Ethiopia won’t need food aid after 2015: Meles

PM Meles Zenawi
PM Meles Zenawi

ADDIS ABABA (AFP)— Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said Wednesday his often drought-ravaged country would not need food aid after 2015 as he formally launched a five-year development programme.

Ethiopia is one of the world’s poorest countries and nearly five million people needed relief in the first six months of this year, according to the United Nations.

“We have devised a plan which will enable us to produce surplus and be able to feed ourselves by 2015 without the need for food aid,” Meles told delegates during a party meeting in Adama, some 100 kilometres (60 miles) south of the capital.

Meles was referring to a “Growth and Transformation” plan seeking to achieve 15 percent economic growth over five years.

The Horn of Africa nation increased its agricultural output by eight percent during the 2005-2010 period, according to government figures, but was unable to do without emergency relief.

The two-day party meeting, which is expected to see a cabinet reshuffle, is the first since controversial polls in May which saw Meles retain his grip in power.

Meles’ Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) and its allies won more than 99 percent of the vote which opposition parties have claimed was riddled with fraud.