Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn has backed the recent currency devaluation made by the Ethiopian National Bank, saying it is necessary to the country’s export trade. Desalegn made the remarks on Thursday while briefing the Ethiopian parliament regarding socio-economic direction for the just commenced 2017-2018 fiscal year. According to Desalegn, the move to devalue the Ethiopian birr by 15 per cent as of October 11 is necessary for the country’s exports, mainly agricultural products.
“Ethiopian farmers who produce export-oriented agricultural products would benefit more, if the value of the Ethiopian birr is devalued as compared with the currency of importing countries,” Desalegn said.
According to the National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE), the devaluation, due effective starting from the second month of the Ethiopian year, was made to achieve the target of increasing earnings from the export sector. Yohannes Ayalew, the chief economist and vice-governor of NBE, on Tuesday, indicated that Ethiopia’s export sector has been growing rapidly at 24.1 per cent between 2003 and 2011.
According to Ayalew, due to the decrease in prices of commodities at the global market, the country’s export performance declined between 2012 and 2016, affecting Ethiopia’s main export commodities such as coffee, oil seeds, leather and gold.