Government of Canada

Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada


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International development projects in Ethiopia

International development projects in Ethiopia

CIDA disbursements in Ethiopia: 2011-2012

CIDA disbursements in Ethiopia
Amount in $M
Long-term development assistance
Total 180.40
Children at the Adaa-Liben drop off site. © ACDI-CIDA/Patti Gower


The second most populous country in sub-Saharan Africa at 85 million people, Ethiopia is one of the world's poorest nations. Some 29.6 percent of the population lives on less than US$1.25/day. On the United Nations Development Programme's 2012 human development index, Ethiopia ranks 173 out of 187 countries. Human development indicators are low, with exceptionally alarming statistics regarding food security and women's status and well-being. Despite having emerged as the most stable country in the Horn of Africa, Ethiopia still faces several long-standing internal and external security challenges.

Since 2000, Ethiopia has experienced unprecedented economic growth. However, steep inflation since 2010 has hit the poor the hardest. Even though corrective measures have been put into place, the country could see an economic slow-down.

In spite of these enormous challenges, Ethiopia has made major development strides, since the 1984-1985 famine when it was the focus of world attention. Programs such as the Productive Safety Net Program, launched by the Government of Ethiopia in 2005 with donor support, are addressing food insecurity and other Ethiopian priority development challenges. Poverty rates have fallen, and the country is considered on track to achieving six of the eight Millennium Development Goals.

This progress has been founded on high economic growth, a series of good harvests, and country-led investments to increase food security and expand the coverage of basic services such as health and education services. These gains remain fragile, as the country continues to be highly vulnerable to shocks, especially climate-related events such as drought.

Ethiopia's continued investment in national programs that aim to maintain household food supplies and build productive capacity is necessary in order to protect the fragile gains of the past decade and increase food security for people.

Thematic Focus

In 2009, as part of Canada's new aid effectiveness agenda, Ethiopia was selected by Canada as a country of focus. Canada is the third largest bilateral donor in Ethiopia. Canada's programs in Ethiopia support the vision set out in Ethiopia's Growth and Transformation Plan. Ethiopia's budget allocation for the benefit of the poor is the highest in Africa, and numerous human development indicators have shown systematic improvements over the past five years.

Ethiopia's priority needs as set out in its national development plan include:

  • Sustaining faster and equitable economic growth.
  • Maintaining agriculture as a major source of economic growth.
  • Creating favourable conditions for industry to play a key role in the economy.
  • Enhancing the expansion and quality of infrastructure development.
  • Enhancing the expansion and quality of social development.
  • Building capacity and deepening good governance.
  • Promoting women and youth empowerment and equitable distribution of benefits.

Children and youth, including maternal, newborn and child health

Canada is committed to protecting and improving the lives of Ethiopia's children and youth-who are among that country's most vulnerable citizens-by ensuring that children and youth living in rural areas are reached by high impact health interventions.

Key anticipated results

  • Reduced maternal mortality from 720 individuals per 100,000 live births in 2008.
  • Reduced under-five mortality from 88 individuals per 1,000 live births in 2010.

Food security

Canada is committed to supporting Ethiopia's efforts to achieve food security as a prerequisite to its sustainable development. Canada continues to help address the root causes of chronic food insecurity in Ethiopia and to protect the vulnerable through productive safety net programs and by increasing agricultural productivity and farmers' incomes by means of improved production techniques and market-oriented approaches.

Key anticipated results

  • Helped farmers participate in the development of demand-driven research.
  • Helped households (including those headed by females and by youths) adopt innovative farming or marketing practices.
  • Built soil and water conservation structures.
  • Improved the nutritional status of children and of pregnant and lactating women.

Progress on Aid Effectiveness

Ethiopia's strong ownership of development priorities and planning, combined with its impressive commitment of national resources to antipoverty programs, make it a country where official development assistance produces results. Donors have responded with growing and increasingly harmonized aid commitments, resulting in lower transaction costs and greater impact.

The main challenge for aid effectiveness at present is the difficult environment for civil society. Donors continue to work together to facilitate dialogue between civil society and all levels of government.

Achievements 2011-2012

Children and youth

  • Contributed to 7.1 million children receiving essential vitamins and minerals.
  • Increased, by 55 percent, the detection of tuberculosis and successfully treated 85 percent of all cases reported in 314 remote rural villages in 12 districts of North Wollo Zone.
  • Trained more than 20,000 front-line health workers to treat childhood diseases from 2007 to 2012.
  • Contributed to an increase in the proportion of children vaccinated against diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough) and tetanus to 88 percent, and against measles to 86 percent.
  • Helped increase the proportion of births attended by health extension workers by 5 percent (to 34 percent).
  • Distributed anti-malarial bed nets to households in malaria-prone areas, maintaining a rate of 100 percent coverage.

Food security

  • Supported the Productive Safety Net Program, a cash-for-work program that helped feed 7.6 million people while at the same time addressing underlying causes of food insecurity through activities such as the construction of soil conservation structures and tree planting. This program, supported by Canada and other donors, is credited with preventing the 2011 drought in eastern Africa from becoming a crisis in Ethiopia on the scale seen in neighbouring countries.
  • Trained 3,274 health workers who contributed to improving the health and nutritional status of pregnant and breastfeeding women and of 1.5 million under-five children.

Achievements 2010-2011

Children and youth

  • Helped raise the vaccination rate to fight against diphtheria, whooping cough, and tetanus to 86 percent of all children in 2010, up from 82 percent in 2009 and 73 percent in 2008.
  • Helped raise the vaccination rate to fight against measles to 82 percent of all children, up from 79 percent in 2009.
  • Helped increase the number of births attended by health extension workers to 25 percent, up from 16 percent in 2008.
  • Contributed to procuring and distributing anti-malarial bednets to more than 750,000 households helping to decrease deaths from malaria by more than 55 percent.

Food security

  • Helped provide more than 7.8 million chronically food-insecure people in 305 districts with food or cash transfers to protect household assets when faced with food shortfalls.
  • Helped reduce the number of months a household is unable to meet food needs from 3.6 months in 2008 to 2.3 months in 2010.
  • Rehabilitated more than 90,000 hectares of degraded land, dug more than 34,000 ponds for irrigation and livestock water supply, and built more than 4,000 km of rural roads, improving farmers' access to markets and input supplies.

Achievements 2009-2010

Children and youth

  • Helped raise the vaccination rate against diptheria, whooping cough and tetanus to 82 percent of all children, up from 73 percent in 2008.
  • Helped raise the vaccination rate against measles to 77 percent of all children, up from 65 percent in 2008.
  • Helped increase the number of births attended by health extension workers to 25 percent, up from 16 percent in 2008.
  • Helped decrease malaria deaths in Ethiopia by more than 55 percent since earlier this decade.

Food security

  • Helped decrease the number of people vulnerable to food insecurity by 2 percent, with child malnutrition rates dropping 1.5 percent per year.
  • Helped train 6,213 farmers in integrated crop management, organic farming, and marketing.
  • Helped 455 farmers adopt environmental conservation measures, resulting in the protection of nearly 75 percent of their farmland from soil erosion.
  • Helped improve access to safe drinking water for 43,200 people.

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