The latest report assessing Ethiopia’s progress in meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) released in October 2015 commended Ethiopia for being on track to attain five of the eight targets while achieving its target of reducing child mortality by two thirds ahead of time.
However the progress report, the fifth since the MDG was first announced in 2000 and the more detailed as well as broader in coverage, advised Ethiopia not only to work harder on the goals the country is lagging behind – mainly ensuring gender equality and empowering women (MDG3) and improving maternal health (MDG5) – but also highlighted the problems of extreme poverty and the need to deal with it.
Although Ethiopia has managed to register encouraging results in the eradication of extreme poverty (MDG1), the number of people who are living under the globally agreed upon poverty line (which is very close to US$1.25 a day on food and non-food items), and who are unable to satisfy their daily basic needs remains unbridgeable.
In 1996, the population living below the nationally defined poverty line (which is also called the incidence of poverty) was 45.5 percent while the poverty gap and poverty severity were 12.9 percent and 5.2 percent respectively. Using a conservative estimate, the incidence of poverty declined to 29.6 per cent in 2011 and is estimated to have declined further to 25.1 per cent in 2014 and 23.4 percent in 2015, according to the review. However, about 22.6 million people are living under the poverty line as of 2013/14.
The rate of decline in poverty indices is higher in rural areas than in the urban areas. The incidence of poverty, the poverty gap and poverty severity in rural areas declined by 13.4 per cent, 31 per cent and 41 per cent respectively between 1995/96 and 2010/11, but in the urban areas these variables declined just by 4.7 per cent, 24 per cent, and 36 per cent respectively over the same period.