The World Factbook (1990)/Ethiopia


World Factbook (1990) Ethiopia.jpg

 See regional map VII


Total area: 1,221,900 km²; land area: 1,101,000 km²

Comparative area: slightly less than twice the size of Texas

Land boundaries: 5,141 km total; Djibouti 459 km, Kenya 861 km, Somalia 1,600 km, Sudan 2,221 km

Coastline: 1,094km

Maritime claims:

Territorial sea: 12 nm

Disputes: southern half of the boundary with Somalia is a Provisional Administrative Line; possible claim by Somalia based on unification of ethnic Somalis; territorial dispute with Somalia over the Ogaden; separatist movement in Eritrea; antigovernment insurgencies in Tigray and other areas

Climate: tropical monsoon with wide topographic-induced variation; prone to extended droughts

Terrain: high plateau with central mountain range divided by Great Rift Valley

Natural resources: small reserves of gold, platinum, copper, potash

Land use: 12% arable land; 1% permanent crops; 41% meadows and pastures; 24% forest and woodland; 22% other; includes NEGL% irrigated

Environment: geologically active Great Rift Valley susceptible to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions; deforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification; frequent droughts; famine

Note: strategic geopolitical position along world's busiest shipping lanes and close to Arabian oilfields; major resettlement project ongoing in rural areas will significantly alter population distribution and settlement patterns over the next several decades


Population: 51,666,622 (July 1990), growth rate 3.5% (1990)

Birth rate: 45 births/1,000 population (1990)

Death rate: 15 deaths/1,000 population (1990)

Net migration rate: 5 migrants/1,000 population (1990)

Infant mortality rate: 116 deaths/1,000 live births (1990)

Life expectancy at birth: 49 years male, 52 years female (1990)

Total fertility rate: 7.0 children born/woman (1990)

Nationality: noun—Ethiopian(s); adjective—Ethiopian

Ethnic divisions: 40% Oromo, 32% Amhara and Tigrean, 9% Sidamo, 6% Shankella, 6% Somali, 4% Afar, 2% Gurage, 1% other

Religion: 40-45% Muslim, 35-40% Ethiopian Orthodox, 15-20% animist, 5% other

Language: Amharic (official), Tigrinya, Orominga, Arabic, English (major foreign language taught in schools)

Literacy: 55.2%

Labor force: 18,000,000; 80% agriculture and animal husbandry, 12% government and services, 8% industry and construction (1985)

Organized labor: All Ethiopian Trade Union formed by the government in January 1977 to represent 273,000 registered trade union members


Long-form name: People's Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

Type: Communist state

Capital: Addis Ababa

Administrative divisions: 14 administrative regions (plural—NA, singular—kifle hāger); Ārsī, Balē, Eritrea, Gamo Gofa, Gojam, Gonder, Hārergē, Īlubabor, Kefa, Shewa, Sīdamo, Tigray, Welega, Welo; note—the administrative structure may be changing to 25 administrative regions (astedader akababiwach, singular—astedader akababee) and 5 autonomous regions* (rasgez akababiwach, singular—rasgez akababee); Addis Ababa, Ārsī, Aseb*, Asosa, Balē, Borena, Dire Dawa*, East Gojam, East Hārergē, Eritrea*, Gambela, Gamo Gofa, Īlubabor, Kefa, Metekel, Nazaret, North Gonder, North Shewa, North Welo, Ogāden*, Omo, Sīdamo, South Gonder, South Shewa, South Welo, Tigray*, Welega, West Gojam, West Hārergē, West Shewa

Independence: oldest independent country in Africa and one of the oldest in the world—at least 2,000 years

Constitution: 12 September 1987

Legal system: complex structure with civil, Islamic, common, and customary law influences; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

National holiday: National Revolution Day, 12 September (1974)

Executive branch: president, vice president, Council of State prime minister, five deputy prime ministers, Council of Ministers

Legislative branch: unicameral National Assembly (Shengo)

Judicial branch: Supreme Court

Leaders: Chief of State—President MENGISTU Haile-Mariam (Chairman from 11 September 1977 until becoming President on 10 September 1987); Vice President FISSEHA Desta (since 10 September 1987);

Head of Government—Prime Minister (Acting) and Deputy Prime Minister HAILU Yimenu (since 7 November 1989); Deputy Prime Minister WOLLE Chekol (since 21 November 1989); Deputy Prime Minister ALEMU Abebe (since 10 September 1987); Deputy Prime Minister TESFAYE Dinka (since 10 September 1987); Deputy Prime Minister ASHAGRE Yigletu (since 21 November 1989)

Political parties and leaders: only party—Workers' Party of Ethiopia (WPE), Mengistu Haile-Mariam, secretary general

Suffrage: universal at age 18

Elections: President—last held 10 September 1987 (next to be held September 1992); results—National Assembly elected President Mengistu Haile-Mariam;

National Assembly—last held 14 June 1987 (next to be held June 1992); results—WPE is the only party; seats—(835 total) WPE 835

Other political or pressure groups: important dissident groups include Eritrean People's Liberation Front (EPLF) in Eritrea; Tigrean People's Liberation Front (TPLF) and Ethiopian Peoples Democratic Movement in Tigray, Welo, and border regions; Oromo Liberation Front in Welega and Hārergē regions


Diplomatic representation: Counselor, Chargé d'Affaires ad interim GIRMA Amare; Chancery at 2134 Kalorama Road NW, Washington DC 20008; telephone (202) 234-2281 or 2282; US— Chargé d'Affaires Robert G. HOUDEK; Embassy at Entoto Street, Addis Ababa (mailing address is P.O. Box 1014, Addis Ababa); telephone 254-233-4141

Flag: three equal horizontal bands of green (top), yellow, and red; Ethiopia is the oldest independent country in Africa and the colors of her flag were so often adopted by other African countries upon independence that they became known as the pan-African colors


Overview: Ethiopia is one of the poorest and least developed countries in Africa. Its economy is based on subsistence agriculture, which accounts for about 45% of GDP, 90% of exports, and 80% of total employment; coffee generates over 60% of export earnings. The manufacturing sector is heavily dependent on inputs from the agricultural sector. The economy is centrally planned, and over 90% of large-scale industry is state run. Favorable agricultural weather largely explains the 4.5% growth in output in FY89.

GDP: $6.6 billion, per capita $130, real growth rate 4.5% (FY89 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 9.6% (FY89)

Unemployment rate: NA; shortage of skilled manpower

Budget: revenues $1.4 billion; expenditures $1.9 billion, including capital expenditures of $0.7 billion (FY87)

Exports: $418 million (f.o.b., FY88); commodities—coffee 60%, hides; partners—US, FRG, Djibouti, Japan, PDRY, France, Italy

Imports: $1.1 billion (c.i.f., FY88), commodities—food, fuels, capital goods; partners—USSR, Italy, FRG, Japan, UK, US, France

External debt: $2.6 billion (1988)

Industrial production: growth rate -0.2% (FY88 est.)

Electricity: 330,000 kW capacity; 700 million kWh produced, 14 kWh per capita (1989)

Industries: cement, textiles, food processing, oil refinery

Agriculture: accounts for 45% of GDP and is the most important sector of the economy even though frequent droughts, poor cultivation practices, and state economic policies keep farm output low; famines not uncommon; export crops of coffee and oilseeds grown partly on state farms; estimated 50% of agricultural production at subsistence level; principal crops and livestock—cereals, pulses, coffee, oilseeds, potatoes, sugarcane, vegetables, hides and skins, cattle, sheep, goats

Aid: US commitments, including Ex-Im (FY70-88), $471 million; Western (non-US) countries, ODA and OOF bilateral commitments (1970-87), $2.6 billion; OPEC bilateral aid (1979-89), $8 million; Communist countries (1970-88), $2.0 billion

Currency: birr (plural—birr); 1 birr (Br) = 100 cents

Exchange rates: birr (Br) per US$1—2.0700 (fixed rate)

Fiscal year: 8 July-7 July


Railroads: 988 km total; 681 km 1.000-meter gauge; 307 km 0.950-meter gauge (nonoperational)

Highways: 44,300 km total; 3,650 km bituminous, 9,650 km gravel, 3,000 km improved earth, 28,000 km unimproved earth

Ports: Aseb, Mitsiwa

Merchant marine: 14 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 71,837 GRT/92,067 DWT; includes 10 cargo, 1 roll-on/roll off cargo, 1 livestock carrier, 2 petroleum, oils, and lubricants (POL) tanker

Civil air: 21 major transport aircraft

Airports: 152 total, 111 usable; 9 with permanent-surface runways; 2 with runways over 3,659 m; 10 with runways 2,440-3,659 m; 51 with runways 1,220-2,439 m

Telecommunications: open-wire and radio relay system adequate for government use; open-wire to Sudan and Djibouti; radio relay to Kenya and Djibouti; stations—4 AM, no FM, 1 TV; 45,000 TV sets; 3,300,000 radios; 1 Atlantic Ocean INTELSAT earth station

Defense Forces

Branches: Army, Navy, Air Force, Air Defense

Military manpower: males 15-49, 11,438,616; 5,922,555 fit for military service; 589,231 reach military age (18) annually

Defense expenditures: 8.5% of GDP (1988)