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Africa :: Eritrea Print
Page last updated on October 01, 2019
  • Introduction :: Eritrea
  • Background field listing
    After independence from Italian colonial control in 1941 and 10 years of British administrative control, the UN established Eritrea as an autonomous region within the Ethiopian federation in 1952. Ethiopia's full annexation of Eritrea as a province 10 years later sparked a violent 30-year struggle for independence that ended in 1991 with Eritrean rebels defeating government forces. Eritreans overwhelmingly approved independence in a 1993 referendum. ISAIAS Afwerki has been Eritrea's only president since independence; his rule, particularly since 2001, has been highly autocratic and repressive. His government has created a highly militarized society by pursuing an unpopular program of mandatory conscription into national service – divided between military and civilian service – of indefinite length. A two-and-a-half-year border war with Ethiopia that erupted in 1998 ended under UN auspices in December 2000. A UN peacekeeping operation was established that monitored a 25 km-wide Temporary Security Zone. The Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission (EEBC) created in April 2003 was tasked "to delimit and demarcate the colonial treaty border based on pertinent colonial treaties (1900, 1902, and 1908) and applicable international law." The EEBC on 30 November 2007 remotely demarcated the border, assigning the town of Badme to Eritrea, despite Ethiopia's maintaining forces there from the time of the 1998-2000 war. Eritrea insisted that the UN terminate its peacekeeping mission on 31 July 2008. More than a decade of a tense “no peace, no war” stalemate ended in 2018 after the newly elected Ethiopian Prime Minister accepted the EEBC’s 2007 ruling, and the two countries signed declarations of peace and friendship in July and September. Following the July 2018 peace agreement with Ethiopia, Eritrean leaders engaged in intensive diplomacy around the Horn of Africa, bolstering regional peace, security, and cooperation, as well as brokering rapprochements between governments and opposition groups. In November 2018, the UN Security Council lifted an arms embargo that had been imposed on Eritrea since 2009, after the UN Somalia-Eritrea Monitoring Group reported they had not found evidence of Eritrean support in recent years for Al-Shabaab.
  • Geography :: Eritrea
  • Location field listing
    Eastern Africa, bordering the Red Sea, between Djibouti and Sudan
    Geographic coordinates field listing
    15 00 N, 39 00 E
    Map references field listing
    Area field listing
    total: 117,600 sq km
    land: 101,000 sq km
    water: 16,600 sq km
    country comparison to the world: 102
    Area - comparative field listing
    slightly smaller than Pennsylvania
    Area comparison map: Area comparison map
    Land boundaries field listing
    total: 1,840 km
    border countries (3): Djibouti 125 km, Ethiopia 1033 km, Sudan 682 km
    Coastline field listing
    2,234 km (mainland on Red Sea 1,151 km, islands in Red Sea 1,083 km)
    Maritime claims field listing
    territorial sea: 12 nm
    Climate field listing
    hot, dry desert strip along Red Sea coast; cooler and wetter in the central highlands (up to 61 cm of rainfall annually, heaviest June to September); semiarid in western hills and lowlands
    Terrain field listing
    dominated by extension of Ethiopian north-south trending highlands, descending on the east to a coastal desert plain, on the northwest to hilly terrain and on the southwest to flat-to-rolling plains
    Elevation field listing
    mean elevation: 853 m
    lowest point: near Kulul within the Danakil Depression -75 m
    highest point: Soira 3,018 m
    Natural resources field listing
    gold, potash, zinc, copper, salt, possibly oil and natural gas, fish
    Land use field listing
    agricultural land: 75.1% (2011 est.)
    arable land: 6.8% (2011 est.) / permanent crops: 0% (2011 est.) / permanent pasture: 68.3% (2011 est.)
    forest: 15.1% (2011 est.)
    other: 9.8% (2011 est.)
    Irrigated land field listing
    210 sq km (2012)
    Population distribution field listing
    density is highest in the center of the country in and around the cities of Asmara (capital) and Keren; smaller settlements exist in the north and south
    Natural hazards field listing

    frequent droughts, rare earthquakes and volcanoes; locust swarms

    volcanism: Dubbi (1,625 m), which last erupted in 1861, was the country's only historically active volcano until Nabro (2,218 m) came to life on 12 June 2011

    Environment - current issues field listing
    deforestation; desertification; soil erosion; overgrazing
    Environment - international agreements field listing
    party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection
    signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
    Geography - note field listing
    strategic geopolitical position along world's busiest shipping lanes; Eritrea retained the entire coastline of Ethiopia along the Red Sea upon de jure independence from Ethiopia on 24 May 1993
  • People and Society :: Eritrea
  • Population field listing
    5,970,646 (July 2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 113
    Nationality field listing
    noun: Eritrean(s)
    adjective: Eritrean
    Ethnic groups field listing
    Tigrinya 55%, Tigre 30%, Saho 4%, Kunama 2%, Rashaida 2%, Bilen 2%, other (Afar, Beni Amir, Nera) 5% (2010 est.)

    note: data represent Eritrea's nine recognized ethnic groups

    Languages field listing
    Tigrinya (official), Arabic (official), English (official), Tigre, Kunama, Afar, other Cushitic languages
    Religions field listing
    Sunni Muslim, Coptic Christian, Roman Catholic, Protestant
    Demographic profile field listing

    Eritrea is a persistently poor country that has made progress in some socioeconomic categories but not in others. Education and human capital formation are national priorities for facilitating economic development and eradicating poverty. To this end, Eritrea has made great strides in improving adult literacy – doubling the literacy rate over the last 20 years – in large part because of its successful adult education programs. The overall literacy rate was estimated to be almost 74% in 2015; more work needs to be done to raise female literacy and school attendance among nomadic and rural communities. Subsistence farming fails to meet the needs of Eritrea’s growing population because of repeated droughts, dwindling arable land, overgrazing, soil erosion, and a shortage of farmers due to conscription and displacement. The government’s emphasis on spending on defense over agriculture and its lack of foreign exchange to import food also contribute to food insecurity.

    Eritrea has been a leading refugee source country since at least the 1960s, when its 30-year war for independence from Ethiopia began. Since gaining independence in 1993, Eritreans have continued migrating to Sudan, Ethiopia, Yemen, Egypt, or Israel because of a lack of basic human rights or political freedom, educational and job opportunities, or to seek asylum because of militarization. Eritrea’s large diaspora has been a source of vital remittances, funding its war for independence and providing 30% of the country’s GDP annually since it became independent.

    In the last few years, Eritreans have increasingly been trafficked and held hostage by Bedouins in the Sinai Desert, where they are victims of organ harvesting, rape, extortion, and torture. Some Eritrean trafficking victims are kidnapped after being smuggled to Sudan or Ethiopia, while others are kidnapped from within or around refugee camps or crossing Eritrea’s borders. Eritreans composed approximately 90% of the conservatively estimated 25,000-30,000 victims of Sinai trafficking from 2009-2013, according to a 2013 consultancy firm report.

    Age structure field listing
    0-14 years: 39.53% (male 1,186,749 /female 1,173,530)
    15-24 years: 19.94% (male 592,365 /female 598,305)
    25-54 years: 32.88% (male 965,405 /female 997,771)
    55-64 years: 3.7% (male 96,967 /female 123,895)
    65 years and over: 3.95% (male 97,816 /female 137,843) (2018 est.)
    population pyramid: population pyramid
    Dependency ratios field listing
    total dependency ratio: 85 (2015 est.)
    youth dependency ratio: 78.3 (2015 est.)
    elderly dependency ratio: 6.8 (2015 est.)
    potential support ratio: 14.8 (2015 est.)
    Median age field listing
    total: 19.9 years
    male: 19.4 years
    female: 20.4 years (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 194
    Population growth rate field listing
    0.89% (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 123
    Birth rate field listing
    29.1 births/1,000 population (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 40
    Death rate field listing
    7.1 deaths/1,000 population (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 126
    Net migration rate field listing
    -13.1 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 220
    Population distribution field listing
    density is highest in the center of the country in and around the cities of Asmara (capital) and Keren; smaller settlements exist in the north and south
    Urbanization field listing
    urban population: 40.7% of total population (2019)
    rate of urbanization: 3.86% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
    Major urban areas - population field listing
    929,000 ASMARA (capital) (2019)
    Sex ratio field listing
    at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
    0-14 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
    15-24 years: 0.99 male(s)/female
    25-54 years: 0.97 male(s)/female
    55-64 years: 0.78 male(s)/female
    65 years and over: 0.71 male(s)/female
    total population: 0.97 male(s)/female (2018 est.)
    Mother's mean age at first birth field listing
    21.3 years (2010 est.)

    note: median age at first birth among women 25-29

    Maternal mortality rate field listing
    480 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 20
    Infant mortality rate field listing
    total: 44.4 deaths/1,000 live births
    male: 51.4 deaths/1,000 live births
    female: 37.3 deaths/1,000 live births (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 38
    Life expectancy at birth field listing
    total population: 65.6 years
    male: 63 years
    female: 68.2 years (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 180
    Total fertility rate field listing
    3.9 children born/woman (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 37
    Contraceptive prevalence rate field listing
    8.4% (2010)
    Drinking water source field listing
    improved: urban: 73.2% of population
    rural: 53.3% of population
    total: 57.8% of population
    unimproved: urban: 26.8% of population
    rural: 46.7% of population
    total: 42.2% of population (2015 est.)
    Current Health Expenditure field listing
    3.3% (2015)
    Hospital bed density field listing
    0.7 beds/1,000 population (2011)
    Sanitation facility access field listing
    improved: urban: 44.5% of population (2015 est.)
    rural: 7.3% of population (2015 est.)
    total: 15.7% of population (2015 est.)
    unimproved: urban: 55.5% of population (2015 est.)
    rural: 92.7% of population (2015 est.)
    total: 84.3% of population (2015 est.)
    HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate field listing
    0.7% (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 57
    HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS field listing
    18,000 (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 86
    HIV/AIDS - deaths field listing
    <500 (2018 est.)
    Major infectious diseases field listing
    degree of risk: high (2016)
    food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever (2016)
    vectorborne diseases: malaria and dengue fever (2016)
    Obesity - adult prevalence rate field listing
    5% (2016)
    country comparison to the world: 183
    Children under the age of 5 years underweight field listing
    39.4% (2010)
    country comparison to the world: 2
    Education expenditures field listing
    Literacy field listing
    definition: age 15 and over can read and write (2015 est.)
    total population: 73.8%
    male: 82.4%
    female: 65.5% (2015 est.)
    School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education) field listing
    total: 5 years
    male: 6 years
    female: 5 years (2015)
  • Government :: Eritrea
  • Country name field listing
    conventional long form: State of Eritrea
    conventional short form: Eritrea
    local long form: Hagere Ertra
    local short form: Ertra
    former: Eritrea Autonomous Region in Ethiopia
    etymology: the country name derives from the ancient Greek appellation "Erythra Thalassa" meaning Red Sea, which is the major water body bordering the country
    Government type field listing
    presidential republic
    Capital field listing
    name: Asmara (Asmera)
    geographic coordinates: 15 20 N, 38 56 E
    time difference: UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
    etymology: the name means "they [women] made them unite," which according to Tigrinya oral tradition refers to the women of the four clans in the Asmara area who persuaded their menfolk to unite and defeat their common enemy; the name has also been translated as "live in peace"
    Administrative divisions field listing
    6 regions (zobatat, singular - zoba); Anseba, Debub (South), Debubawi K'eyih Bahri (Southern Red Sea), Gash Barka, Ma'akel (Central), Semenawi Keyih Bahri (Northern Red Sea)
    Independence field listing
    24 May 1993 (from Ethiopia)
    National holiday field listing
    Independence Day, 24 May (1991)
    Constitution field listing
    history: ratified by the Constituent Assembly 23 May 1997 (not fully implemented)
    amendments: proposed by the president of Eritrea or by assent of at least one-half of the National Assembly membership; passage requires at least an initial three-quarters majority vote by the Assembly and, after one year, final passage by at least four-fifths majority vote by the Assembly (2018)
    International law organization participation field listing
    has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt
    Citizenship field listing
    citizenship by birth: no
    citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Eritrea
    dual citizenship recognized: no
    residency requirement for naturalization: 20 years
    Suffrage field listing
    18 years of age; universal
    Executive branch field listing
    chief of state: President ISAIAS Afwerki (since 8 June 1993); note - the president is both chief of state and head of government and is head of the State Council and National Assembly
    head of government: President ISAIAS Afwerki (since 8 June 1993)
    cabinet: State Council appointed by the president
    elections/appointments: president indirectly elected by the National Assembly for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term); the only election was held on 8 June 1993, following independence from Ethiopia (next election postponed indefinitely)
    election results: ISAIAS Afwerki elected president by the transitional National Assembly; percent of National Assembly vote - ISAIAS  Afwerki (PFDJ) 95%, other 5%
    Legislative branch field listing
    description: unicameral National Assembly (Hagerawi Baito) (150 seats; 75 members indirectly elected by the ruling party and 75 directly elected by simple majority vote; members serve 5-year terms)
    elections: in May 1997, following the adoption of the new constitution, 75 members of the PFDJ Central Committee (the old Central Committee of the EPLF), 60 members of the 527-member Constituent Assembly, which had been established in 1997 to discuss and ratify the new constitution, and 15 representatives of Eritreans living abroad were formed into a Transitional National Assembly to serve as the country's legislative body until countrywide elections to form a National Assembly were held; although only 75 of 150 members of the Transitional National Assembly were elected, the constitution stipulates that once past the transition stage, all members of the National Assembly will be elected by secret ballot of all eligible voters; National Assembly elections scheduled for December 2001 were postponed indefinitely due to the war with Ethiopia, and as of May 2019, there was no sitting legislative body
    election results: NA
    Judicial branch field listing
    highest courts: High Court (consists of 20 judges and organized into civil, commercial, criminal, labor, administrative, and customary sections)
    judge selection and term of office: High Court judges appointed by the president
    subordinate courts: regional/zonal courts; community courts; special courts; sharia courts (for issues dealing with Muslim marriage, inheritance, and family); military courts
    Political parties and leaders field listing
    People's Front for Democracy and Justice or PFDJ [ISAIAS Afwerki] (the only party recognized by the government)
    International organization participation field listing
    Diplomatic representation in the US field listing
    Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires BERHANE Gebrehiwet Solomon (since 15 March 2011)
    chancery: 1708 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20009
    telephone: [1] (202) 319-1991
    FAX: [1] (202) 319-1304
    Diplomatic representation from the US field listing
    chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Natalie E. BROWN (since September 2016)
    telephone: [291] (1) 120004
    embassy: 179 Ala Street, Asmara
    mailing address: P.O. Box 211, Asmara
    FAX: [291] (1) 127584
    Flag description field listing
    red isosceles triangle (based on the hoist side) dividing the flag into two right triangles; the upper triangle is green, the lower one is blue; a gold wreath encircling a gold olive branch is centered on the hoist side of the red triangle; green stands for the country's agriculture economy, red signifies the blood shed in the fight for freedom, and blue symbolizes the bounty of the sea; the wreath-olive branch symbol is similar to that on the first flag of Eritrea from 1952; the shape of the red triangle broadly mimics the shape of the country

    note: one of several flags where a prominent component of the design reflects the shape of the country; other such flags are those of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, and Vanuatu

    National symbol(s) field listing
    camel; national colors: green, red, blue
    National anthem field listing
    name: "Ertra, Ertra, Ertra" (Eritrea, Eritrea, Eritrea)
    lyrics/music: SOLOMON Tsehaye Beraki/Isaac Abraham MEHAREZGI and ARON Tekle Tesfatsion

    note: adopted 1993; upon independence from Ethiopia

  • Economy :: Eritrea
  • Economy - overview field listing

    Since formal independence from Ethiopia in 1993, Eritrea has faced many economic problems, including lack of financial resources and chronic drought. Eritrea has a command economy under the control of the sole political party, the People's Front for Democracy and Justice. Like the economies of many African nations, a large share of the population - nearly 80% in Eritrea - is engaged in subsistence agriculture, but the sector only produces a small share of the country's total output. Mining accounts for the lion's share of output.

    The government has strictly controlled the use of foreign currency by limiting access and availability; new regulations in 2013 aimed at relaxing currency controls have had little economic effect. Few large private enterprises exist in Eritrea and most operate in conjunction with government partners, including a number of large international mining ventures, which began production in 2013. In late 2015, the Government of Eritrea introduced a new currency, retaining the name nakfa, and restricted the amount of hard currency individuals could withdraw from banks per month. The changeover has resulted in exchange fluctuations and the scarcity of hard currency available in the market.

    While reliable statistics on Eritrea are difficult to obtain, erratic rainfall and the large percentage of the labor force tied up in military 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 are likely to continue to drive limited economic growth and government revenue over the next few years, but military spending will continue to compete with development and investment plans.

    GDP (purchasing power parity) field listing
    $9.402 billion (2017 est.)
    $8.953 billion (2016 est.)
    $8.791 billion (2015 est.)

    note: data are in 2017 dollars

    country comparison to the world: 161
    GDP (official exchange rate) field listing
    $5.813 billion (2017 est.)
    GDP - real growth rate field listing
    5% (2017 est.)
    1.9% (2016 est.)
    2.6% (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 49
    GDP - per capita (PPP) field listing
    $1,600 (2017 est.)
    $1,500 (2016 est.)
    $1,500 (2015 est.)

    note: data are in 2017 dollars

    country comparison to the world: 217
    Gross national saving field listing
    5.5% of GDP (2017 est.)
    6% of GDP (2016 est.)
    6.8% of GDP (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 174
    GDP - composition, by end use field listing
    household consumption: 80.9% (2017 est.)
    government consumption: 24.3% (2017 est.)
    investment in fixed capital: 6.4% (2017 est.)
    investment in inventories: 0.1% (2017 est.)
    exports of goods and services: 10.9% (2017 est.)
    imports of goods and services: -22.5% (2017 est.)
    GDP - composition, by sector of origin field listing
    agriculture: 11.7% (2017 est.)
    industry: 29.6% (2017 est.)
    services: 58.7% (2017 est.)
    Agriculture - products field listing
    sorghum, lentils, vegetables, corn, cotton, tobacco, sisal; livestock, goats; fish
    Industries field listing
    food processing, beverages, clothing and textiles, light manufacturing, salt, cement
    Industrial production growth rate field listing
    5.4% (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 52
    Labor force field listing
    2.71 million (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 111
    Labor force - by occupation field listing
    agriculture: 80%
    industry: 20% (2004 est.)
    Unemployment rate field listing
    5.8% (2017 est.)
    10% (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 87
    Population below poverty line field listing
    50% (2004 est.)
    Household income or consumption by percentage share field listing
    lowest 10%: NA
    highest 10%: NA
    Budget field listing
    revenues: 2.029 billion (2017 est.)
    expenditures: 2.601 billion (2017 est.)
    Taxes and other revenues field listing
    34.9% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 64
    Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) field listing
    -9.8% (of GDP) (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 209
    Public debt field listing
    131.2% of GDP (2017 est.)
    132.8% of GDP (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 6
    Fiscal year field listing
    calendar year
    Inflation rate (consumer prices) field listing
    9% (2017 est.)
    9% (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 201
    Commercial bank prime lending rate field listing


    Stock of narrow money field listing
    $3.084 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
    $2.734 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 121
    Stock of broad money field listing
    $3.084 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
    $2.734 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 127
    Stock of domestic credit field listing
    $5.787 billion (31 December 2017 est.)
    $5.223 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 127
    Current account balance field listing
    -$137 million (2017 est.)
    -$105 million (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 90
    Exports field listing
    $624.3 million (2017 est.)
    $485.4 million (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 172
    Exports - partners field listing
    China 62%, South Korea 28.3% (2017)
    Exports - commodities field listing
    gold and other minerals, livestock, sorghum, textiles, food, small industry manufactures
    Imports field listing
    $1.127 billion (2017 est.)
    $1.048 billion (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 180
    Imports - commodities field listing
    machinery, petroleum products, food, manufactured goods
    Imports - partners field listing
    UAE 14.5%, China 13.2%, Saudi Arabia 13.2%, Italy 12.9%, Turkey 5.6%, South Africa 4.6% (2017)
    Reserves of foreign exchange and gold field listing
    $236.7 million (31 December 2017 est.)
    $218.4 million (31 December 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 171
    Debt - external field listing
    $792.7 million (31 December 2017 est.)
    $875.6 million (31 December 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 170
    Exchange rates field listing
    nakfa (ERN) per US dollar -
    15.38 (2017 est.)
    15.375 (2016 est.)
    15.375 (2015 est.)
    15.375 (2014 est.)
    15.375 (2013 est.)
  • Energy :: Eritrea
  • Electricity access field listing
    population without electricity: 3 million (2017)
    electrification - total population: 46.7% (2016)
    electrification - urban areas: 74.6% (2016)
    electrification - rural areas: 39.3% (2016)
    Electricity - production field listing
    415.9 million kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 168
    Electricity - consumption field listing
    353.9 million kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 180
    Electricity - exports field listing
    0 kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 131
    Electricity - imports field listing
    0 kWh (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 145
    Electricity - installed generating capacity field listing
    160,700 kW (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 172
    Electricity - from fossil fuels field listing
    99% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 23
    Electricity - from nuclear fuels field listing
    0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 85
    Electricity - from hydroelectric plants field listing
    0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 169
    Electricity - from other renewable sources field listing
    1% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 152
    Crude oil - production field listing
    0 bbl/day (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 131
    Crude oil - exports field listing
    0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 118
    Crude oil - imports field listing
    0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 122
    Crude oil - proved reserves field listing
    0 bbl (1 January 2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 127
    Refined petroleum products - production field listing
    0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 140
    Refined petroleum products - consumption field listing
    4,000 bbl/day (2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 183
    Refined petroleum products - exports field listing
    0 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 151
    Refined petroleum products - imports field listing
    3,897 bbl/day (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 179
    Natural gas - production field listing
    0 cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 127
    Natural gas - consumption field listing
    0 cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 142
    Natural gas - exports field listing
    0 cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 99
    Natural gas - imports field listing
    0 cu m (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 121
    Natural gas - proved reserves field listing
    0 cu m (1 January 2014 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 131
    Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy field listing
    597,100 Mt (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 182
  • Communications :: Eritrea
  • Telephones - fixed lines field listing
    total subscriptions: 66,086
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 1 (July 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 152
    Telephones - mobile cellular field listing
    total subscriptions: 506,000
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 9 (July 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 171
    Telephone system field listing
    general assessment: woefully inadequate service provided by state-owned telecom monopoly; most fixed-line telephones are in Asmara; cell phone use is limited by government control of SIM card issuance; no data service; only about 3% of households having computers with 2% Internet; untapped market ripe for competition; direct phone service between Eritrea and Ethiopia was restored in September 2018; government telco working on roll-out of 3G network (2018)
    domestic: fixed-line subscribership is less than 1 per 100 person and mobile-cellular 9 per 100 (2018)
    international: country code - 291 (2019)
    Broadcast media field listing
    government controls broadcast media with private ownership prohibited; 1 state-owned TV station; state-owned radio operates 2 networks; purchases of satellite dishes and subscriptions to international broadcast media are permitted (2019)
    Internet country code field listing
    Internet users field listing
    total: 69,095
    percent of population: 1.2% (July 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 180
    Broadband - fixed subscriptions field listing
    total: 600
    subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: less than 1 (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 195
  • Transportation :: Eritrea
  • National air transport system field listing
    number of registered air carriers: 1 (2015)
    inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 1 (2015)
    Civil aircraft registration country code prefix field listing
    E3 (2016)
    Airports field listing
    13 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 152
    Airports - with paved runways field listing
    total: 4 (2017)
    over 3,047 m: 2 (2017)
    2,438 to 3,047 m: 2 (2017)
    Airports - with unpaved runways field listing
    total: 9 (2013)
    over 3,047 m: 1 (2013)
    2,438 to 3,047 m: 1 (2013)
    1,524 to 2,437 m: 5 (2013)
    914 to 1,523 m: 2 (2013)
    Heliports field listing
    1 (2013)
    Railways field listing
    total: 306 km (2018)
    narrow gauge: 306 km 0.950-m gauge (2018)
    country comparison to the world: 121
    Roadways field listing
    total: 16,000 km (2018)
    paved: 1,600 km (2000)
    unpaved: 14,400 km (2000)
    country comparison to the world: 120
    Merchant marine field listing
    total: 9
    by type: general cargo 4, oil tanker 1, other 4 (2018)
    country comparison to the world: 153
    Ports and terminals field listing
    major seaport(s): Assab, Massawa
  • Military and Security :: Eritrea
  • Military branches field listing
    Eritrean Defense Forces: Eritrean Ground Forces, Eritrean Navy, Eritrean Air Force (includes Air Defense Force) (2019)
    Military service age and obligation field listing
    18-40 years of age for male and female voluntary and compulsory military service; 18-month conscript service obligation (2019)
  • Transnational Issues :: Eritrea
  • Disputes - international field listing

    Eritrea and Ethiopia agreed to abide by 2002 Ethiopia-Eritrea Boundary Commission's (EEBC) delimitation decision, but neither party responded to the revised line detailed in the November 2006 EEBC Demarcation Statement; Sudan accuses Eritrea of supporting eastern Sudanese rebel groups; in 2008, Eritrean troops moved across the border on Ras Doumera peninsula and occupied Doumera Island with undefined sovereignty in the Red Sea

    Trafficking in persons field listing
    current situation: Eritrea is a source country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of forced labor domestically and, to a lesser extent, sex and labor trafficking abroad; the country’s national service program is often abused, with conscripts detained indefinitely and subjected to forced labor; Eritrean migrants, often fleeing national service, face strict exit control procedures and limited access to passports and visas, making them vulnerable to trafficking; Eritrean secondary school children are required to take part in public works projects during their summer breaks and must attend military and educational camp in their final year to obtain a high school graduation certificate and to gain access to higher education and some jobs; some Eritreans living in or near refugee camps, particularly in Sudan, are kidnapped by criminal groups and held for ransom in the Sinai Peninsula and Libya, where they are subjected to forced labor and abuse
    tier rating: Tier 3 – Eritrea does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so; the government failed to investigate or prosecute any trafficking offenses or to identify or protect any victims; while the government continued to warn citizens of the dangers of human trafficking through awareness-raising events and poster campaigns, authorities lacked an understanding of the crime, conflating trafficking with transnational migration; Eritrea is not a party to the 2000 UN TIP Protocol (2015)