Ethiopia Boosts Health Budget by 46 Percent

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Addis Ababa October 12/2020 (ENA) Ethiopia has raised its health budget by 46 percent this year after the coronavirus crisis exposed the need for more equipment, facilities and personnel, Reuters reported Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed as saying today.

Ethiopia has typically been spending twice its annual health budget servicing its external debt, he said, but it was now shifting priorities.

“In many African countries, healthcare is a neglected sector. This pandemic has exposed our dark underbelly,” Abiy told the FT Africa Conference 2020.

The extra spending has made the health sector the fourth biggest in terms of budgetary allocations, he noted.

The government’s budget showed that the sector has been allocated 18.7 billion Ethiopian Birr (505 million USD) during the 2020/21 financial year, up from 12.64 billion Birr in 2019/20.

Sub-Saharan Africa appears to have so far escaped the worst of the pandemic, accounting for only 3.4 percent of global infections and 2.5 percent of deaths, but Abiy said the region’s economies have taken a heavy toll.

The premier urged governments in the region to emulate Ethiopia’s focus on climate change mitigation, through planting of trees and investing in renewable energy sources, as they try to revive growth.

“A green recovery can also be a jobs-rich recovery,” he said.

Abiy said his government is committed to opening up key sectors of the economy to foreign capital.

Officials have been cutting regulations for businesses and trying to improve the investment climate through initiatives such as a new arbitration law for dispute resolution.