The New Humanitarian Annual Report 2021

  1. Home
  2. Africa
  3. East Africa
  4. Ethiopia

Call for accountable government to avoid food crises

The United States Agency for International Development - USAID logo
USAID reaches out to starving Malawians (USAID)

Ethiopia faces permanent food crises unless it embraces open, accountable government and radical market reforms, the head of the US government’s aid arm said on Tuesday.

Addressing the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Andrew Natsios, head of the US Agency for International Development (USAID), said Ethiopia must also boost growth and investment in agriculture to avoid future famines.

Natsios, who visited Ethiopia last month, said without economic and political changes, the country would always face “chronic hunger".

“While the Ethiopian government has taken a leadership role in responding to the famine, it has been reluctant until very recently to embrace the policies that will stimulate growth and investment in its agricultural sector to avoid future famines,” Natsios said.

He urged the international community to invest more on “recovery and prevention” and boost funding in the agricultural sector to avoid food crises in the country.

“At the same time unless the government of Ethiopia embraces accountable and open governance and enacts market and trade reforms necessary to increase the capacity of local producers, Ethiopia will remain in a chronic state of hunger,” he added.

He said the country also faces major logistical problems in tackling the food emergency, as it has no seaports and limited trucks to deliver food.

Natsios said the crisis in Ethiopia was “supply driven” – in that the country does not produce enough food aid and lacks the cash to fill the gap. Food aid, he added, was clearly just a short-term solution and that would not solve the problem.

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information:

Share this article
Join the discussion

Right now, we’re working with contributors on the ground in Ukraine and in neighbouring countries to tell the stories of people enduring and responding to a rapidly evolving humanitarian crisis.

We’re documenting the threats to humanitarian response in the country and providing a platform for those bearing the brunt of the invasion. Our goal is to bring you the truth at a time when disinformation is rampant. 

But while much of the world’s focus may be on Ukraine, we are continuing our reporting on myriad other humanitarian disasters – from Haiti to the Sahel to Afghanistan to Myanmar. We’ve been covering humanitarian crises for more than 25 years, and our journalism has always been free, accessible for all, and – most importantly – balanced. 

You can support our journalism from just $5 a month, and every contribution will go towards our mission. 

Support The New Humanitarian today.

Become a member of The New Humanitarian

Support our journalism and become more involved in our community. Help us deliver informative, accessible, independent journalism that you can trust and provides accountability to the millions of people affected by crises worldwide.