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IMF economic reports have become another way for Ethiopia to attack Eritrea

Abebe Aemro Selassie is Director of the African Department at the International Monetary. Abebe, who was a former Ethiopian government employee, is accused of significantly inflating Ethiopia's GDP figures and downplaying Eritrea's GDP figures.

By J. Bonsa | Opride

IMF’s flagship as a weapon of enemy destruction

IMF economic reports seem to have become another battlefield for Ethio-Eritrean war. While generating unrealistically high economic growth figures for Ethiopia, the organization was doing the exact opposite in Eritrea. Eritreans have long alleged that it was Zenawi’s man who was cooking data and bending facts at IMF, benefiting the regime in Addis Ababa and hurting Asmara, Ethiopia’s archenemy. Eritrean authorities have formally complained to IMF about the unethical standards — something the IMF had apparently admitted and then claimed to have adjusted some figures. But, as shown below, no such adjustments seem to have taken place, at least in the 2017 World Economic Outlook.

There are credible evidences to suggest that Eritrea’s economic growth performance was never as bad as it has been presented in IMF publications. For instance, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), Abebe Selassie’s own former employer, estimated Eritrea’s economic growth rate at 7 percent and 8 percent in 2013 and 2014 respectively.

However, according to Eritrea’s GDP series reported in IMF’s 2017 World Economic Outlook, Eritrea’s real GDP growth was negative (-0.24 percent) in 2013 and 1.6 percent in 2014. Similarly, the African Development Bank reported that Eritrea’s Real GDP growth was 4.8 percent in 2015 and 3.8 percent in 2016, whereas IMF projected Eritrea’s GDP at 1.43 percent and 0.36 percent respectively.

Fig. 2

Nothing more clearly indicates the double standard, as well as the extremely low ethical standards, at IMF than the way Ethiopian and Eritrean population data are manipulated. Fig. 2 explains how IMF managed to grossly underestimate Ethiopia’s population. The chart is generated using data from the 2017 World Economic Outlook, juxtaposing the two country’s population growth rates for the last two decades.

In 1996, Ethiopia’s population growth rate was around 3.0 percent while Eritrea’s was 2.2 percent. This was much more realistic. Population growth rate comes from two sources – net in-migration (in migration minus out-migration) plus natural population growth rate (births minus deaths). Given that Eritrea has a very high out-migration and given that there is no miraculous way Ethiopia’s natural growth could be lower than that of Eritrea, then we expect Ethiopia’s population growth rate to be higher or at the very least about the same with that of Eritrea.

In that context, the IMF data in Fig. 2 does not make sense whatsoever. Eritrea’s population growth rate was pushed up until it hit the 3.3 percent mark in about three years (1996 to 1999), and then it was frozen at that position. On the other hand, Ethiopia’s population growth rate was being pulled down progressively over the years and finally made to plummet to a 1.6 percent in 2008. It has stayed there ever since, leaving a 1.7 percent gap between the two countries’ population growth rates. Ironically, the same authorities who use the clout of their agent at IMF to inflate Eritrea’s population growth rate, also undertake a huge propaganda campaign about excessive youth out-migration from Eritrea. They want to have it both ways.

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IMF economic reports have become another way for Ethiopia to attack Eritrea Reviewed by Admin on 12:02 AM Rating: 5

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