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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. In November 2007, the Eritrea-Ethiopia Border Commission remotely demarcated the border by geographical coordinates,... See More



 Eastern Africa, west of Somalia

Geographic Coordinates:

 8 00 N, 38 00 E


 Total: 1,104,300 sq km
Land: 1 million sq km
Water: 104,300 sq km

Area - Comparative:

 Slightly less than twice the size of Texas

Land Boundaries:

 Total: 5,328 km
Border countries: Djibouti 349 km, Eritrea 912 km, Kenya 861 km, Somalia 1,600 km, South Sudan 837 km, Sudan 769 km


 0 km (landlocked) (Rank: 216)

Maritime Claims:

 None (landlocked)


 Tropical monsoon with wide topographic-induced variation


 High plateau with central mountain range divided by Great Rift Valley

Elevation Extremes:

 Lowest point: Danakil Depression -125 m
Highest point: Ras Dejen 4,533 m

Natural Resources:

 Small reserves of gold, platinum, copper, potash, natural gas, hydropower

Land Use:

 Arable land: 10.01%
Permanent crops: 0.65%
Other: 89.34% (2005)

Irrigated Land:

 2,900 sq km (2008)

Total Renewable Water Resources:

 110 cu km (1987)

Freshwater Withdrawal:

 Total: 5.56 cu km/yr (6%/0%/94%)
Per capita: 72 cu m/yr (2002)

Natural Hazards:

 Geologically active Great Rift Valley susceptible to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions; frequent droughts

Volcanism: Ethiopia experiences volcanic activity in the Great Rift Valley; Erta Ale (elev. 613 m), which has caused frequent lava flows in recent years, is the country's most active volcano; Dabbahu became active in 2005, causing evacuations; other historically active volcanoes include Alayta, Dalaffilla, Dallol, Dama Ali, Fentale, Kone, Manda Hararo, and Manda-Inakir

Environment - Current Issues:

 Deforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification; water shortages in some areas from water-intensive farming and poor management

Environment - International Agreements:

 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

Geography - Note:

 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

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 Noun: Ethiopian(s)
Adjective: Ethiopian

Ethnic Groups:

 Oromo 34.5%, Amara 26.9%, Somalie 6.2%, Tigraway 6.1%, Sidama 4%, Guragie 2.5%, Welaita 2.3%, Hadiya 1.7%, Affar 1.7%, Gamo 1.5%, Gedeo 1.3%, other 11.3% (2007 Census)


 Amarigna (Amharic) (official) 32.7%, Oromigna (official regional) 31.6%, Tigrigna (official regional) 6.1%, Somaligna 6%, Guaragigna 3.5%, Sidamigna 3.5%, Hadiyigna 1.7%, other 14.8%, English (official) (major foreign language taught in schools), Arabic (official) (1994 census)


 Orthodox 43.5%, Muslim 33.9%, Protestant 18.6%, traditional 2.6%, Catholic 0.7%, other 0.7% (2007 Census)


 90,873,739 (July 2011 est.)

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

Age Structure:

 0-14 years: 46.3% (male 20,990,369/female 21,067,961)
15-64 years: 51% (male 22,707,235/female 23,682,385)
65 years and over: 2.7% (male 1,037,488/female 1,388,301) (2011 est.)

Median Age:

 Total: 16.8 years
Male: 16.5 years
Female: 17.1 years (2011 est.)

Population Growth Rate:

 3.194% (2011 est.)

Birth Rate:

 42.99 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)

Death Rate:

 11.04 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)

Net Migration Rate:

 -0.01 migrant(s)/1,000 population

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 (2011 est.)


 Urban population: 17% of total population (2010)
Rate of urbanization: 3.8% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major Cities - Population:

 ADDIS ABABA (capital) 2.863 million (2009)

Sex Ratio:

 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 (2011 est.)

Maternal Mortality Rate:

 470 deaths/100,000 live births (2008)

Infant Mortality Rate:

 Total: 77.12 deaths/1,000 live births
Male: 88.03 deaths/1,000 live births
Female: 65.88 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.)

Life Expectancy At Birth:

 Total population: 56.19 years
Male: 53.64 years
Female: 58.81 years (2011 est.)

Total Fertility Rate:

 6.02 children born/woman (2011 est.)

Health Expenditures:

 3.6% of GDP (2009)

Physicians Density:

 0.022 physicians/1,000 population (2007)

Hospital Bed Density:

 0.18 beds/1,000 population (2008)

Drinking Water Source:

 Urban: 98% of population
Rural: 26% of population
Total: 38% of population
Urban: 2% of population
Rural: 74% of population
Total: 62% of population (2008)

Sanitation Facility Access:

 Urban: 29% of population
Rural: 8% of population
Total: 12% of population
Urban: 71% of population
Rural: 92% of population
Total: 88% of population (2008)

Major Infectious Diseases:

 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)

Children Under 5 - Underweight:

 34.6% (2005)

Education Expenditures:

 5.5% of GDP (2007)


 Definition: age 15 and over can read and write
Total population: 42.7%
Male: 50.3%
Female: 35.1% (2003 est.)

Average Years of Schooling:

 Total: 8 years
Male: 9 years
Female: 8 years (2008)

Unemployment, Youth Ages 15-24:

 Total: 24.9%
Male: 19.5%
Female: 29.4% (2006)

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Country Name:

 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

Government Type:

 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)

Administrative Divisions:

 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 (may be traced to the Aksumite Kingdom, which coalesced in the first century B.C.)

National Holiday:

 National Day (defeat of MENGISTU regime), 28 May (1991)


 Ratified 8 December 1994, effective 22 August 1995

Legal System:

 Civil law system

International Law Organization Participation:

 Has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt


 18 years of age; universal

Executive Branch:

 Chief of state: President GIRMA Woldegiorgis (since 8 October 2001)

Head of government: Prime Minister MELES Zenawi (since August 1995)

Cabinet: Council of Ministers ministers selected by the prime minister and approved by the House of People's Representatives

Elections: president elected by both chambers of Parliament for a six-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held on 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%

Legislative Branch:

 Bicameral Parliament consists of the House of Federation (or upper chamber responsible for interpreting the constitution and federal-regional issues) (108 seats; members 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 directly elected by popular vote from single-member districts to serve five-year terms)

Elections: last held on 23 May 2010 (next to be held in 2015)

Election results: percent of vote - NA; seats by party - EPRDF 499, SPDP 24, BGPDP 9, ANDP 8, GPUDM 3, HNL 1, FORUM 1, APDO 1, independent 1

Judicial Branch:

 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)

Political Parties and Leaders:

 Afar National Democratic Party or ANDP [Mohammed KEDIR]; Arena Tigray; Argoba People's Democratic Organization or APDO; Benishangul Gumuz People's Democratic Party or BGPDP [Mulualem BESSE]; Coalition for Unity and Democratic Party or CUDP; Ethiopian Federal Democratic Forum or FORUM (a UDJ-led 8-party alliance established for the 2010 parliamentary elections); Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front or EPRDF; Gambella Peoples Unity Democratic Movement or GPUDM [Umod UBONG]; Gurage Nationalities' Democratic Movement or GNDM; Harari National League or HNL [Murad ABDULHADI]; Oromo Federalist Democratic Movement or OFDM [BULCHA Demeksa]; Oromo People's Congress or OPC [IMERERA Gudina]; Somali Democratic Alliance Forces or SODAF; Somali People's Democratic Party or SPDP; United Ethiopian Democratic Forces or UEDF [BEYENE Petros]; Unity for Democracy and Justice or UDJ [Birtukan MEDEKSA, currently imprisoned]

Political Pressure Groups and Leaders:

 Ethiopian People's Patriotic Front or EPPF; Ogaden National Liberation Front or ONLF; Oromo Liberation Front or OLF [DAOUD Ibsa]

International Organization Participation:


Diplomatic Representation in the US:

 Chief of mission: Ambassador GIRMA Birru
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

Diplomatic Representation From the US:

 Chief of mission: Ambassador Donald E. BOOTH
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

Flag Description:

 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; green represents hope and the fertility of the land, yellow symbolizes justice and harmony, while red stands for sacrifice and heroism in the defense of the land; the blue of the disk symbolizes peace and the pentagram represents the unity and equality of the nationalities and peoples of Ethiopia

Note: Ethiopia is the oldest independent country in Africa, and the three main colors of her flag (adopted ca. 1895) were so often adopted by other African countries upon independence that they became known as the Pan-African colors; the emblem in the center of the current flag was added in 1996

National Symbols:

 Abyssinian lion

National Anthem:

 Name: "Whedefit Gesgeshi Woude Henate Ethiopia" (March Forward, Dear Mother Ethiopia)
Lyrics/music: DEREJE Melaku Mengesha/SOLOMON Lulu

Note: adopted 1992

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Economy - Overview:

 Ethiopia's poverty-stricken economy is based on agriculture, accounting for almost 45% of GDP, and 85% 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. 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. 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. The global economic downturn led to balance of payments pressures, partially alleviated by recent emergency funding from the IMF. While GDP growth has remained high, per capita income is among the lowest in the world.

GDP (Purchasing Power Parity):

 $86.12 billion (2010 est.)
$79.74 billion (2009 est.)
$72.48 billion (2008 est.)

Note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP (Official Exchange Rate):

 $29.72 billion (2010 est.)

GDP - Real Growth Rate:

 8% (2010 est.)
10% (2009 est.)
11.2% (2008 est.)

GDP - Per Capita (PPP):

 $1,000 (2010 est.)
$900 (2009 est.)
$900 (2008 est.)

Note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP - Composition By Sector:

 Agriculture: 50%
Industry: 11%
Services: 39% (2010 est.)

Labor Force:

 37.9 million (2007)

Labor Force - By Occupation:

 Agriculture: 85%
Industry: 5%
Services: 10% (2009 est.)

Unemployment Rate:


Population Below Poverty Line:

 38.7% (FY05/06 est.)

Household Income / Consumption By Share:

 Lowest 10%: 4.1%
Highest 10%: 25.6% (2005)

Distribution of Family Income - Gini Index:

 30 (2000)
40 (1995)

Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons:

 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)

Investment (Gross Fixed):

 24.6% of GDP (2010 est.)


 Revenues: $4.587 billion
Expenditures: $5.017 billion (2010 est.)

Taxes and Other Revenues:

 15.4% of GDP (2010 est.)

Budget Surplus / Deficit:

 -1.4% of GDP (2010 est.)

Public Debt:

 48.3% of GDP (2010 est.)
40.9% of GDP (2009 est.)

Inflation Rate (Consumer Prices):

 8.1% (2010 est.)
8.5% (2009 est.)

Central Bank Discount Rate:


Commercial Bank Prime Lending Rate:

 14.5% (31 December 2010 est.)
14.183% (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of Money:

 $4.93 billion (31 December 2008)
$4.229 billion (31 December 2007)

Stock of Quasi Money:

 $3.603 billion (31 December 2008)
$3.258 billion (31 December 2007)

Stock of Narrow Money:

 $4.4 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$5.094 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of Broad Money:

 $7.589 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$8.852 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Stock of Domestic Credit:

 $7.988 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$9.524 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Agriculture - Products:

 Cereals, pulses, coffee, oilseed, cotton, sugarcane, potatoes, qat, cut flowers; hides, cattle, sheep, goats; fish


 Food processing, beverages, textiles, leather, chemicals, metals processing, cement

Industrial Production Growth Rate:

 9.5% (2010 est.)

Electricity - Production:

 3.715 billion kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - Production By Source:

 Fossil fuel: 1.3%
Hydro: 97.6%
Nuclear: 0%
Other: 1.2% (2001)

Electricity - Consumption:

 3.357 billion kWh (2008 est.)

Electricity - Exports:

 0 kWh (2009 est.)

Electricity - Imports:

 0 kWh (2009 est.)

Oil - Production:

 0 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - Consumption:

 47,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)

Oil - Exports:

 0 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - Imports:

 33,480 bbl/day (2009 est.)

Oil - Proven Reserves:

 430,000 bbl (1 January 2011 est.)

Natural Gas - Production:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Consumption:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Exports:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Imports:

 0 cu m (2009 est.)

Natural Gas - Proven Reserves:

 24.92 billion cu m (1 January 2011 est.)

Current Account Balance:

 -$1.905 billion (2010 est.)
-$2.191 billion (2009 est.)


 $1.716 billion (2010 est.)
$1.538 billion (2009 est.)

Exports - Commodities:

 Coffee, qat, gold, leather products, live animals, oilseeds

Exports - Partners:

 China 13.9%, Germany 10.5%, Belgium 7.5%, Saudi Arabia 7.1%, US 6.8%, Sudan 4.6% (2010)


 $6.992 billion (2010 est.)
$6.819 billion (2009 est.)

Imports - Commodities:

 Food and live animals, petroleum and petroleum products, chemicals, machinery, motor vehicles, cereals, textiles

Imports - Partners:

 China 15.1%, US 9.5%, Saudi Arabia 8.8% (2010)

Reserves of Foreign Exchange and Gold:

 $1.808 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$1.781 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Debt - External:

 $5.593 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
$5.025 billion (31 December 2009 est.)

Exchange Rates:

 Convert Ethiopian Birr to Any Currency

Birr (ETB) per US dollar -
14.4 (2010)
11.78 (2009)
9.57 (2008)
8.96 (2007)
8.69 (2006)

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Telephones - Main Lines In Use:

 908,900 (2010)

Telephones - Cellular:

 6.517 million (2010)

Telephone System:

 General assessment: inadequate telephone system with the Ethiopian Telecommunications Corporation (ETC) maintaining a monopoly over telecommunication services; open-wire, microwave radio relay; radio communication in the HF, VHF, and UHF frequencies; 2 domestic satellites provide the national trunk service

Domestic: the number of fixed lines and mobile telephones is increasing from a small base; combined fixed and mobile-cellular teledensity is only about 5 per 100 persons

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) (2009)

Broadcast Media:

 1 public TV broadcast station broadcasting nationally and 1 public radio broadcaster with stations in each of the 13 administrative districts; a few commercial radio stations and roughly a dozen community radio stations (2009)

Radio Broadcast Stations:

 AM 8, FM 0, shortwave 1 (2001)

Television Broadcast Stations:

 1 (plus 24 repeaters) (2001)

Internet Country Code:


Internet Hosts:

 151 (2010)

Internet Users:

 447,300 (2009)

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 61 (2010)

Airports - With Paved Runways:

 Total: 17
Over 3,047 m: 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 8
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 1
Under 914 m: 1 (2010)

Airports - With Unpaved Runways:

 Total: 44
2,438 to 3,047 m: 3
1,524 to 2,437 m: 12
914 to 1,523 m: 22
Under 914 m: 7 (2010)


 Total: 681 km (Ethiopian segment of the 781 km Addis Ababa-Djibouti railroad)
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
Paved: 6,980 km
Unpaved: 29,489 km (2007)

Merchant Marine:

 Total: 9
By type: cargo 8, roll on/roll off 1 (2010)

Ports and Terminals:

 Ethiopia is landlocked and uses ports of Djibouti in Djibouti and Berbera in Somalia

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Military Branches:

 Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF): Ground Forces, Ethiopian Air Force (ETAF) (2011)

Note: Ethiopia is landlocked and has no navy; following the secession of Eritrea (1993), Ethiopian naval facilities remained in Eritrean possession

Military Service Age and Obligation:

 18 years of age for voluntary military service; no compulsory military service, but the military can conduct callups when necessary and compliance is compulsory (2011)

Manpower Available For Military Service:

 Males age 16-49: 19,067,499
Females age 16-49: 19,726,816 (2010 est.)

Manpower Fit For Military Service:

 Males age 16-49: 11,868,084
Females age 16-49: 12,889,260 (2010 est.)

Manpower Reaching Militarily Significant Age Annually:

 Male: 967,411
Female: 981,714 (2010 est.)

Military Expenditures:

 1.2% of GDP (2009)

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Disputes - International:

 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; 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

Illicit Drugs:

 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

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Last Updated: December 2011

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