Context: In 2017/18 growth slowed due to political uncertainty and appropriately restrictive macroeconomic policies. The external current account deficit narrowed to
6.4 percent of GDP reflecting public-sector fiscal consolidation and a tight monetary policy stance. Reserves were thin and foreign exchange shortages persisted. Prime Minister (PM) Abiy Ahmed took office in April 2018, catalyzing a drive for reforms, including towards economic opening.
Outlook: Output growth is expected to accelerate to 8.5 percent in 2018/19 as political uncertainty abates and financial inflows temporarily ease external constraints. The Debt Sustainability Analysis (DSA) continues to assess Ethiopia at high risk of debt distress. Reforms announced by the authorities—including privatizations and opening key sectors to competition and private investment—pose a substantial upside growth potential.
This 2013 Article IV Consultation highlights that recent macroeconomic developments in The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia are encouraging, with a significant deceleration in inflation and continued robust economic growth. Despite significant decline in coffee prices and supply bottlenecks, growth remains robust, supported by better agriculture output and construction and other services activities. Inflation declined from the peak of 40 percent in July 2011 to about 7 percent in June 2013. This has significantly eased the extent to which real interest rates were negative. Fiscal policy at the general government level remains prudent with cautious execution of the government budget.
Ethiopia pursues a public sector-led growth strategy that focuses on promoting growth through high public investment supported partly by low nominal interest rates. While the strategy has contributed to robust economic growth in the past, recent developments indicate a buildup of vulnerabilities which need to be addressed in order to sustain this growth performance. While inflation remains high (21 percent at end-2011/12), real GDP growth, which is estimated at around 7 percent in 2011/12 and is projected to decline to 6.5 percent in subsequent years under the continuation of current policies, is still robust.
Ethiopia has successfully implemented policies to reduce inflation and rebuild external reserves. Fiscal policy aims to continue the strong focus on physical and social infrastructure investment while raising the revenue effort. The recent reframing of monetary policy to adopt a reserve money nominal anchor holds out the prospect for the end of financial repression. While the External Shocks Facility-supported program has achieved its objectives of macroeconomic stabilization and a rebuilding of external reserves, much remains to be done to sustain and accelerate growth.
The Ethiopian authorities have been generally responsive to the policy recommendations from the 2008 Article IV Consultation. To help rebuild international reserves and improve external competitiveness, the authorities made another exchange rate adjustment (a 5 percent devaluation) on January 31, 2010. The overall fiscal balance during July-December 2009 indicates stronger revenue collection than programmed. Ethiopia has been resilient to the ongoing global crisis because remittances have remained stable in 2009/10, FDI has risen 20 percent, and imports are lower.
The paper focuses on the operational implications of high and volatile aid for the design of Fund-supported programs. It provides a conceptual framework that should guide country teams in giving advice to low-income countries on a case-by-case basis, without specific quantitative performance thresholds for the spending and absorption of additional aid. In doing so, it responds to some of the concerns raised by the Independent Evaluation Office (IEO) in its recent evaluation of the Fund and aid to sub-Saharan Africa
Mr. Andrew Berg, Mr. Mumtaz Hussain, Mr. Shaun K. Roache, Ms. Amber A Mahone, Mr. Tokhir N Mirzoev, and Mr. Shekhar Aiyar
This study analyzes key issues associated with large increases in aid, including absorptive capacity, Dutch disease, and inflation. The authors develop a framework that emphasizes the different roles of monetary and fiscal policy and apply it to the recent experience of five countries: Ethiopia, Ghana, Mozambique, Tanzania, and Uganda. These countries have often found it difficult to coordinate monetary and fiscal policy in the face of conflicting objectives, notably to spend the aid money on domestic goods and to avoid excessive exchange rate appreciation.
Mr. Jan Kees Martijn, Gabriel Di Bella, Mr. Shamsuddin Tareq, Mr. Benedict J. Clements, and Mr. Abebe Aemro Selassie
Macroeconomic outcomes in low-income countries (LICs) have improved markedly in recent years, but important questions remain regarding possible adjustments in the design of IMF-supported programs in such countries. This paper draws on a review of the literature as well as the experience of 15 LICs that have attained some degree of macroeconomic stability to discuss, for example, the appropriate target range for inflation in shock-prone LICs; whether countries should use fiscal space to cut excessive tax burdens, reduce high debt levels, or raise public spending; and how the effectiveness of public expenditures can be improved.
Considers possible adjustments in the design of Fund-supported programs, drawing on the experience of low-income countries that have successfully addressed the most apparent domestic macroeconomic imbalances.
This Selected Issues paper examines economic development in Ethiopia during the 1990s. In mid-1992, the government began implementing significant economic reforms aimed at stabilizing the economy and deregulating economic activity. Since that time, substantial progress has been made with respect to both objectives. Policy measures have aimed at correcting price distortions, lifting restrictions on the private sector, deregulating the labor market, reducing macroeconomic imbalances, realigning the exchange rate, and liberalizing the external exchange and trade system. Moreover, the decentralization of the political system and reform of the civil service have been initiated.