Ethiopia is the second most-populous country in sub-Saharan Africa, with a population of 96.5 million in 2014. It is also one of the world’s poorest countries. Since 2004, however, it has experienced strong and broad-based economic growth, making it one of the fastest-growing economies in Africa. This has brought with it positive trends. Poverty has been reduced, in both urban and rural areas, from 39 per cent in 2005 to below 30 per cent in 2015.
There has been significant progress in the past 20 years. Primary school enrolment has quadrupled, child mortality has been cut in half, and the number of people with access to clean water has more than doubled. Gender parity in primary education has also improved.
The main challenge now is to continue and accelerate the progress made in recent years. To this end, Ethiopia has integrated the SDGs into national development policies, strategies and sectoral programmes through the current Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP 2), which commenced in 2015. The GTP aims to expand the coverage of infrastructure and social services and emphasises improvement in the quality of services. The Government is already devoting a very high share of its budget to pro-poor programmes and investments. To continue these improvements, Ethiopia will need continued investment and improved policies.