Ethiopia country profile

Full Name
Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (English)
Ityop'iya Federalawi Demokrasiyawi Ripeblik
Origins of name: Thought to have been derived from the Greek word Αἰθιοπία Aithiopia, from Αἰθίοψ Aithiops ‘an Ethiopian’, derived in turn from Greek words meaning "of burned face"
Formerly: Formed part of Abyssinia

President (ceremonial)

Mulatu Teshome

Current Leader
Hailemariam Desalegn

Oldest independent country in Africa and one of the oldest in the world, being at least 2,000 years old


Form of Government
Federal Republic
President is the Chief of State
Prime Minister is the Head of Government
President elected by the House of People's Representatives for a six-year term
President is eligible for a second term

Government structure
Chief of State and Head of Government
Cabinet: Council of Ministers are chosen by the Prime Minister and approved by the House of People's Representatives

Military Statistics
Manpower fit for military service: males age 16-49: 11,078,847 and females age 16-49: 12,017,073
Expenditures: 3% GDP
Branches: Ethiopian National Defence Force (ENDF): Ground Forces, Ethiopian Air Force (ETAF)

Former Rulers
1889 - 1913 Emperor Menelik II
1913 - 1916 Lij Iyasu
1916 - 1930 Zawditu who rules through a regent Ras Tafari Makonnen
1930 - 1936 Emperor Haile Selassie I (formerly Ras Tafari Makonnen)
1936 – 1941 King of Italy; Vittorio Emanuele III (in name only)
1941 - 1974 Emperor Haile Selassie
1974 - 1977 General Teferi Benti
1977 - 1991 Colonel Mengistu Haile Mariam

May 21, 1991 - May 28, 1991 Tesfaye Gebre Kidan

1991 - Aug 2012 Meles Zenawi

Sept 2012- Hailemariam Desalegn

Addis Ababa
Altitude: 2,438 metres
Population: 3,627,934 people

Size: 84,320,987 (2012)
Life expectancy: 55.4 years
Gender Make-Up: Female – 50.79% and Male – 49.21%

GDP per capita
$ 1,100 (2011)

$ 1,100 (2010)

Area: 1,104,300sqkm
Land boundaries: Djibouti 349km, Eritrea 912km, Kenya 861km, Somalia 1,600km, Sudan 1,606km

Major Languages
Amharic (33%), West Central Oromo (17%), Eastern Oromo (8.5%), Borana-Arsi-Guji Oromo (6.8%), Somali (6.2%),Tigrigna (6%), Sidamo (3.5%), Gamo-Gofa-Dawro (2.3%), Wolaytta (2.3%), Afar (1.8%), English is a major foreign language taught in schools

Religious portfolio
Christian 60.8% (Orthodox 50.6%, Protestant 10.2%), Muslim 32.8%, Traditional 4.6%, other 1.8%

National Make-up
Oromo 32.1%, Amara 30.1%, Tigraway 6.2%, Somali 5.9%, Guragie 4.3%, Sidama 3.5%, Welaita 2.4%, other 15.4%

Natural Resources
Gold, Platinum, Copper, Potash, Natural gas, Hydropower

Main exports
Coffee, Hides, Oilseeds, Beeswax, Sugarcane

Land Use
Arable land: 10.01%
Permanent crops: 0.65%
other: 89.34%

Monetary Unit/Currency
Ethiopian Birr

Dialling Code

Internet Code

Main Port: Although landlocked, Ethiopia has access to Aseb, a port on the Red Sea
Airport: Addis Ababa Bole International Airport (HAAB) located in the Bole area, 18km east of Addis Ababa City

Modern issues

Soil erosion
Water shortages in some areas from water-intensive farming and poor management

Mr. Zenawi continues to rule the country with an iron fist. The Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi was forced to defend his government against claims of human rights abuses and the restriction of basic freedoms after his trips to Norway and Denmark were hit by protests.
Also, in November 2011 an Ethiopian man demonstrated set himself on fire in a protest against the government following mass arrests of youths from his local area. He reportedly said, "I want to show to all that death is preferable than a life without justice and liberty," he is reported to have said before setting himself alight.

Economically, Ethiopia is doing well. According to the Economist's "The World in 2011" Publication, Ethiopia, along with Eritrea, was predicted to be the third fastest growing economies in 2011. The paper said, Ethiopia was expected to grow by 10%
High incidences of rural and urban poverty
A major project is under way to restore Ethiopia's 100-year-old imperial railway, and there are even plans to build a new national network
The Ethiopian Government has revoked the licences of six of the country's main coffee exporters, accusing them of hoarding supplies

Widespread and prolonged famine in a large portion of the country: recently the Ethiopian Government asked the international community for emergency food aid for 6.2 million people
There are thousands of refugees that have been displaced due to the numerous and violent conflicts that have plagued Ethiopia for decades

Foreign Affairs
Continuing instability along Ethiopia's borders with Sudan and Somalia contributes to tension with the National Congress regime in Sudan and several factions in Somalia
Ethiopia has good relations with the US and the West, especially in responding to regional instability and, increasingly, through economic involvement
Ethiopia's relations with Eritrea are extremely tense due to an ongoing border dispute
An international tribunal in The Hague has ruled that Eritrea will have to pay Ethiopia millions of dollars in compensation for war damages

The Major Conflicts

Italian Invasion
When: 1895
Who: Italy vs Ethiopia
Why: Italy wants control of Ethiopia
Outcome: Italian forces defeated by the Ethiopians at Adwa; treaty of Wuchale annulled; Italy recognised Ethiopia's independence but retained control over Eritrea

Second Italian Invasion
When: 1935
Who: Italy vs Ethiopia
Why: Italy sought control of Ethiopia
Outcome: Italians captured Addis Ababa, Haile Selassie fled, king of Italy made emperor of Ethiopia; Ethiopia combined with Eritrea and Italian Somaliland to become Italian East Africa

Independence Struggle
When: 1941
Who: British Commonwealth troops and the Arbegnoch vs Italy
Why: Ethiopian sovereignty
Outcome: the Italians were defeated and Haile Selassie was restored to his throne

Marxist Military Coup
When: 1974
Who: Military vs Selassie’s regime
Why: Seeking a different form of government
Outcome: Haile Selassie overthrown in military coup. General Teferi Benti became Head of State

‘Red Terror’ campaign
When: 1977-1979
Who: Mengistu Haile Mariam’s military government vs Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Party and other anti-Derg factions
Why: Political control
Outcome: Thousands of government opponents were killed and Tigrayan People's Liberation Front launched war for regional autonomy

Somalian Invasion
When: 1977-1978
Who: Somalia vs Ethiopia
Why: Control of the Ogaden region
Outcome: Somali forces defeated with massive help from the Soviet Union and Cuba. A peace treaty was signed in 1988

When: 1991
Who: Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front vs Mengistu’s Regime
Why: Governmental control
Outcome: Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front captured Addis Ababa, forcing Mengistu to flee the country; Eritrea established its own provisional government pending a referendum on independence

Ethiopian-Eritrean War
When: 1998-1999
Who: Eritrea vs Ethiopia
Why: Border disputes
Outcome: In 2000, Ethiopia and Eritrea signed a ceasefire agreement which provided for a UN observer force to monitor the truce and supervise the withdrawal of Ethiopian troops from Eritrean territory. In December that year Ethiopia and Eritrea signed a peace agreement in Algeria, ending two years of conflict.

What to see?
…and Eat! Ethiopian food presents a unique cuisine, which is both social and tasty
Aksum: ancient Ethiopian Kingdom, renowned for its multi-storied ancient carved granite obelisks, its archaeological remains and its church, which claims to house the Lost Ark of the Covenant
Blue Nile Falls
Lalibela: Famous for its 12th-century, rock-hewn churches

Popular Sports

Famous Sportsmen and Sportswomen
Haile Gebrselassie is regarded universally as the greatest distance runner of all times
Tirunesh Dibaba: Long distance track athlete and outdoor women’s 5,000m world record holder. Dibaba won gold medals in 5,000m and 10,000m at the 2008 Beijing Olympics

Ethiopia is often ironically referred to as the "water tower" of Eastern Africa because of the many (14 major) rivers that pour off the high tableland. It also has the greatest water reserves in Africa

Can Kiir deliver on his promise of peace and stability in South Sudan?

Read Story:Can Kiir deliver on his promise of peace and stability in South Sudan?