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Eritrea Country Guide

Explore Eritrea in Africa

Travel warning information is updated daily: The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's advisory service suggests to reconsider your need to travel to this country. Take this advice seriously - check with your local authorities whether your exact destination is safe.

Eritrea with the capital city Asmara is located in Africa (Eastern Africa, bordering the Red Sea). It covers some 121,321 square kilometres (slightly larger than Pennsylvania) with 5,028,000 citizens.

Interactive map of Eritrea

The landscape offers dominated by extension of Ethiopian north-south trending highlands, descending on the east to a coastal desert plain, on the northwest to hilly terrain and on the southwest to flat-to-rolling plains. The average density of population is approximately 41 per km². The notable climate conditions in Eritrea can be described as hot, dry desert strip along Red Sea coast with cooler and wetter in the central highlands (up to 61 cm of rainfall annually, heaviest June to September), semiarid in western hills and lowlands. Potential threats by nature are frequent droughts or locust swarms.

To reach someone in Eritrea dial +291 prior to a number. There are 48,500 installed telephones. And there are 141,100 registered mobile phones. The cellular networks commonly support frequencies of 900 Mhz. Websites registered in this country end with the top level domain ".er". If you want to bring electric equipment on your trip (e.g. laptop power supply), note the local power outlet of 230V - 50Hz.

About the flag and history of Eritrea

Red isosceles triangle (based on the hoist side) dividing the flag into two right triangles; the upper triangle is green, the lower one is blue; a gold wreath encircling a gold olive branch is centered on the hoist side of the red triangle; green stands for the country's agriculture economy, red signifies the blood shed in the fight for freedom, and blue symbolizes the bounty of the sea; the wreath-olive branch symbol is similar to that on the first flag of Eritrea from 1952; the shape of the red triangle broadly mimics the shape of the country.

The UN established Eritrea as an autonomous region within the Ethiopian federation in 1952. Ethiopia's full annexation of Eritrea as a province 10 years later sparked a violent 30-year struggle for independence that ended in 1991 with Eritrean rebels defeating government forces. Eritreans overwhelmingly approved independence in a 1993 referendum. ISAIAS Afworki has been Eritrea''s only president since independence; his rule, particularly since 2001, has been highly autocratic and repressive. His government has created a highly militarized society by pursuing an unpopular program of mandatory conscription into national service, sometimes of indefinite length. A two-and-a-half-year border war with Ethiopia that erupted in 1998 ended under UN auspices in December 2000. The Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission (EEBC) created in April 2003 was tasked "to delimit and demarcate the colonial treaty border based on pertinent colonial treaties (1900, 1902, and 1908) and applicable international law." Eritrea for several years hosted a UN peacekeeping operation that monitored a 25 km-wide Temporary Security Zone. The EEBC on 30 November 2007 remotely demarcated the border, assigning the town of Badme to Eritrea, despite Ethiopia''s maintaining forces there from the time of the 1998-2000 war. An increasingly hostile Eritrea insisted that the UN terminate its peacekeeping mission on 31 July 2008. Eritrea has accepted the EEBC''s "virtual demarcation" decision and repeatedly called on Ethiopia to remove its troops. Ethiopia has not accepted the demarcation decision, and neither party has entered into meaningful dialogue to resolve the impasse. Eritrea is subject to several UN Security Council Resolutions (from 2009, 2011, and 2012) imposing various military and economic sanctions, in view of evidence that it has supported armed opposition groups in the region.

Geography Quick-Facts

Summary Continent: Africa
Neighbours: Ethiopia, Sudan, Djibouti
Capital: Asmara
Size 121,320 square kilometers (km² or sqkm) or 46,842 square miles (mi² or sqmi)
slightly larger than Pennsylvania
Population 5,028,000
Currency Name: Nakfa, Currency Code: ERN
Country Top Level Domain (cTLD) .er
Telephone Country Prefix +291
Mobile Phone Connections 141,100
Landline Phone Connections 48,500

Country Position in World Rankings

Information about single country attributes and how these compare against the rest of the world. The information below is compiled with data from 2013. As such, it may differ a bit to the Information above in the text (which is from 2010).


Value name Value World Rank
Area 117,600 (sq km) 101

People and Society

Value name Value World Rank
Population 6,233,682 106
Population growth rate 2.36 (%) 34
Birth rate 31.39 (births/1,000 population) 39
Death rate 7.78 (deaths/1,000 population) 108
Maternal mortality rate 240.00 (deaths/100,000 live births) 47
Infant mortality rate 39.38 (deaths/1,000 live births) 61
Life expectancy at birth 63.19 (years) 181
Total fertility rate 4.25 (children born/woman) 35
Health expenditures 2.70 (% of GDP) 183
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate 0.80 (%) 57
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS 25,000 72
HIV/AIDS - deaths 1,700 57
Obesity - adult prevalence rate 1.50 (%) 188
Children under the age of 5 years underweight 34.50 (%) 8
Education expenditures 2.10 (% of GDP) 164


Value name Value World Rank
GDP (purchasing power parity) 4,468,000,000 173
GDP - real growth rate 7.00 (%) 29
GDP - per capita (PPP) 800 222
Labor force 1,935,000 123
Investment (gross fixed) 27.50 (% of GDP) 33
Taxes and other revenues 27.1 (% of GDP) 107
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) -11.40 (% of GDP) 209
Public debt 118.00 (% of GDP) 11
Inflation rate (consumer prices) 17.00 (%) 215
Stock of narrow money 1,817,000,000 131
Stock of broad money 3,889,000,000 135
Stock of domestic credit 3,947,000,000 123
Industrial production growth rate 8.00 (%) 27
Current account balance -271,500,000 82
Exports 304,500,000 179
Imports 939,700,000 178
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold 171,200,000 161
Debt - external 1,026,000,000 158


Value name Value World Rank
Electricity - production 277,000,000 (kWh) 173
Electricity - consumption 242,000,000 (kWh) 180
Electricity - installed generating capacity 139000 (kW) 162
Electricity - from fossil fuels 99.3 (% of total installed capacity) 57
Electricity - from other renewable sources 0.7 (% of total installed capacity) 74
Refined petroleum products - consumption 4,480 (bbl/day) 173
Refined petroleum products - imports 2,670 (bbl/day) 173
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy 798,200 (Mt) 172


Value name Value World Rank
Telephones - main lines in use 58,500 159
Telephones - mobile cellular 241,900 175
Internet hosts 701 177
Internet users 200,000 140


Value name Value World Rank
Airports 13 152
Railways 306 (km) 119
Roadways 4,010 (km) 158
Merchant marine 4 129


Value name Value World Rank
Military expenditures 6.30 (% of GDP) 10

Data based on CIA facts book 2010 & 2013, wikipedia, national statistical offices and their census releases

List of current world heritage sites

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