Foreign Currency

Forex Scarcity at the Center of the Medicine Crisis is a Long-standing Problem in Addis

Ethiopia, like many African countries, has a high dependence on imports to maintain its medical supply chain. It is currently grappling with a chronic foreign currency deficit which has made it hard to secure the dollars needed to import goods. There is a real fear that the situation could get worse. Earlier this year it was reported that the National Bank had less than $1 billion in its reserves to facilitate imports — enough for just under a month of imports — prolonging the shortage of forex to pharmaceutical imports. The situation has forced many importers to rely on contraband medicines. The prices are exorbitant since they are based on the black market currency exchange rate that is trading double the official rate. The market is also awash with counterfeit products that are of substandard quality.


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