Ethiopia Travel Information

Mother Earth Travel > Country Index > Ethiopia > Map Economy History

Simen Mountain National Park

Facts About Ethiopia

Background: 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 that ended with a peace treaty on 12 December 2000 has strengthened the ruling coalition, but has hurt the nation's economy.
Government type: federal republic
Capital: Addis Ababa
Currency: 1 birr (Br) = 100 cents

Geography of Ethiopia

Location: Eastern Africa, west of Somalia
Geographic coordinates: 8 00 N, 38 00 E
Area:
total: 1,127,127 sq km
land: 1,119,683 sq km
water: 7,444 sq km
Land boundaries:
total: 5,311 km
border countries: Djibouti 337 km, Eritrea 912 km, Kenya 830 km, Somalia 1,626 km, Sudan 1,606 km
Coastline: 0 km (landlocked)
Climate: tropical monsoon with wide topographic-induced variation
Terrain: high plateau with central mountain range divided by Great Rift Valley
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Denakil -125 m
highest point: Ras Dashen Terara 4,620 m
Natural resources: small reserves of gold, platinum, copper, potash, natural gas, hydropower
Land use:
arable land: 12%
permanent crops: 1%
permanent pastures: 40%
forests and woodland: 25%
other: 22% (1993 est.)
Irrigated land: 1,900 sq km (1993 est.)
Natural hazards: geologically active Great Rift Valley susceptible to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions; frequent droughts
Environment - current issues: deforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification
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.

People of Ethiopia

Ethiopia's population is highly diverse. Most of its people speak a Semitic or Cushitic language. The Oromo, Amhara, and Tigreans make up more than three-fourths of the population, but there are more than 80 different ethnic groups within Ethiopia. Some of these have as few as 10,000 members. In general, most of the Christians live in the highlands, while Muslims and adherents of traditional African religions tend to inhabit lowland regions. English is the most widely spoken foreign language and is taught in all secondary schools. Amharic was the language of primary school instruction but has been replaced in many areas by local languages such as Oromifa and Tigrinya.

Population: 73,053,286 (July 2005 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years:  47.18%
15-64 years:  50.03%
65 years and over:  2.79%
Population growth rate: 2.7% 
Birth rate: 44.68 births/1,000 population 
Death rate: 17.84 deaths/1,000 population 
Net migration rate: 0.13 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; small numbers of Sudanese and Somali refugees, who fled to Ethiopia from the fighting or famine in their own countries, continue to return to their homes.
Infant mortality rate: 99.96 deaths/1,000 live births 
Life expectancy at birth:
total population:  44.68 years
male:  43.88 years
female:  45.51 years
Total fertility rate: 7 children born/woman 
Nationality:
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%
Religions: Muslim 45%-50%, Ethiopian Orthodox 35%-40%, animist 12%, other 3%-8%
Languages: Amharic, Tigrinya, Orominga, Guaraginga, Somali, Arabic, other local languages, English (major foreign language taught in schools)
Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 35.5%
male: 45.5%
female: 25.3% (1995 est.)

SOURCES: The World Factbook, U.S. Department of State

Mother Earth Travel > Country Index > Ethiopia > Map Economy History