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Ethiopia has made important development gains over the past two decades, reducing poverty and expanding investments in basic social services. However, food insecurity and under-nutrition still hinder economic growth. According to government estimates, 7.88 million people require food assistance.

The country is home to the second largest refugee population on the continent, hosting 928,663 registered refugees from South Sudan, Somalia, Sudan, Eritrea and Kenya. Unrest in parts of the country has also led to a surge in the number of internally displaced people.

Recurrent drought and failed harvests have left a negative legacy on many families, who have lost livestock and other productive assets. The Somali Region remains the epicentre of drought and has also been prone to flash floods, with an estimated 1.8 million people in need of life-saving food assistance.

Despite these challenges, the Government's five-year Growth and Transformation Plans aim to move the country to middle-income status by 2025, by sustaining rapid growth and speeding up structural transformation. WFP supports this goal through a range of life-saving and resilience-building activities, as well as by providing assistance in refugee camps and to internally displaced people. Working with the Government and other key partners, WFP uses food, cash, nutrition assistance and other approaches such as training local work forces and restoring infrastructure, to improve nutrition, empower women, develop local capacities and enhance preparedness to climate-related shocks.

The scale of WFP's operations in Ethiopia is reflected in the fact that its food assistance represented 12 percent of WFP’s total tonnage worldwide in 2017. At the same time, we moved over 24,000 metric tons of cargo while providing logistics support to our partners.

102 million
11.5 million
people are in need of emergency food assistance
refugees live in Ethiopia

What the World Food Programme is doing in Ethiopia

  • Emergency response

    WFP is currently providing emergency food assistance to 3.3 million people in the Somali region – the epicentre of the drought. Recipients of assistance include vulnerable pastoralist communities who have lost a significant number of livestock—their main source of income and nutrition.
  • Food security

    WFP is a major partner in Ethiopia’s Productive Safety Net Programme (PSNP), which assists 1.6 million people in rural areas to create community assets. The programme provides food and cash to vulnerable people during the lean season in exchange for work in managing natural resources and creating basic social infrastructures such as roads, schools and clinics.
  • Support for smallholder farmers

    Through the Purchase for Progress programme, WFP buys food for its programmes from local smallholder farmers. The initiative cut costs, gives a boost to the local economy and helps strengthen smallholder farmers’ capacities in management and marketing.
  • Nutrition

    WFP provides nutrition assistance, particularly in emergency settings, to 1.6 million vulnerable people, including pregnant women, nursing mothers, children under 5 and orphans. We also work to prevent stunting through our Fresh Food Vouchers, which help children to eat a diverse and healthy diet.
  • Early warning tools

    WFP's Vulnerability Analysis and Mapping (VAM) unit has developed early warning tools to improve food security and assist the Government's shift towards proactive disaster risk management. VAM has released findings for the first Food Security Monitoring Survey for 2017.
  • Refugees

    WFP currently assists 600,000 refugees from Eritrea, Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan. Together with ARRA (the Government’s Administration for Refugees and Returnee Affairs), we distribute high energy biscuits at entry points and provide a monthly food ration of cereals, pulses, Super Cereal, iodized salt and vegetable oil. We also support selected refugee households with livelihood activities such as vegetable gardening and poultry farming. Along with ARRA and UNHCR, we are implementing biometric verification to ensure that our assistance is cost-efficient and goes to those who need it the most.
  • Capacity building

    WFP works with the Government on logistic capacity-building activities. For instance, we help Ethiopia boost its emergency logistics preparedness through establishing humanitarian staging areas, supporting the Ethiopian Maritime Affairs Authority to reduce port congestion, and strengthening the road transport sector in cooperation with Federal Road Transport Authority.
  • School meals

    WFP works with the Government and local partners to improve nutrition and promote education for Ethiopian school children. By providing nutritious meals, WFP supports nearly 400,000 school children living in the Afar, Oromia, SNNPR and Somali regions of Ethiopia.

Ethiopia news releases and publications

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Partners and donors

Achieving Zero Hunger is the work of many. Our work in Ethiopia is made possible by the support and collaboration of our partners and donors, including:


Addis Ababa

Kifle Ketema Kirkos, Kebele 26, House No. 1041, Marshall Tito Avenue, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. PO Box 25584, Code 1000, Addis Abab

Phone: +251 115 515188

Fax: +251 115 514433

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