Ethiopia’s economy is growing fast. Ethiopia is also among those countries that made the greatest progress toward achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Over the past two decades, there has been significant progress in key human development indicators: primary school enrollment has quadrupled, child mortality has halved and the number of people with access to clean water has more than doubled. However, Ethiopia still faces challenges in decreasing maternal mortality and gender inequality. Similarly, while access to education has increased, learning outcomes and the quality of education are not keeping pace with it, and there are regional and gender disparities in basic educational proficiency.
The current population stands at almost 100 million with a 2,5% growth rate. This means that 2,5 million young people join the labor force every year. Millions of jobs and other livelihood opportunities need to be created to cater for the growing youthful population. Ethiopia’s urban population is growing at a rate of 3,8% annually, and is expected to increase to 5%. The challenges for urban planning and service provision are enormous, while urban unemployment stands at 17%.
The country is increasingly affected by drought because of climate change. It is approximated that 8 million people still require food aid as a result of the prolonged drought of 2015-2016. At the same time, the risk of flooding has increased due to deforestation, erosion and changing rain patterns. The population now often finds it more difficult to recover after a period of stress. While the people who have been mostly affected live in the semi-arid areas, it is worth noting that the recent drought has also caused disastrous effects in highland areas.