After cooking the books for the past several years to make hyperbolic claims of economic growth, the Ethiopian government finds itself, again, at odds with the International Monetary Fund over this year’s projected GDP growth figures.
The IMF says Ethiopia’s economy will grow by 6.5 percent in 2013 while the government insisted a double-digit 10 percent based on, of course, fabricated and massaged GDP statistics.
Such Dubious claims to only imply the country is in some kind of runaway economic development are not the first and will not be the last. Taking Ethiopia’s largely aid dependent economy with a net Official Development Assistance (ODA) of 5 billion dollar a year, bragging about a multi-year runaway GDP defies not only economic realities but also common sense.
However, for a number of years the Ethiopian government has been pulling public relations tricks by using the IMF as a front to channel its own preferred economic statistics to prove its economic prowess and success to the world. However, since recently, the IMF has stopped accepting at face value GDP related data from the Ethiopian Central Statistics Office after it has learned that the country’s statistics collection methods are full of speculations and exaggerations. Since then, it called for a complete “transformation” of the agency and started to implement its own “staff estimates and projections” before it incorporates the statistical fairy tale of the Central Statistics Office in its annual reports.
All of these economic bluster and wind-bagging about unmatched economic boom, prosperity and progress comes from a regime that highly described as one of “the most economically illiterate in the modern world.”
In a country of 80 million out of which 12 million survives on an emergency relief assistance, with 70% urban youth unemployment rate and the lowest youth literacy rate in Africa, ungoverned rate of corruption, over 25 billion dollar in capital flight, mounting military spending financed on borrowed money coupled with almost half of Ethiopia’s export revenues earmarked to meet debt-servicing obligations, the only double-digit growth Ethiopians witnessed so far was the amount and number of off shore bank accounts of their tribal leaders.