REUTERS

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said on Monday his country’s economy grew 6.1% in the 2019/20 fiscal year to July, less than originally projected because of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

“For eight months we registered a healthy economic growth but after that, then coronavirus came and for the remaining four months we faced challenges,” he told Members of Parliament.

Under Ethiopia’s demonetization process launched last month, at least 1.3 million Ethiopian adults who previously did not have bank accounts have handed in their old banknotes and opened accounts, Abiy said.

“This is a success in terms of bringing many people to banks,” he added

On Sept. 14, Abiy announced a three-month window for people to deposit old notes and said that in return, they will be given a bank account to withdraw the new notes from.

In January, two months before Ethiopia’s first reported case of the new coronavirus, the central bank had forecast the economy would expand by 10.8% this fiscal year, up from 9% in the previous year.

Abiy took office in 2018 and promised sweeping economic reforms. Some changes are beginning to be implemented.