macrohistory & world report


Map of Eritrea

Eritrea (capital Asmara) and neighboring states

World Factbook as of November 2014: "Eritrea has a command economy under the control of the sole political party, the People's Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ). Like the economies of many African nations, a large share of the population - nearly 80% - is engaged in subsistence agriculture, but the sector only produces a small share of the country's total output. Since the conclusion of the Ethiopian-Eritrea war in 2000, the government has expanded use of military and party-owned businesses to complete President ISAIAS's development agenda. The government has strictly controled the use of foreign currency by limiting access and availability; new regulations in 2013 have slightly relaxed currently controls... While reliable statistics on food security are difficult to obtain, erratic rainfall and the percentage of the labor force tied up in national service continue to interfere with agricultural production and economic development. Eritrea's harvests generally cannot meet the food needs of the country without supplemental grain purchases. Copper, potash, and gold production is likely to drive economic growth over the next few years, but military spending will continue to compete with development and investment plans. Eritrea's economic future will depend on market reform, international sanctions, global food prices, and success at addressing social problems such as illiteracy and low skills."

Economic growth rate
2011: 8.2%
2010: 2.2%
2009: 3.9%

Labor force in agriculture
2004: 80%

Export- commodities
Livestock, sorghum, textiles, food, small manufactures

Exports partners
2010: Italy 30.5%, Sudan 24%, Saudi Arabia 8.8%, China 8.5%, UK 5.7%, Egypt 4.8%

Export/import ratio
2011: exports $383.5, imports $871.1

Health expenditures
2009: 7% of GDP


Living in an urban area
2010: 22%

Ethnic groups:
2010: Tigrinya 55%, Tigre 30%, Saho 4%, Kunama 2%, Rashaida 2%, Bilen 2%, other (Afar, Beni Amir, Nera) 5%

Muslim, Coptic Christian, Roman Catholic, Protestant

Literacy (age 15 and older who can read and write)
2003: males 69.9%, females 47.6%


Eastern Africa, bordering the Red Sea, north of Ethiopia. Slightly larger than Pennsylvania.


Eritrea is a single party state. Presidents are elected by the National Assembly for a five-year term (and eligible for a second term). The Natonal Assembly (legislative body0 is unicameral, with 150 seats and members elected by direct popular vote to serve five-year terms.

Recent History

World Factbook: "The UN awarded Eritrea to Ethiopia in 1952 as part of a federation. Ethiopia's annexation of Eritrea as a province 10 years later sparked a 30-year struggle for independence that ended in 1991 with Eritrean rebels defeating governmental forces; independence was overwhelmingly approved in a 1993 referendum."

A thirty year struggle from the early 1960s ended in 1991, followed by a referendum in Eritrea in 1993 overwhelmingly approving independence.

Copyright © 2009-2013 by Frank E. Smitha. All rights reserved.