Ethiopia is one of the very poorest countries in the world. In practice this means that many of the inhabitants lack everything that constitutes the basic necessities of a modern society: water, food, medicine, dentists, electricity, telephones, education.Sweden has been providing support to Ethiopia since the 1950s. This support goes mainly to educational, healthcare and agricultural initiatives for those who live in rural areas where poverty is most profound.
Ethiopia is among the very poorest countries in the world and over half its inhabitants live in total poverty, which means they do not have income large enough for food consumption that provides adequate calories (2200 kcal). Many die of malnutrition. About every other child shows signs of both acute and chronic malnutrition.
The rapid population growth makes it harder to alleviate poverty and increases the pressure on the education system, healthcare and natural resources. About 85 percent of the population lives in the country and many are dependent on agriculture for their survival. When the population increases the allotments become too small to provide for the families.
The HIV/AIDS epidemic is a growing problem that threatens growth and poverty reduction. Repeated periods of drought and unevenly distributed rainfall impede the supply of food. The conflict with Eritrea was formally concluded by a peace treaty in December 2000, but relations continue to be strained.
Support from the world outside is of great importance to Ethiopia. However, the Ethiopian government maintains an independent position toward donor countries and asserts its right to choose the country's development path and its strategies for combating poverty. The goal of the Swedish support is to combat poverty, particularly in rural areas where the problems are greatest.