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Key Figures 2012 HAVE BEEN UPDATED. The rest of the tabs will be updated by end-2014.

Total Assistance:

US$3.2 billion

Humanitarian Assistance:

US$484 million

Cost of multilateral
peacekeeping operations:



US$7.2 billion

Fast Facts

  1. Ethiopia was the seventh largest recipient of official humanitarian assistance in 2012
  2. Ethiopia received the equivalent of 9.3% of its gross national income (GNI) as aid (ODA) in 2012
  3. GNI rank in 2012: 88 of 181
  4. Ethiopia has experienced active conflict in each of the ten years between 2002 and 2011
  5. Classified as a fragile state, 2013/2014
  6. Vulnerability index score, 2012-2013: High

Ethiopia is one of the fastest-growing non-oil-based economies in Africa, with agriculture accounting for about 45% of gross domestic product (GDP) and coffee one of its key exports. However, despite the importance of agriculture to its economy, Ethiopia is heavily dependent on food aid. This is often attributed to natural disasters such as drought (the worst was in 1983, which killed 300,000 people), although some suggest that a growing population and damaging land policies are also to blame. Under Ethiopia’s constitution, the state owns all land and provides long-term leases to tenants. This discourages farmers from investing long-term on land they do not own.

Internal and external conflicts have added to Ethiopia’s problems. The first free and democratic election took place in May 1995, and brought the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), made up of the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front as well as other small ethnic groups, to power. Since then, multi-party elections have been disputed, most notably those in 2005, which led to violent protests and the arrest of many members of the opposition, and in 2010, when the EPRDF won by a massive majority. Secessionist groups, such as the Ogaden National Liberation Front and the Oromo Liberation Front, maintain a low-level armed struggle.

Ethiopia has also been involved recently in conflict with two of its neighbours. A border dispute with Eritrea escalated into full-scale war in 1999 which lasted two years (although tensions still persist). Following the takeover of Mogadishu and other parts of southern Somalia by militias loyal to the Union of Islamic Courts, Ethiopian troops entered the country in 2006 and engaged in fierce fighting, formally withdrawing in 2009.

Peaks in humanitarian assistance to Ethiopia coincide with severe droughts affecting large numbers of people in 2003 (US$842 million), 2008 (US$921 million), and 2011 (US$681 million). In 2003, 12.6 million people were affected, while the drought in 2008 affected 6.4 million. The most recent 2011 drought across the Horn of Africa affected 4.6 million people in Ethiopia. Of the US$644 million of emergency humanitarian funding requested for the crisis, US$512 million was received. As of 2011, Ethiopia is the fifth largest recipient of international humanitarian assistance and has consistently been in the top ten recipients since 2000.

The overwhelming majority of humanitarian funding to Ethiopia is in the form of emergency food aid. Just 3% humanitarian assistance was spent on disaster prevention and preparedness in 2011. Yet despite the apparently low level of investment in humanitarian disaster risk reduction, non-humanitarian assistance flows are also applied to addressing the root causes of humanitarian need to a significant extent. Therefore humanitarian assistance should be considered in this wider context of aid investments in both causes and impacts of humanitarian crisis. Of particular note are donor investments in Ethiopia’s Productive Safety Nets Programme (PSNP), launched by the Government of Ethiopia in 2005.

The PSNP targets around 10% of the population – some 7.7 million food-insecure people in 2011 – and is an intervention designed to shift Ethiopia’s response to chronic food insecurity away from its dependence on emergency food aid. Major donors include the World Bank, the US, the UK, EU institutions, Canada and Norway. Since the PSNP involves a variety of interventions, including cash transfers, food aid and investments in productive assets and infrastructure, aid contributions are reported across a wide variety of sectors, including agriculture, food security, soil degradation control, environmental policy and direct budget support.

For further information on aid to Ethiopia see Development Initiatives’ country profiles.









You can access various indicators and indices, together with information on engagement and data publication for each country from this Google Doc.


View Crisis Briefings

Briefings and Reports

From here you can access all our briefings, reports and humanitarian analysis on Ethiopia.

Horn of Africa food crisis, July 2011 – This fact-sheet is a round-up of facts and aid data for Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya and Somalia.

Humanitarian aid financing to Ethiopia, 2000-2010 – Ethiopia received an above average share of its official development assistance (ODA) in the form of humanitarian aid – 17.6% between 2000 and 2009.

East Africa crisis briefing - East Africa has been affected by acute food insecurity conditions resulting in approximately 11 million people being in need of assistance as of May 2014.There is a risk that food insecurity conditions will be further exacerbated by below-average rainfall over upcoming months and conflict and insecurity which continue to undermine trade flows.