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Ethiopia Country Profile

President : SAHLE-WORK Zewde (since 25 October 2018)

Prime Minister : Abiy Ahmed (since 2 April 2018)

Land area : 432,310 sq mile (1,119,683 sq km); total area: 435,186 sq mi (1,127,127 sq km)

Population (2021 est.) : 118 million

Population growth rate :  2.83% (2018 est.);

Birth rate: 36 births/1,000 population (2018 est.);

Death rate: 7.5 deaths/1,000 population (2018 est.);

Life expectancy: male: 60.5 years, female: 65.5 years (2017 est.);

Capital and largest city (2019 est.) : Addis Ababa, 4.6 million

Monetary unit : Birr

National name : Ityop'iya Federalawi Demokrasiyawi Ripeblik

Languages : Amharic (official national language), Tigrigna, Orominga, Guaragigna, Somali, Arabic, English, over 70 others

Ethnicity / Race :  Oromo 34.4%, Amhara (Amara) 27%, Somali (Somalie) 6.2%, Tigray (Tigrinya) 6.1%, Sidama 4%, Gurage 2.5%, Welaita 2.3%, Hadiya 1.7%, Afar (Affar) 1.7%, Gamo 1.5%, Gedeo 1.3%, Silte 1.3%, Kefficho 1.2%, other 10.5% (2007 est.)

Religions :  Ethiopian Orthodox 43.5%, Muslim 33.9%, Protestant 18.5%, traditional 2.7%, Catholic 0.7%, other 0.6% (2007 est.)

Economic Summary : 

Ethiopia - the second most populous country in Africa - is a one-party state with a planned economy. For more than a decade before 2016, Ethiopia grew at a rate between 8% and 11% annually – one of the fastest growing states among the 188 IMF member countries. This growth was driven by government investment in infrastructure, as well as sustained progress in the agricultural and service sectors. More than 70% of Ethiopia’s population is still employed in the agricultural sector, but services have surpassed agriculture as the principal source of GDP.

Ethiopia has the lowest level of income-inequality in Africa and one of the lowest in the world, with a Gini coefficient comparable to that of the Scandinavian countries. Yet despite progress toward eliminating extreme poverty, Ethiopia remains one of the poorest countries in the world, due both to rapid population growth and a low starting base. Changes in rainfall associated with world-wide weather patterns resulted in the worst drought in 30 years in 2015-16, creating food insecurity for millions of Ethiopians.

The state is heavily engaged in the economy. Ongoing infrastructure projects include power production and distribution, roads, rails, airports and industrial parks. Key sectors are state-owned, including telecommunications, banking and insurance, and power distribution. Under Ethiopia's constitution, the state owns all land and provides long-term leases to tenants. Title rights in urban areas, particularly Addis Ababa, are poorly regulated, and subject to corruption. Ethiopia’s foreign exchange earnings are led by the services sector - primarily the state-run Ethiopian Airlines - followed by exports of several commodities. While coffee remains the largest foreign exchange earner, Ethiopia is diversifying exports, and commodities such as gold, sesame, khat, livestock and horticulture products are becoming increasingly important. Manufacturing represented less than 8% of total exports in 2016, but manufacturing exports should increase in future years due to a growing international presence.

The banking, insurance, telecommunications, and micro-credit industries are restricted to domestic investors, but Ethiopia has attracted roughly $8.5 billion in foreign direct investment, mostly from China, Turkey, India and the EU; US FDI is $567 million. Investment has been primarily in infrastructure, construction, agriculture/horticulture, agricultural processing, textiles, leather and leather products.

In the fall of 2015, the government finalized and published the current 2016-20 five-year plan, known as the Growth and Transformation Plan II, which emphasizes developing manufacturing in sectors where Ethiopia has a comparative advantage, such as textiles and garments, leather goods, and processed agricultural products. To support industrialization, Ethiopia plans to increase installed power generation capacity by 8,320 MW, up from a capacity of 2,000 MW, by building three more major dams and expanding to other sources of renewable energy. In 2017, the government devalued the birr by 15% to increase exports and alleviate a chronic foreign currency shortage in the country.

GDP (Purchasing Power Parity) : $264.05 billion, note: data are in 2017 dollars (2020 est.)

GDP – Per Capita (PPP) : $2,200 (2017 est.)

GDP - Real growth rate : 10.9% (2017 est.)

Agriculture : cereals, pulses, coffee, oil seed, cotton, sugarcane, potatoes, chat, cut flowers; hides, cattle, sheep, goats; fish. 

Industries : food processing, beverages, textiles, leather, chemicals, metals processing, cement. 

Natural resources: small reserves of gold, platinum, copper, potash, natural gas, hydropower. 

Exports: $7,62 billion (2018 est.) : coffee (27%, by value), oilseeds (17%), edible vegetables including chat (17%), gold (13%), flowers (7%), live animals (7%), raw leather products (3%), meat products (3%). (2017)

Imports: $19.93 billion (2018 est.) : machinery and aircraft (14%, by value), metal and metal products, (14%), electrical materials, (13%), petroleum products (12%), motor vehicles, (10%), chemicals and fertilizers (4%).  (2017)

Major trading partners:

Export: China 17%, United States 16%, United Arab Emirates 8%, Saudi Arabia 6%, South Korea 5%, Germany 5% (2019)

Import: China 27%, India 9%, United Arab Emirates 9%, France 9%, United Kingdom 7% (2019)


Railways: total: 659 km (Ethiopian segment of the 756 km Addis Ababa-Djibouti railroad).

Highways: total: 120,171 km ; paved: 14,354 km; unpaved: 96,060 km (2018).

Ports and harbors: Ethiopia is landlocked and uses the ports of Djibouti in Djibouti and Berbera in Somalia. 

Airports: 57; 17 with paved runways and 40 with unpaved runways


Holidays in Ethiopia - 2014 Ethiopia Calendar (2021/2022)

Date Holiday Name
11-Sep Enkutatash (Ethiopian New Year)
27-Sep Meskel (Finding of the True Cross)
7-Jan Ethiopian Christmas (Genna)
19-Jan Epiphany (Timiket)
1-Mar Adwa Victory Day
22-Apr Ethiopian Good Friday (Siklet)
24-Apr Ethiopian Easter Sunday (Fasika)
1-May International Labor Day (May Day)
5-May Patriots' Day
28-May Derg Downfall Day (National Day)

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