Ethiopia keeps 10.8% GDP growth forecast for 2008
Finance Minister Sufian Ahmed also told Parliament that the Horn of African nation had signed loan and grant agreements worth $912 million so far this year.
“Performance in the agricultural and services sector indicates that Ethiopia will register a 10.8 percent economic growth for the fifth consecutive year in 2008,” he said.
However, the price of food grains had soared in the last two years and annual inflation stood at 19 percent in March, up from 18 percent in February, Sufian added.
He cited high international fuel prices and costly machinery and construction equipment imports for being behind the rising inflation.
Earlier in the year Ethiopia scrapped taxes on flour and grains to help cushion the effects of inflation.
Sufian added the government had distributed over 18,000 tonnes of grain to consumers and imported cooking oil and wheat flour to be sold at subsidised prices.
Exports have grown on average by 25 percent in the agricultural-dependent economy over the last four years, he said.
The country expects $1.8 billion export earnings in 2008, boosted by bigger volumes of coffee, flowers and pulses, according to the Ministry of Trade and Industry.
Despite its healthy economic figures, nation of 81 million people is still one of the world’s poorest, ranking 170 out of 177 on the UN Human Development Index.