|Form of government
||Federal Democratic Republic
||UTC + 3
|Telephone area code
The Democratic Republic of Ethiopia is a landlocked
country in Northeast Africa and has an area of
1,127,130 km², about three times the size of Germany.
The country borders Eritrea in the north (seceded from
Ethiopia since 1993),Djibouti in the east, Somalia in
the southeast, Kenya in the south and Sudan in the west
Ethiopia's landscape is defined by plateaus that
occupy the entire west and middle east of the country
and are divided by deep valleys. The highlands are
separated into a northwestern and a southeastern part by
the Ethiopian Rift, which is part of the East African
Rift Valley System. In the area of the fracture zone,
it is a volcanically active region with a number of
runoff lakes, the largest of which are Stefanie and
Abaya. In the north of Ethiopia is the country's highest
elevation, the Ras Daschan at 4,620 m. Other four
thousand meter peaks are the Talo (4,413 m) and the Batu
To the west, the highlands drop steeply towards
Sudan, and to the south-east it goes into the Ogaden
lowlands. To the northeast, the trench opens in a funnel
shape to the Denakil Plain (lowest point Kobar Sink 116
m below sea level), which extends to the Red Sea.
Numerous rivers flow through the highlands: the
largest are the Abbai Blue Nile) and the Wabe Shebele.
In contrast, there are hardly any water courses in the
lowlands. The capital Addis Ababa is centrally located
in the interior at an altitude of around 2,400 m.
The climate in Ethiopia is tropical, depending on the
large differences in altitude there are four different
climate zones: Up to a height of approx. 1,600 m (Kolla),
average annual temperatures of 27 กใ C prevail and there
are average precipitation amounts of 500 mm annually,
that fall mostly in the mountainous regions. This is
followed by a warm, temperate zone (Weina Dega, approx.
1,600 to 2,400 m) with an annual average of approx. 22 กใ
C (amount of precipitation at 1,000 mm). This is the
main settlement area in Ethiopia. From 2,400 m up to a
height of approx. 3,900 m there follows a cool temperate
zone (Dega) with annual average values of approx. 16 กใ
C and a rainfall of around 1,800 mm annually. The fourth
climate zone above 3 900 m (Tschoke) is characterized by
night frosts in the dry season. Precipitation mostly
falls in the months of June to September (above 4,000 m
also as snow). There is a dry semi-desert and desert
climate in the Denakil and Ogaden plains.
Flora and fauna
In the dry lowlands of the country (Denakil, Ogaden),
thorny bush vegetation predominates, which merges with
tree savannah towards the southwest. Evergreen wet
forest grows in layers above approx. 1,600 m, and
smaller stands of rainforest above 2,500 m. Above 3 500
m, the vegetation first changes into grasslands and then
into alpine mats.
Typical animal species in the savannah regions are
elephants, giraffes, gazelles, buffalos, hippos, zebras
and lions. There are large populations of flamingos and
pelicans along the water courses and fish-rich lakes in
Ethiopia. The rare Abyssinian ibex lives in the mountain
regions. In Ethiopia there are several national parks to
protect flora and fauna, such as the Omo and the Awash
National Park, which have been declared a World Heritage
Site by UNESCO.
An estimated 79 million people live in Ethiopia,
belonging to over 80 different ethnic groups. The
largest population group are the Oromo with about 40%
and the Amhara with 32% of the total population. Other
ethnic groups include Tigre (9%), Sidamo, Somali, Afar,
Gurage. The population density is thin at around 66
residents per square kilometer. By far the largest city
in the country is the capital Addis Ababa with around 3
million residents. Other major cities are Dire Dawa
(280,000 residents), Gonder (195,000) and Nazret
The two largest religious communities are followers
of Islam (just under half of the total population) and
members of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church (35-40%).
According to COUNTRYAAH, 10% are followers of natural religions. There
are also smaller groups of Hindus, Sikhs and Jews. The
official language in Ethiopia is Amharic, English is
common as a commercial and educational language, as well
as French and Italian. Depending on the ethnic group,
Semitic and Kushite languages are also spoken (eg
Orominga, Tigrinja, Guaraginga, Somali), sometimes also
Arabic. In total there are over 70 tribal languages.
Population growth is very high at over 3%, but so is
child mortality (almost 10%) due to the completely
inadequate medical care. Life expectancy averages 55
years. The proportion of illiterate people in the
population is estimated at almost 60%.
According to the 1994 constitution, Ethiopia is a
democratic Federal Republic. The head of state is the
president elected by parliament (Girma Wolde-Giorgis,
since 2001), who has predominantly representative
functions. The executive is owned by the Prime Minister
as head of government (Hailemariam Desalegn, since
2012), who appoints cabinet members and is usually the
representative of the strongest party in parliament. The
legislature lies with the parliament, which consists of
two chambers: the House of Federation with 135 seats
(filled by the assemblies of the states) and the House
of People's Representatives with a maximum of 550 seats
(direct election by the people, term of office: five
Ethiopia is divided into nine states (from an ethnic
perspective) and two urban regions (Addis Ababa and Dire
Dawa). The highest legal authority is the Supreme Court
in the capital.
Ethiopia is still one of the poorest countries in the
world, and the estimated per capita income of the
population is around $ 370 annually. Much of the
population lives in extreme poverty. In addition to the
consequences of the decades-long civil war, the
country's main problems are above all the recurring
droughts that lead to crop failures and the high
population growth of around 3% - these are also the
reasons for the frequent famines despite the relatively
good harvests in recent years. The country is highly
dependent on foreign donors and aid.
Following the fall of the Derg regime in 1991,
Ethiopia has come a long way from converting a planned
Marxist economy to a more open economy.
The most important economic sector is agriculture,
where 42% of the gross domestic product (GDP) is
generated, approx. 80% of all employed people are
employed here and around 60% of the total export is
covered by agricultural products. The most important
export item is coffee; the slump in coffee prices hurt
the Ethiopian economy massively. Millet, wheat, barley,
corn, potatoes, sugar cane and vegetables are also
grown. The country is a leader in growing and exporting
leaves of the Qat tree, which are popular intoxicants.
Cattle breeding is important, especially cattle, sheep
and goats are kept.
The industrial sector is only moderately developed
and contributes 13% to GDP, around 7% of all workers are
employed here. A large part of the industrial operations
(food processing, beverage production, textile
production, chemical and metal industry) are located in
the metropolitan area around the capital Addis Ababa.
In addition to coffee, mainly leather products, gold
and qat are exported. The main export trading partners
are Germany, the PRC and Somalia. Above all, oil,
industrial accessories, consumer goods and capital goods
are imported to Ethiopia. The PRC is the leading trading
partner here, ahead of Saudi Arabia and India.
Tourism is gaining in importance due to government
Currency is the Birr (= 100 cents).