Symposium on Poverty: dimensions, Dynamics and Response Options

Welcoming Statement
Tamrat Kebede, Executive Director InterAfrica Group
Excellencies
Distinguished Guests
Ladies and Gentlemen

It is a pleasure and an honor for me to welcome you on behalf of InterAfrica Group and my self to this crucial symposium on the Ethiopian economy targeted at poverty and organized under the title: “Poverty, Dimensions, Dynamics and Response Options”.

As you may recall, in 1992 and 2000 InterAfrica Group had organized a number of symposiums covering a range of policy issues related to the overall economic performance of Ethiopia. In our consideration of this year’s symposium, it was noted that reviews of macro and sectorial economic performance are conducted regularly by several research institutions including the World Bank, the African Development Bank, the Ethiopian Economic Association/ Ethiopian Policy Research Institute and others. It was therefore agreed that it would be more useful if InterAfrica Group alternatively facilitates researches and provides focused forums which offer an opportunity for intensive and comprehensive deliberation on specific economic issues that are of critical importance to the country’s prevailing economic reality. Accordingly, poverty was chosen as our topic for today’s symposium.

With a low per capita income of 110 US dollars, and an estimated people between 6 to 13 million at risk of starvation annually, as indicated by various reports, Ethiopia stands as one of the poorest countries in the world. In view of this reality, EPRDF has introduced and implemented a series of deliberate economic reform policies aimed at mitigating poverty. Yet, the result of these reforms is mixed; though over the years a steady economic growth is observed, persistent poverty in both the rural and urban areas is also witnessed. Hence, there is need for a through quantitative and qualitative analysis of the country’s poverty to properly grasp its multi-faceted aspects that entails the dynamics and the social and cultural dimensions.

Establishing the various parameters, collecting the relevant data and providing them with quantitative and qualitative interpretation that would accurately reflect the over-all dynamic process of poverty is an extremely challenging and difficult task. I would therefore like to thank particularly Dr. Marit Kitaw, Ato Andinet Delelegn,
Drs. Alula Pankhurst and Philiipa Bevan and Drs. Alemayehu Seyoum, Tanguy Bernard and Stefan Dercon for preparing and sharing with us their commendable research papers at this symposium.

I trust the issues articulated by these distinguished scholars and the subsequent deliberation of the symposium will broaden the understanding of the poverty in our country, and shall facilitate the development of concrete recommendations that will result in appropriate and timely policy measures, as well as targeted resource allocations to combat the challenges of poverty.

Thank you.

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