Africa :: Ethiopia
page last updated on October 28, 2009
Flag of Ethiopia
Location of Ethiopia
Map of Ethiopia
Introduction ::Ethiopia
Unique among African countries, the ancient Ethiopian monarchy maintained its freedom from colonial rule with the exception of a short-lived Italian occupation from 1936-41. In 1974, a military junta, the Derg, deposed Emperor Haile SELASSIE (who had ruled since 1930) and established a socialist state. Torn by bloody coups, uprisings, wide-scale drought, and massive refugee problems, the regime was finally toppled in 1991 by a coalition of rebel forces, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF). A constitution was adopted in 1994, and Ethiopia's first multiparty elections were held in 1995. A border war with Eritrea late in the 1990s ended with a peace treaty in December 2000. The Eritrea-Ethiopia Border Commission in November 2007 remotely demarcated the border by geographical coordinates, but final demarcation of the boundary on the ground is currently on hold because of Ethiopian objections to an international commission's finding requiring it to surrender territory considered sensitive to Ethiopia.
Geography ::Ethiopia
Eastern Africa, west of Somalia
8 00 N, 38 00 E
total: 1,104,300 sq km
country comparison to the world: 27
land: 1 million sq km
water: 104,300 sq km
slightly less than twice the size of Texas
total: 5,328 km
border countries: Djibouti 349 km, Eritrea 912 km, Kenya 861 km, Somalia 1,600 km, Sudan 1,606 km
0 km (landlocked)
none (landlocked)
tropical monsoon with wide topographic-induced variation
high plateau with central mountain range divided by Great Rift Valley
lowest point: Danakil Depression -125 m
highest point: Ras Dejen 4,533 m
small reserves of gold, platinum, copper, potash, natural gas, hydropower
arable land: 10.01%
permanent crops: 0.65%
other: 89.34% (2005)
2,900 sq km (2003)
110 cu km (1987)
total: 5.56 cu km/yr (6%/0%/94%)
per capita: 72 cu m/yr (2002)
geologically active Great Rift Valley susceptible to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions; frequent droughts
deforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification; water shortages in some areas from water-intensive farming and poor management
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection
signed, but not ratified: Environmental Modification, Law of the Sea
landlocked - entire coastline along the Red Sea was lost with the de jure independence of Eritrea on 24 May 1993; the Blue Nile, the chief headstream of the Nile by water volume, rises in T'ana Hayk (Lake Tana) in northwest Ethiopia; three major crops are believed to have originated in Ethiopia: coffee, grain sorghum, and castor bean
People ::Ethiopia
country comparison to the world: 14
note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2009 est.)
0-14 years: 46.1% (male 19,596,784/female 19,688,887)
15-64 years: 51.2% (male 21,376,495/female 22,304,812)
65 years and over: 2.7% (male 975,923/female 1,294,437) (2009 est.)
total: 16.9 years
male: 16.6 years
female: 17.2 years (2009 est.)
3.208% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 9
43.66 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 9
11.55 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 42
-0.02 migrant(s)/1,000 population
country comparison to the world: 86
note: repatriation of Ethiopian refugees residing in Sudan is expected to continue for several years; some Sudanese, Somali, and Eritrean refugees, who fled to Ethiopia from the fighting or famine in their own countries, continue to return to their homes (2009 est.)
urban population: 17% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 4.3% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.96 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.75 male(s)/female
total population: 0.97 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
total: 80.8 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 20
male: 92.06 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 69.2 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)
total population: 55.41 years
country comparison to the world: 192
male: 52.92 years
female: 57.97 years (2009 est.)
6.12 children born/woman (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 11
2.1% (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 31
980,000 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 12
67,000 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 11
degree of risk: high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A and E, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: malaria
respiratory disease: meningococcal meningitis
animal contact disease: rabies
water contact disease: schistosomiasis (2009)
noun: Ethiopian(s)
adjective: Ethiopian
Oromo 32.1%, Amara 30.1%, Tigraway 6.2%, Somalie 5.9%, Guragie 4.3%, Sidama 3.5%, Welaita 2.4%, other 15.4% (1994 census)
Christian 60.8% (Orthodox 50.6%, Protestant 10.2%), Muslim 32.8%, traditional 4.6%, other 1.8% (1994 census)
Amarigna 32.7%, Oromigna 31.6%, Tigrigna 6.1%, Somaligna 6%, Guaragigna 3.5%, Sidamigna 3.5%, Hadiyigna 1.7%, other 14.8%, English (major foreign language taught in schools) (1994 census)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 42.7%
male: 50.3%
female: 35.1% (2003 est.)
total: 8 years
male: 8 years
female: 7 years (2007)
6% of GDP (2006)
country comparison to the world: 43
Government ::Ethiopia
conventional long form: Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
conventional short form: Ethiopia
local long form: Ityop'iya Federalawi Demokrasiyawi Ripeblik
local short form: Ityop'iya
former: Abyssinia, Italian East Africa
abbreviation: FDRE
federal republic
name: Addis Ababa
geographic coordinates: 9 02 N, 38 42 E
time difference: UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
9 ethnically based states (kililoch, singular - kilil) and 2 self-governing administrations* (astedaderoch, singular - astedader); Adis Abeba* (Addis Ababa), Afar, Amara (Amhara), Binshangul Gumuz, Dire Dawa*, Gambela Hizboch (Gambela Peoples), Hareri Hizb (Harari People), Oromiya (Oromia), Sumale (Somali), Tigray, Ye Debub Biheroch Bihereseboch na Hizboch (Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples)
oldest independent country in Africa and one of the oldest in the world - at least 2,000 years
National Day (defeat of MENGISTU regime), 28 May (1991)
ratified 8 December 1994, effective 22 August 1995
based on civil law; currently transitional mix of national and regional courts; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
18 years of age; universal
chief of state: President GIRMA Woldegiorgis (since 8 October 2001)
head of government: Prime Minister MELES Zenawi (since August 1995)
cabinet: Council of Ministers as provided for in the December 1994 constitution; ministers are selected by the prime minister and approved by the House of People's Representatives
elections: president elected by the House of People's Representatives for a six-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held 9 October 2007 (next to be held in October 2013); prime minister designated by the party in power following legislative elections
election results: GIRMA Woldegiorgis elected president; percent of vote by the House of People's Representatives - 79%
bicameral Parliament consists of the House of Federation (or upper chamber responsible for interpreting the constitution and federal-regional issues) (108 seats; members are chosen by state assemblies to serve five-year terms) and the House of People's Representatives (or lower chamber responsible for passing legislation) (547 seats; members are directly elected by popular vote from single-member districts to serve five-year terms)
elections: last held 15 May 2005 (next to be held in 2010)
election results: percent of vote - NA; seats by party - EPRDF 327, CUD 109, UEDF 52, SPDP 23, OFDM 11, BGPDUF 8, ANDP 8, independent 1, others 6, undeclared 2
note: some seats still remain vacant as detained opposition MPs did not take their seats
Federal Supreme Court (the president and vice president of the Federal Supreme Court are recommended by the prime minister and appointed by the House of People's Representatives; for other federal judges, the prime minister submits to the House of People's Representatives for appointment candidates selected by the Federal Judicial Administrative Council)
Afar National Democratic Party or ANDP [Mohammed Kedir]; Benishangul Gumuz People's Democratic Unity Front or BGPDUF [Mulualem BESSE]; Coalition for Unity and Democratic Party or CUDP; Gurage Nationalities' Democratic Movement or GNDM; Oromo Federalist Democratic Movement or OFDM [BULCHA Demeksa]; Omoro People's Congress or OPC [IMERERA Gudina]; Somali People's Democratic Party or SPDP; United Ethiopian Democratic Forces or UEDF [BEYENE Petros]
Ethiopian People's Patriotic Front or EPPF; Ogaden National Liberation Front or ONLF; Oromo Liberation Front or OLF [DAOUD Ibsa]
chief of mission: Ambassador Samuel ASSEFA
chancery: 3506 International Drive NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 364-1200
FAX: [1] (202) 587-0195
consulate(s) general: Los Angeles
consulate(s): New York
chief of mission: Ambassador Donald Y. YAMAMOTO
embassy: Entoto Street, Addis Ababa
mailing address: P. O. Box 1014, Addis Ababa
telephone: [251] 11-517-40-00
FAX: [251] 11-517-40-01
three equal horizontal bands of green (top), yellow, and red, with a yellow pentagram and single yellow rays emanating from the angles between the points on a light blue disk centered on the three bands; Ethiopia is the oldest independent country in Africa, and the three main colors of her flag were so often adopted by other African countries upon independence that they became known as the pan-African colors
Economy ::Ethiopia
Ethiopia's poverty-stricken economy is based on agriculture, accounting for almost half of GDP, 60% of exports, and 80% of total employment. The agricultural sector suffers from frequent drought and poor cultivation practices. Coffee is critical to the Ethiopian economy with exports of some $350 million in 2006, but historically low prices have seen many farmers switching to qat to supplement income. The war with Eritrea in 1998-2000 and recurrent drought have buffeted the economy, in particular coffee production. In November 2001, Ethiopia qualified for debt relief from the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative, and in December 2005 the IMF forgave Ethiopia's debt. Under Ethiopia's constitution, the state owns all land and provides long-term leases to the tenants; the system continues to hamper growth in the industrial sector as entrepreneurs are unable to use land as collateral for loans. Drought struck again late in 2002, leading to a 3.3% decline in GDP in 2003. Normal weather patterns helped agricultural and GDP growth recover during 2004-08.
$68.77 billion (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 80
$61.63 billion (2007 est.)
$55.27 billion (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
$25.66 billion (2008 est.)
11.6% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 6
11.5% (2007 est.)
11.5% (2006 est.)
$800 (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 217
$800 (2007 est.)
$700 (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
agriculture: 44.9%
industry: 12.8%
services: 42.3% (2008 est.)
37.9 million (2007)
country comparison to the world: 15
agriculture: 80.2%
industry: 6.6%
services: 13.2% (2005)
38.7% (FY05/06 est.)
lowest 10%: 4.1%
highest 10%: 25.6% (2005)
30 (2000)
country comparison to the world: 114
40 (1995)
25.2% of GDP (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 51
revenues: $4.517 billion
expenditures: $5.34 billion (2008 est.)
34.1% of GDP (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 68
44.5% of GDP (2007 est.)
44.4% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 221
17.2% (2007 est.)
NA% (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 121
7% (31 December 2006)
$NA (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 79
$3.651 billion (31 December 2006)
$NA (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 91
$3.258 billion (31 December 2007)
$NA (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 93
$6.694 billion (31 December 2006)
cereals, pulses, coffee, oilseed, cotton, sugarcane, potatoes, qat, cut flowers; hides, cattle, sheep, goats; fish
food processing, beverages, textiles, leather, chemicals, metals processing, cement
10.4% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 12
3.46 billion kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 122
3.13 billion kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 126
0 kWh (2008 est.)
0 kWh (2008 est.)
0 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 177
37,000 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 106
0 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 188
33,590 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 98
430,000 bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 98
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 184
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 187
0 cu m (2008)
country comparison to the world: 60
0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 83
24.92 billion cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 74
$-2 billion (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 138
$-827.9 million (2007 est.)
$1.55 billion (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 138
$1.285 billion (2007 est.)
coffee, qat, gold, leather products, live animals, oilseeds
US 10.1%, Germany 10%, Saudi Arabia 7.6%, Netherlands 7.1%, Djibouti 6.5%, Italy 5.6%, China 4.9% (2008)
$6.901 billion (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 105
$5.156 billion (2007 est.)
food and live animals, petroleum and petroleum products, chemicals, machinery, motor vehicles, cereals, textiles
China 19.5%, Saudi Arabia 17.9%, India 7.2%, US 5%, Italy 4.4% (2008)
$870.5 million (31 December 2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 130
$1.29 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
$3.161 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 120
$2.621 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
birr (ETB) per US dollar - 9.57 (2008 est.), 8.96 (2007), 8.69 (2006), 8.68 (2005), 8.6356 (2004)
note: since 24 October 2001, exchange rates are determined on a daily basis via interbank transactions regulated by the Central Bank
Communications ::Ethiopia
908,900 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 84
3.168 million (2008)
country comparison to the world: 107
general assessment: inadequate telephone system; the number of fixed lines and mobile telephones is increasing from a very small base; combined fixed and mobile-cellular teledensity is only about 5 per 100 persons
domestic: open-wire; microwave radio relay; radio communication in the HF, VHF, and UHF frequencies; 2 domestic satellites provide the national trunk service
international: country code - 251; open-wire to Sudan and Djibouti; microwave radio relay to Kenya and Djibouti; satellite earth stations - 3 Intelsat (1 Atlantic Ocean and 2 Pacific Ocean) (2008)
AM 8, FM 0, shortwave 1 (2001)
1 (plus 24 repeaters) (2001)
136 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 195
360,000 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 116
Transportation ::Ethiopia
63 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 78
total: 17
over 3,047 m: 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 7
1,524 to 2,437 m: 5
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 1 (2009)
total: 46
2,438 to 3,047 m: 3
1,524 to 2,437 m: 11
914 to 1,523 m: 23
under 914 m: 9 (2009)
total: 681 km (Ethiopian segment of the 781 km Addis Ababa-Djibouti railroad)
country comparison to the world: 106
narrow gauge: 681 km 1.000-m gauge
note: railway is under joint control of Djibouti and Ethiopia but is largely inoperable (2008)
total: 36,469 km
country comparison to the world: 93
paved: 6,980 km
unpaved: 29,489 km (2004)
total: 9
country comparison to the world: 115
by type: cargo 8, roll on/roll off 1 (2008)
Ethiopia is landlocked and uses ports of Djibouti in Djibouti and Berbera in Somalia
Military ::Ethiopia
Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF): Ground Forces, Ethiopian Air Force (ETAF) (2008)
note: Ethiopia is landlocked and has no navy; following the secession of Eritrea, Ethiopian naval facilities remained in Eritrean possession
18 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service; theoretically, no compulsory military service, but the military can conduct call-ups when necessary and compliance is compulsory (2008)
males age 16-49: 17,666,967
females age 16-49: 17,530,211 (2008 est.)
males age 16-49: 11,078,847
females age 16-49: 12,017,073 (2009 est.)
male: 908,384
female: 916,354 (2009 est.)
3% of GDP (2006)
country comparison to the world: 49
Transnational Issues ::Ethiopia
Eritrea and Ethiopia agreed to abide by the 2002 Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission's (EEBC) delimitation decision, but neither party responded to the revised line detailed in the November 2006 EEBC Demarcation Statement; UN Peacekeeping Mission to Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE), which has monitored the 25-km-wide Temporary Security Zone in Eritrea since 2000, is extended for six months in 2007 despite Eritrean restrictions on its operations and reduced force of 17,000; the undemarcated former British administrative line has little meaning as a political separation to rival clans within Ethiopia's Ogaden and southern Somalia's Oromo region; Ethiopian forces invaded southern Somalia and routed Islamist Courts from Mogadishu in January 2007; "Somaliland" secessionists provide port facilities in Berbera and trade ties to landlocked Ethiopia; civil unrest in eastern Sudan has hampered efforts to demarcate the porous boundary with Ethiopia
refugees (country of origin): 66,980 (Sudan); 16,576 (Somalia); 13,078 (Eritrea)
IDPs: 200,000 (border war with Eritrea from 1998-2000, ethnic clashes in Gambela, and ongoing Ethiopian military counterinsurgency in Somali region; most IDPs are in Tigray and Gambela Provinces) (2007)
transit hub for heroin originating in Southwest and Southeast Asia and destined for Europe, as well as cocaine destined for markets in southern Africa; cultivates qat (khat) for local use and regional export, principally to Djibouti and Somalia (legal in all three countries); the lack of a well-developed financial system limits the country's utility as a money laundering center