Abdur Rahman Alfa Shaban with REUTERS
The Ethiopian parliament on Friday unanimously passed a 320.8 billion birr ($13.9 billion) budget for the financial year of 2017/18, the amount represents an increase of nearly 17 percent on the previous year, the ministry of finance said.
The East African nation’s budget sets aside 114.7 billion birr for capital expenditures. Recurrent expenditure – including administrative, economic and social services – amounts to 81.8 billion birr.
The country despite its challenges – security-wise, due to refugee influx and also a biting drought in the horn of Africa region has earned economic praise from global finance outfits, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The World Bank in a recent report report stated that Ethiopia’s economy will be the most expansive on the continent for the year 2017 followed by Tanzania, Ivory Coast and Senegal in that order.
The position was contained in the global finance outfit’s Global Economic Prospect report released in June.
‘‘Ethiopia is forecast to expand by 8.3 percent in 2017, Tanzania by 7.2 percent, Ivory Coast by 6.8 percent, and Senegal by 6.7 percent, all helped by public investment. However, some countries need to contain debt accumulation and rebuild policy buffers,’‘ the report cautioned.
Before the World Bank, the IMF had in April this year ‘crowned’ the country as the new economic giant of the East Africa region dethroning neighbouring Kenya.
Their annual economic output for 2017 was expected to hit $78 billion from $72 billion recorded last year. Ethiopia’s economic growth since 2015 has been pegged at 10.8% putting a significant gap between them and Kenya. In monetary terms, Ethiopia has opened a gap of over $29 million over Kenya.
Ethiopia’s economic growth is hinged on public-led spending on infrastructure and a strong demand by locals. It has also recently become an investor destination of choice for particularly Chinese investors.
Another factor believed to be driving the economy is the country’s large population – which is almost double that of Kenya.