Eritrea

Country Summary

2022 population pyramid

Introduction

Background

After independence from Italian control and then UK oversight, the UN established Eritrea as an autonomous region within the Ethiopian federation in 1952. Ethiopian annexation sparked a 30-year struggle for independence that ended in 1991. Eritreans overwhelmingly approved independence in a 1993 referendum.

Geography

Area

total: 117,600 sq km

land: 101,000 sq km

water: 16,600 sq km

Climate

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

Natural resources

gold, potash, zinc, copper, salt, possibly oil and natural gas, fish

People and Society

Population

6,209,262 (2022 est.)

Ethnic groups

Tigrinya 50%, Tigre 30%, Saho 4%, Afar 4%, Kunama 4%, Bilen 3%, Hedareb/Beja 2%, Nara 2%, Rashaida 1% (2021 est.)

Languages

Tigrinya (official), Arabic (official), English (official), Tigre, Kunama, Afar, other Cushitic languages

Religions

Eritrean Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Evangelical Lutheran, Sunni Muslim

Population growth rate

1.03% (2022 est.)

Government

Government type

presidential republic

Capital

name: Asmara

Executive branch

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)

Legislative branch

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)

Economy

Economic overview

largely agrarian economy with a significant mining sector; substantial fiscal surplus due to tight controls; high and vulnerable debts; increased Ethiopian trade and shared port usage decreasing prices; financial and economic data integrity challenges

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$9.702 billion (2017 est.)

Real GDP per capita

$1,600 (2017 est.)

Agricultural products

sorghum, milk, vegetables, barley, cereals, pulses nes, roots/tubers nes, wheat, millet, beef

Industries

food processing, beverages, clothing and textiles, light manufacturing, salt, cement

Exports

$624.3 million (2017 est.)

Exports - partners

China 62%, South Korea 28.3% (2017)

Exports - commodities

gold and other minerals, livestock, sorghum, textiles, food, small industry manufactures

Imports

$1.127 billion (2017 est.)

Imports - partners

UAE 14.5%, China 13.2%, Saudi Arabia 13.2%, Italy 12.9%, Turkey 5.6%, South Africa 4.6% (2017)

Imports - commodities

machinery, petroleum products, food, manufactured goods


Page last updated: Wednesday, Jun 15, 2022