the needs of 7.6 million people, and we urgently require more than US$400 million to assist them through December.
Ethiopia also hosts more than 650,000 refugees. This population has grown sharply in the last two years with the arrival of South Sudanese fleeing the conflict in their country. WFP is responding by offering food assistance in camps and at border points. Refugees from Somalia, Sudan and Eritrea are also receiving WFP monthly food assistance.
What the World Food Programme is doing in Ethiopia
At times of acute crisis, WFP supports the Ethiopian Government in saving lives. We also support programmes that use food assistance to empower women, transform areas affected by climate change and keep children in school. Our aim is to contribute to Ethiopia’s five-year development agenda, the Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP), through which the Government combats food insecurity. We consider gender and protection issues throughout work, ensuring that the needs of women, girls, men and boys are analysed and prioritized equitably.
• WFP is a major partner in Ethiopia’s Productive Safety Net Programme (PSNP) and assists 1.6 million rural dwellers in generating community assets. Launched in 2005, PSNP provides transfers of food or cash, or a combination of both, to help vulnerable people bridge lean seasons and to ensure they do not have to sell their assets to meet basic food needs. In exchange, they participate in public works such as natural resource management and the development of basic social infrastructures (rural feeder roads, schools or clinics).
• Through its School Meals programme, WFP plans to provide hot meals to more than 600,000 Ethiopian schoolchildren in 2016. This promotes increased enrolment and attendance, and reduces dropout rates in food-insecure areas. In the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Region (SNNPR) and Oromia, more than 65,000 children in 105 schools have received hot meals made from locally grown food. The food is purchased by the Regional Bureau of Education from nearby cooperative unions supported by WFP’s Purchase of Progress initiative (see below). We are also building the Government’s capacity to provide the meals itself, and plan to hand over this responsibility to a nationally-owned programme over the next five years.
• Purchase for Progress (P4P) aims to strengthen the management and marketing capacities of smallholder farmers. This year, WFP is purchasing 40,000 metric tons of maize from smallholder farmers via cooperative unions. WFP will use that food in various programmes, cutting the cost of importing food while boosting the local economy.
• WFP offers special nutritional supplements to about 2.2 million of the most vulnerable Ethiopians, including pregnant women, nursing mothers, children under five and people living with HIV/AIDS. WFP continues to expand the way it delivers assistance in Ethiopia, such as through cash- and voucher-based assistance for relief, refugee and HIV/AIDS operations.
• WFP's Vulnerability Analysis and Mapping (VAM) unit has developed early warning tools to strengthen Ethiopia's fight against food insecurity and assist the Government's shift towards proactive disaster risk management. We also serve the broader humanitarian community in Ethiopia, notably by building a new logistics hub in Djibouti and operating the UN Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS), used by many other agencies and organizations.
World Food Programme partners in Ethiopia
WFP cannot fight global hunger and poverty alone. These are our partners in Ethiopia:
• Action Contre la Faim
• Administration of Refugee and Returnee Affairs (ARRA)
• Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA)
• Central Statistical Agency
• Concern Worldwide
• Ethiopian Environmental Protection Authority
• HelpAge International
• HIV and AIDS Prevention and Control Offices (HAPCO)
• International Medical Corps
• International Rescue Committee
• Médecins sans Frontières
• Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources
• Ministry of Education
• Ministry of Health
• Ministry of Finance and Economic Cooperation
• Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs
• National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council
• Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC)
• Organization for Social Development (OSD)
• Plan International
• Save the Children
• Save the Environment Ethiopia
• World Vision International
Featured Ethiopia publications
A Country Brief provides the latest snapshot of the country strategy, operations, operational highlights (achievements and issues/challenges), partnerships and country background.
Looking for more publications on Ethiopia? Visit the Ethiopia publications archive.