Ethiopia: Double-digit Growth? Quadruple-digit Propaganda!

Behind Ethiopia’s “double-digit growth” crock of statistical horse manure lies nothing but triple-digit nonsense and quadruple-digit propaganda.

Behind Ethiopia's double-digit growth crock of statistical horse manure,
Behind the “double-digit” growth crock of statistical horse manure, Ethiopia is nothing but the third poorest country on the planet with 87% of its population are designated as poor, 71% living in severe poverty, and 58% destitute.


I took all of the photographs on this page in 2016 and 2017. They are a handful of hundreds of photographs I took there during my four years in Ethiopia as a professor.

Don’t get me wrong, though. Ethiopia is a beautiful country, with amazing natural beauty and historical and archaeological sites, and so many wonderful people. I will share my photos of some of these on a happier post.

But wherever people live, extensive areas of poverty are evident, especially in rural areas, where over 80% of Ethiopians live. Even in its capital city, Addis Ababa, poverty abounds, but much of it is hidden from sight by tall trees, and fancy hotels and malls, close to where the poor and homeless beg on the streets, hoping for donations from the few who can afford to frequent those hotels and malls.

You will see in the news, and officials of the oppressive Ethiopian government will smile convincingly when they tell you that Ethiopia is thriving with a “double-digit” economic growth.

Yet many experts and scholars will explain to you why this claim to double-digit growth is really triple-digit nonsense and quadruple-digit propaganda.

Below are some articles worth reading such as the one written by Professor Alemayehu Mariam, a human rights lawyer and professor at the University of California at San Bernadino, whose knowledge, scholarly opinions and analyses can be relied upon.

Truth is the best friend of Freedom

“The poorest regions are in Chad, Burkino Faso, Niger, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Nigeria, Uganda and Afghanistan.”

The above quote is taken from Global Multidimensional Poverty Index 2017, a report of the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI).

In fact, of 103 developing countries studied, Ethiopia ranks 101 out of 103 countries. It is the third poorest nation on Earth. Only two countries are poorer, by MPI score, than Ethiopia.

The global MPI is an index based on three “dimensions” of poverty: health, education and living standards, and on ten indications within these, including child mortality, access to nutrition, sanitation, quality drinking water, electricity, and more. You see, poverty isn’t simply about money. Some governments- including the Ethiopian government- will use indicators such as GDP per capita, but poverty is much more complex than that.

Poverty is about the quality of people’s lives, and how they struggle to survive on a daily basis.

The Global MPI score is a scholarly index that takes these factors into account. And Ethiopia is doing very poorly. The MPI data for Ethiopia indicate that: 87 % of Ethiopians are MPI-poor, 71 % of Ethiopians live in severe poverty, and 58% of Ethiopians are destitute.

I lived and worked as a professor for four years in Ethiopia and the poverty made me weep with sadness on almost a daily basis. The government presents a rosy image of an “Ethiopian Renaissance,” supporting it with its falsified “double-digit growth,” but it is largely propaganda, and few people can speak out there because they are silenced by fear, oppression and proclamations that stifle free speech and human rights.

In Addis Ababa alone, estimates are that as many as 100,000 children, possibly even more, live on the streets. Add to that the homeless adults and families in Addis and elsewhere, and the number is not known, but it is staggering!

And we haven’t added yet the huge number of people who live on the edge, at risk of losing their basic security at a moment’s notice. When I lived in Ethiopia, I met many people who earned barely enough money to pay their rent and buy basic food, and I saw how precarious their lives were. Loss of a job, a serious illness or accident, loss of a working spouse, for example, can put someone onto the streets at a moment’s notice. In the countryside, as we speak, severe drought has put millions of poor Ethiopians at risk for famine.

Some people, including, myself, might even argue that we should add indices of freedom to the definition of poverty. After all, deprivation of ones right to freedom of speech and expression is surely a type of psychological poverty? If that were the case, Ethiopia might well fall to the very bottom of the list. Freedom House lists Ethiopia as “NOT FREE,” and even trending down in 2017.

If people have no freedom to speak out against poverty and its causes, to campaign for a better deal for the poor; if they have no voice because their mouths are glued shut by state oppression, they will be confined to the chains and shackles of poverty.

The wealthiest people in Ethiopia

There are wealthy people in Ethiopia, but there are many, many, many, many more poor people there.
A search on the internet will reveal various sites that name the richest Ethiopians. There are some minor differences, but here is one of them.

The richest person there is said to be businessman, Sheikh Mohammed Al Amoudi; he is worth about $11 billion. Of the others in the top ten wealthiest, according to the above and other sources, at least four are, or were, politicians, including the former First Lady, Azeb Mesfin (worth about $3 billion).

The government receives billions of dollars in foreign aid, and some of that helps corrupt politicians and government officials amass their wealth, while millions of precious citizens live in poverty or on the fence between poverty and very minimal security.

If you ask me, though, who are the wealthiest people in Ethiopia, I will tell you beyond doubt who they are, because when I lived there, I made a point of getting to know some of them. They are the homeless, and the poor who live on the borderline, many of them rich in humility, spirit and gentleness, who somehow manage to produce the best smiles you ever saw in your life.

And the poorest? The oppressive leaders who deny them their basic human rights, and silence those who want to speak out for them, through intimidation and proclamations that stifle human rights.

Dr. Frank Ashall is a Doctor of Medicine, Biochemist, Author, Anti-tobacco campaigner and Human Rights advocate.

25 thoughts on “Ethiopia: Double-digit Growth? Quadruple-digit Propaganda!

  1. Indeed, the economy grew for Mrs. Azeb Mesfin from $0 to $3 billion in just 26 years.

    Remember, between 2004 to 2013 TPLFites illegally transferred $26 billion out of the country.

    Now, imagine how much money they have taken out of the country after 2015 Oromo uprising.

      1. Personally, I don’t accept this. It’s an insult to sheep. I happen to like, sheep. I have many sheep, friends. I will advise them to sue this woman, for libel.

        1. I agree brother; I am also not a fun of these sorts of stuff. Anyhow, I thought her calling him “አንተ በግ” was funny

  2. Meanwhile, …. (#Hagerawi Dihnet – ሃገራዊ ድሕነት፡)

    ስብሓት ነጋ ዝተባህለ ናይ ወያነ መራሒ ንኤርትራውያን ኣብ ትግራይ ኣኪቡ ከምዚ ኢልዎም፡ ንህዝቢ መን ከማኻ እንተኢልካዮ ቀቲልካዮ ማለት እዩ፡ ማለቱ ሻዕብያ ንህዝቢ ኤርትራ መን ከማኻ ስለ ዝበሎ እዮ ሽግርኩም ኢልዎም፡እዚ ኣሪጉ ሓደ ሓሙስ ዝብል ዘሎ ሰብኣይ ብምቅጻል ነቶም 30 ዝኾኑ ኤርትራውያን ኢሎም ዝኣከብዎም ከማና ከም ወያነ ጌሩ ንናይ ኤርትራ ነጻነትን ብልጽግናን ዝኣምን ወለ ሓደ የለን ኣብ ኢትዮጵያ የለን ብምባል መንግስቲ ትግራይ ንሻዕብያ ንምውዳቅ ዝደለኽሞ ክሕግዘኩም ቅሩባት ኢና ኢልዎም፡

    ሕማም ነብሰ ምትሓትን ሽታ ጸብሒ ጎረቤትን ከምዚኣ እያ ትገብር፡ እቲ ሽግር ናትና ዘይኮነ ናይቶም ብነብሰ ምትሓት ዝሳቀዮ ትግራዎት እዩ፡ ሻዕብያ ንህዝቢ ኤርትራ እንታይ ይበሎ ብዘየገድስ ህዝቢ ኤርትራ ዓው ኢሉ ኤርትራዊ እየ ኢሉ ዝጭድር ብነብሱ ዝተኣማመን ሕቡን ህዝቢ እዩ፡ ወይስ ከምቲ ናይ ትግራዎት ነብሰተኣማምነት ኣጥፊእና መንነትና ክንሓብእ ኢኹም ደሊኽሞ፡ ትግርኛ ከይዛረብ ዝሓፍር ብዝኸዶ ክንዲ ትግራዋይ እየ ኤርትራዊ ኢሉ ዝነብር ህዝቢ፡ ኣብ ማእከል ኢትዮጵያ ትግርኛ ከይዛረብ ዝፈርሕ ምስ ኩሉ ጎሮ ረባብቱ ጥራሕ ዘይኮነ ምስ መላእ ህዝቢ ኢትዮጵያ ኣናኺስክሞ ከዝኣክል ብኹሉ እዚከባቢ ከምዝጽላእን ብሕማቅ ከምዝርአን ጌርክሞ፡ ከምቲ ፕረዚደት ኢሰያስ ዝበሎ እቲ ሕማም ናይ ብርእሰ ምትሓት ዝጭነቅ ኣእምሮ ውጽኢት እዩ፡ስለዚ መራሕቲ ትግራይ ቅድሚ ብኤርትራ ምዝራብኩም ነቲ ኣብ ፈቀዶ ኣዲስ ኣበባ ብልመናን ብጉሓፍ ምብላዕን ዝነብር ዘሎ ትግራዋይ ሕሰቡ፡ንሕና ደኣ ብዘይ ሓገዝ ተቃሊስናን ተዓዊትና ሕጂ ከኣ ብዘይ ረድኤትን ምጽወታን ትነብር ከምድላያ ጌራ ነብሳ ትመርሕ እንኮ ኣፍሪቃዊት ሃገር መስሪትና ንኾርዕን ፈረቃን!

    1. Like a drug addict, you waste your time sniffing for bad news on Ethiopia. Do something better with your time. Eventually, ofdj is gonna discard you anywsy.


      Ethiopia should militarily oust Eritrean President: Ex-army chief says

      (ESAT News – June 5, 2017) – A former Ethiopian chief of staff says the regime in Addis Ababa should utilize all means necessary, including military force, to depose Eritrean President Isaias Afeworki.

      Lt. Gen. Tsadkan Gebretensay made the sabre-rattling remark in an interview with Addis Zemen, the daily state-run Amharic daily, in which he also said the Ethiopian regime should play a key role in “isolating Isaias from his people.”

      It is not the first time that Ethiopian regime officials, including the Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, as well as retired generals, have made war rhetoric threatening to invade Eritrea. Nonetheless, Eritrean officials have been brushing-off repeated war mongering by their former comrades in arms.

      Gebretensay said Eritrea’s economy has been boosted up by its economic and military ties with Arab countries including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates. The former chief of staff said this has pumped up Eritrea and the country has remained a threat to Ethiopia.

      He said relations between the two countries would not change for the better as long as Isaias Afeworki is in power.

      There has so far been no official reaction from Eritrea.

      1. Well, finally we heard of the “new Eritrea” policy hailemariam worked so hard on. Hasad woyane will continue to remain hasad for ever when it comes to Eritrea.

        1. LOLLLL…. TPLF can out talk everyone but the Arabs. TPLFites do know that we know they can’t do sh&t about what goes on in their own backyard let alone in the Red Sea.

      2. በኻዪ! ናይ ልቡ ዝገብር ነዲኡ ነይነግር እዩ። ወየ ተቓሊስናስ ተዋዲቕና ድዩ ዝበሃል። ዓቕሊ ጽበት ዘይገብሮ የብሉን። Why all this ዓጀፍጀፍ? ዋላስ ዝተሓርደ የንገርግር እዩ ነገሩ። ካብዚ ኩሉ ሃለውለው ግዳ ነቲ ዝፈረምኩሙሉ ዉዕል ሰላም ዘይትትግብር። ክሳርኡ እንታይ እዩ? ዋላስ ለኪምካ ንምጥፋእ’ዩ እዚ ኹሉ ቦጣዕጣዕ? ሕጂ’ኸ ንመን ንምትላል እዩ። ህዝቢ ኢትዮጵያ እንተኾነ ጸላኢኡን ፈታዊኡን ኣለልዩ እዩ። ደጊም ንስልጣን ጭፍራ ወያነ ኣይመውትን እዩ ። ትማልን ሎምን ነንበይኑ ምዃኑ ኣይትረስዕ። ሕልሚ ዓባይ ትግራይ ድማ ትማሊ ኣንጻር ኤርትራ ወረራ ምስወላዕኩም’ዩ በርዒኑ። ስለዚ ካብ ሕልምኻ ተበራበር። ንሰላም ሕለም። ጉራን ፈኸራን ፍታሕ ኣይኮነን። ብዛዕባ ቀይሕ ባሕሪ ክትዛረብ ድማ ኣየምሕረልካን እዩ። መሰል’ውን የብልካን።

        1. This millionaire thief- is asking the very people he robbed, to fight and die, to protect him and his ill acquired wealth from danger.

          He’s, primarily, insulting the Ethiopian people.

    2. All this talk by this failed General is about G-7. In another word, he is upping the ante with Eritrea with an eye on G-7 military activities throughout the country. Woyane is getting hit on all sides … and these Woyanistas are desperate each day. Good job G-7.

  3. Defunct Woy-ane Generall has a dim view on war with Eritrea,not because he wants to die for his country but he wants once again to cry out loud of his failurs !!!!

    Perhaps a book or a play is worthy writing titled “Crying General Tsadqan and his dead Troops”

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