Claim of Ethiopia’s debt mounting from 28 to 56 billion USD

Tigrai Television, on July 22, 2022, claimed in a report published on its website that Ethiopia’s debt has dramatically increased since the coming of PM Abiy Ahmed to power in 2018. Citing a report by BBC Amharic on July 22, 2022, the media outlet claimed that Ethiopia’s total debt was 28 billion dollars in 2018 and now after four years, it has amounted to 56.6 billion dollars.

Dimtsi Weyane Television on Jul 26, 2022, claimed that Ethiopia’s debt stock has skyrocketed since PM Abiy came to power.

Tigrai Television again reported the same claim that Ethiopia’s debt soared from 28 billion dollars four years ago to 56 billion dollars in a video report made and released on YouTube on August 11, 2022.

The claim by Tigray Television and Dimtsi Weyane Television was based on a report published by the BBC Amharic on July 22, 2022. BBC Amharic in its article misleadingly said “according to the World Bank in 2020, Ethiopia’s debt was 30.36 billion dollars. But after two years now, Ethiopia’s external and domestic debt is 56.6 billion dollars.”

The statement by BBC Amharic is misleading because the figure “30.36 billion dollars” was only Ethiopia’s external debt stock.

The World Bank on its website has data regarding Ethiopia’s external debt stock from 1970 to 2020. The World Bank data indicates that Ethiopia’s debt in 2020 was 30.36 billion dollars.

According to the annual report for the 2020/21 fiscal year issued by the National Bank of Ethiopia, the country’s external debt was 29.5 billion dollars in July 2021.

As of March 31, 2022, Ethiopia’s total (external and domestic) debt was 56.5 billion dollars, according to a statistical bulletin issued by the Ethiopian Ministry of Finance in May 2022. Out of that, external debt amounts to 28.5 billion dollars.

Despite Ethiopia’s external debt has been increasing, the claim that it expanded from 28 billion dollars four years ago to 56 billion dollars currently is false.

False images of famine

Images were shared on Twitter along with a claim that the image shows victims of famine in Oromia currently.

However, most of the images were found not to be of an ongoing drought or famine in Oromia.

One of the images was shared on different Social media platforms to show the drought in the Oromia West Guji zone. 

The other image was posted on May 19, 2022, on a Facebook page with more than 57 thousand followers. The post claimed the image is from Mekele, Tigray. 

The third image was also shared on social media and websites in different descriptions at different times. 

The Fourth image was taken by a South African photojournalist in which he wins the Pulitzer award. The photo shows a starving child who collapsed on the ground and was struggling to get to a food center in Sudan in 1993.

HaqCheck rated the post Partly False due to its use of inaccurate images.

A false image of Getachew Reda

A viral image was circulating on social media with claims that the picture shows Getachew Reda, a senior TPLF member with an amputated leg.

However, the image is found to be false and was shared along with six other images on Facebook in August 2021 by the Ethiopian Press Agency. The image was shared by the news agency in a news reporting residents of the Kolfe Karanyo district contributed 75 million Birr to the Ethiopian army. HaqCheck rated the image FALSE.


HaqCheck recommends the government and other agencies provide timely information regarding any allegations. The government should ensure access to information.

We urge social media users to be skeptical and avoid misleading information. They should crosscheck unconfirmed claims and look for original sources of the information.

Media outlets should be ethical and refrain from making false claims and figures in their reportage.

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