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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 massive refugee problems, the regime was finally toppled in 1991 by a coalition of rebel forces, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF). A constitution was adopted in 1994, and Ethiopia's first multiparty elections were held in 1995.

A border war with Eritrea in the late 1990s ended with a peace treaty in December 2000. In November 2007, the Eritrea-Ethiopia Border Commission (EEBC) issued specific coordinates as virtually demarcating the border and pronounced its work finished. Alleging that the EEBC acted beyond its mandate in issuing the coordinates, Ethiopia did not accept them and maintained troops in previously contested areas pronounced by the EEBC as belonging to Eritrea. This intransigence resulted in years of heightened tension between the two countries. In August 2012, longtime leader Prime Minister MELES Zenawi died in office and was replaced by his Deputy Prime Minister HAILEMARIAM Desalegn, marking the first peaceful transition of power in decades. Following a wave of popular dissent and anti-government protest that began in 2015, HAILEMARIAM resigned in February 2018 and ABIY Ahmed Ali took office in April 2018 as Ethiopia's first ethnic Oromo prime minister. In June 2018, ABIY announced Ethiopia would accept the border ruling of 2000, prompting rapprochement between Ethiopia and Eritrea that was marked with a peace agreement in July 2018 and a reopening of the border in September 2018. In November 2019, Ethiopia's nearly 30-year ethnic-based ruling coalition - the EPRDF - merged into a single unity party called the Prosperity Party, however, one of the four constituent parties (the Tigray Peoples Liberation Front or TPLF) refused to join.

In November 2020, a military conflict erupted between forces aligned with the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and Ethiopia’s national military, the Ethiopian National Defense Force. The conflict, which has continued throughout 2021, has exacerbated ethnic violence and has largely centered in Tigray, Amhara, and Afar regional states.

Visit the Definitions and Notes page to view a description of each topic.



Eastern Africa, west of Somalia

Geographic coordinates

8 00 N, 38 00 E


total: 1,104,300 sq km

land: 1,096,570 sq km

water: 7,730 sq km

note: area numbers are approximate since a large portion of the Ethiopia-Somalia border is undefined

Area - comparative

slightly less than twice the size of Texas

<p>slightly less than twice the size of Texas</p>

Land boundaries

total: 5,925 km

border countries (6): Djibouti 342 km, Eritrea 1033 km, Kenya 867 km, Somalia 1640 km, South Sudan 1299 km, Sudan 744 km


0 km (landlocked)

Maritime claims

none (landlocked)


tropical monsoon with wide topographic-induced variation


high plateau with central mountain range divided by Great Rift Valley


highest point: Ras Dejen 4,550 m

lowest point: Danakil Depression -125 m

mean elevation: 1,330 m

Natural resources

small reserves of gold, platinum, copper, potash, natural gas, hydropower

Land use

agricultural land: 36.3% (2018 est.)

arable land: 15.2% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 1.1% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 20% (2018 est.)

forest: 12.2% (2018 est.)

other: 51.5% (2018 est.)

Irrigated land

2,900 sq km (2012)

Major lakes (area sq km)

Fresh water lake(s): Lake Tana - 3,600 sq km; Abaya Hayk - 1,160 sq km; Ch'amo Hayk - 550 sq km

Salt water lake(s): Lake Turkana (shared with Kenya) - 6,400 sq km; Abhe Bid Hayk/Abhe Bad (shared with Djibouti) - 780 sq km; 

Major rivers (by length in km)

Blue Nile river source (shared with Sudan [m]) - 1,600 km
note – [s] after country name indicates river source; [m] after country name indicates river mouth

Major watersheds (area sq km)

Atlantic Ocean drainage: (Mediterranean Sea) Nile (3,254,853 sq km)

Major aquifers

Ogaden-Juba Basin, Sudd Basin (Umm Ruwaba Aquifer)

Population distribution

highest density is found in the highlands of the north and middle areas of the country, particularly around the centrally located capital city of Addis Ababa; the far east and southeast are sparsely populated as shown in this population distribution map

Natural hazards

geologically active Great Rift Valley susceptible to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions; frequent droughts

volcanism: volcanic activity in the Great Rift Valley; Erta Ale (613 m), which has caused frequent lava flows in recent years, is the country's most active volcano; Dabbahu became active in 2005, forcing evacuations; other historically active volcanoes include Alayta, Dalaffilla, Dallol, Dama Ali, Fentale, Kone, Manda Hararo, and Manda-Inakir

Geography - note

note 1: landlocked - entire coastline along the Red Sea was lost with the de jure independence of Eritrea on 24 May 1993; Ethiopia is, therefore, the most populous landlocked country in the world; the Blue Nile, the chief headstream of the Nile by water volume, rises in T'ana Hayk (Lake Tana) in northwest Ethiopia

note 2: three major crops are believed to have originated in Ethiopia: coffee, grain sorghum, and castor bean

People and Society


110,871,031 (July 2021 est.)

note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected


noun: Ethiopian(s)

adjective: Ethiopian

Ethnic groups

Oromo 35.8%, Amhara 24.1%, Somali 7.2%, Tigray 5.7%, Sidama 4.1%, Gamo-Goffa-Dawuro 2.8%, Guragie 2.6%, Welaita 2.3%, Afar 2.2%, Silte 1.3%, Kefficho 1.2%, other 10.8% (2022 est.)


Oromo (official working language in the State of Oromiya) 33.8%, Amharic (official national language) 29.3%, Somali (official working language of the State of Sumale) 6.2%, Tigrigna (Tigrinya) (official working language of the State of Tigray) 5.9%, Sidamo 4%, Wolaytta 2.2%, Gurage 2%, Afar (official working language of the State of Afar) 1.7%, Hadiyya 1.7%, Gamo 1.5%, Gedeo 1.3%, Opuuo 1.2%, Kafa 1.1%, other 8.1%, English (major foreign language taught in schools), Arabic (2007 est.)

major-language sample(s):
Kitaaba Addunyaa Waan Qabataamaatiif - Kan Madda Odeeffannoo bu’uraawaatiif baay’ee barbaachisaa ta’e. (Oromo)

የአለም እውነታ መጽሐፍ፣ ለመሠረታዊ መረጃ እጅግ አስፈላጊ የሆነ ምንጭ። (Amharic)

The World Factbook, the indispensable source for basic information.


Ethiopian Orthodox 43.8%, Muslim 31.3%, Protestant 22.8%, Catholic 0.7%, traditional 0.6%, other 0.8% (2016 est.)

Demographic profile

Ethiopia is a predominantly agricultural country – more than 80% of the population lives in rural areas – that is in the early stages of demographic transition. Infant, child, and maternal mortality have fallen sharply over the past decade, but the total fertility rate has declined more slowly and the population continues to grow. The rising age of marriage and the increasing proportion of women remaining single have contributed to fertility reduction. While the use of modern contraceptive methods among married women has increased significantly from 6 percent in 2000 to 27 percent in 2012, the overall rate is still quite low.

Ethiopia’s rapid population growth is putting increasing pressure on land resources, expanding environmental degradation, and raising vulnerability to food shortages. With more than 40 percent of the population below the age of 15 and a fertility rate of over 5 children per woman (and even higher in rural areas), Ethiopia will have to make further progress in meeting its family planning needs if it is to achieve the age structure necessary for reaping a demographic dividend in the coming decades.

Poverty, drought, political repression, and forced government resettlement have driven Ethiopia’s internal and external migration since the 1960s. Before the 1974 revolution, only small numbers of the Ethiopian elite went abroad to study and then returned home, but under the brutal Derg regime thousands fled the country, primarily as refugees. Between 1982 and 1991 there was a new wave of migration to the West for family reunification. Since the defeat of the Derg in 1991, Ethiopians have migrated to escape violence among some of the country’s myriad ethnic groups or to pursue economic opportunities. Internal and international trafficking of women and children for domestic work and prostitution is a growing problem.

Age structure

0-14 years: 39.81% (male 21,657,152/female 21,381,628)

15-24 years: 19.47% (male 10,506,144/female 10,542,128)

25-54 years: 32.92% (male 17,720,540/female 17,867,298)

55-64 years: 4.42% (male 2,350,606/female 2,433,319)

65 years and over: 3.38% (male 1,676,478/female 1,977,857) (2020 est.)

This is the population pyramid for Ethiopia. A population pyramid illustrates the age and sex structure of a country's population and may provide insights about political and social stability, as well as economic development. The population is distributed along the horizontal axis, with males shown on the left and females on the right. The male and female populations are broken down into 5-year age groups represented as horizontal bars along the vertical axis, with the youngest age groups at the bottom and the oldest at the top. The shape of the population pyramid gradually evolves over time based on fertility, mortality, and international migration trends. <br/><br/>For additional information, please see the entry for Population pyramid on the Definitions and Notes page.

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 76.8

youth dependency ratio: 70.6

elderly dependency ratio: 6.3

potential support ratio: 16 (2020 est.)

Median age

total: 19.8 years

male: 19.6 years

female: 20.1 years (2020 est.)

Population growth rate

2.5% (2021 est.)

Birth rate

31.03 births/1,000 population (2021 est.)

Death rate

5.8 deaths/1,000 population (2021 est.)

Net migration rate

-0.2 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2021 est.)

Population distribution

highest density is found in the highlands of the north and middle areas of the country, particularly around the centrally located capital city of Addis Ababa; the far east and southeast are sparsely populated as shown in this population distribution map


urban population: 22.2% of total population (2021)

rate of urbanization: 4.4% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

Major urban areas - population

5.006 million ADDIS ABABA (capital) (2021)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.01 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 1 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 0.99 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.85 male(s)/female

total population: 1 male(s)/female (2020 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

19.3 years (2019 est.)

note: median age at first birth among women 20-49

Maternal mortality ratio

401 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)

Infant mortality rate

total: 34.62 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 39.56 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 29.53 deaths/1,000 live births (2021 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 67.9 years

male: 65.79 years

female: 70.06 years (2021 est.)

Total fertility rate

4.07 children born/woman (2021 est.)

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 97% of population

rural: 61.7% of population

total: 68.9% of population

unimproved: urban: 3% of population

rural: 38.3% of population

total: 31.1% of population (2017 est.)

Physicians density

0.08 physicians/1,000 population (2018)

Hospital bed density

0.3 beds/1,000 population (2016)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 49.7% of population

rural: 5.7% of population

total: 14.7% of population

unimproved: urban: 50.3% of population

rural: 94.3% of population

total: 85.3% of population (2017 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths

13,000 (2020 est.)

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: very high (2020)

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever

vectorborne diseases: malaria and dengue fever

water contact diseases: schistosomiasis

animal contact diseases: rabies

respiratory diseases: meningococcal meningitis

Education expenditures

5.1% of GDP (2018)


definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 51.8%

male: 57.2%

female: 44.4% (2017)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 9 years

male: 8 years

female: 8 years (2012)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 3.5%

male: 2.7%

female: 4.5% (2013 est.)


Environment - current issues

deforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification; loss of biodiversity; water shortages in some areas from water-intensive farming and poor management; industrial pollution and pesticides contribute to air, water, and soil pollution

Environment - international agreements

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Climate Change-Paris Agreement, Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection

signed, but not ratified: Environmental Modification, Law of the Sea, Nuclear Test Ban

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 34.36 micrograms per cubic meter (2016 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 14.87 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 114.21 megatons (2020 est.)


tropical monsoon with wide topographic-induced variation

Land use

agricultural land: 36.3% (2018 est.)

arable land: 15.2% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 1.1% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 20% (2018 est.)

forest: 12.2% (2018 est.)

other: 51.5% (2018 est.)


urban population: 22.2% of total population (2021)

rate of urbanization: 4.4% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

Revenue from forest resources

forest revenues: 5.81% of GDP (2018 est.)

Revenue from coal

coal revenues: 0% of GDP (2018 est.)

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: very high (2020)

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever

vectorborne diseases: malaria and dengue fever

water contact diseases: schistosomiasis

animal contact diseases: rabies

respiratory diseases: meningococcal meningitis

Food insecurity

widespread lack of access: due to civil conflict - more than 16 million people were estimated to be severely food insecure in the May−June 2021 period; particular concerns exist for the Tigray Region and neighboring zones of Amhara and Afar regions, where 5.5 million people (about 60 percent of the population) are estimated to face severe food insecurity due to the conflict which started in November 2020 (2021)

Waste and recycling

municipal solid waste generated annually: 6,532,787 tons (2015 est.)

Major lakes (area sq km)

Fresh water lake(s): Lake Tana - 3,600 sq km; Abaya Hayk - 1,160 sq km; Ch'amo Hayk - 550 sq km

Salt water lake(s): Lake Turkana (shared with Kenya) - 6,400 sq km; Abhe Bid Hayk/Abhe Bad (shared with Djibouti) - 780 sq km; 

Major rivers (by length in km)

Blue Nile river source (shared with Sudan [m]) - 1,600 km
note – [s] after country name indicates river source; [m] after country name indicates river mouth

Major watersheds (area sq km)

Atlantic Ocean drainage: (Mediterranean Sea) Nile (3,254,853 sq km)

Major aquifers

Ogaden-Juba Basin, Sudd Basin (Umm Ruwaba Aquifer)

Total water withdrawal

municipal: 810 million cubic meters (2017 est.)

industrial: 51.1 million cubic meters (2017 est.)

agricultural: 9.687 billion cubic meters (2017 est.)

Total renewable water resources

122 billion cubic meters (2017 est.)


Country name

conventional long form: Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

conventional short form: Ethiopia

local long form: Ityop'iya Federalawi Demokrasiyawi Ripeblik

local short form: Ityop'iya

former: Abyssinia, Italian East Africa

abbreviation: FDRE

etymology: the country name derives from the Greek word "Aethiopia," which in classical times referred to lands south of Egypt in the Upper Nile region

Government type

federal parliamentary republic


name: Addis Ababa

geographic coordinates: 9 02 N, 38 42 E

time difference: UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

etymology: the name in Amharic means "new flower" and was bestowed on the city in 1889, three years after its founding

Administrative divisions

10 ethnically based regional states (kililoch, singular - kilil) and 2 self-governing administrations* (astedaderoch, singular - astedader); Adis Abeba* (Addis Ababa), Afar, Amara (Amhara), Binshangul Gumuz, Dire Dawa*, Gambela Hizboch (Gambela Peoples), Hareri Hizb (Harari People), Oromiya (Oromia), Sidama, Sumale (Somali), Tigray, Ye Debub Biheroch Bihereseboch na Hizboch (Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples)


oldest independent country in Africa and one of the oldest in the world - at least 2,000 years (may be traced to the Aksumite Kingdom, which coalesced in the first century B.C.)

National holiday

Derg Downfall Day (defeat of MENGISTU regime), 28 May (1991)


history: several previous; latest drafted June 1994, adopted 8 December 1994, entered into force 21 August 1995

amendments: proposals submitted for discussion require two-thirds majority approval in either house of Parliament or majority approval of one-third of the State Councils; passage of amendments other than constitutional articles on fundamental rights and freedoms and the initiation and amendment of the constitution requires two-thirds majority vote in a joint session of Parliament and majority vote by two thirds of the State Councils; passage of amendments affecting rights and freedoms and amendment procedures requires two-thirds majority vote in each house of Parliament and majority vote by all the State Councils

Legal system

civil law system

International law organization participation

has not submitted an ICJ jurisdiction declaration; non-party state to the ICCt


citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Ethiopia

dual citizenship recognized: no

residency requirement for naturalization: 4 years


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President SAHLE-WORK Zewde (since 25 October 2018) (2018)

head of government: Prime Minister ABIY Ahmed Ali (since April 2018, began a new five year term on 4 October 2021); Deputy Prime Minister DEMEKE Mekonnen Hassen (since 29 November 2012) (2021)

cabinet: Council of Ministers selected by the prime minister and approved by the House of People's Representatives

elections/appointments: president indirectly elected by both chambers of Parliament for a 6-year term (eligible for a second term); election held on 21 June 2021 and 30 September 2021 (the scheduled 29 August 2020 election was postponed by Prime Minister ABIY due to the COVID-19 pandemic); prime minister designated by the majority party following legislative elections

election results: SAHLE-WORK Zewde elected president during joint session of Parliament, vote - 659 (unanimous); ABIY Ahmed confirmed Prime Minister by House of Peoples' Representatives (4 October 2021)

note: SAHLE-WORK Zewde is the first female elected head of state in Ethiopia; she is currently the only female president in Africa. Former President Dr. Mulatu TESHOME resigned on 25 October 2018, one year ahead of finishing his six-year term.

Legislative branch

description: bicameral Parliament consists of:
House of Federation or Yefedereshein Mikir Bete (153 seats; members indirectly elected by state assemblies to serve 5-year terms)
House of People's Representatives or Yehizb Tewokayoch Mekir Bete (547 seats; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote; 22 seats reserved for minorities; all members serve 5-year terms)

elections: House of Federation - last held 24 May 2015 (next originally scheduled on 29 August 2020 but postponed a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic)
House of People's Representatives - last held on 24 May 2015 (next election to be held June 2021)

election results: House of Federation - percent of vote by coalition/party - NA; seats by coalition/party - NA; composition - men 104, women 49, percent of women 32%
House of Representatives - percent of vote by coalition/party - NA; seats by coalition/party - EPRDF 501, SPDP 24, BGPDUP 9, ANDP 8, GPUDM 3, APDO 1, HNL 1; composition - men 335, women 212, percent of women  38.8%; note - total Parliament percent of women 37.3%

note: House of Federation is responsible for interpreting the constitution and federal-regional issues and the House of People's Representatives is responsible for passing legislation

Judicial branch

highest courts: Federal Supreme Court (consists of 11 judges); note - the House of Federation has jurisdiction for all constitutional issues

judge selection and term of office: president and vice president of Federal Supreme Court recommended by the prime minister and appointed by the House of People's Representatives; other Supreme Court judges nominated by the Federal Judicial Administrative Council (a 10-member body chaired by the president of the Federal Supreme Court) and appointed by the House of People's Representatives; judges serve until retirement at age 60

subordinate courts: federal high courts and federal courts of first instance; state court systems (mirror structure of federal system); sharia courts and customary and traditional courts

Political parties and leaders

national parties:
All Ethiopian Unity Organization
Alliance for Multination Democratic Federalism 
National Movement of Amhara
Ethiopian Citizens for Social Justice and Democracy or EZEMA [BERHANU Nega] 
Ethiopian Democratic Union
Ethiopian Federal Democratic Unity Forum or MEDREK
Ethiopian Freedom Party
Ethiopian National Unity Party
Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Party
Ethiopian Social Democratic Party
Federalist Democratic Forum
Freedom and Equality Party
Hedase Party
Hiber Ethiopia Democratic Party
Mother Party
New Generation Party
Oromo Federalist Congress
Prosperity Party or PP

regional parties:
Afar Liberation Front Party or ANDF
Afar People’s Justice Democratic Party
Afar People’s Party or APP
Afar Revolutionary Democratic Unity Front
Agew National Congress
Amhara Democratic Force Movement
Arena Tigray for Democracy and Sovereignty
Argoba People’s Democratic Organization or APDO
Argoba Nationality Democratic Movement
Balderas for True Democracy
Benishangul People’s Freedom Movement for Peace and Democracy Organization
Benishangul People's Liberation Movement
Boro Democratic Party
Donga People’s Democratic Organization
Gambella People’s Freedom Democratic Movement
Gambella People’s Freedom Movement
Gambella People Justice, Peace and Development Democratic Movement
Gambella People’s Liberation Movement
Gamo Democratic Party or GDP
Gedio People Democratic Organization
Harari Democratic Organization
Kafa Green Party
Kafa Peoples Democratic Union
Kimant Democratic Party
Kucha People's Democratic Party
Mocha Democratic Party
National Movement of Amhara
National Movement of Wolaita
Ogaden National Liberation Front or ONLF
Oromo Freedom Movement
Oromo Liberation Front
Qucha People Democratic Party
Raya Rayuma Democratic Party
Renaissance Party 
Sidama Freedom Movement or Sidama Liberation Movement
Sidama Hadicho People’s Democratic Organization
Sidama People’s Unity Democratic Organization
Sidama Unity Party
Tigray Democratic Party
Union of Tigrians for Democracy and Sovereignty
West Somali Democratic Party
Wolayta National Movement
Wolayta People’s Democratic Front
Wolene People's Democratic Party (2020)

notes - Ethiopia has over fifty national-level and regional-level political parties. The ruling party, the Prosperity Party, was created by Prime Minister ABIY in November 2019 from member parties of the former Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), which included the Amhara Democratic Party (ADP), Oromo Democratic Party (ODP), Southern Ethiopian People's Democratic Movement (SEPDM), plus other EPRDF-allied parties such as the Afar National Democratic Party (ANDP), Benishangul Gumuz People’s Democratic Party (BGPDP), Gambella People’s Democratic Movement (GPDM), Somali People’s Democratic Party (SPDP), and the Harari National League (HNL). Once the Prosperity Party was created, the various ethnically-based parties that comprised or were affiliated with the EPRDF were subsequently disbanded; in January 2021, the Ethiopian electoral board de-registered the Tigray People’s Liberation Front or TPLF; national level parties are qualified to register candidates in multiple regions across Ethiopia; regional parties can register candidates for both national and regional parliaments, but only in one region of Ethiopia

International organization participation


Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador FITSUM Arega Gebrekidan (since 9 April 2019)

chancery: 3506 International Drive NW, Washington, DC 20008

telephone: [1] (202) 364-1200

FAX: [1] (202) 587-0195

email address and website:

consulate(s) general: Los Angeles

consulate(s): New York

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Geeta PASI (since 1 March 2021)


embassy: Entoto Street, P.O. Box 1014, Addis Ababa

mailing address: 2030 Addis Ababa Place, Washington DC  20521-2030

telephone: [251] 111-30-60-00

FAX: [251] 111-24-24-01

email address and website:

Flag description

three equal horizontal bands of green (top), yellow, and red, with a yellow pentagram and single yellow rays emanating from the angles between the points on a light blue disk centered on the three bands; green represents hope and the fertility of the land, yellow symbolizes justice and harmony, while red stands for sacrifice and heroism in the defense of the land; the blue of the disk symbolizes peace and the pentagram represents the unity and equality of the nationalities and peoples of Ethiopia

note: Ethiopia is the oldest independent country in Africa, and the three main colors of her flag (adopted ca. 1895) were so often appropriated by other African countries upon independence that they became known as the Pan-African colors; the emblem in the center of the current flag was added in 1996

National symbol(s)

Abyssinian lion (traditional), yellow pentagram with five rays of light on a blue field (promoted by current government); national colors: green, yellow, red

National anthem

name: "Whedefit Gesgeshi Woud Enat Ethiopia" (March Forward, Dear Mother Ethiopia)

lyrics/music: DEREJE Melaku Mengesha/SOLOMON Lulu

note: adopted 1992


Economic overview

Ethiopia - the second most populous country in Africa - is a one-party state with a planned economy. For more than a decade before 2016, GDP grew at a rate between 8% and 11% annually – one of the fastest growing states among the 188 IMF member countries. This growth was driven by government investment in infrastructure, as well as sustained progress in the agricultural and service sectors. More than 70% of Ethiopia’s population is still employed in the agricultural sector, but services have surpassed agriculture as the principal source of GDP.

Ethiopia has the lowest level of income-inequality in Africa and one of the lowest in the world, with a Gini coefficient comparable to that of the Scandinavian countries. Yet despite progress toward eliminating extreme poverty, Ethiopia remains one of the poorest countries in the world, due both to rapid population growth and a low starting base. Changes in rainfall associated with world-wide weather patterns resulted in the worst drought in 30 years in 2015-16, creating food insecurity for millions of Ethiopians.

The state is heavily engaged in the economy. Ongoing infrastructure projects include power production and distribution, roads, rails, airports and industrial parks. Key sectors are state-owned, including telecommunications, banking and insurance, and power distribution. Under Ethiopia's constitution, the state owns all land and provides long-term leases to tenants. Title rights in urban areas, particularly Addis Ababa, are poorly regulated, and subject to corruption.

Ethiopia’s foreign exchange earnings are led by the services sector - primarily the state-run Ethiopian Airlines - followed by exports of several commodities. While coffee remains the largest foreign exchange earner, Ethiopia is diversifying exports, and commodities such as gold, sesame, khat, livestock and horticulture products are becoming increasingly important. Manufacturing represented less than 8% of total exports in 2016, but manufacturing exports should increase in future years due to a growing international presence.

The banking, insurance, telecommunications, and micro-credit industries are restricted to domestic investors, but Ethiopia has attracted roughly $8.5 billion in foreign direct investment (FDI), mostly from China, Turkey, India and the EU; US FDI is $567 million. Investment has been primarily in infrastructure, construction, agriculture/horticulture, agricultural processing, textiles, leather and leather products.

To support industrialization in sectors where Ethiopia has a comparative advantage, such as textiles and garments, leather goods, and processed agricultural products, Ethiopia plans to increase installed power generation capacity by 8,320 MW, up from a capacity of 2,000 MW, by building three more major dams and expanding to other sources of renewable energy. In 2017, the government devalued the birr by 15% to increase exports and alleviate a chronic foreign currency shortage in the country.

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$264.05 billion note: data are in 2017 dollars (2020 est.)

$248.97 billion note: data are in 2017 dollars (2019 est.)

$229.76 billion note: data are in 2017 dollars (2018 est.)

note: data are in 2010 dollars

Real GDP growth rate

10.9% (2017 est.)

8% (2016 est.)

10.4% (2015 est.)

Real GDP per capita

$2,300 note: data are in 2017 dollars (2020 est.)

$2,200 note: data are in 2017 dollars (2019 est.)

$2,100 note: data are in 2017 dollars (2018 est.)

note: data are in 2010 dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)

$92.154 billion (2019 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

15.7% (2019 est.)

13.9% (2018 est.)

10.8% (2017 est.)

Credit ratings

Fitch rating: B (2014)

Moody's rating: B2 (2020)

Standard & Poors rating: B (2014)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 34.8% (2017 est.)

industry: 21.6% (2017 est.)

services: 43.6% (2017 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 69.6% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 10% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 43.5% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: -0.1% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 8.1% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -31.2% (2017 est.)

Agricultural products

maize, cereals, wheat, sorghum, milk, barley, sweet potatoes, roots/tubers nes, sugar cane, millet


food processing, beverages, textiles, leather, garments, chemicals, metals processing, cement

Labor force

52.82 million (2017 est.)

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 72.7%

industry: 7.4%

services: 19.9% (2013 est.)

Unemployment rate

17.5% (2012 est.)

18% (2011 est.)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 3.5%

male: 2.7%

female: 4.5% (2013 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 4.1%

highest 10%: 25.6% (2005)


revenues: 11.24 billion (2017 est.)

expenditures: 13.79 billion (2017 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

-3.2% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

Public debt

54.2% of GDP (2017 est.)

53.2% of GDP (2016 est.)

Taxes and other revenues

13.9% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

Fiscal year

8 July - 7 July

Current account balance

-$6.551 billion (2017 est.)

-$6.574 billion (2016 est.)


$7.62 billion note: data are in current year dollars (2018 est.)

$2.814 billion (2016 est.)

Exports - partners

China 17%, United States 16%, United Arab Emirates 8%, Saudi Arabia 6%, South Korea 5%, Germany 5% (2019)

Exports - commodities

coffee, sesame seeds, gold, cut flowers, zinc (2019)


$19.93 billion note: data are in current year dollars (2018 est.)

$14.69 billion (2016 est.)

Imports - partners

China 27%, India 9%, United Arab Emirates 9%, France 9%, United Kingdom 7% (2019)

Imports - commodities

aircraft, gas turbines, packaged medicines, electric filament, cars (2019)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$3.013 billion (31 December 2017 est.)

$3.022 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

Debt - external

$27.27 billion (2019 est.)

$26.269 billion (2018 est.)

Exchange rates

birr (ETB) per US dollar -

25 (2017 est.)

21.732 (2016 est.)

21.732 (2015 est.)

21.55 (2014 est.)

19.8 (2013 est.)


Electricity access

electrification - total population: 47% (2019)

electrification - urban areas: 96% (2019)

electrification - rural areas: 34% (2019)

Electricity - production

11.15 billion kWh (2016 est.)

Electricity - consumption

9.062 billion kWh (2016 est.)

Electricity - exports

166 million kWh (2015 est.)

Electricity - imports

0 kWh (2016 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels

3% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels

0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants

86% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources

11% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)

Crude oil - production

0 bbl/day (2018 est.)

Crude oil - exports

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Crude oil - imports

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves

428,000 bbl (1 January 2018 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports

69,970 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Natural gas - production

0 cu m (2017 est.)

Natural gas - consumption

0 cu m (2017 est.)

Natural gas - exports

0 cu m (2017 est.)

Natural gas - imports

0 cu m (2017 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves

24.92 billion cu m (1 January 2018 est.)


Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 1.14 million (2018)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 1.04 (2018 est.)

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 39.54 million (2018)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 37.22 (2019 est.)

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: telecom market challenged by political factionalism and reorganization of ruling party; despite some gains in access, Ethiopia remains one of the least-connected countries in the world; state-owned telecom held a monopoly over services until 2019 when government approved legislation and opened the market to competition and foreign investment; new expansion of LTE services; government reduced tariffs leading to increases in data and voice traffic; government launched mobile app as part of e-government initiative to build smart city; Huawei provides infrastructure to government operator and built data center in Addis Ababa; government disrupted service during political crises; importer of broadcasting equipment from China (2020)

domestic: fixed-line subscriptions at about 1 per 100 while mobile-cellular stands at a little over 37 per 100; the number of mobile telephones is increasing steadily (2019)

international: country code - 251; open-wire to Sudan and Djibouti; microwave radio relay to Kenya and Djibouti; 2 domestic satellites provide the national trunk service; satellite earth stations - 3 Intelsat (1 Atlantic Ocean and 2 Pacific Ocean) (2016)

note: the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a significant impact on production and supply chains globally; since 2020, some aspects of the telecom sector have experienced downturn, particularly in mobile device production; many network operators delayed upgrades to infrastructure; progress towards 5G implementation was postponed or slowed in some countries; consumer spending on telecom services and devices was affected by large-scale job losses and the consequent restriction on disposable incomes; the crucial nature of telecom services as a tool for work and school from home became evident, and received some support from governments

Broadcast media

6 public TV stations broadcasting nationally and 10 public radio broadcasters; 7 private radio stations and 19 community radio stations (2017)

Internet users

total: 23.96 million (2021 est.)

percent of population: 18.62% (2019 est.)

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 62,950 (2017 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: less than 1 (2019 est.)


National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 1 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 75

annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 11,501,244 (2018)

annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 2,089,280,000 mt-km (2018)


total: 57 (2013)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 17

over 3,047 m: 3

2,438 to 3,047 m: 8

1,524 to 2,437 m: 4

under 914 m: 2 (2017)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 40

2,438 to 3,047 m: 3

1,524 to 2,437 m: 9

914 to 1,523 m: 20

under 914 m: 8 (2013)


total: 659 km (Ethiopian segment of the 756 km Addis Ababa-Djibouti railroad) (2017)

standard gauge: 659 km 1.435-m gauge (2017)

note: electric railway with redundant power supplies; under joint control of Djibouti and Ethiopia and managed by a Chinese contractor


total: 120,171 km (2018)

Merchant marine

total: 11

by type: general cargo 9, oil tanker 2 (2020)

Ports and terminals

Ethiopia is landlocked and uses the ports of Djibouti in Djibouti and Berbera in Somalia

Military and Security

Military and security forces

Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF): Ground Forces, Ethiopian Air Force (Ye Ityopya Ayer Hayl, ETAF) (2021)

note(s) - in January 2020 the Ethiopian Government announced it had re-established a navy, which was disbanded in 1996; in March 2019 Ethiopia signed a defense cooperation agreement with France which stipulated that France would support the establishment of an Ethiopian navy, which will reportedly be based out of Djibouti

in 2018, Ethiopia established a Republican Guard for protecting senior officials; the Republican Guard is a military unit accountable to the Prime Minister

Military expenditures

0.5% of GDP (2020 est.)

0.7% of GDP (2019 est.)

0.7% of GDP (2018 est.)

0.7% of GDP (2017 est.)

0.7% of GDP (2016 est.)

Military and security service personnel strengths

information varies; prior to the 2020-21 Tigray conflict, approximately 150,000 active duty troops, including about 3,000 Air Force personnel (no personnel numbers available for the newly-established Navy) (2021)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the ENDF's inventory is comprised mostly of Soviet-era equipment from the 1970s; since 2010, Russia and Ukraine are the leading suppliers of largely second-hand weapons and equipment to the ENDF; Ethiopia has a modest industrial defense base centered on small arms and production of armored vehicles (2020)

Military deployments

prior to the 2020-21 Tigray conflict, 5-10,000 Somalia (4,500 for AMISOM; the remainder under a bilateral agreement with Somalia); 3,300 Sudan (UNISFA); 1,500 South Sudan (UNMISS) (2021)

note - in August 2021, Sudan asked the UN to remove the Ethiopian troops from the UNISFA mission

Military service age and obligation

18 years of age for voluntary military service; no compulsory military service, but the military can conduct callups when necessary and compliance is compulsory (2021)

note - in November 2021, the Ethiopian Government issued a nationwide state of emergency that enabled officials to order military-age citizens to undergo training and accept military duty in support of the Tigray conflict

Military - note

each of the nine states has a regional and/or a "special" paramilitary security forces that report to regional civilian authorities; local militias operate across the country in loose and varying coordination with these regional security and police forces, the Ethiopian Federal Police (EFP), and the Ethiopian military; the EFP reports to the Ministry of Peace, which was created in October of 2018

since November 2020, the Government of Ethiopia has been engaged in a protracted military conflict with the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the former governing party of the Tigray Region; the government deemed a TPLF attack on Ethiopia military forces as a domestic terrorism incident and launched a military/law enforcement offensive in response; the TPLF asserted that its actions were self-defense in the face of planned Ethiopian Government action to remove it from the provincial government; the Ethiopian Government sent large elements of the ENDF into Tigray to remove the TPLF and invited militia and paramilitary forces from the states of Afar and Amara, as well as the military forces of Eritrea, to assist; fighting continued through 2021 with heavy civilian and military casualties and widespread human rights abuses reported

the military forces of the Tigray regional government are known as the Tigray Defense Force (TDF); the TDF is comprised of state paramilitary forces, local militia, and troops that defected from the ENDF; it reportedly had up to 250,000 fighters at the start of the conflict; in August 2021, the TPLF struck an alliance with the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA)

as of 2021, the Ethiopian military consisted of approximately 22 Army divisions (approximately 14 light infantry, 6 mechanized, and 1 commando/special operations), while the Air Force had 2 fighter/ground attack and 2 mixed attack/transport helicopter squadrons



Terrorist group(s)

al-Shabaab; IRGC/Qods Force

note: details about the history, aims, leadership, organization, areas of operation, tactics, targets, weapons, size, and sources of support of the group(s) appear(s) in Appendix-T

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

Eritrea and Ethiopia agreed to abide by the 2002 Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission's (EEBC) delimitation decision, but neither party responded to the revised line detailed in the November 2006 EEBC Demarcation Statement; the undemarcated former British administrative line has little meaning as a political separation to rival clans within Ethiopia's Ogaden and southern Somalia's Oromo region; Ethiopian forces invaded southern Somalia and routed Islamist courts from Mogadishu in January 2007; "Somaliland" secessionists provide port facilities in Berbera and trade ties to landlocked Ethiopia; civil unrest in eastern Sudan has hampered efforts to demarcate the porous boundary with Ethiopia; Ethiopia's construction of a large dam (the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam) on the Blue Nile since 2011 has become a focal point of relations with Egypt and Sudan; as of 2020, four years of three-way talks between the three capitals over operating the dam and filling its reservoir had made little progress; Ethiopia began filling the dam in July 2020

Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 383,084 (South Sudan), 218,022 (Somalia), 158,300 (Eritrea), 46,181 (Sudan) (2021)

IDPs: 1,990,168 (includes conflict- and climate-induced IDPs, excluding unverified estimates from the Amhara region; border war with Eritrea from 1998-2000; ethnic clashes; and ongoing fighting between the Ethiopian military and separatist rebel groups in the Somali and Oromia regions; natural disasters; intercommunal violence; most IDPs live in Sumale state) (2021)

Illicit drugs

transit hub for heroin originating in Southwest and Southeast Asia and destined for Europe, as well as cocaine destined for markets in southern Africa; cultivates qat (khat) for local use and regional export, principally to Djibouti and Somalia (legal in all three countries); the lack of a well-developed financial system limits the country's utility as a money laundering center