At 17.5 percent as of 2012, urban unemployment in Ethiopia is one of the highest, according to United Nations Development Program (UNDP). According to a 2011 Urban Unemployment survey by Ethiopia’s Central Statistics Agency’s (CSA), 36.5 percent of the total employment in urban areas is in the informal sector often lacking secure means of income.
The monthly income of 60% of employed households in the Addis Abeba does not exceed US$68, states UN Habitat’s profile of the city. This low income is further aggravated by a dependency ratio of 28 percent: for every 10 employed people there are nearly three dependent persons of age less than 15 years or older than 65 years of age. The city is characterized by a high rate of unemployment (31%), concentration of slum dwellings, and poor housing, infrastructure and sanitary development.
For Hana the greatest challenge she faces is the skyrocketing food price. “No matter how much I tried to increase my income, the price of everything, especially food, increases even faster. Now it is better since I have my kids’ support. But still I have to pay house rent which also increases every few months,” she says.
Food insecurity not just a rural problem
According to a 2014 research paper by Tsefaye Birane and his colleagues on Urban Food Insecurity in the Context of High Food Price, food insecurity in Ethiopia is not only a rural problem. Urban food insecurity is a growing concern due to the toxic combination of high rates of urban poverty, high dependency of urban households on food supplied by the market, and fluctuating food prices.