About Ethiopia

 

 
 

 
 
Ethiopia is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is bordered by Eritrea to the north and northeast, Djibouti and Somalia to the east, Sudan and South Sudan to the west, and Kenya to the south.
 
With about 90 million inhabitants, Ethiopia is the most populous landlocked country in the world, as well as the second-most populated nation on the African continent. It occupies a total area of 1,100,000 square kilometres (420,000 sq mi), and its capital and largest city is Addis Ababa
 
 

Official Name:
 
The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (FDRE)  
 
The Federation is composed of Nine States (killil): Tigray, Afar, Amhara, Oromia, Somali, Benishangul-Gumuz, Southern Nations Nationalities and People Region (SNNPR), Gambella and Harari Regional States; and two Chartered Cities - Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa. The national regional states and the two city administrative councils are further divided into eight hundred woredas (districts) and around 15,000 kebeles (neighborhoods, the lowest level of elected administration). 

Government:

 
Ethiopia is a multi-party federal democracy with legislative authority resting with the government headed by an executive prime minister and the elected House of Representatives (547 members) and the House of Federation (110 members). The Prime Minister is chosen by the party in power following multi-party democratic national and federal state elections which are held every five years. Parties can be registered at either the national or the federal state level. The President is elected by the members of the House of People’s Representatives.
 
President: Dr. Mulatu Teshome
Prime Minister: Hailemariam Desalegn
Speaker of the House of People’s Representatives: Abadula Gemeda


The last federal and national elections were held in 2015 and were won by the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front. The regional states (killil) elect their own Regional State Councils chosen from among their members. The State Councils also designate members for the House of Federation.

 

Region  

Seats

Results

Oromia

178

EPRDF

Amhara

138

EPRDF 137 APDO 1

SNNP

123

EPRDF 122 PRIVATE 1

Tigray

38

EPRDF

Addis Ababa

23

EPRDF  22 FORUM  1

Afar

8

ANDP

Benishangul Gumuz

9

BGPDP

Gambella

3

GPUDM

Dire Dawa

2

EPRDF 1 SPDP  1

Harari

2

EPRDF 1 HNL    1

Somali

24

SPD

 
ANDP - Afar National Democratic Party; APDO - Argoba People Democratic Organization; BGPDP – Benishangul-Gumuz People’s Democratic Party; Forum - Ethiopian Federal Democratic Unity Forum (Medrek); GPUDM – Gambella Peoples Unity Democratic Movement; HNL - Harari National League; SPDM –Somali People’s Democratic Movement. The EPRDF - the Ethiopian Peoples Revolutionary Democratic Party, is a coalition of the Amhara National Democratic Movement (ANDM), the Oromo People’s Democratic Organization (OPDO), the Tigrai People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and the Southern Ethiopian Peoples’ Democratic Front (SEPDF).
The EPRDF won 499 of the 547 federal parliamentary seats, with 38 seats in Tigray, 137 in Amhara, 178 in Oromia, 122 in South Ethiopia Peoples State and 22 seats in Addis Ababa. Allied parties won 8 seats in Afar states, 9 seats in Benishangul Gumuz, 3 seats in Gambella State and 23 seats in Somali State. The EPRDF also won one seat in each of Harari state and the Dire Dawa City Administration. The opposition Forum won one seat in Addis Ababa; an independent candidate won a seat in the South Ethiopia Peoples State.

Capital City:

 
Addis Ababa, one of the two chartered cities in the Federation, is the seat of the Federal Government and is also the capital of the Oromia Regional State. It is the largest city in the country with a population of 2.7 million at the 2007 census (estimated at 3.2 million in 2011). It lies on the central plateau at an altitude of 2300-2400 meters, and with an average temperature of around 160C.
Addis Ababa, founded in 1887, is host to the African Union (AU) and to the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA). Several other international organizations have their head quarters and offices there. It the seat of the Federal Government, the House of Representatives and the House of Federation, as well as country’s center of commerce and industry.
 
Regional State Governments and Capitals:
 
Afar Regional State: Semera
Amhara Regional State: Bahr Dar
Benishangul Gumuz: Asossa
Gambella Regional State: Gambella
Harar State: Harar
Oromia Regional State: Finfine (Addis Ababa)
Somali Regional State: Jijiga
SNNP Regional State: Hawassa
Tigray Regional State: Makelle
 
Location and Boundaries:
 
Ethiopia is located in the centre of the Horn of Africa. It shares borders with the Sudan and South Sudan to the west; Eritrea to the north and north-east; Djibouti and Somaliland to the east; Somalia and Kenya to the south.
It covers an area of 1.14 million square Kilometers (944,000 square miles)
The population according to the 2007 Census was 73,918,505. The growth rate is estimated at 3.2% and the current population estimate is now 90 million, of which 46% fall within the 1-14 age range; 51% between 15 and 64; and 3% are over 65. Approximately 17% of the population is estimated to live in urban areas.

Language:


Amharic is the official language of Ethiopia, although English is fairly 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.



Nation and Nationalities:

 
Ethiopia is home to over 80 different peoples and nationalities. According to the 2007 census the larger ones are: Oromo 25.5 million (35%); Amhara 20 million (27%); Somali 4.6 million 6.2%); Tigrean 4.5 million (6.1%) Sidama 3 million (4%); Gurage 1.9 million (2.5%); Welayta 1.7 million (2.3%); Hadiya 1.3 million (1.7%); Afar 1.3 million (1.7%); Gamo 1.1 million (1.5%).
 
Religion:
Christians make up 62.8% of the population (43.5% follow the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and 19.3 other denominations); Muslims 33.9%; traditional faiths 2.6%; and others 0.6%.

Climate:
Although Ethiopia lies within 15 degrees North of the Equator, overall the country enjoys moderate temperatures and a pleasant climate, with average temperature rarely exceeding 200C (680F), owing to the moderating influence of high altitude. The more sparsely populated lowlands tend to have sub–tropical and tropical climates; and parts of the Afar regional State in the east of the country which lie below sea level are considered to be the hottest place on earth with temperatures regularly reaching 500C (1200F) or more. 
At approximately 850mm (34inches), the average annual rainfall for the whole country is considered to be moderate by global standards. In most of the highland areas, rainfall occurs in two distinct seasons: the “small rains” (belg) during February and March and the “big rains” (kremt) from June to September. In the south east lowlands the rainy seasons are from March to May, the longer season (gu), and the short rainy season from October to December (deyr).
 
Communications:

There are international airports at Addis Ababa (Bole International Airport), and at Dire Dawa, Bahr Dar, Gondar, Lalibela, Axum, Arba Minch, and Mekelle. The national carrier, Ethiopian Airlines, has an excellent international reputation and currently flies to 63 international destinations in America, Europe, Africa and Asia as well as 17 local flight destinations. It is now taking delivery of the latest Boeing 787 “Dreamliner” aircraft for its long haul flights.
The main entry points by road are at Moyale (from Kenya), Humera and Metema (from Sudan), Dewele (from Djibouti). All have full customs and immigration checks. Until Eritrea invaded Ethiopia in 1998, Humera, Rama, Zalembessa and Bure were entry points from Eritrea; in the absence of any effort by Eritrea to normalize relations, they remain closed.
 

 Ethiopian month  

 Gregorian month  

 Gregorian dates 2011-2012

 Meskerem

 September     

September 11 - October 10

 Tekemt  

 October  

October 11 – November 9

 Hedar

  November 

November 10 – December 9

 Tahsas

 December

December 10 – January 8

 Tir

  January    

January 9 – February 7

 Yekatit

  February     

February 8 - March 9

 Megabit

 March  

March 10 – April 9

 Miyazya

   April  

April 10 -  May 8

 Ginbot

 May 

May 9– June 7

 Sene

  June    

June 8 – July 7

 Hamle

  July  

July 8 – August 6

 Nehase

   August     

August 7 – September 5


Ethiopia is in the GMT +3 time zone. Business hours vary according to the nature of the business. Normally government offices and most other office hours are from 8:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. from Monday through Thursday. Working hours on Friday are 8:30am to 11:30am and 1:30pm to 5:30pm.

Banks are open from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. from Monday through Thursday. Working hours on Friday are 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. to 3: 00 p.m. and Saturday 8:30 to 11a.m.
 Ethiopians also use a 12-hour clock, with one cycle of 1 to 12 running from dawn (6am) to dusk (6pm) and the other cycle from dusk to dawn. The start of the day is dawn, rather than midnight. Thus, 7:00 AM in East Africa Time (EAT) corresponds to 1:00 daylight in local Ethiopian time; 12:00 noon EAT is 6:00 daylight hours; and 6:00 pm EAT is 12:00 local time.

Tourism

Ethiopia has an unequalled range of natural habitats, ranging from the extraordinary peaks and ambas (flat-topped summits) of the Simien Mountains at over 4,000 meters, to the Danakil Depression, 120 meters below sea-level, one of the lowest points as well as the hottest place on Earth. There are Afro-Alpine highlands, moors and mountains, deep gorges, the Sof Omar caves (the most extensive in Africa), the Great Rift Valley and its many lakes, tropical rain forests, white-water rivers and rock climbing faces, savannahs, waterfalls, volcanic hot springs and  a volcano or two. These are supplemented by a wealth of historic, cultural, religious, archaeological and anthropological sites, including the northern “historic route” which incorporates the former capitals of Gondar (17and 18th centuries), Axum (1st-8th centuries), and Lalibela (12th-13th centuries) with its spectacular rock-hewn churches, as well as the monasteries on Lake Tana (and the Blue Nile falls), and the numerous rock churches of Tigray region, many dating to the 14-16th centuries, or even earlier.  
 
The capital, Addis Ababa, this year is celebrating the 129th year of its foundation by the Emperor Minelik in 1887. The story goes that he built a palace on top of the Entoto Hills a thousand metres above the future site of Addis Ababa. His wife, the Empress Taitu, finding the hilltop too cold and wet, removed to the hot springs at the bottom of the hill and refused to return. After waiting two years, Minelik had to relocate his palace as the only way to see his wife again. There is now a museum, the Entoto St. Mary Museum, on top of the Entoto Hills, the original site of the imperial settlement, 3,200 meters above sea level. It holds articles of historical significance including imperial crowns, ceremonial dresses of the Emperor Minelik and the Empress Taitu, and drums used on the march to the battle of Adwa where the Italians were defeated in 1896.
 
The National Museum of Ethiopia holds the earliest hominid skeletons of Lucy (3.4 million years old) and Ramidus (4.4 million years old), as well as jewellery, costumes, paintings and sculptures. The Ethnographic Museum of the Institute of Ethiopian Studies is on the site of the former imperial palace of Emperor Haile Selassie and now part of Addis Ababa University. The Zoological Natural History Museum has displays of Ethiopia's wealth of wildlife, including many examples of the country’s endemic species of rodents, bats, carnivores, primates, birds, snakes, lizards, amphibians, fishes and invertebrates. There are a number of church museums in the city with fascinating wall paintings. The Ethiopian Postal Museum has a collection of the country’s stamps, the  Addis Ababa Museum in the former palace of Ras Biru built at the turn of the 19th century,  has a collection of photographs depicting the development of the city, and the nearby Red Terror Museum contains details of the disastrous Red Terror 1977-78. The city has a number of parks including the Lion Park with its rare Black-maned Lions near the Addis Ababa University, the country’s oldest University at Sedist Kilo.
 
World Heritage Sites
Ethiopia now has nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites,  the most recent of which is the Konso Cultural Landscape, a 55 sq km area of stone-walled terraces and fortified settlements in the Konso highlands of Ethiopia. It is a spectacular example of a living cultural tradition stretching back 21 generations (more than 400 years) adapted to a largely dry and hostile environment. It is features anthropomorphic wooden statues, grouped to represent respected members of their communities and heroic events, a testimony to funerary traditions that are on the verge of disappearing. Stone steles in the towns express a complex system of marking the passing of generations of leaders.
The other sites:
               
Aksum:  The ruins of Aksum include monolithic obelisks, giant stelae, royal tombs and the ruins of ancient buildings many dating from the greatest period of the Axumite empire between the 3rd and 7th centuries CE. (Listed in 1980)
 
The fortress-city of Fasil Ghebbi at Gondar, started by the Emperor Fasilides in the early 17th century, was the imperial center for two hundred and fifty years. Surrounded by a 900 meter-long wall, the imperial enclosure and other buildings in the vicinity include palaces, churches, monasteries and various public and private buildings some showing Hindu and Arab influences, subsequently transformed by the Baroque style brought to Gondar by the Jesuit missionaries in the early 17th century. (Listed in 1979)
 
The walled and historic town of Harar is located in the eastern part of the country. The walls surrounding this sacred Muslim city were built between the 13th and 16th centuries. Harar Jugol, said to be the fourth holiest city of Islam, holds 82 mosques, three of which date from the 10th century, and 102 shrines, but the townhouses with their exceptional interior design constitute the most spectacular part of Harar's cultural heritage. (Listed in 2006)
               
The Lower Valley of the Awash which 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 important evidence of human evolution. The most spectacular discovery came in 1974, when 52 fragments of a skeleton enabled ‘Lucy’ to be reconstructed. (Listed in 1980)
 
The lower valley of the Omo, a collection of prehistoric sites near Lake Turkana, has produced many fossils there, especially those of Homo gracilis, and is of fundamental importance in the study of human evolution. (Listed in 1980)
 
The Rock-Hewn Churches of Lalibela, with 11 medieval monolithic cave churches in this 13th century 'New Jerusalem', is situated in a mountainous region in the heart of Ethiopia. A central site of Ethiopian Christianity it remains a place of pilgrimage and devotion. (Listed in 1978)
 
Tiya is among the most important of about 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 decipher. They are the remains of an ancient Ethiopian culture which has yet to be dated or defined whose age has not yet been precisely determined. (Listed in 1980)
 
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 as much as 1500 meters. (Listed in 1978)
 
National Parks:
Awash National Park  is the oldest wildlife reserve in Ethiopia. It contains the Fantalle Volcano, numerous mineral hot-springs and extraordinary volcanic formations as well as the Awash River which has some spectacular waterfalls. Less than three hours drive east of Addis Ababa it is 225 kms from the city. Within its 720 sq. kms can be seen oryx, Soemmerring's gazelle,  bushbuck, waterbuck, dik-dik, zebra, cheetah, serval and leopard, anubis and hamadryas baboons, colobus and green monkeys, lesser and greater kudu, giant tortoise, hippopotamus, reedbuck, aardvark and caracal and klipspringer. Over four hundred species of birds have been recorded in the park, ranging from ostrich to Secretary Birds and Abyssinian Ground Hornbill, from Carmine Bee-eaters, and Abyssinian Roller to Coucal, Turacos, Go-away Birds and a wide variety of birds of prey and savannah species.
 
The Bale Mountains Park is an area of high altitude plateau broken by numerous spectacular volcanic plugs and peaks, beautiful alpine lakes and rushing mountain streams. From the plateau rise several mountain peaks, including Tullu Deemtu the second-highest mountain in Ethiopia at 4,377 m above sea level. It is the largest area of Afro-Alpine habitat in the whole of Africa, and offers unsurpassed mountain walking, horse trekking, scenic driving and the chance to view many of Ethiopia's endemic mammals, notably the Mountain Nyala, Menelik’s bushbuck and the Semien Fox. Endemic species of birds include the thick-billed Raven, Wattled Ibis, Blue-winged Goose, and Rouget's Rail. Other species include the Black-winged Love-bird and Yellow-fronted Parrot, Abyssinian Catbird, Abyssinian Longclaw, Black-headed Siskin, Ruddy Shelduck, Wattled Crane, Lammergeier and Steppe Eagle.