Ethiopia Facts, Figures and General Information:
The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia is located in the Horn of Africa, bordered by Eritrea to the North, Sudan to the Northwest, South Sudan to the West, Kenya to the Southwest and Somalia to the Southeast/East. The capital of the country is Addis Ababa, which is located in the center of the country and is by far the largest city.
In 2016, the country’s population was estimated to be around 91 million inhabitants, a figure which is increasing, albeit relatively slowly. Among other reasons, this is likely due to the fact that Ethiopians are living longer nowadays; life expectancy at birth has remarkably improved by ten years over the last decade. Approximately 26 percent are under the age of 14 and almost half are under 34.While the total population is expected to increase, the World Bank documents that population growth from year to year is decreasing, as there has been a reduction in the fertility rate, from around 6 children per woman in 2005 to around 4 children per woman in 2015. However, the country still has one of the highest fertility rates worldwide.
Ethiopia’s economy is improving. It is one of the countries with the highest GDP growth rates in the world; Ethiopia's GDP is increasing steadily and is expected to reach 98 billion U.S. dollars by 2020. However, its GDP per capita is one of the lowest in the world, which may also be due to the high fertility rate.
The agricultural and services sectors compose relatively large and equal shares of the economy, around 40 percent each. The rest pertains to the industrial sector. For the past few years, Ethiopia has reported a trade deficit, which is not likely to recover anytime soon. In 2016, the country exported goods estimated to be worth 4.61 billion U.S. dollars, but imported goods worth 4 times as much. Ethiopia’s most important trade partners, for both imports and exports include China and Saudi Arabia.
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 famine, and massive refugee problems, the regime was finally toppled in 1991 by a coalition of rebel forces, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front. A constitution was adopted in 1994, and Ethiopia's first multiparty elections were held in 1995. In August 2012, longtime leader Prime Minister MelesZenawi died in office and was replaced by his Deputy Prime Minister HailemariamDesalegn, marking the first peaceful transition of power in decades.
Ethiopia is one of the few African countries never to lose its independence, Ethiopia is as large as France and Spain combined, and has one of the richest histories on the African continent.
Addis Ababa: The capital was settled in 1886 and christened by Queen Taytu, consort of Menelik II. It has an estimated population of 3.6 million in the city proper, and a metro population of more than 4.6 million.
Other major cities include Adama (324,000), Gondar (324,000), Mek'ele (324,000), and Hawassa (302,000). Religion: The major religions are Christianity (Ethiopian Orthodox Church) and Islam.
Language:Amharic is the official language of Ethiopia, although English, Italian, French, and Arabic are widely spoken. In areas outside of the larger cities and towns, indigenous languages are likely to be spoken - of which there are eighty-three, with some 200 dialects. The most common of these are Oromifa and Tigrigna.
Climate:Despite its proximity to the Equator, Ethiopia's high altitude ensures a temperate, moderate, even chilly, climate - certainly not tropical. There are two rainy seasons: the irregular short rains from late January to early March, and the long rains from June until mid-September.