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Ethiopia is naturally endowed with water resources that could easily satisfy its domestic requirements
for irrigation and hydropower, if sufficient financial resources were made available. The geographical
location of Ethiopia and its favorable climate provide a relatively high amount of rainfall for the subSaharan African region.
Annual surface runoff, excluding groundwater, is estimated to be about 122
billion m³ of water. Groundwater resources are estimated to be around 2.6 billion m³. Ethiopia is also
blessed with major rivers, although between 80 and 90 per cent of the water resources are found in the
4 river basins of Abay (Blue Nile), Tekeze, Baro Akobo, and Omo Gibe in western parts of Ethiopia
where no more than 30 to 40 per cent of Ethiopia’s population live.
The country has about 3.7 million hectares of potentially irrigable land, over which 75,000 ha of
large-scale and 72,000 ha of small-scale irrigation schemes had been developed by 1996. Also by that
year, the water supply system had been extended to only 1 quarter of the total population to provide
clean water for domestic use. Of the hydropower potential of more than 135,000 GWh per year,
perhaps only 1 per cent so far has been exploited.
Close to 30 million Ethiopians of a total population of about 64 million live in absolute poverty.
According to the Human Development Index, Ethiopia ranks at 171 of the total of 174 countries with
a per-capita income of about US$ 100 per year. The country’s population is currently growing at a
high rate of about 2.7 per cent per year. In addition, Ethiopia is facing humanitarian emergencies
related to the spread of HIV/AIDS pandemic and chronic food insecurity owing to cyclical droughts,
low levels of agricultural productivity, human displacement, and political instability in the region.
Even under normal circumstances, some 4 to 5 million Ethiopians face chronic food insecurity.
Access to basic social services such as education, health, shelter, safe drinking water, and sanitation
are among the lowest in the world. Only 1 quarter of the population in rural areas have access to
drinking water from protected sources (tap and protected wells or springs) while more than 3 quarters
of urban residents can access water from protected sources. Regarding energy, biomass appears to be
the main source, in particular freely collected firewood--resulting in widespread environmental
degradation. Approximately 2 thirds of the households use collected firewood. Electricity is a source
of energy for cooking for barely more than 1 third of all households.
Natural disasters and geo-political factors had continuously hit the Ethiopia’s journey of
development—turning it into a journey of despair and frustration. In this context, the Government of
the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia undertakes initiatives for national development in
parallel with continued responses to emergency situations. At the same time the Government has
begun a series of reforms to transform the economy from a centrally controlled basis to a free-market
orientation
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Health
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