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Ethiopia Country Guide

Explore Ethiopia 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.

Ethiopia with the capital city Addis Ababa is located in Africa (Eastern Africa, west of Somalia). It covers some 1,127,128 square kilometres (slightly less than twice the size of Texas) with 78,254,000 citizens.

Interactive map of Ethiopia

The landscape offers high plateau with central mountain range divided by Great Rift Valley. The average density of population is approximately 69 per km². The notable climate conditions in Ethiopia can be described as tropical monsoon with wide topographic-induced variation. Potential threats by nature are geologically active Great Rift Valley susceptible to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions or frequent droughts.

To reach someone in Ethiopia dial +251 prior to a number. There are 915,100 installed telephones. And there are 4,052,000 registered mobile phones. The cellular networks commonly support frequencies of 900 Mhz. Websites registered in this country end with the top level domain ".et". If you want to bring electric equipment on your trip (e.g. laptop power supply), note the local power outlet of 220V - 50Hz.

About the flag and history of Ethiopia

Three equal horizontal bands of green (top), yellow, and red, with a yellow pentagram and single yellow rays emanating from the angles between the points on a light blue disk centered on the three bands; green represents hope and the fertility of the land, yellow symbolizes justice and harmony, while red stands for sacrifice and heroism in the defense of the land; the blue of the disk symbolizes peace and the pentagram represents the unity and equality of the nationalities and peoples of Ethiopia
note: Ethiopia is the oldest independent country in Africa, and the three main colors of her flag (adopted ca. 1895) were so often adopted by other African countries upon independence that they became known as the Pan-African colors; the emblem in the center of the current flag was added in 1996.

Unique among African countries, the ancient Ethiopian monarchy maintained its freedom from colonial rule with the exception of a short-lived Italian occupation from 1936-41. In 1974, a military junta, the Derg, deposed Emperor Haile SELASSIE (who had ruled since 1930) and established a socialist state. Torn by bloody coups, uprisings, wide-scale drought, and massive refugee problems, the regime was finally toppled in 1991 by a coalition of rebel forces, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF). A constitution was adopted in 1994, and Ethiopia''s first multiparty elections were held in 1995. A border war with Eritrea late in the 1990s ended with a peace treaty in December 2000. In November 2007, the Eritrea-Ethiopia Border Commission(EEBC) issued specific coordinates as virtually demarcating the border and pronounced its work finished. Alleging that the EEBC acted beyond its mandate in issuing the coordinates, Ethiopia has not accepted them and has not withdrawn troops from previously contested areas pronounced by the EEBC as belonging to Eritrea.

Geography Quick-Facts

Summary Continent: Africa
Neighbours: Eritrea, Kenya, Sudan, Somalia, Djibouti
Capital: Addis Ababa
Size 1,127,127 square kilometers (km² or sqkm) or 435,186 square miles (mi² or sqmi)
slightly less than twice the size of Texas
Population 78,254,000
Currency Name: Birr, Currency Code: ETB
Country Top Level Domain (cTLD) .et
Telephone Country Prefix +251
Mobile Phone Connections 4,052,000
Landline Phone Connections 915,100

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 1,104,300 (sq km) 27

People and Society

Value name Value World Rank
Population 93,877,025 13
Population growth rate 2.90 (%) 11
Birth rate 38.07 (births/1,000 population) 14
Death rate 8.87 (deaths/1,000 population) 70
Net migration rate -0.23 (migrant(s)/1,000 population) 120
Maternal mortality rate 350.00 (deaths/100,000 live births) 31
Infant mortality rate 58.28 (deaths/1,000 live births) 29
Life expectancy at birth 60.00 (years) 193
Total fertility rate 5.31 (children born/woman) 14
Health expenditures 4.90 (% of GDP) 143
Obesity - adult prevalence rate 1.10 (%) 191
Children under the age of 5 years underweight 29.20 (%) 17
Education expenditures 4.70 (% of GDP) 89
Unemployment, youth ages 15-24 24.9 (%) 38


Value name Value World Rank
GDP (purchasing power parity) 105,000,000,000 73
GDP - real growth rate 7.00 (%) 28
GDP - per capita (PPP) 1,200 211
Labor force 37,900,000 17
Distribution of family income - Gini index 30 116
Investment (gross fixed) 22.70 (% of GDP) 66
Taxes and other revenues 14.5 (% of GDP) 192
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) -2.70 (% of GDP) 102
Public debt 44.40 (% of GDP) 77
Inflation rate (consumer prices) 21.70 (%) 218
Commercial bank prime lending rate 16.00 (%) 34
Stock of narrow money 7,851,000,000 84
Stock of broad money 13,350,000,000 94
Stock of domestic credit 13,910,000,000 90
Industrial production growth rate 9.50 (%) 14
Current account balance -2,950,000,000 149
Exports 3,163,000,000 130
Imports 10,600,000,000 94
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold 3,024,000,000 107
Debt - external 9,956,000,000 97


Value name Value World Rank
Electricity - production 4,039,000,000 (kWh) 124
Electricity - consumption 3,648,000,000 (kWh) 126
Electricity - installed generating capacity 1180000 (kW) 120
Electricity - from fossil fuels 17.2 (% of total installed capacity) 192
Electricity - from hydroelectric plants 82.1 (% of total installed capacity) 14
Electricity - from other renewable sources 0.6 (% of total installed capacity) 75
Crude oil - proved reserves 430000 (bbl) 101
Refined petroleum products - consumption 49,080 (bbl/day) 101
Refined petroleum products - imports 42,480 (bbl/day) 73
Natural gas - proved reserves 113,000,000,000 (cu m) 53
Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy 6,740,000 (Mt) 113


Value name Value World Rank
Telephones - main lines in use 829,000 86
Telephones - mobile cellular 14,127,000 56
Internet hosts 179 204
Internet users 447,300 119


Value name Value World Rank
Airports 58 82
Railways 681 (km) 102
Roadways 36,469 (km) 93
Merchant marine 8 121


Value name Value World Rank
Military expenditures 0.90 (% of GDP) 142

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

List of current world heritage sites

Name Since
The ruins of the ancient city of Aksum are found close to Ethiopia's northern border. They mark the location of the heart of ancient Ethiopia, when the Kingdom of Aksum was the most powerful state between the Eastern Roman Empire and Persia. The mass ...
Fasil Ghebbi, Gondar Region
In the 16th and 17th centuries, the fortress-city of Fasil Ghebbi was the residence of the Ethiopian emperor Fasilides and his successors. Surrounded by a 900-m-long wall, the city contains palaces, churches, monasteries and unique public and private ...
Harar Jugol, the Fortified Historic Town
The fortified historic town of Harar is located in the eastern part of the country on a plateau with deep gorges surrounded by deserts and savannah. The walls surrounding this sacred Muslim city were built between the 13th and 16th centuries. Harar J ...
Konso Cultural Landscape
Konso Cultural Landscape is a 55km2 arid property of stone walled terraces and fortified settlements in the Konso highlands of Ethiopia. It constitutes a spectacular example of a living cultural tradition stretching back 21 generations (more than 400 ...
Lower Valley of the Awash
The Awash valley contains one of the most important groupings of palaeontological sites on the African continent. The remains found at the site, the oldest of which date back at least 4 million years, provide evidence of human evolution which has mod ...
Lower Valley of the Omo
A prehistoric site near Lake Turkana, the lower valley of the Omo is renowned the world over. The discovery of many fossils there, especially Homo gracilis, has been of fundamental importance in the study of human evolution. ...
Rock-Hewn Churches, Lalibela
The 11 medieval monolithic cave churches of this 13th-century 'New Jerusalem' are situated in a mountainous region in the heart of Ethiopia near a traditional village with circular-shaped dwellings. Lalibela is a high place of Ethiopian Christianity, ...
Simien National Park
Massive erosion over the years on the Ethiopian plateau has created one of the most spectacular landscapes in the world, with jagged mountain peaks, deep valleys and sharp precipices dropping some 1,500 m. The park is home to some extremely rare anim ...
Tiya is among the most important of the roughly 160 archaeological sites discovered so far in the Soddo region, south of Addis Ababa. The site contains 36 monuments, including 32 carved stelae covered with symbols, most of which are difficult to deci ...