Country List | World Factbook Home
CIA Seal  World Factbook Seal Ethiopia
Flag of Ethiopia
Map of Ethiopia
Introduction Ethiopia
Unique among African countries, the ancient Ethiopian monarchy maintained its freedom from colonial rule, one exception being the Italian occupation of 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 by a coalition of rebel forces, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), in 1991. A constitution was adopted in 1994 and Ethiopia's first multiparty elections were held in 1995. A two and a half year border war with Eritrea ended with a peace treaty on 12 December 2000.
Geography Ethiopia
Eastern Africa, west of Somalia
Geographic coordinates:
8 00 N, 38 00 E
Map references:
total: 1,127,127 sq km
water: 7,444 sq km
land: 1,119,683 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, Sudan 1,606 km
0 km (landlocked)
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: Denakil Depression -125 m
highest point: Ras Dejen 4,620 m
Natural resources:
small reserves of gold, platinum, copper, potash, natural gas, hydropower
Land use:
arable land: 9.9%
permanent crops: 0.65%
other: 89.45% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
1,900 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
geologically active Great Rift Valley susceptible to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions; frequent droughts
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, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection
signed, but not ratified: Environmental Modification, Law of the Sea, Nuclear Test Ban
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, 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
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 and death rates, lower population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2002 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 47.2% (male 16,098,191; female 15,879,065)
15-64 years: 50% (male 17,005,387; female 16,801,536)
65 years and over: 2.8% (male 854,023; female 1,034,829) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate:
2.64% (2002 est.)
Birth rate:
44.31 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate:
18.04 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate:
0.11 migrant(s)/1,000 population
note: repatriation of Ethiopians who fled to Sudan for refuge from war and famine in earlier years is expected to continue for several years; some Sudanese and Somali refugees, who fled to Ethiopia from the fighting or famine in their own countries, continue to return to their homes (2002 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.83 male(s)/female
total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
98.63 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 44.21 years
female: 45.09 years (2002 est.)
male: 43.36 years
Total fertility rate:
6.94 children born/woman (2002 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
10.63% (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
3 million (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
280,000 (1999 est.)
noun: Ethiopian(s)
adjective: Ethiopian
Ethnic groups:
Oromo 40%, Amhara and Tigre 32%, Sidamo 9%, Shankella 6%, Somali 6%, Afar 4%, Gurage 2%, other 1%
Muslim 45%-50%, Ethiopian Orthodox 35%-40%, animist 12%, other 3%-8%
Amharic, Tigrinya, Oromigna, Guaragigna, Somali, Arabic, other local languages, English (major foreign language taught in schools)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 35.5%
male: 45.5%
female: 25.3% (1995 est.)
Government Ethiopia
Country name:
conventional long form: Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
conventional short form: Ethiopia
local short form: Ityop'iya
former: Abyssinia, Italian East Africa
local long form: Ityop'iya Federalawi Demokrasiyawi Ripeblik
abbreviation: FDRE
Government type:
federal republic
Addis Ababa
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
National holiday:
National Day (defeat of MENGISTU regime), 28 May (1991)
ratified December 1994; effective 22 August 1995
Legal system:
currently transitional mix of national and regional courts
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 NA 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; election last held 8 October 2001 (next to be held NA October 2007); 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 - 100%
Legislative branch:
bicameral Parliament consists of the House of Federation or upper chamber (108 seats; members are chosen by state assemblies to serve five-year terms) and the House of People's Representatives or lower chamber (548 seats; members are directly elected by popular vote from single-member districts to serve five-year terms)
elections: last held 14 May 2000 (next to be held NA May 2005)
note: irregularities and violence at a number of polling stations necessitated the rescheduling of voting in certain constituencies; voting postponed in Somali regional state because of severe drought
election results: percent of vote - NA%; seats - OPDO 177, ANDM 134, TPLF 38, WGGPDO 27, EPRDF 19, SPDO 18, GNDM 15, KSPDO 10, ANDP 8, GPRDF 7, SOPDM 7, BGPDUF 6, BMPDO 5, KAT 4, other regional political groupings 22, independents 8; note - 43 seats unconfirmed
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 [leader NA]; All-Amhara People's Organization or AAPO [HAILU Shawel]; Amhara National Democratic Movement or ANDM [ADDISU Legesse]; Bench Madji People's Democratic Organization or BMPDO [leader NA]; Benishangul Gumuz People's Democratic Unity Front or BGPDUF [leader NA]; Ethiopian Democratic Party or EDP [ADMASSU Gebeyehu]; Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front or EPRDF [MELES Zenawi] (an alliance of ANDM, OPDO, SEPDF, and TPLF); Gedeyo People's Revolutionary Democratic Fund or GPRDF [leader NA]; Gurage Nationalities' Democratic Movement orGNDM [leader NA]; Kafa Shaka People's Democratic Organization or KSPDO [leader NA]; Kembata, Alabaa and Tembaro or KAT [leader NA]; Oromo Liberation Front or OLF [DAOUD Ibsa Gudina]; Oromo National Congress or ONC [MERERA Gudina]; Oromo People's Democratic Organization or OPDO [JUNEDI Sado]; Sidamo People's Democratic Organization or SPDO [leader NA]; South Ethiopia People's Democratic Front or SEPDF [KASSU Yilala]; South Omo People's Democratic Movement or SOPDM [leader NA]; Tigrayan People's Liberation Front or TPLF [MELES Zenawi]; Walayta, Gamo, Gofa, Dawro, and Konta People's Democratic Organization or WGGPDO [leader NA]; dozens of small parties
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Council of Alternative Forces for Peace and Democracy in Ethiopia or CAFPDE [BEYANE Petros]; Southern Ethiopia People's Democratic Coalition or SEPDC [BEYANE Petros]
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador KASSAHUN Ayele
chancery: 3506 International Drive NW, Washington, DC 20008
consulate(s): New York
FAX: [1] (202) 686-9551
telephone: [1] (202) 364-1200
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Aurelia A. BRAZEAL
embassy: Entoto Street, Addis Ababa
mailing address: P. O. Box 1014, Addis Ababa
telephone: [251] (1) 550666
FAX: [251] (1) 551328
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; 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
Economy - overview:
Ethiopia's poverty-stricken economy is based on agriculture, which accounts for half of GDP, 85% of exports, and 80% of total employment. The agricultural sector suffers from frequent drought and poor cultivation practices, and as many as 4.6 million people need food assistance annually. Coffee is critical to the Ethiopian economy with exports of some $260 million in 2000. Other important exports include qat, live animals, hides, and gold. The war with Eritrea in 1999-2000 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. Under Ethiopia's land tenure system, the government 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. Despite this limitation, strong growth is expected to continue in the near term as good rainfall, the cessation of hostilities, and renewed foreign aid and debt relief push the economy forward.
purchasing power parity - $46 billion (2001 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
7.3% (2001 est.)
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $700 (2001 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 52%
industry: 11%
services: 37% (2000 est.)
Population below poverty line:
64% (1996)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 3%
highest 10%: 34% (1995) (1995)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
40 (1995)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
6.8% (2001 est.)
Labor force:
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture and animal husbandry 80%, government and services 12%, industry and construction 8% (1985) (1985)
Unemployment rate:
revenues: $1.8 billion
expenditures: $1.9 billion, including capital expenditures of $600 million (2002 est.)
food processing, beverages, textiles, chemicals, metals processing, cement
Industrial production growth rate:
6.7% (2001 est.)
Electricity - production:
1.63 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 2%
hydro: 98%
other: 0% (2000)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
1.516 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products:
cereals, pulses, coffee, oilseed, sugarcane, potatoes, qat; hides, cattle, sheep, goats
$442 million f.o.b. (2000 est.)
Exports - commodities:
coffee, qat, gold, leather products, oilseeds
Exports - partners:
Germany 18%, Japan 11%, Djibouti 11%, Saudi Arabia 8% (2000 est.)
$1.54 billion f.o.b. (2000 est.)
Imports - commodities:
food and live animals, petroleum and petroleum products, chemicals, machinery, motor vehicles, cereals, textiles
Imports - partners:
Saudi Arabia 25%, US 9%, Italy 7%, Russia 4% (2000 est.)
Debt - external:
$5.3 billion (2001 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
$308 million (FY00/01 )
birr (ETB)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
birr per US dollar (end of period) - 8.455 (December 2001), 8.3140 (December 2000), 8.3140 (2000), 8.1340 (1999), 7.5030 (1998), 6.8640 (1997)
note: since 24 October 2001 exchange rates are determined on a daily basis via interbank transactions regulated by the Central Bank
Fiscal year:
8 July - 7 July
Communications Ethiopia
Telephones - main lines in use:
231,900 (2000)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
17,800 (2000)
Telephone system:
general assessment: open wire and microwave radio relay system; adequate for government use
domestic: open wire; microwave radio relay; radio communication in the HF, VHF, and UHF frequencies; two domestic satellites provide the national trunk service
international: 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)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 8, FM 0, shortwave 1 (2001)
15.2 million (2002)
Television broadcast stations:
1 plus 24 repeaters (2002)
682,000 (2002)
Internet country code:
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
1 (2002)
Internet users:
20,000 (2002)
Transportation Ethiopia
total: 681 km (Ethiopian segment of the Addis Ababa-Djibouti railroad)
narrow gauge: 681 km 1.000-m gauge
note: in 1998, Djibouti and Ethiopia announced plans to revitalize the century-old railroad that links their capitals and since then Ethiopia has expended considerable effort to repair and maintain the lines; in 2001, Ethiopia and Sudan agreed to build a line from Ethiopia to Port Sudan (2000 est.)
total: 24,145 km
paved: 3,290 km
unpaved: 20,855 km (1998)
Ports and harbors:
none; Ethiopia is landlocked and was by agreement with Eritrea using the ports of Assab and Massawa; since the border dispute with Eritrea flared, Ethiopia has used the port of Djibouti for nearly all of its imports
Merchant marine:
total: 9 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 81,933 GRT/101,287 DWT
ships by type: cargo 5, container 1, petroleum tanker 1, roll on/roll off 2 (2002 est.)
86 (2001)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 14
over 3,047 m: 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 5
1,524 to 2,437 m: 5
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2002)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 69
over 3,047 m: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 4
1,524 to 2,437 m: 10
914 to 1,523 m: 32
under 914 m: 21 (2002)
Military Ethiopia
Military branches:
Ethiopian National Defense Force (Ground Forces, Air Force, militia, police)
note: Ethiopia is landlocked and has no navy; following the secession of Eritrea, Ethiopian naval facilities remained in Eritrean possession
Military manpower - military age:
18 years of age (2002 est.)
Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 14,925,883 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
males age 15-49: 7,790,977 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
males: 703,625 (2002 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$800 million (FY00)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
12.6% (FY00)
Transnational Issues Ethiopia
Disputes - international:
most of the southern half of the boundary with Somalia in the Ogaden region is a provisional administrative line; in the Ogaden, regional states have established a variety of conflicting relationships with the Somali Transitional National Government in Mogadishu, feuding factions in Puntland region, and the economically stabile break-away "Somaliland" region; Ethiopia agreeed in 2002 to demarcate its entire boundary with Sudan; Eritrea and Ethiopia have expressed general approval of the April 2002 arbitration commission ruling re-delimiting the boundary, the focus of their 1998-2000 war; United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) will monitor activities within the 25-km wide temporary security zone in Eritrea until demarcation and de-mining are complete
Illicit drugs:
transit hub for heroin originating in Southwest and Southeast Asia and destined for Europe and North America 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

This page was last updated on 19 March 2003