US$ 2,163.93 million
Total Project Cost
US$ 752.64 million
Total IFAD financing
With 105 million inhabitants, Ethiopia is one of the most populous countries in the world. It is also one of the top performing economies in sub-Saharan Africa.
Agriculture is the mainstay of the economy. Exports rely almost entirely on agricultural commodities such as coffee, seeds, pulses and livestock. The country has experienced strong economic growth in recent years, and substantial progress has also been made in social and human development over the last decade. Yet poverty remains a major challenge.
Around 85 per cent of Ethiopia’s inhabitants live in rural areas. The 2015/16 El Niño induced drought had severe impact on agricultural production (crop and livestock), which left nearly 10 million people in need of food assistance. However, improved weather conditions and measures taken by the government to mitigate the effects of the preceding year’s drought have improved livestock production and productivity during 2016/17.
Many rural areas haven’t seen normal rains in years, leaving the population extremely vulnerable to another crisis.
Ethiopia is also one of the largest refugee-hosting countries in the world. It has over 905,831 registered refugees (as of August 2018), most of them from Eritrea, Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan.
Ethiopia is one of the fastest growing countries in the world, with a population growth rate of 2.6 per cent annually. This is putting great pressure on land resources, worsening environmental degradation and raising the risk of food shortages.
Agricultural productivity is being hampered by land degradation, poor water management, low technology usage and an underdeveloped marketing system, among other factors. The country loses about 2 billion tons of fertile soils annually to land degradation, and the siltation of water bodies is already a major threat to irrigation development.
Ethiopia is also facing a youth bulge. More than 40 per cent of the population is below the age of 15, and 71 per cent is under 30.
In both rural and urban areas, many young people, particularly young women, are unemployed or working in the informal sector. Most young people live in rural areas, where livelihood opportunities are increasingly scarce.
In Ethiopia, IFAD supports rural people in raising their incomes and improving food security, as well as increasing their contribution to the country’s economic development.
IFAD’s loans support programmes that provide smallholder farmers, pastoralists and agro-pastoralists with the assets needed to enhance their productivity and resilience. They help them gain access to natural resources, technology, finance, institutional capacity and markets.
IFAD’s investments target food insecure areas of the country, focussing on the poorest communities. They are intended to benefit particularly women and young people.
The IFAD country programme has two main objectives:
- improved resilience and productivity of ecosystems and livelihoods through improved management of natural resources, particularly water;
- expanded linkages with the private sector to ensure increased and sustained access to markets, finance and agricultural technology.
Key areas of investment include:
- small-scale irrigation development;
- sustainable natural resource management;
- rural financial inclusion;
- community-driven development among pastoral groups;
- knowledge exchange through partnerships with the private sector, research institutions and other developing countries.
- Ethiopian smallholder farmers produce 90 to 95 per cent of the country’s agricultural output.
- Around 85 per cent of the country’s 105 million inhabitants live in rural areas, and inclusive agricultural growth is a major driver of poverty reduction.
Projects and Programmes
New rural finance programme to help millions of Ethiopian farmers build resilience in the face of climate change and COVID-19
Ethiopia and IFAD to increase access to financial services in rural areas threatened by climate change
Ethiopia and IFAD to help families adapt to climate shocks in new multi-million dollar project
The value of indigenous tree species in Ethiopia
Improving livelihoods of women in south west Ethiopia
Gendo Gembela Tsire is a women’s group in Chencha district, Ethiopia who are demonstrating the process of making kocho (to make traditional flatbread) and bula (a flour blend prepared as a porridge) from the enset crop.
On the ground in Ethiopia
Investing in rural people in Ethiopia
Since 1980, IFAD has invested US$751.6 million in 20 programmes and projects in Ethiopia, with an overall cost of US$2,157.6 million and benefiting more than 11 million households.
Resilient Food Systems 2018-2019 Annual Report
Fighting poverty with bamboo
Ethiopia: Water Works
Joint visit of Heads of UN Rome-Based Agencies to Ethiopia
In September 2017, the heads of the UN food agencies - FAO, IFAD and WFP - travelled together to Ethiopia to assess how to work closer together to eradicate hunger and poverty. With visits to the drought-hit Somali region and the more developed Tigray region, they examined how to narrow the gap between humanitarian and development investments to ensure people are more resilient to droughts and other climate shocks.