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Flag of Ethiopia

Background Information

  • Unique among countries, the ancient Ethiopian monarchy maintained its freedom from colonial rule, one exception being the Italian occupation of 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, widescale drought, and massive refugee problems, the regime was finally toppled by a coalition of rebel forces, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), in 1991.
  • A constitution was adopted in 1994 and Ethiopians first multiparty elections were held in 1995. A two and a half year border war with Eritrea ended with a peace treaty on 12 December 2000. Final demarcation of the boundary is currently on hold due to Ethiopian objections to an international commission’s finding requiring it to surrender sensitive territory.
  • Although the state controls radio and television, the print and broadcast media have seen dramatic changes since Mengistu’s demise.
  • Deregulation has been on the cards for some years. Would –be private radio broadcaster’s were given license application forms in 2004.
  • Some opposition groups beam radio broadcasts to Ethiopia using hired shortwave transmitter’s overseas.
  • The number of privately owned newspaper’s has grown; some are available online. The Walta website also hosts a few pro-government English Language Newspaper’s.
  • The private press offers quite different reporting to the state owned Newspapers and is often critical of the government.
  • The relationship between the press and the authorities has sometimes been uneasy and media rights organisations have expressed concern about the jailing of journalists.
  • The Ethiopian population is estimated to be 70 million and television broadcast cover’s 47.7% of the country, and 75% of the capital city and its surrounding cities and towns. Estimated viewership is 12 million.


Capital Addis Ababa
Currency Ethopian Birr
Major Ethnic Groups                    

Oromo 32.1%
Amara 30.1%,
Tigraway 6.2%,
Somalie 5.9%,
Guragie 4.3%,
Sidama 3.5%,
Welaita 2.4%,
other 15.4%
Main Languages Amarigna


Religious Breakdown                  Christian 60.8%
(Orthodox 50.6%, Protestant 10.2%),
Muslim 32.8%,
Traditional 4.6%,
Other 1.8% (1994 census)
Population 76,511,887
Growth Rate: 2.272% (2007 est.)
Birth rate: 37.39 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate: 14.67 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Literacy Definition : Age 15 and over that can read or write
Total Population 42.7%
Male 50.3%
Female 35.1% (2003 est.)
HIV Aids Adult Prevalence Rate 4.4% (2003 est.)
People Living with HIV/AIDS 1.5 million (2003 est.)
Deaths 120,000 (2003 est.)


Government Federal Republic
Constitution Ratified December 1994
Effective 22 August 1995
Legal System Based on civil law; currently transitional mix of national and regional courts; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Chief of State President GIRMA Woldegiorgis (since 8 October 2001)
Head of Government                                                                                                             Prime Minister MELES Zenawi (since August 1995)
Elections President elected by the House of People's Representatives for a six-year term (eligible for a second term); election last held 15 May 2005 (next to be held in October 2010); prime minister designated by the party in power following legislative elections
Cabinet Selected by the Prime Minister and approved by the House of Peoples Representatives.

Banking And Business

Banking and Business Hours
Economy Ethiopia's poverty-stricken economy is based on agriculture, accounting for almost half of GDP, 60% of exports, and 80% of total employment. The agricultural sector suffers from frequent drought and poor cultivation practices. Coffee is critical to the Ethiopian economy with exports of some $350 million in 2006, but historically low prices have seen many farmers switching to qat to supplement income.
GDP Purchasing Power Parity $73.79 billion (2006 est.)
Exchange Rate : $13.32 billion (FY05/06 est.)
Real Growth Rate -10.6% (2006 est.)
Per Capita $1,000 (2006 est.)
Composition By Sector    Agriculture 46.7%
Industry 12.9%
Services 40.4% (2006 est.)
Labour Labour Force 27.27 million (1999)
Labour Force by Occupation: agriculture: 80%, Industry: 8%, Services: 12% (1985)
Unemployment Rate N/A
Electricity Electricity Production 2.294 billion kWh (2004)
Electricity Consumption 2.133 billion kWh (2004)
Exports 0 kWh (2004)
Imports 0 kWh (2004)
Export Exports: $1.085 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.)
Export Commodities: Coffee, qat, gold, leather products Live animals, oilseeds.
Export Partners: China 10.5%, Germany 8.6%, Japan 7.4%, US 6.8%, Saudi Arabia 5.8%, Djibouti 5.7%, Switzerland 5%, Italy 5% (2006)
Transportation                                                                                                                                                                                                         Railways Total 699 km (Ethiopian segment of the Addis Ababa-Djibouti railroad)
Narrow Gauge 699 km 1.000-m gauge
Highways Total: 36,469 km
Paved 6,980 km
Unpaved 29,489 km (2004)
Ports and terminals: Ethiopia is landlocked and uses the port of Djibouti
Airports 84 (2006)

Schooling And Holidays

Public Holidays                                                                                                                             

Jan 7 Ethiopian Chrismas
Jan 19 Timket *
Feb 2 Eid Al Adha
Mar 2 Battle of Adowa
Apr 9 Ethiopian Good Friday*
Apr 11 Ethiopian Easter*
May 2 Mouloud (Birth of the prophet)
May 28 Downfall of the Dergue
Sep 11 Ethiopian New Year*
Sep 28 Finding of the True Cross*
Nov 14-16 Eid al-Fitr (End of Ramadan)

The Astrix indicates Coptic Holidays, Ethiopia still uses the Julian Calender, which is divided into 12 months of 30 days each and a 13th month of 5 or 6 days at the end of the year, hence the date for Christmas. The Ethiopian calender is 7 years and 8 months behind our own.



Tv Stations

Ethiopian Television (ETV) is government owned TV station that broadcasts various programmes in four languages: Amharic, Oromigna, Tigrigna and English. ETV currently has the highest viewer-ship.

Radio Stations

  • Radio Ethiopia - Amharic, English, French,Arabic, Afar, Orominga,Tigrinya & Somali
  • Educational Mass Media Enterprise - Amharic & Somali
  • Radio Ethiopia – Northern Region - Amharic &Tigrinya
  • Radio Ethiopia – Southern Region - Sidama & Amharic
  • Radio Ethiopia – Eastern Region - Orominga & Somali
  • Radio Ethiopia – Central Region - Amharic
  • Radio Ethiopia – External Service - Afar, Arabic, English, French and Somali
  • Radio Fana - Amharic, English, Orominga, & Tigrinya
  • Radio Gedja - Amharic
  • Torch Radio - Amharic
  • Vioce of the Tigrai Revolution - Tigrinya
  • Voice of one Free Ethiopia - Amharic
  • Voice of Peace (UN Funded) - Somali & Asmharic
  • Radio Amohoro (Funded by Belgian Govt.) - Kinyarwanda



  • Addis Zemem (Daily) - Amharic
  • Ethiopian Herald (Daily) - English
  • Hibret (Daily) - Tigrinya
  • Ilete Addis (Daily) - Amharic
  • Addis Tribune (Weekly) - English
  • Monitor Ethiopia (4xWeekly) - English
  • Al Alam (Weekly) - Arabic
  • Atkurot (Weekly) - Amharic
  • Eftoya (Weekly) - Amharic
  • Ethiopian Press Digest (Weekly) - English
  • Mahlet (Weekly) - Amharic
  • Seifenbelbal (Weekly) - Amharic
  • Tobya (Weekly) - Amharic
  • Addis Zemit (Weekly) - Amharic
  • Abyotawit Ethiopia (Fortnightly) - Amharic
  • Wetaderna alamaw (Fortnightly) - Amharic
  • Ethiopis Review (Monthly) - Tigrinya
  • Ethiopia Today (Monthly) - English
  • The Sun (Monthly) - English
  • Ye Ethiopia Dimiz (Monthly) - Amharic

Special Interest

  • Berissa (Weekly) - Ormigna and Amharic  
  • Educamus (Monthly) - English & Setswana
  • Business And Construction Review - English
  • Business and Financial Times (Monthly) - English
  • Business Focus Magazine (Bi-Monthly) - English
  • Business Promoter (Quarterly) - English
  • Wena – Indutry and Enviroment Magazine (Quarterly) - English and Setswana
  • Southern African Transport and Communications Magazine (Monthly) - English
  • The Writer (Monthly) - English
  • Marung (Monthly) - English
  • Focus on Africa (Quarterly) - English
  • African Sports News (Quarterly) - English
  • Kultwano (Monthly) - Setswana & English
  • Motswana (Monthly) - English
  • Sa Adia(Monthly) - English & Setswana

Outdoor Media

Country Data