macrohistory & world report

Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

map of Ethiopia

Map of Ethiopia

World Factbook as of November 2014: "Ethiopia's economy is based on agriculture but the government is pushing to diversify into manufacturing, textiles, and energy generation.. Coffee is a major export crop. The agricultural sector suffers from poor cultivation practices and frequent drought, but recent joint efforts by the Government of Ethiopia and donors have strengthened Ethiopia's agricultural resilience, contributing to a reduction in the number of Ethiopians threatened with starvation. The banking, insurance, telecommunications, and micro-credit industries are restricted to domestic investors, but Ethiopia has attracted significant foreign investment in textiles, leather, commercial agriculture and manufacturing. Under Ethiopia's constitution, the state owns all land and provides long-term leases to the tenants; land use certificates are now being issued in some areas so that tenants have more recognizable rights to continued occupancy and hence make more concerted efforts to improve their leaseholds. While GDP growth has remained high, per capita income is among the lowest in the world. Ethiopia's economy continues on its state-led Growth and Transformation Plan under the new collective leadership that followed Prime Minister MELES's death. The five-year economic plan has achieved high single-digit growth rates through government-led infrastructure expansion and commercial agriculture development. Ethiopia in 2014 will continue construction of its Grand Renaissance Dam on the Nile – a controversial five billion dollar effort to develop electricity for domestic consumption and export."

Nicholas D. Kristof, July 1, 2012: "Ethiopia's dictator, Meles Zenawi, is doing an excellent job of raising health and living standards, but he also presides over a security service that kills and rapes with impunity — and imprisons journalists who report on abuses. Last week, a sham trial in Ethiopia found one such brave journalist, Eskinder Nega, guilty of terrorism."

Economic growth rate
2011: 7.5%
2010: 8%
2009: 10%

Labor force in agriculture
2009: 85%

Oil production
2010: zero

Oil consumption
2010: 47,000 barrels per day

Export commodities
Coffee, khat, gold, leather products, live animals, oilseeds

Export partners
2009: Switzerland 17%, Germany 11.5%, China 9.1%, Somalia 8.2%, Netherlands 6%

Export/import ratio
2011: exports 2.75 billion, imports

Income Distribution – GINI index
Ranks 115th among 140 countries (lower rank number is less equal).

Health expenditures
2009: 3.6% of GDP


Living in an urban area:
2010: 17%

Ethnic groups
2007 census: Oromo 34.5%, Amara 26.9%, Somalie 6.2%, Tigraway 6.1%, Sidama 4%, Guragie 2.5%, Welaita 2.3%, Hadiya 1.7%, Affar 1.7%, Gamo 1.5%, Gedeo 1.3%, other 11.3%

2007 census: Orthodox Tewadhedo Christian 43.5%, Muslim 33.9%, Protestant 18.6%, animist 2.6%, Roman Catholic 0.7%

Net migration rate
2011: Net loss of 0.01 persons per 1,000 population

Literacy (15 or older who can read and write)
2003: males 50.3%, females 35.1%


Central-Eastern Africa. Landlocked. East of where the Red Sea meets the Gulf of Aden. A little less than half the size of Texas. Capital: Addis Ababa.


President elected by the House of People's Representatives for a six-year term.

Bicameral Parliament. Upper chamber (108 seats), with members chosen by state assemblies to serve five-year terms. Lower chamber (548 seats) with members elected by popular vote for five-year terms.

Recent History

World Factbook: "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."

Oct 2004: The BBC describes a poll of 50,000 families in 28 African countries, by the UN Economic Commission for Africa. There are complaints of "corruption, poor tax systems, run-down and unaccountable public services, weak parliaments and unreformed courts." Ethiopia is among the four lowest ranking countries regarding trust in authorities by those polled.

July 2007. Ethiopia claims to be a democracy, but the regime in power has little tolerance for opposition. Elections are said to be rigged and protesters have been killed. Opposition candidates have been accused of trying to overthrow the government. A judge who accused the police of carrying out a massacre felt compelled to flee the country.

Apr 2008: Foreign Policy magazine describes Ethiopia as 45 percent undernourished.

April 2011: The AHA Foundation reports that a rural village in southern Ethiopia, Senbata Lencho, has vowed to try and end the practice of female genital mutilation.

The World Factbook
BBC News

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