“We have really been doing well for quite some time. The economy has been growing significantly [by] double digits. We managed to reduce poverty by 50 percent,” Sufian Ahmed, Ethiopia’s minister of finance and economic development, stressed in an interview with Devex late last year.
The single-largest recipient of official development assistance in sub-Saharan Africa, Ethiopia has managed to achieve and sustain these development gains in no small part due to the billions in aid money that flows to the country each year. In 2012, ODA to Ethiopia accounted for 7.6 percent of the country’s gross national income, slightly below Senegal and Uganda. Despite its development strides, Ethiopia still has one of the worst health and poverty indicators in the world.
The August 2012 death of Ethiopia’s longtime strongman Meles Zenawi, who was regarded as a dependable partner by Western governments, prompted speculation that the donor community might re-evaluate the size and scope of their assistance to the East African country.