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Ethiopia & poverty: Ethiopia Ranks the second poorest country in the world and Africa, Oxford University study reveals June 24, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Africa Rising, African Poor, Free development vs authoritarian model, Gambella, No to land grabs in Oromia, NO to the Evictions of Oromo Nationals from Finfinnee (Central Oromia), Omo, Omo Valley, Oromia, Poverty, The Colonizing Structure & The Development Problems of Oromia, The extents and dimensions of poverty in Ethiopia, The Tyranny of Ethiopia, Uncategorized, Youth Unemployment.
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Odaa Oromoo


Ethiopia & the extents of  its poverty

(OPHI) –The Global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI), published by Oxford University reveals that Ethiopia ranks the second poorest country in the world and Africa, just ahead of Niger. The study is based on analysis of acute poverty in 108 developing countries around the world. Despite making progress at reducing the percentage of destitute people, Ethiopia is still home to more than 76 million poor people (out of total population of 87 million). 87.3% of Ethiopians are classified as MPI poor, while 58.1% are considered destitute. Oxford University says poverty is not just about a lack of money. It’s also about not having enough food, education, healthcare and shelter, and some poor are much worse off than others.

A person is identified as multidimensionally poor (or ‘MPI poor’) if they are deprived in at least one third of the weighted MPI indicators. The destitute are deprived in at least one-third of the same weighted indicators, The Global MPI uses 10 indicators to measure poverty in three dimensions: education, health and living standards. 

In rural Ethiopia 96.3% are poor while in the urban area the percentage of poverty is 46.4%.

The 10 Poorest Countries in the World:

1. Niger
2. Ethiopia
3. Mali
4. Burkina Faso
5. Burundi
6. Somalia
7. Central African Republic
8. Liberia
9. Guinea
10. Sierra Leone


According to Dr. Sabina Alkire — director of the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative, the U.N. Millennium Development Goals – which set targets regarding poverty, hunger, malnutrition, health and other issues – expire at the end of next year. Thus,  MPI could help in the creation of a replacement for the MDGs that gives a complete picture of poverty. “We need a replacement that keeps our eyes really focused on human poverty and the pain and suffering that it entails, but also brings in the environment. And our suggestion is really simple. That along side the $1.25 a day measure – or some extreme income poverty measure – that we bring into view these people who are multidimensionally poor. And that we can do so with a measure of destitution and a measure of multidimensional poverty and maybe even a measure of vulnerability that would be more appropriate for middle and high income countries.”


OPHI Country Briefing 2014: Ethiopia
see Alkire, Conconi and Seth (2014), available at:




MPI Value 0.564
Percentage of Population:
MPI Poor 87.3%
MPI Poor and Destitute 58.1%
$1.25/day Poor 30.65%
Human Development Index (HDI) 0.396
Inequality (Gini Index) 0.336
Income level Low income
Gross National Income (GNI) per capita 380
Survey: DHS Year: 2011

A person is identified as multidimensionally poor (or ‘MPI poor’) if they are deprived in at least one third of the weighted indicators shown above; in other words, the cutoff for poverty (k) is 33.33%.
The proportion of the population that is multidimensionally poor is the incidence of poverty, or headcount ratio (H). The average proportion of indicators in which poor people are deprived is described as the intensity of their poverty (A). The MPI is calculated by multiplying the incidence of poverty by the average intensity of poverty across the poor (MPI = H x A); as a result, it reflects both the share of people in poverty and the degree to which they are deprived.
Percentage of Poor People (H)(k = 33.3%)
Average Intensity Across the Poor (A)
Inequality Among the MPI Poor

Vulnerable toPoverty(k = 20%-33.3%)
In SeverePoverty(k = 50%)

See more @ Oxford and Human Development Initiative (2014). “Ethiopia Country Briefing”, Multidimensional Poverty Index Data Bank. OPHI, University of Oxford. Available at /.

More reference to famine in Ethiopia:

In the last two or three decades, there has been a revolution in thinking about the
explanations of famines. The entitlement’s approach by Amartya Sen brought the issue
of food accessibility to the forefront of the academic debate on famine. Sen noted that,
often enough, there is enough food available in the country during famines but all
people do not have the means to access it. More specifically, famines are explained by
entitlement failures, which in turn can be understood in terms of endowments,
production possibilities, and exchange conditions among others (Sen, 1981).
Ethiopia is a good case in point where, for instance, food was moving out of Wollo
when the people in the region were affected by the 1972-3 famine (Sen, 1981), and even
today some regions in Ethiopia produce surplus, while people in other regions face
famine threats. There are of course infrastructural problems in the country to link the
surplus producing regions to the food-deficit ones. However, the question goes beyond
this simplistic level, as some people simply do not have enough entitlements to have a
share of the food available in the country, a situation which can be described as a case
of direct entitlement failures (Tully 2003: 60)7. Or else, peasants do not find the right
price for their surplus, as in the 2002 Bumper Harvest which ended up in an 80 per cent
price drop, which illustrated a failure in peasants’ exchange entitlements. Alternatively,
the most irrigated land of the country in the Awash River basin, for instance, is used
primarily for cash crop production to be exported to the western world (even when there
is drought) leading the vulnerability of various pastoralist groups to turn into famine or
underpinned by what is known as a crisis in endowments and production possibilities.
In short, while drought and population pressure can partly explain famine threats in
Ethiopia, the entitlements approach provides an explanation from an important but less
visible angle. By shifting the attention from absence of food to lack of financial access
to food, the approach points in the direction of policy failures. That only some classes in
society are affected by famine clearly indicates that policy failures are central to the
understanding of famine.



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