Ethiopia’s February inflation rises to 8.1 pct

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – Ethiopia’s year-on-year inflation rate rose to 8.1 percent in February from 7.6 percent in January due to higher food, fuel and construction material prices, its statistics office said on Wednesday.

Inflation in the Horn of Africa nation surged to 64.2 percent in July 2008, driven by record high food and fuel prices, before tough government intervention led to a period of deflation from July to October last year.

“Except for cereals, all food components have shown a rise,” the office said in a statement. “The prices of fuel, construction materials, clothing and footwear, furniture and personal care (products) are on the rise.”

The government says it expects growth of about 10 percent in 2010. Opposition parties contest the government’s statistics.

Ethiopia, one of Africa’s biggest potential markets with some 80 million people, is drawing growing foreign investor interest in agriculture, hydropower and oil and gas exploration.