Ethiopia – Country Overview

The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia is the ninth largest country in Africa and is located in the northeastern region, popularly referred to as the Horn of Africa. The country’s capital is Addis Ababa. And Ethiopia extends from 3o-15o north of the equator, and 33o–48o east of the Greenwich Meridian. As a landlocked country, Ethiopia is bound to the east by Djibouti and Somalia, to the north and northeast by Eritrea, to the south by Kenya and to the west by the Sudan. The total land area of the country 1.14 million Sq. Km. Among this land area, the country has 45% of arable land 10 million hectares of irrigable land. There are ten major rivers (7000 km long) and many lakes covering the area of 7400 sq. km. in area.

The demography of the country shows that the total population size is about 80 million 39.9 million female and 40.1 million male population. The rural population accounts for 66.8 million while the urban is estimated to be 13.2 million. The total population growth rate is by 2.73% per annum. Recent average population density shows 66.5 persons live per sq.km. The life expectancy average is 53.42 years for males and 55.42 years for females.

When we see the age structure, young people below 14 constitute for 42.8% while adolescents in the age range 15-19 constitute 10.5% of the total population. This shows that 53.3% of the population is young and productive. People between the age of 20-49 constitute for 37.4% while the remaining 4.9% and 4.4% are occupied by people’s age ranging 50-59 and 60 and above respectively.

Ethiopia is a country of great geographical diversity. Located within the tropics, its physical conditions and variations in altitude have resulted in great range of terrain, climate, soil, flora and fauna. Ethiopia has high and rugged mountains, flat-topped plateau called "Ambas," deep gorges, incised river valleys and vast rolling plains. Its altitude ranges from the highest peak at Ras Dashen (4620 meters above sea level) down to the Dalol (also known as the Danakil) depression, approximately 148 meters below sea level.

The major features of Ethiopia's landscape are lines of great escarpments overlooking the Afar plains and along its western borderlands, as well as great massifs. From lush plains and mountains to arid expanses, much of Ethiopia is dissected by tributaries to well-known rivers including Abay (The Blue Nile), Tekeze, Awash, Omo, the Wabe Shebellie and Baro-Akobo.

Resulting from an extensive fault that cracked the old crystalline block of the African continent along the eastern side, Ethiopia's Great Rift Valley stretches from the eastern end of the Mediterranean Basin down to Mozambique in the southeastern part Africa. The Great Rift Valley system separates the western highlands and the southeastern highlands. On each side the highlands, the Rift Valley system give way to vast semi-arid lowland area in the east, west and especially the south.

Government Overview

Ethiopia adopted a new constitution that established the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (FDRE) in 1995.The federal government is responsible for national defense, foreign relations and general policy of common interest and benefits. The federal state comprises nine autonomous states vested with power for self-determination. The FDRE is structured along the lines of bicameral parliament, with the council of Peoples' Representatives being the highest authority of the federal government while the federal council represents the common interests of the nations, nationalities and peoples of the states. Members of both councils are elected by universal suffrage for a five-year term.

Ethiopia adopted a new constitution that established the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (FDRE) in 1995.The federal government is responsible for national defense, foreign relations and general policy of common interest and benefits. The federal state comprises nine autonomous states vested with power for self-determination. The FDRE is structured along the lines of bicameral parliament, with the council of Peoples' Representatives being the highest authority of the federal government while the federal council represents the common interests of the nations, nationalities and peoples of the states. Members of both councils are elected by universal suffrage for a five-year term.

The federal state is headed by a constitution president and the federal government by an executive prime minister who is accountable to the council of peoples' Representative. Each autonomous state is headed by a state president elected by the state council. The judiciary is constitutionally independent. The Federal Democratic Republic is composed of states which are delimited on the basis of settlement patterns, language, identity and consent of the peoples concerned.

The People and Culture

Ethiopia is said to be cultural mosaic due to its eighty different languages and dialects and as many, if not more, cultural variations. The major Ethnic groups include the Oromo, the Amhara, the Tigrians, Wolayta, Somali, Sidama, Guraghe, Hadiya, Kamabata, etc., which are over 80. The Oromos are the largest ethnic group in the country occupying the vast central part of the country. Besides people belonging to Nilo-Saharan ethnic group occupy the western part of the Country stretching from the borders with Eritrea to Lake Turkana.

The country is well-known for a number of smaller communities whose cultures, languages and traditions. The country also entertains varying religions the dominant regions being Orthodox, Islam, Catholic, Protestant and others. The country is also known for its folk traditions having varying artists and craftsmen in different areas. The country’s official language is Amharic.

Ethiopian has a calendar has 12 months of 30 days each and 13 month having 5 days (6 every four years) which makes the country 13 months of sunshine. The Ethiopian calendar year lags by 7 or 8 years from the Gregorian calendar, by now the country is in the year 2006. Similarly the time in Ethiopia is three hours behind the GMT.

Climatic Condition

Ethiopia’s climate varies according to the different agro-ecological regions. The central plateau has a moderate climate with minimal seasonal temperature variation. The mean minimum during the coldest season is 6°C (43°F) while the mean maximum rarely exceeds 26°C (79°F). Temperature variations in the lowlands are much greater, and the heat in the desert and Red Sea coastal areas is extreme, with occasional highs of 60°C (140°F). Heavy rainfall occurs in most of the country during June, July and August. The average annual precipitation on the central plateau is roughly 122 cm (48 in). The Northern provinces receive less rainfall, and the average annual precipitation in the Ogaden is less than 10 cm (4 in). The westernmost region of Ethiopia receives an annual rainfall of nearly 200 cm (80 in).

Economy

The Ethiopian economy is dominated by the agriculture and services sectors - with each accounting for about 45% of gross domestic product (GDP. Exports are highly concentrated, with coffee alone accounting for more than 60 percent of the total. Approximately 45% of Ethiopia's landmass is arable.

Currently, agriculture is the leading sector in terms of contribution to the overall economic growth and devel¬opment by supplying food for domestic consumption and raw materials for the domestic manufacturing industries and primary export commodities which constitute as high as 86% of the total foreign exchange earnings. The national economy, therefore, is highly correlated with the performance of the agricultural sector. Moreover, the sector accounts currently for 85% of employment, and supplies 70% of the raw material requirements of local industries.

The manufacturing sector, which accounted for merely 13.3% of GDP in 2006/07, is dominated by food, beverage, textiles, hides & skins, and leather industries. But most recently considerable amount of investment is directed towards the establishment of different projects including sugar and cement facto¬ries in response to the strong surge in demand for the products. The sector is primarily oriented toward processing of agricultural commodities. It supplies important consumer goods to the domestic market. The major manufactured export products comprise clothing and apparel, canned and frozen meat, semi-processed hides and skins, sugar and molasses, footwear, tobacco, beverages, oil cakes, bees' wax, and leather and leather products.

Similarly, the service sector is also contributing to the GDP although growing steadily. The Share of the service sector has been growing up slowly and this mainly the result of the fast growth of education, real state, renting and business activities, wholesale and retail trade, and hotels and restaurants sub-sectors.

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EHPEA

Phone no: (+251) 11 663 67 50

Email: ehpea@ethionet.et

On Mickey Leyland Road, Chechenya, NB Business Center 6th Floor (603 and 604)