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  Transnational Issues

In general, information available as of 1 January 2003
was used in the preparation of The World Factbook 2003.

This page was last updated on 18 December, 2003

Map of Ethiopia

Legend: DefinitionDefinition Field ListingField Listing Rank OrderRank Order
   Introduction    Ethiopia
Definition Field Listing
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. Final demarcation of the boundary is currently on hold due to Ethiopian objections to an international commission's finding requiring it to surrender sensitive territory.
   Geography    Ethiopia
Definition Field Listing
Eastern Africa, west of Somalia
Geographic coordinates:
Definition Field Listing
8 00 N, 38 00 E
Map references:
Definition Field Listing
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 1,127,127 sq km
water: 7,444 sq km
land: 1,119,683 sq km
Area - comparative:
Definition Field Listing
slightly less than twice the size of Texas
Land boundaries:
Definition Field Listing
total: 5,328 km
border countries: Djibouti 349 km, Eritrea 912 km, Kenya 861 km, Somalia 1,600 km, Sudan 1,606 km
Definition Field Listing
0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claims:
Definition Field Listing
none (landlocked)
Definition Field Listing
tropical monsoon with wide topographic-induced variation
Definition Field Listing
high plateau with central mountain range divided by Great Rift Valley
Elevation extremes:
Definition Field Listing
lowest point: Denakil Depression -125 m
highest point: Ras Dejen 4,620 m
Natural resources:
Definition Field Listing
small reserves of gold, platinum, copper, potash, natural gas, hydropower
Land use:
Definition Field Listing
arable land: 9.9%
permanent crops: 0.65%
other: 89.45% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
Definition Field Listing
1,900 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
Definition Field Listing
geologically active Great Rift Valley susceptible to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions; frequent droughts
Environment - current issues:
Definition Field Listing
deforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification; water shortages in some areas from water-intensive farming and poor management
Environment - international agreements:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
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
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
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 2003 est.)
Age structure:
Definition Field Listing
0-14 years: 44.8% (male 14,944,168; female 14,871,164)
15-64 years: 52.4% (male 17,474,403; female 17,384,817)
65 years and over: 2.8% (male 840,057; female 1,042,944) (2003 est.)
Median age:
Definition Field Listing
total: 17.3 years
female: 17.4 years (2002)
male: 17.3 years
Population growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
1.96% (2003 est.)
Birth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
39.81 births/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Death rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
20.17 deaths/1,000 population (2003 est.)
Net migration rate:
Definition Field Listing
0 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 (2003 est.)
Sex ratio:
Definition Field Listing
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.81 male(s)/female
total population: 1 male(s)/female (2003 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 103.22 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 92.65 deaths/1,000 live births (2003 est.)
male: 113.48 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total population: 41.24 years
male: 40.39 years
female: 42.11 years (2003 est.)
Total fertility rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
5.55 children born/woman (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
6.4% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
2.1 million (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
160,000 (2001 est.)
Definition Field Listing
noun: Ethiopian(s)
adjective: Ethiopian
Ethnic groups:
Definition Field Listing
Oromo 40%, Amhara and Tigre 32%, Sidamo 9%, Shankella 6%, Somali 6%, Afar 4%, Gurage 2%, other 1%
Definition Field Listing
Muslim 45%-50%, Ethiopian Orthodox 35%-40%, animist 12%, other 3%-8%
Definition Field Listing
Amharic, Tigrinya, Oromigna, Guaragigna, Somali, Arabic, other local languages, English (major foreign language taught in schools)
Definition Field Listing
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 42.7%
male: 50.3%
female: 35.1% (2003 est.)
   Government    Ethiopia
Country name:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
federal republic
Definition Field Listing
Addis Ababa
Administrative divisions:
Definition Field Listing
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)
Definition Field Listing
oldest independent country in Africa and one of the oldest in the world - at least 2,000 years
National holiday:
Definition Field Listing
National Day (defeat of MENGISTU regime), 28 May (1991)
Definition Field Listing
ratified December 1994; effective 22 August 1995
Legal system:
Definition Field Listing
currently transitional mix of national and regional courts
Definition Field Listing
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
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 by party - 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:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
Afar National Democratic Party or ANDP [leader NA]; 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 People's Revolutionary Democratic Front or EPRDF [MELES Zenawi] (an alliance of ANDM, OPDO, SEPDF, and TPLF); Gedeyo People's Revolutionary Democratic Front or GPRDF [leader NA]; Gurage Nationalities' Democratic Movement or GNDM [leader NA]; Kafa Shaka People's Democratic Organization or KSPDO [leader NA]; Kembata, Alabaa and Tembaro or KAT [leader NA]; Oromo People's Democratic Organization or OPDO [JUNEDI Sado]; Sidamo People's Democratic Organization or SPDO [leader NA]; 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:
Definition Field Listing
Afar Revolutionary Democratic Union Front or ARDUF [leader NA]; 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:
Definition Field Listing
Diplomatic representation in the US:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador KASSAHUN Ayele
chancery: 3506 International Drive NW, Washington, DC 20008
consulate(s) general: Los Angeles
consulate(s): New York
FAX: [1] (202) 686-9551
telephone: [1] (202) 364-1200
Diplomatic representation from the US:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
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. Coffee is critical to the Ethiopian economy with exports of some $270 million in 2000/01, but historically low prices have seen many farmers switching to qat to supplement their income. 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. Strong growth in 2002 resulted from good rainfall early in the year, the cessation of hostilities, and renewed foreign aid and debt relief. But drought struck again late in 2002, and the World Food Program (WFP) estimates 14 million Ethiopians need food immediately to survive into 2003. The government estimates than annual growth of 7% is needed to reduce poverty, yet the maintenance of 5% in 2003 will be quite difficult (one estimate is for 1.5% growth).
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
purchasing power parity - $48.53 billion (2002 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
3% (2002 est.)
GDP - per capita:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
purchasing power parity - $700 (2002 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 52%
industry: 11%
services: 37% (2001 est.)
Population below poverty line:
Definition Field Listing
45% (2002 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
Definition Field Listing
lowest 10%: 3%
highest 10%: 33.7% (1995)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
Definition Field Listing
40 (1995)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
4% (2003 est.)
Labor force:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
Labor force - by occupation:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture and animal husbandry 80%, government and services 12%, industry and construction 8% (1985)
Unemployment rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
Definition Field Listing
revenues: $1.8 billion
expenditures: $1.9 billion, including capital expenditures of $600 million (2002 est.)
Definition Field Listing
food processing, beverages, textiles, chemicals, metals processing, cement
Industrial production growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
6.7% (2001 est.)
Electricity - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.713 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - production by source:
Definition Field Listing
fossil fuel: 1.3%
hydro: 97.6%
other: 1.2% (2001)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.594 billion kWh (2001)
Electricity - exports:
Definition Field Listing
0 kWh (2001)
Electricity - imports:
Definition Field Listing
0 kWh (2001)
Oil - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
23,000 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA (2001)
Oil - imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA (2001)
Oil - proved reserves:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
214,000 bbl (37257)
Natural gas - proved reserves:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
12.46 billion cu m (37257)
Agriculture - products:
Definition Field Listing
cereals, pulses, coffee, oilseed, sugarcane, potatoes, qat; hides, cattle, sheep, goats
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$433 million f.o.b. (2001 est.)
Exports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
coffee, qat, gold, leather products, live animals, oilseeds
Exports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
UK 16.2%, Djibouti 10.9%, Germany 7.6%, Italy 7.2%, Japan 6.7%, Saudi Arabia 6.5%, US 4.4% (2002)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$1.63 billion f.o.b. (2001)
Imports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
food and live animals, petroleum and petroleum products, chemicals, machinery, motor vehicles, cereals, textiles
Imports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
Saudi Arabia 28.7%, China 6%, Italy 5.9%, India 4.8%, Germany 4.1% (2002)
Debt - external:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$5.3 billion (2001 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
Definition Field Listing
$308 million (FY00/01)
Definition Field Listing
birr (ETB)
Currency code:
Definition Field Listing
Exchange rates:
Definition Field Listing
birr per US dollar - NA (2002), 8.46 (2001), 8.22 (2000), 7.94 (1999), 7.12 (1998)
note: since 24 October 2001 exchange rates are determined on a daily basis via interbank transactions regulated by the Central Bank
Fiscal year:
Definition Field Listing
8 July - 7 July
   Communications    Ethiopia
Telephones - main lines in use:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
231,900 (2000)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
17,800 (2000)
Telephone system:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
AM 8, FM 0, shortwave 1 (2001)
Television broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
1 plus 24 repeaters (2002)
Internet country code:
Definition Field Listing
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
Definition Field Listing
1 (2002)
Internet users:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
20,000 (2002)
   Transportation    Ethiopia
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 681 km (Ethiopian segment of the Addis Ababa-Djibouti railroad)
narrow gauge: 681 km 1.000-m gauge
note: railway under joint control of Djibouti and Ethiopia (2002)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 31,571 km
paved: 3,789 km
unpaved: 27,782 km (2000)
Definition Field Listing
Ports and harbors:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
total: 9 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 81,933 GRT/101,287 DWT
ships by type: cargo 5, container 1, petroleum tanker 1, roll on/roll off 2 (2002 est.)
Definition Field Listing
83 (2002)
Airports - with paved runways:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
18 years of age (2003 est.)
Military manpower - availability:
Definition Field Listing
males age 15-49: 15,388,318 (2003 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 15-49: 8,040,381 (2003 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
Definition Field Listing
males: 714,165 (2003 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$800 million (FY00)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
12.6% (FY00)
   Transnational Issues    Ethiopia
Disputes - international:
Definition Field Listing
Eritrea and Ethiopia agreed to abide by 2002 independent boundary commission delimitation decision, but demarcation, scheduled to begin in 2003, has been hampered by technical delays and Ethiopian concerns that the decision ignored "human geography" and awarded Badme, the focus of the 1998-2000 war, to Eritrea, demarcation of the boundary has been postponed indefinately; Ethiopia maintains only an administrative line and no international border with the Oromo region of southern Somalia and maintains alliances with local clans in opposition to the Transitional National Government in Mogadishu; "Somaliland" secessionists provide port facilities and trade ties to land-locked Ethiopia; efforts to demarcate the porous boundary with Sudan have been delayed by civil war there
Illicit drugs:
Definition Field Listing
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 18 December, 2003

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