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Is Ethiopia Really Ahead of Eritrea?

Snow-like hail blankets Asmara, Eritrea 

Is Ethiopia Really Ahead of Eritrea?

During a speech made in Washington D.C., Dan Connell, one of the many self-proclaimed leaders of the so-called Eritrean "opposition" groups, boldly stated Ethiopia is growing at an extraordinary rate while Eritrea is stagnant:

"Ethiopia is growing by leaps and bounds at an extraordinary rate. It’s modernizing its infrastructure, expanding its trade, growing businesses, becoming a regional powerhouse. It’s no model of democracy, for certain, but it’s internally stable and playing an ever larger role on the regional and global stage while Eritrea is stagnant."

Like most claims Dan seems to make about Eritrea, the reality couldn't be further from the truth.Statistically speaking, not only is Eritrea doing better than Ethiopia in most health, education and economic indicators; it's doing so by 'leaps and bounds'.

Categories EritreaEthiopiaSS Africa
Adult (15+) Literacy Rates 80%     39%         63%      
UN MDGS6/83/8   N/A   
2014 GDP Forecasts8.0%  7.0%        4.5%      
Wealth Per CapitaUS$1,037 US$192N/A   
HIV/AIDS Prevalence Rate0.6%1.4%       4.6%      
Access to Electricity32%22% 24%  
Internet Penetration Rate6.2% 1.1%      15.6%    

Sources: EIU, UN, WHO, World Bank, Credit Suisse

While politics is certainly blinding Dan from the facts, there are two main reasons why some people buy into this narrative. One is because the regime in Addis Ababa has been aggressively and successfully promoting its economy has been growing by double-digit figures for the last 10 years. But as William Wallis of the Financial Times points out, Ethiopia's double-digit growth claims are based on dubious statistics.

"In Ethiopia, the same is almost true but with a disturbing caveat. It is an open secret that the double-digit growth of recent years is supported by dubious statistics. Yet the same figures are bandied around by development experts arguing that a trade-off between growth and civil liberties is inevitable."

Similarly, the Economist finds Ethiopia's double-digit growth claims to be false, and believes the country's annual GDP growth is around 5-6%.

The government claims that the economy has been growing at an impressive 10% a year since 2003-04, but the real figure is probably more like 5-6%, which is little more than the average for sub-Saharan Africa. And even that modestly improved rate, with a small building boom in Addis Ababa, for instance, has led to the overheating of the economy, with inflation moving up to 19% earlier this year before the government took remedial action. The reasons for this economic crawl are not hard to find. Beyond the government-directed state, funded substantially by foreign aid, there is--almost uniquely in Africa--virtually no private-sector business at all.

Hypothetically speaking, even if we were to take the 10% GDP growth per annum at face value, Ethiopia's economy would still be moving backwards. With over 2.8 million Ethiopians being born annually, the country needs a GDP growth rate of 20% per year or more to offset the detrimental effect rapid population growth has on its fragile economy. In other words, Ethiopia's economy needs to run just to stand still.

The other reason as to why some believe Ethiopia is advancing ahead of Eritrea is the building boom in Addis Ababa. Since 2006, dozens of buildings have been developed in the capital. The problem is most of these buildings do not meet international safety standards and are poorly built; even by African standards, which has earned it some criticism. For example, an Ethiopian friend recently returning from Addis described the new buildings as "state-sponsored eyesores", while the the Economist described them as "ugly steel-and-glass tower blocks".

In contrast to Addis Ababa, the Eritrean government has chosen quality over quantity when it comes to developing its capital, Asmara. In November, the government quietly launched one of the largest urban housing projects in the Horn of Africa that will feature the construction of 1,680 modern homes and shops. These homes and shops will meet or exceed international standards, something Addis Ababa, for all the construction hype it has received, has yet to do on such a scale.

Despite the unwavering hostility shown by Ethiopian bigwigs, the Eritrean government still understands its in their interest to see their hostile neighbor to the south develop. After all, home owners know the value of your own property can increase or decrease based on your neighbor's home. So sabotaging or not supporting their development only hurts the overall value of your own country (home). Unfortunately, the Ethiopian regime does not see it this way, and continues to occupy sovereign Eritrean territories in order to weaken Eritrea's economy. The irony is, it is Ethiopia's economy and people that are paying a heavy price for its aggression.

Even with all the external challenges against Eritrea, the country is not only ahead of Ethiopia in just about every health, economic and education sectors but most of sub-Saharan Africa too.With over tens of billions of dollars in resources still underground, and with a manageable population of 6 million, Eritrea's future is certainly looking brighter than that of its neighbor to the south, regardless if Dan Connell accepts it or not.


Construction of 1,680 modern homes and shops underway in Asmara
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Is Ethiopia Really Ahead of Eritrea? Reviewed by Admin on 2:26 AM Rating: 5


  1. We the red sea afars srtictly demand to be free from eritrea.We seek to bge independent from eriitrea.We get nothing in eritrea exept poverity,loss of freedom,second stizenship ...etc.
    enough is enough.We donot nedd any more to be under the kebesa people

  2. Delete this Ethiopian trolls comments, please!

  3. THe red sea afar people have no time here after to read such a kind of the cheating of the kebesa people and their dictator government.

  4. Also delete this comment too! This Ethiopian troll was already exposed the other day.

  5. The main aim of the Eritrean people and government is to improve the quality of life of the total population with out any differences. It is not our aim to compete with other nations.
    Although our enemies are trying to dismiss the achievements,
    Our Victory is Certain!

  6. At this point of his career, Dan Connell would say anything to tarnish Eritrea's image. Let's be real, how can you compare a country (Ethiopia) in which the majority of its citizens (61%) are illiterate to a country (Eritrea) where literacy rates are approaching 90%? That alone should indicate these two countries are in two different categories. All this economic talk is worthless if the majority of your citizens can't read or write. Dan needs to act his age and stop embarrassing himself.

    Perhaps we should donate coloring books to the illiterate Ethiopian regime of Eritrea's borders so they can learn to keep in line?

  7. how can moron compare a continent with tiny island? its big shame to compare mama Ethiopia with land of SAND...

  8. Our riches are not $10s of billions Admin, it's actiually half a trillion dollars worth of resources sans oil.

  9. OH God help us.You can not compare apple and orange. Eritreans need to wake up and smell the coffee it is been roasted south of the border. If article was meant for damage control. Give me sofia tesfamariam any day. This article must have embarrassed sofia very much.At least Sofia had Ethiopian education growing up and put things clearly even though her analysis is deceitfully twisted.Just for the record Ethiopia's 42billion economy is not the same as eritreas 3billion lets be honest here world bank statistics for both countries.

  10. bruck,
    The world bank statistic is included here in this report have you read the source of information. It is not from Eritrea, I think you can challenge them why they have posted this figure in their websites.
    Sources: EIU, UN, WHO, World Bank, Credit Suisse

  11. This man called donkey camel talks to much.He has to make some noise to keep the Washington lobby happy.Building buildings in the city is nothing, what about rural areas? Weyane completely forget the rural areas,no school,no clean water supply and no health care facilities are available in most part of the country.

  12. Weyane controlled Ethiopia is heavily dependent on aid, so you are right, you can not compare apple and orange.

  13. Interesting. Typical Eritrean empty rhetoric. You know the reality on the ground. Two decades and nothing to show for it other than your mass exodus may be.

  14. Tayo,
    Why don't you read and understand before you paste a comment?
    If you are weak to understand a content of an article stay away.
    Stay away!!!!!!! paste your dirty comments in your websites.

  15. tes, Yerdaeka!!!!!!
    Go to school and learn how to read and understand English. The information's are provided by intelligent and International institution not someone like you who looks like begamindo and lemani.

  16. Barnabas Araya YohannesJanuary 31, 2014 at 1:55 PM

    According to the Guardian (UK), Ethiopia has offered three million hectares (7.4 million acres) of virgin land to foreign corporations at a knocked down prices. The Ethiopian government says 36 countries including India, China, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have leased farm land there.

    One of the biggest buyers are Chinese. The Ethiopians have sold their land to the China for 100 years. They could do whatever they want with that land. Now, they are cutting the rainy forest and turning it into farms. Moreover, as you know, in China, there is one-child policy, that is, they could not have more than 1 child in a family. However, in Ethiopia, they don't have that limitation. Once they populate Ethiopia, do you think they will leave Ethiopia after 100 years?

    Be that as it may, after the Ethiopians have sold their lands to these foreign investors, with that money, they are feeling good –at least for now. For now, they are able to build few highways here and there, and few more high-rises here and there. However, that fantastic life will be very short lived.

    Eritrea could also have done the same. The government could have sold the potash and gold mines to foreign investors now and could have given the Eritreans temporary solution. The difference is Ethiopia is interested in a temporary solution within a short time now -- at the cost of a potential long-term conflicts and instabilities; and Eritrea is looking into a permanent solution and long-term stability -- at the cost of self-sacrifice now.

    Palestinians were also happy when they sold their lands to the Jews. With that money, momentarily, they felt good. However, their temporary dream was turned into a long-term and perpetual nightmare. Little did they know that this simple, seemingly harmless act would result in their imminent, slow and painful death. Little did they know, that, when they signed off their lands to the Jews, they were also signing off their own doom with their own hands

  17. Over 160,000 of Addis Ababa residents eat trash to survive. Can you imagine if this was happening in Asmara at all the crocodile tears and negative news this video would of created against Eritrea? But because its happening in Ethiopia, the media looks the other way and continues to propagate that Ethiopia is booming.

  18. In addition to over 160,000 Ethiopians eating garbage to survive, one in twelve women in Addis Ababa (150,000) are involved in prostitution, according to the government's own statistics.

    The picture below of is a 14-year-old Ethiopian girl who was payed 2 dollars to have sex with a senior German man. Due to the poor economy, Ethiopia has a massive prostitution problem that the media continues to look the other way. I guarantee you if this was happening in Asmara, Eritreans would never hear the end of it from the media. But because this is Ethiopia, they lower their standards and continue to pretend the country is heading on the right path.

    "Elsabet is only 14 and this is her first time. This German client is paying her $40 for a whole month having unprotected sex. To convince the girl he has been promising her to marry and take her out of the country."

  19. She's only 14, yet she is having unprotected sex with a disgusting German man in his 60s. Politics aside, she deserves better. If this creepy German pedophile tried this in Asmara, his face would get stomped out by dozens of Shidas.

  20. "Top 10 Poorest Countries 2013: Oxford University"
    #2. ETHIOPIA
    90% Living In Poverty
    39% Living On At Least $1.25 A Day
    61.5% Deprived Of Adequate Schooling

    "1.6 Million Ethiopian Refugees Have Illegally Entered Saudi Arabia since 2012, according to the Chinese state-owned international news agency CCTV."

  21. Eritrean economic policy is smart. Equitable wealth distribution between the rural and urban areas, between Zobas too. Self relient Eritrea is going forward while Ethiopias 80% budget is covered by foreign aid and it's capital contains 100000 prostitutes and a million homeless and quater of Ethiopian population lives on food aid.
    In Eritrea education and health care is free, even developped nations people don't have it.
    All economic indicatars in human development is doing very well in Eritrea than all other African countries. only Equatorial Guinea is doing also well.

  22. Kahsay , I tried but the only thing sub Saharan Africa is better at according to your stats is internet penetration. The rest it is just something - amazing actually. Everybody would have been happy if that was reality. Keep dreaming - nothing wrong in that. Dreams may actually be true one day. The country has tremendous potential but it is just potential for now.

  23. Admin,
    Could you please delete this comment and block the writer by pen name 'tes'.

  24. This Ugum have to be deleted. I know he brings this phptoshopped from woyane web sites. those woyanes are going mad of PIA.

  25. Why will spent much time on this subject . Why we compare these two country and these people.
    we lack wisedom.
    Viva eritrea
    viva ethiopia
    God save us from all these ignorant Dogs.
    They want the end of our people

  26. Yes Ertirea economic is growing so fast and your people eating garbage in Tigray refuge camps .tigrans giving five KILLO of white for every Ertirea in Tigray camp.

  27. Those people eating garbage in Ethiopia are refuge hangry Ertirea .
    You should known they look like you little Banda.

  28. Ignorant, nay dedebit dedeb

  29. I agree with you, must be deleted

  30. Well Dejen let us be honest here . Eritrea has the right to defend its land I d not dispute on this case but when you come to Economics growth it is not. Think about this: People tend to move to places where there is a good economy Do you agree on this point or not? If there is a good growth of Economy then why the Eritrean youth are empting out the country by 3000 every month according to UNHCR report? I believe it should be all the way around. we should witness a flocking of people Eritrea.

  31. You can't convince any one by creating and fabricating facts except your die hard shabians dogs while the World talk bad about your dying so called Country by shabian tugs.

  32. I gree with you.
    Ethiopians have depended on food aid from the donors. each year,Ethiopia seems to be in constant crisis, and food aid has become the norm. So why the Ethiopia government, who has got food to feed his people, can feed None Ethiopians?

  33. Kahasay
    I wonder who you try to fool by fabricating your good images while the rest of the World knows and talk bad about your dying economy.

  34. Mr shabians president I don't blame you sir for your hard work you are doing to feed your supporters and you must be model for the rest of the World even if they sanctioned you early because of your childish behavior and keep on brother.

  35. You can not even spell my name correctly. I will not go down to the level of you "maniac" behavior. Who invited you to come to this website it is your behavior that makes you to be dependent for everything. STAY AWAY with your dirty comments and paste them to the aid dependent websites!!!!

  36. You can not even spell my name correctly. I will not go down to the level of you "maniac" behavior.


  37. This is a world phenomenon, more than 1.5 million ethiopians fled saudi arabia and yemen alone, and thousands more flee every month to yemen via the gulf of aden. Make a simple calculation if 3000 people leave eritrea every month, that means there is no population left in the country by now. That figure is a fabricated white lie to turnish eritrea's image by the UN boss, the united states. Frankly speaking if eritrea was left alone, it wouldnt compute with poor countries such as ethiopia, but unfortunately and sadly those whom we brought to power are daring to drag us back words. For better computition and bright future of both neighbours there should be a tangible peace and rule of law must be respected and ethiopia needs to vacate our sovereign territoties, by doing so more can be accomplished. God bless Eritrea and the ppl of the region.

  38. Yes indeed, Ethiopia is ahead of Eritrea by its huge number of beggars

  39. no the reality is not thate

  40. How is a country which can't afford to have one single decent university and its own air liner compared to any country in the world? Eritrea can't afford to buy one single Airplane let alone run a decent airline company. How is a country of only 4 million with 250,000 of them living in sudan, 100,000 of them in ethiopia as refugee and about 750,000 immigrants living all over the world dubbed to be doing better than ethiopia.? one eritrean out three is a refugee, isn't it? No aid comes to Eritrea because the aid seekers do rush out in haste to where the aid is available. How can one claim that eriteans are not living on aid while hundreds of thousands of them are living as refugees in the neighboring countries including kenya?? Just wondering!

  41. Natas Nayhamata

    Manuele kab Roma

    THE BIGGEST NUMBER OF MARTYRS IN AFRICA (considering it's population). SO even though

    it is developing, that development is not improving the lives of it's people.

    man who stole it, is also stealing it's resources.
    Ever one in Eritrea knows that the revenue from the mining isn't monitored by the ministry of finance, but by the so called presidents office....can any one guess why?

  44. Eritrea is not a country. to call country, citizen must be there. prison state, full of imaginary people, ignoring the truth, ..are characteristics of people decent from Bahere Negash. I only appreciate ur libertyhero. give them respect. other wise u r state..never compare urself with huge giganic economy in africa.


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