Ethiopia

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ETHIOPIA

LOCATION, SIZE, AND EXTENT
TOPOGRAPHY
CLIMATE
FLORA AND FAUNA
ENVIRONMENT
POPULATION
MIGRATION
ETHNIC GROUPS
LANGUAGES
RELIGIONS
TRANSPORTATION
HISTORY
GOVERNMENT
POLITICAL PARTIES
LOCAL GOVERNMENT
JUDICIAL SYSTEM
ARMED FORCES
INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION
ECONOMY
INCOME
LABOR
AGRICULTURE
ANIMAL HUSBANDRY
FISHING
FORESTRY
MINING
ENERGY AND POWER
INDUSTRY
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
DOMESTIC TRADE
FOREIGN TRADE
BALANCE OF PAYMENTS
BANKING AND SECURITIES
INSURANCE
PUBLIC FINANCE
TAXATION
CUSTOMS AND DUTIES
FOREIGN INVESTMENT
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
HEALTH
HOUSING
EDUCATION
LIBRARIES AND MUSEUMS
MEDIA
ORGANIZATIONS
TOURISM, TRAVEL, AND RECREATION
FAMOUS ETHIOPIANS
DEPENDENCIES
BIBLIOGRAPHY

Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

Yeltyop'iya Federalawi

CAPITAL: Addis Ababa

FLAG: The national flag is a tricolor of green, yellow, and red horizontal stripes with a blue disk and a yellow outlined star and rays in the center.

ANTHEM: Traditional "Ityopia, Ityopia" is in use at the present time. A new anthem will be designated in the near future.

MONETARY UNIT: The birr (b) is a paper currency of 100 cents. There are coins of 1, 5, 10, 25, and 50 cents, and notes of 1, 5, 10, 50, and 100 birr. b1 = $0.11468 (or $1 = b8.72) as of 2005.

WEIGHTS AND MEASURES: The metric system is used, but some local weights and measures also are employed.

HOLIDAYS: Holidays generally follow the Old Style Coptic Church calendar. National holidays include Christmas, 7 January; Epiphany, 19 January; Victory of Adwa (1896), 2 March; Victory Day, 6 April; May Day, 1 May; New Year's Day, 11 September; Feast of the Holy Cross, 27 September. Movable Muslim holidays include 'Id al-Fitr and 'Id al-'Adha'.

TIME: 3 pm = noon GMT.

LOCATION, SIZE, AND EXTENT

Situated in eastern Africa, Ethiopia (formerly called Abyssinia) has an area of approximately 1,127,127 sq km (435,186 sq mi), with a length of 1,639 km (1,018 mi) ew and a width of 1,577 km (980 mi) ns. Comparatively, the area occupied by Ethiopia is slightly less than twice the size of the state of Texas. It is bounded on the n by Eritrea, on the ne by Djibouti, on the e and se by Somalia, on the s by Kenya, and on the w by Sudan, with a total boundary length of 5,328 km (3,311 mi). The Ogaden region of eastern Ethiopia is claimed by Somalia and has been the subject of sporadic military conflict between the two nations since 1961; the southeastern boundary has never been demarcated. Ethiopia's capital city, Addis Ababa, is located near the center of the country.

TOPOGRAPHY

Ethiopia contains a variety of distinct topographical zones. It is a country of geographical contrasts, varying from as much as 116 m (381 ft) below sea level in the Danakil depression to more than 4,600 m (15,000 ft) above in the mountainous regions. Ras Dashen, with an altitude of 4,620 m (15,158 ft), is the fourth-highest peak in Africa. The most distinctive feature is the northern part of the Great Rift Valley, which runs through the entire length of the country in a northeast-southwest direction, at a general elevation of 1,5003,000 m (4,9009,800 ft). Immediately to the west is the High Plateau region; this rugged tableland is marked by mountain ranges.

East of the Great Rift Valley is the Somali Plateauarid and rocky semidesert, extending to the Ogaden, which covers the entire southeastern section of the country. In the north, the Denakil Desert reaches to the Red Sea and the coastal foothills of Eritrea. The western boundary of Ethiopia follows roughly the western escarpment of the High Plateau, although in some regions the Sudan plains extend into Ethiopian territory. Also part of Ethiopia is the Dahlak Archipelago in the Red Sea.

Ethiopia's largest lake, Lake T'ana, is the source of the Blue Nile River. This river, which winds around in a great arc before merging with the White Nile in the Sudan, travels through great canyons, which reach depths of more than 1,200 m (4,000 ft). Several rivers in the southwest also make up a system of tributaries to the White Nile.

CLIMATE

Ethiopian climate varies according to the different topographical regions. The central plateau has a moderate climate with minimal seasonal temperature variation. The mean minimum during the coldest season is 6°c (43°f), while the mean maximum rarely exceeds 26°c (79°f). Temperature variations in the lowlands are much greater, and the heat in the desert and Red Sea coastal areas is extreme, with occasional highs of 60°c (140°f). Heavy rainfall occurs in most of the country during June, July, and August. The High Plateau also experiences a second, though much milder, rainy season between December and February. Average annual precipitation on the central plateau is roughly 122 cm (48 in). The northern provinces receive less rainfall, and the average annual precipitation in the Ogaden is less than 10 cm (4 in). The westernmost region of Ethiopia receives an annual rainfall of nearly 200 cm (80 in). Severe droughts affected the country in 198284,198788, 1991, and 2002.

FLORA AND FAUNA

Ethiopia has a large variety of indigenous plant and animal species. In some areas, the mountains are covered with shrubs such as pyracantha, jasmine, poinsettia, and a varied assortment of evergreens. Caraway, carcade, cardamom, chat, coriander, incense, myrrh, and red pepper are common. The lakes in the Great Rift Valley region abound with numerous species of birds, and wild animals are found in every region. Among the latter are the lion, civet and serval cats, elephant, bush pig, gazelle, antelope, ibex, kudu, dik-dik, oribi, reed buck, wild ass, zebra, hyena, baboon, and numerous species of monkey. As of 2002, there were at least 277 species of mammals, 262 species of birds, and over 6,600 species of plants throughout the country.

ENVIRONMENT

Overgrazing, deforestation, and poor agricultural practices have contributed to soil erosion so severe, particularly in the Tigray and Eritrea regions, that substantial areas of farmland have been lost to cultivation. As of 1994, 600,000 acres of arable land were washed away each year. The combined effects of severe drought and a 17-year civil war have also added to Ethiopia's environmental problems.

Ethiopia's forests are endangered. Each year, the nation loses 340 square miles of forest land. Its forests and woodland decreased by 3.4% between 1983 and 1993. From 19902000 the rate of deforestation was at about 0.8% per year. In 2000, only about 4.6% of the total land area was forested. The government did not begin afforestation and soil conservation programs until the early 1970s.

The nation's water supply is also at risk. Access to safe drinking water is available to 11% of the rural population and 81% of city dwellers. Ethiopia has 110 cu km of renewable water resources with 86% used in agriculture.

Agencies responsible for environmental matters include the Ministry of Agriculture, the Forestry and Wildlife Development Authority, and the Ministry of National Water Resources. In 2003, about 16.9% of Ethiopia's total land area was protected. Simien National Park is a natural UNESCO World Heritage Site.

According to a 2006 report issued by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), the number of threatened species included 35 types of mammals, 20 species of birds, 1 type of reptile, 9 species of amphibians, 3 types of mollusks, 3 species of other invertebrates, and 22 species of plants. Endangered species in Ethiopia included the simian fox, African wild ass, Tora hartebeest, Swayne's hartebeest, Waliaibex (found only in Ethiopia), waldrapp, green sea turtle, and the hawksbill turtle.

POPULATION

The population of Ethiopia in 2005 was estimated by the United Nations (UN) at 77,431,000, which placed it at number 15 in population among the 193 nations of the world. In 2005, approximately 3% of the population was over 65 years of age, with another 44% of the population under 15 years of age. There were 99 males for every 100 females in the country. According to the UN, the annual population rate of change for 20052010 was expected to be 2.5%, a rate the government viewed as too high. The projected population for the year 2025 was 118,354,000. The population density was 70 per sq km (182 per sq mi), with the area of greatest density being the High Plateau, with more than 70% of the population.

The UN estimated that 15% of the population lived in urban areas in 2005, and that urban areas were growing at an annual rate of 4.27%. The capital city, Addis Ababa, had a population of 2,723,000 in that year. Other urban centers include Dirē Dawa, Dese, Hārer, Jima, Nazrēt, and Gonder.

The prevalence of HIV/AIDS has had a significant impact on the population of Ethiopia. The UN estimated that 6.5% of adults between the ages of 1549 were living with HIV/AIDS in 2001. The AIDS epidemic causes higher death and infant mortality rates, and lowers life expectancy. Life expectancy in Ethiopia was 45 years.

MIGRATION

Internal migration is from rural to urban areas. In the 1970s and early 1980s, up to 4.5 million people were displaced as a result of occasional drought, civil strife, and border fighting. In 198485, over 600,000 northern peasants were resettled, forcibly in some cases, in 77 sites in the more fertile west and south. Meanwhile, over 2.8 million rural inhabitants, mostly Oromo, were moved to collective villages. As the war for control of Ethiopia intensified between 1989 and 1991, more people were displaced.

After the change of government in 1991, 970,000 Ethiopian refugees returned home from neighboring countries. By November 1995, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) had repatriated 31,617 Ethiopian refugees from Djibouti. Between 1993 and 1996, the UNHCR repatriated 62,000 from Sudan. In 1997, UNHCR had started planning the airlift of around 4,400 Ethiopian refugees remaining in Kenya.

As of 1997, there were still 70,000 Ethiopian refugees in neighboring countries. There were 60,000 in eastern Sudan, 5,700 in Kenya, 2,500 in Djibouti, and 450 in Yemen. As of March 1997, Ethiopia was home to more than 338,000 refugees, settled in 12 camps and urban areas. Of these, 285,000 were from Somalia, 35,500 from Sudan, 8,000 from Djibouti, and 8,600 from Kenya. In February 1997, the UNHCR started to repatriate Somalis; 2,600 refugees had returned to northwestern Somalia by the end of March. Repatriation of Somalis and Sudanese continued in 2002. As of 2004 the total of internally displaced people numbered 321,000, most residing in the Gambella region. As of the end of 2004, Ethiopia was home to more than 115,980 refugees, while 63,105 Ethiopians sought refuge elsewhere. Ethiopia had a total of 2,252 asylum applications in 2004, as over 13,000 Ethiopians sought asylum in 16 countries, mainly South Africa, Kenya, the United States, Eritrea, and Yemen. In 2003 remittances to Ethiopia were $60.8 million.

In 2005, the net migration rate was estimated as zero migrants per 1,000 population for Ethiopia, a significant change from 3.5 per 1,000 in 1990.

ETHNIC GROUPS

Ethiopia is a composite of more than 77 ethnic groups. The Oromo (Galla) group represents approximately 40% of the population and is concentrated primarily in the southern half of the nation. The Amhara and Tigrean groups constitute approximately 32% of the population and have traditionally been dominant politically. The Sidamo of the southern foothills and savanna regions account for 9%, while the Shankella make up about 6% of the population and reside on the western frontier. The Somali (6%) and Afar (4%) inhabit the arid regions of the east and southeast. Nilotic peoples live in the west and southwest along the Sudan border. The Gurage account for 2% of the population; the remaining 1% is made up of other groups. The Falasha (who call themselves Beta Israel, and are popularly known as "black Jews") live in the mountains of Simen; they were reportedly the victims of economic discrimination before the 1974 revolution and of religious and cultural persecution after that time. Some 14,000 were secretly flown to Israel via the Sudan in 198485. About 14,000 more were flown out of Addis Ababa in 1991. Another 4,500 are believed to remain. The Beja of the northernmost region, the Agau of the central plateaus, and the Sidamo of the southern foothills and savanna regions are the remnants of the earliest known groups to have occupied Ethiopia.

LANGUAGES

At least 77 different languages are spoken in Ethiopia. Most of these belong to the Semitic, Cushitic, and Omotic divisions of the Afro-Asiatic linguistic family. Amharic, the official national language, is a Semitic tongue, the native language of perhaps 30% of the people. Tigrinya and Tigray, also Semitic, are spoken in the north. Orominga, a Cushitic tongue, is widely spoken in the south, perhaps by 40% of all Ethiopians. Somali and Afar, also Cushitic languages, are spoken in the east. Omotic tongues are spoken in the southwest. Nilo-Saharan language speakers live in the far southwest and along the western border. English is the principal second language taught in schools.

RELIGIONS

Until 1974, the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, a Christian confession associated with the Coptic Church and incorporating elements of Monophysite Christianity, was the established church, with the emperor as its titular leader. After the deposition of the emperor, the church lost most of its property (including an estimated 20% of all arable land) and political influence. In 2005, about 4050% of Ethiopians were Ethiopian Orthodox Christians. Islam is practiced by about 45% of the population, most of whom inhabit the Somali, Afar, and Oromia regions of Ethiopia. About 10% of the population are Evangelical or Pentecostal Protestants, which is the fastest growing religion in the country. Prominent Protestant churches include Mekane Yesus (4.03 million members, associated with the Lutheran church) and Kale Hiwot (4.6 million members, associated with Service in Mission), both of which are Evangelical. There are about 7,000 Jehovah's Witnesses in the country and about 500,000 Roman Catholics (Oriental and Latin Rite). Other Christian denominations include Baptists, the Lutheran-Presbyterian Church of Ethiopia, Emnet Christos, Messeret Kristos (associated with the Mennonite mission), and Hiwot Berhan Church (associated with the Swedish Philadelphia Church. Animism, and other traditional indigenous religions are represented by small groups.

Although of Afro-Asiatic stock, the Falasha practice a form of Judaism that is of great antiquity and is traditionally attributed to ancient Arabian-Jewish or Egyptian-Jewish immigration. Few Falasha remain after massive immigration and evacuation to Israel in 198485 and 1991. The Feles Mora consists of a individuals who claim that their ancestors were Jews who were forced to convert to Ethiopian Orthodox. Many of these individuals are currently pursuing immigration to Israel. There are a large number of missionary groups working within the country.

The constitution provides for freedom of religion and this right is generally respected in practice. Though religious tolerance is generally widespread among established faiths, there have been instances of interfaith discrimination concerning newer religions. For instance, some tension has existed as both Orthodox Christians and Muslims have complained about the proselytizing of Jehovah's Witnesses and the Pentecostals. In some regions, there have also been incidents of violence between Orthodox Christians and Muslims. Religious groups, and all other nongovernmental organizations, must register with the Ministry of Justice and renew their membership every three years. Certain Christian and Muslim holidays are recognized as national holidays. The government mandates a two-hour lunch break on Fridays to allow for the Muslim obligation of prayer.

TRANSPORTATION

It has been estimated that more than half of Ethiopia's produce is transported by pack animals, reflecting the inadequacy of the country's road network and the rugged terrain. About 75% of Ethiopian farms are more than a one-day walk to the nearest road. The road system in 2003 comprised an estimated 33,856 km (21,058 mi), of which 4,367 km (2,716 mi) were paved. The number of passenger cars in use in 2003 was 63,200, and the number of commercial vehicles was 48,900. As of 2003, there was only one vehicle registered for every 1,101.7 inhabitants. Bus services link provincial centers to the capital.

Railways consist of a narrow gauge line from Djibouti to Addis Ababa that is 880 km (547 mi) long, of which 681 km (423 mi) are in Ethiopia, and is owned jointly by Djibouti and Ethiopia. Ethiopia's merchant fleet of eight ships of 1,000 GRT or over, totaled 81,933 tons as of 2005. Neighboring Djibouti also serves as a depot for Ethiopian trade. Only one river, the Baro, is used for transport.

There were an estimated 83 airports in 2004, only 14 of which had paved runways as of 2005. The Addis Ababa airport handles international jet transportation. Before the civil war, the national carrier, Ethiopian Airlines, flew to numerous African, Asian, and European cities, and had sole rights on domestic air traffic. In 2003, about 1.147 million passengers were carried on domestic and international flights.

HISTORY

Humanlike fossils have been found in the Denakil depression dating back 3.5 million years; in 1981, the 4 million-year-old fossil bones of a direct ancestor of Homo sapiens were discovered in the Awash River Valley. Evidence of cereal agriculture dates back to about 5000 bc. Homer refers to the Ethiopians as a "blameless race," and Herodotus claims that they were known in his time as the "most just men"; to the Greeks, however, Ethiopia was a vague and semimythical area that did not exactly correspond to the modern country. Ethiopia first appears in written history as the Aksumite (or Axumite) Empire, which was probably established around the beginning of the Christian era, although national tradition attributes the foundation of the empire to Menelik I, the son of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. Christianity was introduced in the 4th century by Frumentius of Tyre, who was appointed bishop of the Ethiopian diocese by Patriarch Athanasius of Alexandria. The rise of Islam in the 7th century and the subsequent conquest of Egypt created a crisis for the Coptic Christian communities of northeast Africa. Ethiopia alone met the challenge, surviving until the 1970s as a Christian island in a Muslim sea.

The Aksumite dynasty suffered a slow decline. In 1137, the ruler of Lasta (now Lalibela), Tékla Haimanot, overthrew the Aksumite emperor, Del-Naad, and established the Zagwe dynasty. In 1270, the throne was again restored to the Solomonic dynasty, with the accession of Yekuno Amlak in the province of Shewa. Subsequently, Emperor Amda-Seyon 1 (r.131444) reestablished the Ethiopian suzerainty over the Muslim principalities along the Horn of Africa. The Muslim penetration of the highland regions resumed in the early 16th century and, from 1527 to 1543, the Muslims threatened to overrun the entire empire. In 1541, Ethiopia enlisted the assistance of several hundred Portuguese musketmen against a jihad led by Imam Ahmad (known as Gragn, or "the lefthanded"). With these superior weapons, Ahmad was defeated and killed in battle in 1543.

The 18th and 19th centuries formed a period of political decentralization and incessant civil war; this period is called the Zamana Masafint ("Era of the Princes"). A young general named Lij Kassa Haylu established a powerful army, which defeated the forces of his rivals. He was crowned Emperor Tewodros (Theodore II) in 1855 and succeeded in reunifying the empire, but he was defeated and killed by a British expeditionary force under Gen. Robert Napier in 1868. Italy occupied the Eritrean ports of Aseb (1869) and Mits'iwa (1885) and annexed Eritrea in 1890. The Italian advance was stopped by the defeat and total rout of a large Italian army by the Emperor Menelik II at Adwa in 1896, an Ethiopian victory that is still commemorated as a national holiday. Italy, however, maintained control of Eritrea and also occupied the coastal region of Banadir (Italian Somaliland) in 1900. Meanwhile, France and the United Kingdom had obtained Somali coastal enclaves through purchase and a series of protectorate treaties concluded in the past with local tribal chieftains.

Menelik died in 1913. Three years later, his grandson and successor, Lij Yasu, was deposed in favor of his aunt, Empress Zauditu (Judith). Ras Tafari Mekonnen of Shewa was selected as heir apparent and head of government. On 2 November 1930, he was crowned Emperor Haile Selassie I. Italy invaded and conquered Ethiopia in 193536. Forced to flee the country, the emperor returned in 1941 with the aid of British forces. By a UN decision, Eritrea, which had been under British administration since 1941, was federated to Ethiopia in 1952 and was incorporated into the empire 10 years later. By this time, an Eritrean secessionist movement was already stirring.

After an abortive coup in 1960, the emperor's political power began to lessen as political opposition increased. Guerrilla activity in Eritrea increased noticeably between 1970 and 1973; student and labor unrest also grew. After an official cover-up of catastrophic drought and famine conditions in Welo and Tigray provinces was uncovered in 1974, the armed forces overthrew the government. From 28 June to 12 September 1974, the emperor was systematically isolated and finally deposed. The monarchy was officially abolished in March 1975. Haile Selassie was killed while in the custody of security forces on 27 August 1975.

The new Provisional Military Administrative Council, also called the Dergue, came under the leadership of Maj. (later Lt. Col.) Mengistu Haile Mariam. The economy was extensively nationalized in 1975. Mengistu declared himself a Marxist-Leninist in 1976 and established close relations with Moscow. Perhaps 10,000 Ethiopians were killed in 197678, as the Dergue suppressed a revolt by civilian leftists that involved urban terrorism.

The war with Eritrean secessionists continued inconclusively until 1991. In mid-1977, Somalia invaded the Ogaden area to support the claims of ethnic Somalis there for self-determination. The assault was repulsed with the assistance of Soviet arms and Cuban soldiers in early 1978, when a 20-year treaty with the USSR was signed. Close links with Libya and the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen were established in 1981. In 1982, Ethiopian troops attempted without success to topple the Somali government by mounting an invasion of some 10,000 Ethiopian troops in support of the insurgent Somali Salvation Democratic Front. Hostilities with Somalia later eased and diplomatic relations were reestablished in 1988. But relations with the Sudan soured, as each country supported insurgent movements in the other.

A devastating drought and famine struck northern Ethiopia during 198284, taking an unknown toll in lives. Between November 1984 and October 1985 an international relief effort distributed 900,000 tons of food to nearly eight million people. Food aid continued on a reduced scale, while the government launched massive resettlement programs that critics said were really intended to hamper the operations of armed insurgents and to collectivize agriculture.

The Worker's Party of Ethiopia (WPE) was established as the sole legal political party in 1984. Two years later, a constitutional document was unveiled for discussion; after minor changes it was approved by 81% of the voters in a referendum held on 1 February 1987. Later that year, another devastating drought struck northern Ethiopia, continuing into 1988.

Despite mobilizing one million troops and receiving massive Soviet bloc military aid, the government was not able to defeat the Eritrean and Tigrayan insurgencies. Led by the Eritrean People's Liberation Front (EPLF) and the Tigre People's Liberation Front (TPLF), which is part of a larger coalition, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) triumphed.

On 21 May 1991, Mengistu was forced to resign as president and fled to Zimbabwe. His vice president surrendered to EPRDF forces on May 27. The next day, Meles Zenawi, leader of the EPRDF, established an interim government. In July, delegates from the three victorious guerrilla groups agreed on a structure of an interim coalition government and to grant Eritrea the right to hold an internationally supervised referendum on independence.

In 1992, the multiparty government split sharply. The Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), the second-largest partner, withdrew from the coalition on 23 June. It claimed that the regional elections held on 21 June had been rigged by the EPRDF. The OLF and five other political groups had boycotted the elections. Some OLF forces took up arms against the government.

Amid the turbulence, the transitional government pledged to oversee the establishment of Ethiopia's first multiparty democracy. During 1993, a new constitution was drafted. For the transitional government, a 65-member Council of Representatives was created by the four constituent parties of the EPRDF, which was dominated by the TPLF, a Tigrayan ethnic party.

In June 1994, elections were held for the newly established Constituent Assembly. The EPRDF won 484 of 547 seats in a contest judged free and fair by observers. However, the majority of opposition candidates boycotted the elections under the banner of the Coalition of Alternative Forces for Peace and Democracy in Ethiopia (CAFPDE). The OLF also boycotted the election. The Assembly's first order of business was to draft a new constitution. When completed, the document called for the establishment of a bicameral legislature, a directly elected president, regional autonomy, including the right to secession, and the division of the country into nine states. Elections were held in 1995 for the Federal Parliamentary Assembly, consisting of the directly elected Council of People's Representatives and the Council of the Federation. Opposition parties again boycotted the elections resulting in a commanding majority for the EPRDF483 of 548 seats.

The political opposition's refusal to participate in elections has been a major problem for Ethiopia's fledgling democracy. Western governments and representatives of the OAU engaged the parties in talks prior to the 1995 balloting in the hopes of expanding participation, but opposition leaders insisted the government was impeding their efforts to fairly participate in the electoral process.

The Oromo Liberation Army (OLA), the armed wing of the OLF, has continued armed struggle against the Ethiopian government. Fighting intensified with a series of battles between May and August 1999. Both sides claimed victory, giving conflicting figures for the dead and injured. Over 2,000 OLA and government soldiers may have died in the fighting. Military forces also intensified operations against the Somali-based Al'Itthad terrorist organization, rebel elements of the Ogaden National Liberation Front, and Tokuchuma (another terrorist group operating in eastern Ethiopia), both in the country and southern Somalia and in Northern Kenya. Ethiopia accused Eritrea and Somalia of financially supporting and training the OLF and Al'Ittihad.

Simmering tensions over border alignment with Eritrea came to a boil in 1998. Between 2 and 6 May 1998, Eritrean soldiers invaded and occupied Badme, in northeastern Ethiopia. Other areas were subsequently occupied in Tigray State. Ethiopia later recaptured Badme, but fighting continued, interspersed with periods of inactivity. A US- and Rwanda-sponsored peace plan proposed in early June 1998 failed; so did arbitration efforts by the then OAU. Each side claimed to accept an OAU framework agreement while accusing the other of making impossible preconditions to its implementation. The two and a half year war claimed the lives of an estimated 70,000 people on both sides, and cost both countriestwo of the world's poorestan estimated $1 million a day, according to the United Nations. The bloody war formally ended on 12 December 2000 with a peace treaty, the Algiers Agreement.

Under the Algiers Agreement, some 4,200 UN soldiers commanded under the UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) remained on the border by July 2003. Their task was to monitor the so-called Temporary Security Zone (TSZ) that separates the two countries. Meanwhile, as part of the treaty, the Eritrea Ethiopia Boundary Commission (EEBC) demarcated the internationally recognized boundary. The EEBC, which was based in The Hague and comprised five international lawyers chosen by both countries, was established to resolve boundary claims between the two neighboring countries. In its ruling of 13 April 2002, the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration awarded the key town of Badme, where the war first flared up, to Eritrea. Ethiopia labeled the ruling "unjust and illegal," refused to accept it, and would not withdraw from Badme. Legally, the ruling is binding and final. Rejection of the ruling resulted in five years of no war and no peace between the neighbors since formal cessation of hostilities in 2000; this stalemate raised concerns over a possible relapse in fighting.

Ethiopia's second multiparty elections took place on 14 May 2000, but were marred by irregularities and violence at a number of polling stations requiring the rescheduling of voting in certain constituencies. Voting was postponed in Somali regional state because of severe drought. The results gave parties the following number of seats: OPDO, 177; ANDM, 134; TPLF, 38; WGGPDO, 27; EPRDF, 19; SPDO, 18; GNDM, 15; KSPDO, 10; ANDP 8, GPRDF 7, SOPDM 7, BGPDUF 6, BMPDO 5, KAT 4, other regional political groupings, 22; and independents, 8. Forty-three seats were unconfirmed. On 8 October 2001, the Council of People's Representatives elected Woldegiorgis Girma president. Girma received 100% of the vote for a six-year term.

By July 2003, Ethiopia suffered yet another drought and food shortfalls in 200304. During the previous 30 years, rainfall levels gradually fell by as much as 23 mm a year, leaving some $12.6 million in need of food aid in 2003, or one in five of the populationat a cost of around $800 million. In 2004, the government began a program to move more than two million people away from the arid highlands of the east as a strategy to reduce vulnerability to drought and reduce food shortages.

Since rejection of the border ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration by Ethiopia, Eritrea and Ethiopia have sent mixed messages and traded accusations as to which side is stalling implementation of the Algiers Agreement. For instance the Ethiopian Government announced in November 2004 that it finally accepted the EEBC ruling and urged Eritrea to accept its full implementation, but the Prime Minister Meles Zenawi later said he would accept border demarcation only in undisputed areas. Amidst rising tensions and international concerns over a military build-up on both sides of the border, the Eritrean government on 5 October 2005 banned UN flights in the 25 km demilitarized TSZ and UN night patrols by vehicle on its side of the TSZ. This action forced the UN mission in Eritrea (UNMEE) to vacate 18 of its 40 posts.

The UN Security Council passed a resolution in November 2005 imposing a one-month deadline for compliance, and demanding that Eritrea rescind its flight and vehicle ban on the UN mission, or face unspecified sanctions. Instead, Eritrea escalated the situation on 6 December 2005 by expelling 180 North America, Russian, and other international military observers, UN volunteers and international civilian personnel. No reason was given for the action. Eritrea has repeatedly accused the international community, in particular the UN, of failing to enforce the EEBC boundary ruling. The same UN Security Council Resolution 1640 required both Ethiopia and Eritrea to withdraw their troops to the levels of 16 December 2004, and to both take immediate steps to start demarcation of their disputed boundary in accordance with the 2002 EEBC ruling, by 23 December 2005.

On 22 December 2005, the EEBC ruled that Eritrea had caused the war with Ethiopia and violated international law when it invaded its neighbor in May 1998, and was "liable to compensate Ethiopia for damages caused by that violation of international law." However, both countries were likely to receive compensation from the other for breach of various international laws and for human rights abuses. This ruling did not change the separate EEBC ruling on boundaries between the two countries.

Ethiopia held its third multiparty elections on 15 May 2005. The elections resulted in the EPRDF's disputed return to power. The EPRDF retained its control of the government with 327 of the 547 parliamentary seats, or 59 % of the vote, while opposition parties shared 174 seats, or 32 % of the vote. The opposition charged that the ruling EPRDF coalition had rigged the vote and engaged in acts of voter intimidation and violence, necessistating the rescheduling of voting in certain constituencies. On 8 June 2005 demonstrations, mounted by unarmed university students in Addis Ababa protesting the alleged electoral fraud and demanding investigations or a rerun, turned violent when police opened fire killing some 42 people. At least one of the international observer groups, the European Union Election Observation Mission concluded that the election and electoral process had been below international standards. Both the Ethiopian government and electoral commission dismiss the report as biased, self-contradictory and lacking credibility. With the controversy surrounding the elections, final official election results were not released until nearly four months later on 5 September. By the end of December 2005, the main opposition party, CUD, was still boycotting the legislature.

Announcement of the final 2005 election results was followed by more violence starting November 1 when the opposition Coalition for Democracy and Unity led protests of the results and at least 46 people were killed when security forces opened fire. More than 60,000 arrests are reported to have resulted, and Prime Minister Zenawi announced that 3,000 of them would face charges. On 28 December 2005, a Federal High Court judge remanded 129 opposition leaders, journalists, civil society members and a 15-year-old boy on charges related to violent demonstrations. The defendants claimed they were political prisoners, but the state charged the 129 with crimes ranging from treason to genocide, and blamed opposition leaders for the deaths of 34 people and damages allegedly worth $110 million.

As of 29 December 2005, neither Eritrea nor Ethiopia had met their obligations under the UN resolution 1640, except for a partial withdrawal of troops from the border by Ethiopia. The military situation along the border remained tense and potentially volatile, and the Eritrea-Ethiopia conflict unresolved. The UN Security Council was to meet to review compliance in January 2006.

GOVERNMENT

In name, Ethiopia was a constitutional monarchy between 1931 and 1974, but sovereignty was vested solely in the emperor, a hereditary monarch. The ruler appointed the prime minister, senators, judges, governors, and mayors. The emperor was assisted by the Council of Ministers and the Crown Council, whose members he appointed.

After the military takeover in 1974, the parliament was dissolved and the provisional military government (PMG) established. The PMG assumed full control of the government and continued to rule through its provisional military administrative council, also called the Dergue, whose chairmanship Mengistu seized in February 1977. Government decisions were made by Mengistu on an ad hoc basis, sometimes in consultation with members of the Dergue's Standing Committee. Control over government ministries was maintained by assigning Dergue representatives to oversee their operations. The Commission for Organizing the Party of the Working People of Ethiopia acted as the Dergue's political arm.

The constitution approved by referendum on 1 February 1987 declared Ethiopia to be a people's democratic republic. A national assembly (Shengo), with 835 members chosen by proportional representation for the various nationalities, theoretically had supreme power. The president, who was elected to a five-year term by Shengo, acted as chief executive and commander-in-chief of the armed forces and nominated and presided over the cabinet and the state council, which had legislative power when the Shengo was not in session. The president also appointed top officials of the Worker's Party of Ethiopia (WPE), which was called the leading force in the state and society. The assembly held its first meeting on 9 September; the next day, it elected Mengistu president. It also redrew the political map, creating five "autonomous regions" in order to weaken the appeal of the independence movements; it failed. Despite the trappings of representative government, all power remained in Mengistu's hands. He was head of state and government, leader of the only party and commander of the armed forces.

After Mengistu's defeat in May 1991, a transitional government was established, under the leadership of the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, a coalition of parties opposed to the Dergue and led by President Meles Zenawi. Elections for a constituent assembly were held in June 1994. A new constitution was drafted, providing for a directly elected president, a bicameral legislature, regional autonomy with the right to secede, and a nine-state national structure. Elections to the newly established Federal Parliamentary Assembly were held in 1995; they resulted in a huge victory for the EPRDF owing to opposition boycotts. In the May 2000 elections, Zenawi's coalition gained 368 of the 548 seats in the Council of People's Representative. The next presidential elections were scheduled for October 2007.

The Federal Parliamentary Assembly has two chambers. The Council of People's Representative (Yehizbtewekayoch Mekir Bet), the lower chamber, has 547 members, elected for a five-year term in single seat constituencies. The Council of the Federation (Yefedereshn Mekir Bet) or upper chamber has 117 members chosen by state assemblies to serve five-year terms.

The third multiparty parliamentary elections were held on 15 May 2005. These elections were marred by allegations of vote rigging, voter intimidation, and the death of at least 88 people in postelection violence during two major demonstrations to protest the results. The elections brought Zenawi's EPRDF coalition to power with 327 of the 547 parliamentary seats while opposition parties shared 174 seats. Meles Zenawi began his third five-year term as prime minister. The main opposition party, CUD, won 109 seats in the 547-member parliament but by the end of December 2005, was still boycotting the legislature. The EPRDF won state council elections in 5 of the 10 states.

POLITICAL PARTIES

In the past, there were no established political parties, although political factions existed on the basis of religion, ethnicity, regionalism, and common economic interests. In the 1970s, a number of illegal separatist groups became active militarily. They included the Eritrean People's Liberation Front (EPLF), Eritrean Liberation Front (ELF), the Oromo People's Democratic Organization (OPDO), Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), and Western Somali Liberation Front (WSLF). Eventually, EPLF defeated the ELF in Eritrea.

Two civilian left-wing parties, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Party and the All-Ethiopian Socialist Movement, were crushed by the Dergue in 1976 and 1977, respectively. In 1979, the Dergue established the Commission for Organizing the Party of the Working People of Ethiopia (COPWE), in order to lay the groundwork for a Marxist-Leninist party along Soviet lines. The Worker's Party of Ethiopia (WPE) was established in 1984 as the sole legal political party. Its 11-man politburo was headed by Mengistu.

The separatists successfully defeated Mengistu's forces and after Mengistu fled in May 1991, they established a transitional government under their coalition banner, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF). The TPLF is the most prominent member of the EPRDF, which also includes the Ethiopian People's Democratic Movement (EPDM) and the Afar Democratic Union. The OLF is not part of the coalition. There are also numerous small, ethnic-based groups and several Islamic militant groups. Following 1994 elections to a transitional national assembly, 30 opposition groupsnot including the OLFformed the Coalition of Alternative Forces for Peace and Democracy in Ethiopia (CAFPDE), and began pressing for electoral reform. New elections were held in 1995 for a newly created Federal Parliamentary Assembly (consisting of two chambers). The elections, despite being overseen by international observers, were boycotted by the opposition and were won by the EPRDF, which secured substantial majorities.

The main parties contesting the 14 May 2000 elections were: Afar Democratic Association, Afar Democratic Union, Amhar National Democratic Movement, Ethiopia People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), Ethiopian Democratic Officers' Revolutionary Movement, Oromo People's Democratic Organization, and Tigre People's Liberation Front. There were approximately 58 national and regional parties, 29 of them belonging to the four-party coalition of the ruling EPRDF.

The People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) ruling coalition were returned to power in the contested elections of 15 May 2005 amidst opposition charges of widespread vote rigging and intimidation. A total of 10 parties and coalitions and one independent won the 547 parliamentary seats, which were split as follows: Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), 327; the Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD), 109; United Ethiopian Democratic Forces (UEDF) Alliance, 52; Oromo Federalist Democratic Movement, (OFDM) 11; Afar National Democratic Party (ANDP), 8; Gambela People's Democratic Movement (GPDM), 3; Sheko and Mezenger People's Democratic Unity Organization (SMPDUO), 1; Somali People's Democratic Party (SPDP), 24; Hareri National League (HNL), 1; Argoba Nationality Democratic Organization (ANDO), 1; and Independent, 1.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT

According to a 2006 CIA report, Ethiopia has nine ethnically based states and two self-governing administrationsAddis Ababa and Dirē Dawa. Until 1987, Ethiopia was divided into 15 administrative regions, which in turn were subdivided into 103 sub-regions and 505 districts. In 1976, peasant associations were empowered to collect taxes and form women's associations, cooperatives, and militias. In the mid-1980s, an estimated 25,000 such peasant groups were in existence. Urban dwellers' associations were established for a variety of functions, including law and order.

In 1987, at its first sitting, the Shengo redrew the political map. It created five "autonomous regions" (Eritrea, Assab, Dirē Dawa, Ogaden, and Tigre). The remaining provinces were further subdivided into 24 administrative zones.

The establishment of regions was altered with the creation of the transitional government in 1991. In 1993, Eritrea gained its independence. The new regime called for 14 regional governments, but the June 1992 elections for 11 of the 14 regional assemblies were challenged and widespread fraud was alleged. In the May 2000 elections, 3,300 regional and national seats were to be contested. Results of the third multiparty elections of 15 May 2005 were equally protested. The EPRDF alliance won half of the 10 state councils. According to the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia, a total of 1,920 Regional Council and City Administration seats were contested in 10 of the 11 regions. Results for the Dirē Dawa Region were still outstanding by the end of 2005.

JUDICIAL SYSTEM

The government of Ethiopia is now putting into place a decentralized federal system of courts consisting of regional and district courts consistent with the 1994 constitution. Each region has district (woreda), higher, and supreme courts. There are also local Shariah courts that hear religious and family cases involving Muslims. The Federal High Court and Federal Supreme Court have jurisdiction over cases involving federal laws, transregional issues, and issues of national import. The president and vice president of the Federal Supreme Court are recommended by the prime minister and appointed by the House of People's Representatives; for other federal judges, the prime minister submits to the House of People's Representatives for appointment candidates selected by the Federal Judicial Administrative Council.

The constitution provides for an independent judiciary; trials are public. Defendants have a right to legal counsel and a public defender's office provides counsel to indigent defendants. The law, however, does not allow the defense access to prosecutorial evidence before the trial, and the current judiciary suffers from a lack of trained personnel and financial constraints. In 1995, the government began training new judges and prosecutors. However, it is estimated that the creation of a fully independent and skilled judicial system will take several decades.

In 1992, a special prosecutor's office was established. In 1994 this office began trying defendants charged with crimes against humanity during the Mengistu regime. As of 1997, approximately 1,300 detainees were charged with war crimes. Up to 5,198 persons had been charged with war crimes by the end of 1999.

The Council of People's Representatives in October 1999 passed enabling legislation to meet the constitutional requirement for the creation of a human rights commission and office of the ombudsman. The commission has full powers to receive and investigate all complaints of human rights violations made against any person. By the end of 1999, neither entity was operational.

ARMED FORCES

In 2005, Ethiopia had 182,500 active armed forces personnel. The Army, which was in the process of being organized into three military regions, was equipped with more than 250 main battle tanks and over 460 artillery pieces. The Air Force had an estimated 2,500 members and was equipped with 48 combat capable aircraft, including 31 fighters and 15 fighter ground attack aircraft. The service also had 25 attack helicopters. The military budget for 2005 was $229 million.

INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION

Ethiopia is a charter member of the United Nations (UN), having joined on 13 November 1945; it belongs to the ECA and all the nonregional specialized agencies. A participant in the African Development Bank, G-24, and G-77. The former Ethiopian emperor, Haile Selassie, was a founder of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), which is now known as the African Union (AU). The AU secretariat and the UN Economic Commission for Africa are located in Addis Ababa. The nation has observer status in the WTO. It is part of COMESA, the ACP Group, the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, a Horn of Africa regional grouping.

Ethiopian troops fought under UN command in the Korean conflict and served in the Congo (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) in the early 1960s. The nation also supports the UN Operation in Burundi (est. 2004). A border dispute with Eritrea resulted in war from 19982000.The United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) was established in 2000 to monitor the cessation of hostilities agreement made between the two countries, both of which later accepted a 2002 Boundary Commission delimitation decision. Ethiopia has received UN technical assistance in the fields of public administration, telecommunications, vocational training, agriculture, animal husbandry, education, civil aviation, and health. Ethiopia is a member of the Nonaligned Movement and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

In environmental cooperation, Ethiopia is part of the Basel Convention, the Convention on Biological Diversity, CITES, the Montréal Protocol, and the UN Conventions on Climate Change and Desertification.

ECONOMY

Ethiopia's economy has undergone major reforms since May 1991, when a market-oriented government came to power. Droughts, civil war, and cross-border conflicts have devastated the economy as much as socialist-style totalitarianism. The government continues to institute economic reforms designed to liberalize the economy and increase the role of private capital. Land, however, as of 2002 remained firmly in the hands of the government. A large trade deficit hampers economic development.

Agriculture, hunting, forestry, and fishing engaged 85% of the Ethiopian population and in 2002 accounted for over half of GDP and almost all exports. The agricultural sector is diverse, producing maize, sorghum, millet, other cereals (barley, wheat, and teff), tubers, and sugarcane. Coffee generated $175 million in exports in 2001 (down from $262 million in 2000), which was 60% of export earnings. Livestock production is also important, responsible for around 20% of export earnings.

The manufacturing sector, centered around Addis Ababa, produces construction materials, metal and chemical products, and basic consumer goods including food, beverages, leather, clothing and textiles. Over 90% of large-scale industry is state owned.

Ethiopia produces gold and has additional undeveloped deposits of platinum, marble, tantalite, copper, potash, salt, soda ash, zinc, nickel, and iron. Natural gas is found in the Ogaden.

To break the cycle of famine, the government has promoted extension services and fertilizers in the hope that farmers could realize their potential and poverty would be reduced. After the border war with Eritrea ended in 2000, however, bumper crops were offset by farmers' inability to find markets for their goods. The progress in the country's economic fortunes that began in the 1990s was largely quashed by the 19982000 war and a sharp decline in international coffee prices. Nonetheless, new building projects were due to begin in the early 2000s; dams, a new airport building, and a $15 million sugar-processing factory numbered among them. Reforms are needed in the financial sector, telecommunications, land ownership, and a cumbersome bureaucracy. The World Bank granted Ethiopia $450 million for postwar reconstruction, and the EU was an equally large contributor of development aid in 2003.

Economic growth was modest in 2002 (only 1.2%), and negative in 2003 (-3.8%), but by 2004 the economy recovered expanding at a whopping 11.6%; for 2005 the GDP growth rate is expected to be 5.7%. The yoyo effect that has plagued the Ethiopian economy is largely due to the finicky weather patternsdroughts in late 2002 led to the economic recess of 2003, whereas normal weather patterns in late 2003 helped the economy recover in 2004. The inflation rate fluctuated in previous years (with the economy), growing from 1.5% in 2002, to 17.8% in 2003, and down to 3.2% in 2004.

INCOME

The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reports that in 2005 Ethiopia's gross domestic product (GDP) was estimated at $59.9 billion. The CIA defines GDP as the value of all final goods and services produced within a nation in a given year and computed on the basis of purchasing power parity (PPP) rather than value as measured on the basis of the rate of exchange based on current dollars. The per capita GDP was estimated at $800. The annual growth rate of GDP was estimated at 6.5%. The average inflation rate in 2005 was 11.6%. It was estimated that agriculture accounted for 40.1% of GDP, industry 12.7%, and services 47.2%.

According to the World Bank, in 2003 remittances from citizens working abroad totaled $46 million or about $1 per capita and accounted for approximately 0.7% of GDP. Foreign aid receipts amounted to $1,504 million or about $22 per capita and accounted for approximately 22.8% of the gross national income (GNI).

The World Bank reports that in 2003 household consumption in Ethiopia totaled $5 billion or about $73 per capita based on a GDP of $6.7 billion, measured in current dollars rather than PPP. Household consumption includes expenditures of individuals, households, and nongovernmental organizations on goods and services, excluding purchases of dwellings. It was estimated that for the period 1990 to 2003, household consumption grew at an average annual rate of 5.1%. It was estimated that in 2004 about 50% of the population had incomes below the poverty line.

LABOR

In the latest years for which data was available, government estimates in 1998 indicated that about 26 million Ethiopians were economically active. This figure is subject to fluctuation because of the seasonal nature of much of the activity. In 1999, about 85% of the total were engaged in agriculture and livestock raising. In 1997, about 34,570 persons were classified as unemployed.

The 1993 Labor Law provides workers with the right to form and join unions and engage in collective bargaining. This right however, excludes many categories of employment, including teachers and civil servants. The right of workers to strike (and the employer's right to lockout) is also somewhat restricted. Both sides must seek conciliation efforts, provide 10 days' notice and give reasons for the strike or lockout. The government may refer labor disputes to arbitration, which is binding on the parties. As of 2005, about 300,000 workers were members of a union. Estimates by labor experts indicate that over 90% of union members were covered by collective bargaining agreements in that same year.

The legal minimum age for employment is 14, with special provisions for these workers up to age 18. However, child labor is widespread, in both rural and urban areas. As of 2005, Ethiopia did not have a national minimum wage rate, although some public enterprises and government institutions had set there own minimum wage rates. For that same year, employees in the public sector had a minimum wage of $23 per month, while those in the insurance and banking sector had a rate of $27 per month. In neither case were these wage rates sufficient to provide a decent standard of living to a worker and family. The standard legal workweek was 48 hours with a 24 hour rest period. In addition there was premium pay for overtime, while compulsory and/or excessive overtime was prohibited.

AGRICULTURE

It has been estimated that nearly 70% of Ethiopia's land mass is cultivable, yet only 12% of the land is under cultivation and permanent crops. Agricultural and pastoral pursuits supported over 80% of the population and formed 42% of the GDP in 2003. Subsistence farming and livestock grazing, both inefficient, are the rule. Field crops account for 40% of gross agricultural output, cash crops for 20%, and livestock for the rest.

The coffee variety known as arabica may have originated in Ethiopia, and the word coffee is derived from Kaffa (Kefa), the region in the southwest that is still the largest coffee-producing area of the country. Coffee is the most valuable cash export crop, accounting for 10% of foreign exchange earnings. Coffee production was an estimated at 260,000 tons in 2004, the highest in Africa. Qat, the leaves from a shrub that are used to make tea and which have a mild narcotic effect, is another important cash export crop.

The most commonly produced cereal is teff (Eragrostis abyssinica ), which is used to make the Ethiopian unleavened bread called injera. Corn and barley are the next most important grains, with an annual gross production of at least 1 million tons each. Sorghum, wheat, millet, peas, beans, lentils, and oilseeds are produced in substantial quantities; sugarcane and cotton are also grown. Production in 2004 included corn, 2,744,000 tons; wheat, 1,618,000 tons; sorghum, 1,784,000 tons; barley, 1,087,000 tons; dry beans, 175,000 tons; potatoes, 400,000 tons; yams, 310,000 tons; millet, 305,000 tons; and sugarcane, 2,454,000 tons.

The agricultural sector suffered severe damage from the civil war and its aftermath. Forced recruitment into the military led to a shortage of farm labor. Reforms aimed at introducing market-based incentives have been implemented, including freeing agricultural marketing and farm labor hiring practices. Emergency provisions of seeds, fertilizer, and other inputs have also been vital in rebuilding Ethiopia's agriculture. Since 1999, however, the border war with Eritrea and reduced harvests have caused Ethiopia to rely heavily on food donations from international organizations in order to ward off starvation.

ANIMAL HUSBANDRY

Ethiopia has the largest livestock population in Africa, and this subsector accounts for 40% of gross agricultural output. In normal years, animal husbandry provides a living for 75% of the population. The number of cattle (zebu type) was estimated at 38.5 million in 2005; about three-fifths of them primarily work animals. The country lacks facilities for fattening cattle brought in to slaughter, an adequate veterinary service, and breeding herds. Meat production was estimated at 606,500 tons in 2005. Milk production from cows was an estimated 1,500,000 tons in 2005; from sheep, 42,500 tons; and from goats, 17,250 tons. The number of sheep and goats was estimated at 17 million and 9.6 million, respectively, but periodic drought may have made the actual number much lower. The number of horses was estimated at 1,500,000, mules at 325,000, donkeys at 3,800,000, and camels at 470,000. These were primarily pack animals.

Hides and skins constitute the country's second-largest export item and generally command high prices on the world market. In 2005, production of cattle hides was 65,100 tons; sheepskins, 10,800 tons; and goatskins, 16,100 tons. In 2005, Ethiopia produced 39,000 tons of honey, more than any other nation in Africa.

FISHING

With the secession of Eritrea, Ethiopia lost access to an estimated 1,011 km (628 mi) of Red Sea coastline. In 1992, the Ethiopian and provisional Eritrean governments agreed to make Assab a free port for Ethiopia. Most Ethiopians do not eat seafood; hunting and fishing accounts for only a tiny fraction of the GDP. The catch was 9,213 tons in 2003, up from 5,318 tons in 1994.

FORESTRY

In the 1930s, more than 30% of Ethiopia consisted of forests, but that total has fallen to 13%. Boswellia and species of commiphora produce gums used as the basis for frankincense and myrrh, respectively. A species of acacia is a source of gum arabic. Eucalyptus stands, introduced in the 19th century, are a valuable source of firewood, furniture, and poles. Roundwood production was an estimated 94 million cu m (3.3 billion cu ft) in 2003; all but 2.5 million cu m (87 million cu ft) was for fuel.

MINING

Ethiopia's main mineral export is gold, but the country has also been a producer of silver, tantalite, talc, soda ash, brick clay, feldspar, gemstones, diatomite, granite, anhydrite and gypsum, limestone, pumice, kaolin, salt, sand and scoria. The country also has metal deposits of manganese, iron ore, platinum and nickel. Despite this, little of Ethiopia's expected mineral potential has been exploited, although foreign investment was increasing. Gold mine output in 2003 was estimated at 5,300 kg, unchanged from 2002. Silver mine production in 2002 and 2003 each totaled 1,100 kg. Cement was the most important mineral industry in value and quantity. In 2003, hydraulic cement output totaled 1,200,000 metric tons, up from 900,000 metric tons the previous year. Substantial iron ore deposits were discovered in the Welega region in 1985. Other undeveloped resources included copper, semiprecious gemstones (agate, aquamarine, chalcedony, chrysoprase, emerald, garnet, jasper, obsidian, ruby, sapphire, spinel), molybdenum, mercury, palladium, rhodium, tungsten, zinc, apatite, bentonite, dolomite, potash, and quartz sand. Expected improvements in the general economic situation and the need to rebuild infrastructure were likely to increase demand for building materials and the viability of Eritrea's metals and industrial minerals deposits.

ENERGY AND POWER

Hydropower accounts for the bulk of Ethiopia's electric power generating capacity and output. In 2002, the country's generating capacity stood at 0.501 million kW, with hydropower accounting for 0.451 million kW, and conventional thermal at 0.050 million kW. Electricity production for that same year stood at 2.024 billion kWh, of which 2.003 billion kWh and 0.020 billion kWh came from hydroelectric and conventional thermal plants, respectively. Electric power consumption in 2002 totaled 1.882 billion kWh. However, Ethiopia's heavy reliance upon hydropower to supply its electric power has made the country vulnerable to lengthy droughts.

Ethiopia has small reserves of oil and natural gas. As of 1 January 2003, the country's crude oil and natural gas reserves were placed at 0.428 million barrels and 880 billion cu ft, respectively. Ethiopia has no crude oil refining capacity and must import all refined petroleum products. Imports of refined petroleum products totaled 24,910 barrels per day, with consumption was an estimated 23,000 barrels per day in 2001. In 1997, due to high maintenance and operating costs, Eritrea and Ethiopia agreed to shut down their joint operations at the petroleum refinery at Assab and import refined petroleum products. In 2001, Ethiopia signed an agreement to import petroleum products from Sudan, which began in January 2003. Although Ethiopia has few proven hydrocarbon reserves, it is estimated to have considerable potential for oil and gas exploration.

INDUSTRY

While Ethiopia's industrial sector engages primarily in food processing, it also produces sugar, alcohol and soft drinks, cigarettes, cotton and textiles, footwear, soap, ethyl alcohol, and quicklime. Cement production is also significant. Industrial facilities are concentrated around Addis Ababa, depend heavily on agricultural inputs, and primarily serve the domestic market.

Since 1991, privatization of Ethiopia's industry has been a major objective of the government. In 1995, the government established the Ethiopian Privatization Agency to help privatize companies. By 1999, about 180 government enterprises had been privatized, including Pepsi-Cola and Coca-Cola bottling plants, the St. George Brewery, and the Lega Dembi Gold Mine. Other companies for sale included the Kenticha Tantalum Mine, the Calub Gas Company, and the Wonji-Shoa Sugar Factory, hotels, tanneries, textile mills, and garment factories.

Ethiopia has few proven oil and natural gas reserves, although the potential of these industries is seen as promising. Hydrocarbon exploration began in the Ogaden Basin in the 1920s, and in 1994, the World Bank approved a $74 million loan to develop natural gas fields in the Ogaden Basin. As of 2002, there were plans to build an oil refinery.

One of the key components of Ethiopia's industrial success is its access to ports. Two-thirds of Ethiopia's goods passed through the Eritrean port of Assab prior to the 19982000 border war. Ethiopia subsequently shifted its trade to Djibouti, but Port Sudan and Berbera in Somaliland were targeted as future outlets for trade.

Industry made up 12.4% of the economy in 2004, and it employed only a fraction of the labor force; agriculture is by far the biggest employer and also the biggest contributor to the GDP (47%); services come in second with a 40.6% participation in the GDP. Whereas agricultural growth rates were influenced by the weather, industry has managed to register stable growth rates5.8% in 200102, 4.6% in 200203, and 6.9% in 200304. Agriculture remained the country's main wealth producer.

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

Scientific societies and research institutes in Addis Ababa include the Association for the Advancement of Agricultural Sciences in Africa, the Desert Locust Control Organization for Eastern Africa, the Ethiopian Mapping Authority, the Ethiopian Medical Association, the Ethiopian Institute of Geological Surveys, the Geophysical Observatory, the National Herbarium, the Institute of Agricultural Research, and the International Livestock Center for Africa. Another Institute of Agricultural Research is located in Sidamo. The University of Addis Ababa, founded in 1950, maintains faculties of science, technology, and medicine, a college of agriculture, and a school of pharmacy. The Alemaya University of Agriculture, founded in 1952, has faculties of agriculture and forestry and a division of natural and social sciences. Also in Ethiopia are the Jimma Junior College of Agriculture and the Polytechnic Institute at Bahir-Dar. In 198797, science and engineering students accounted for 26% of college and university enrollments.

DOMESTIC TRADE

Addis Ababa is the paramount commercial and distribution center. Most of the economy is monetary, but transactions are still conducted by barter in some of the more isolated rural sectors. Underdeveloped transportation systems prohibit domestic trade, particularly in agriculture. As of 2001, about 75% of all farms were more than half a day's walk from the nearest all-weather road. Even so, about 80% of the work force is employed in agriculture, which accounts for about 52% of the GDP. The 19992000 war with Eritrea and recurring droughts have severely effected the economy. Growth in the industrial sector has been further prohibited by the land tenure system, through which the government owns and leases all land.

In general, business hours are from 8:30 or 9 am to 1 pm and from 2 pm to 5 or 6 pm, Mondays through Fridays. Shops are open until 8 pm. The national language, Amharic, is spoken along with English, the second official language. Credit cards are not widely accepted.

FOREIGN TRADE

Coffee exports generate more than half of Ethiopia's export returns (53%), but the country's coffee production only accounts for 2.2% of the world's coffee exports. Leather, animal hides, and skins also bring in export revenues (9.9%). Other agricultural products,

Country Exports Imports Balance
World 512.7 2,686.0 -2,173.3
Djibouti 99.4 26.8 72.6
Germany 57.6 89.0 -31.4
Japan 43.7 195.8 -152.1
Saudi Arabia 35.4 131.4 -96.0
Italy-San Marino-Holy See 31.7 246.0 -214.3
Somalia 28.9 28.9
United States 22.7 384.4 -361.7
Yemen 16.1 5.8 10.3
Switzerland-Liechtenstein 16.1 14.1 2.0
United Kingdom 15.6 150.6 -135.0
() data not available or not significant.

including vegetables, oil seeds, and cotton reflect the remainder of major exports (10%).

Ethiopia is heavily dependent on imported manufactures. Machinery, petroleum, and petroleum products represent the leading import items.

In 2004, exports reached $563 million (FOBfree on board), while imports grew to $2.1 billion (FOB). The bulk of exports went to Djibouti (13.3%), Germany (10%), Japan (8.4%), Saudi Arabia (5.6%), the United States (5.2%), the UAE (5%), and Italy (4.6%). Imports included food and live animals, petroleum and petroleum products, chemicals, machinery, motor vehicles, cereals, and textiles, and mainly came from Saudi Arabia (25.3%), the United States (5.8%), China (6.6%), and India (4.0%).

BALANCE OF PAYMENTS

Ethiopia's balance of payments has been significantly affected by weather conditions, terms of trade, and emergency drought relief efforts provided by the international community.

The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reported that in 2000 the purchasing power parity of Ethiopia's exports was $442 million while imports totaled $1.54 billion resulting in a trade deficit of $1.098 billion.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) reported that in 2001 Ethiopia had exports of goods totaling $433 million and imports totaling $1.63 billion. The services credit totaled $523 million and debit $526 million.

Exports of goods and services reached $1.5 billion in 2004, up from $1.2 billion in 2003. Imports grew from $2.4 billion in 2003, to $3.2 billion in 2004. The resource balance was consequently negative in both years, reaching -$1.3 billion in 2003, and -$1.7 billion in 2004. The current account balance was also negative, deteriorating from -$402 million in 2003, to -$620 million in 2004. Foreign exchange reserves (including gold) grew to $1.4 billion in 2004, covering more than five months of imports.

Current Account -199.0
     Balance on goods -1,417.7
         Imports -1,922.0
         Exports 504.3
     Balance on services 46.5
     Balance on income -24.2
     Current transfers 1,196.4
Capital Account
Financial Account 264.8
     Direct investment abroad
     Direct investment in Ethiopia
     Portfolio investment assets
     Portfolio investment liabilities
     Financial derivatives
     Other investment assets 68.8
     Other investment liabilities 196.1
Net Errors and Omissions -275.0
Reserves and Related Items 209.1
() data not available or not significant.

BANKING AND SECURITIES

All banking institutions were nationalized after the government's formal Declaration of Socialism on 20 December 1974. The country's three private commercial banks were placed under the management of the National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE) and, in 1981, under the state-owned Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (established in 1963), which had 170 branches and $3 billion in total assets as of July 1999. It also holds $1.4 in deposits. Other banks included the Agricultural and Industrial Development Bank and the Housing and Savings Bank. A proposal to deregulate the banking sector, giving greater autonomy to the NBE, was introduced by the Council of Ministers in September 1993. Legislation allowing for the establishment of private banks and insurance companies; but not the privatization of existing institutions, or the foreign ownership of such companies; was passed in January 1994. The first private bank, Awash International, started operations at the end of 1994, and had eight branches by 1999. Five other private banks have opened, including Dashen Bank, The Bank of Abyssinia, Wegagen Bank, NIB International, and United Bank. There are no securities exchanges, and Ethiopians are legally barred from acquiring or dealing in foreign securities. A private-sector initiative plans to establish a market for buying and selling company shares by 2000.

The International Monetary Fund reports that in 2001, currency and demand depositsan aggregate commonly known as M1were equal to $1.4 billion. In that same year, M2an aggregate equal to M1 plus savings deposits, small time deposits, and money market mutual fundswas $2.8 billion.

INSURANCE

In January 1976, the 13 insurance companies operating in Ethiopia were nationalized and fused into an inclusive national insurance organization, the Ethiopian Insurance Corp. In 1994, the insurance industry was deregulated. Seven private insurance companies opened between 1994 and 1997: United, Africa, Nile, Nyala, Awash, National, and Global.

PUBLIC FINANCE

The Ethiopian fiscal year begins 8 July, in the Ethiopian month of Hamle. Ethiopia's public finances are under great budgetary pressure, as years of war and poverty have taken a heavy toll on the countryside, population, and infrastructure.

The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) estimated that in 2005 Ethiopia's central government took in revenues of approximately $2.3 billion and had expenditures of $2.8 billion. Revenues minus expenditures totaled approximately -$542 million. Total external debt was $2.9 billion.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) reported that in 1999, the most recent year for which it had data, budgetary central government revenues were b9,707.3 million and expenditures were b12,993.7 million. The value of revenues in US dollars was us$1,222 million and expenditures us$1,689 million, based on a official exchange rate for 1999 of us$1 = b7.9423 as reported by the IMF. Government outlays by function were as follows: general public services, 14.2%; defense, 33.0%; public order and safety, 4.3%; economic affairs, 29.2%; housing and community amenities,

Revenue and Grants 9,707.3 100.0%
     Tax revenue 6,295.8 64.9%
     Social contributions 0.2 0.0%
     Grants 429.3 4.4%
     Other revenue 2,982 30.7%
Expenditures 12,993.7 100.0%
     General public services 1,846 14.2%
     Defense 4,285.1 33.0%
     Public order and safety 552.7 4.3%
     Economic affairs 3,796.5 29.2%
     Environmental protection
     Housing and community amenities 264.8 2.0%
     Health 638.3 4.9%
     Recreational, culture, and religion 119.5 0.9%
     Education 1,702.8 13.1%
     Social protection 206.5 1.6%
() data not available or not significant.

2.0%; health, 4.9%; recreation, culture, and religion, 0.9%; education, 13.1%; and social protection, 1.6%.

TAXATION

Ethiopia has a standard corporate tax rate of 30%. However, companies in the mining industry (excluding oil shale, petroleum and natural gas) are taxed at rates of 35% for small-scale mining operations, and at 45% for large-scale mining operations. Income generated from petroleum, oil shale and natural gas operations are subject to the 30% rate. Capital gains derived from the sale of buildings in municipal areas that are used for a business are subject to a 15% tax. Gains from the sale of company shares are taxed at 30%. A 5% tax is levied on royalties paid to residents and nonresidents, and a 2% ad valorem turnover tax on domestic sales. On 1 January 2003, Ethiopia replaced its sales tax with a value-added tax (VAT). As of 2005, the standard rate was 15%. Exempt from the VAT were food and pharmaceuticals.

CUSTOMS AND DUTIES

The primary purpose of the tariff system is to provide revenues rather than to protect Ethiopian industry or to prohibit the importation of certain commodities. However, there are restrictions on importing certain goods that compete with domestically produced goods. Excise tax brackets range from 10% for textiles to 100% for vehicles with engines larger than 1,800 cc. Taxes on imports are based on the cost, insurance and freight (CIF) value. Imports of certain agricultural and industrial tools and parts and many raw materials are duty-free.

FOREIGN INVESTMENT

Since May 1991, the climate for foreign investment has improved dramatically. Private investment policies are more liberal, commercial performance standards have been applied to public enterprises, tax and tariffs have been reformed, and the currency has been devalued by 58%. The devaluation was the policy action required for the rescheduling of Ethiopia's foreign debt in 1992. Foreign exchange is now auctioned.

In 1996, a revised investment proclamation was approved that created additional incentives for foreign investors. Major provisions included duty-free entry of most capital goods and a cut in the capital gains tax from 40 to 10%. In addition, the government opened a number of previously closed sectors of the economy to foreign investment, although financial services, large-scale power production, telecommunications, and other public utilities remain off limits. Official estimates are that as of June 1996, 52 foreign investors had been given licenses. In 1998, amendments to the 1996 investment proclamation allowed Ethiopian expatriates and permanent residents the ability to invest in industries that had previously been reserved for nationals only.

The inflow of foreign direct investment (FDI) peaked in 1997 at $288.5 million and has declined sharply since. In 2000, FDI inflow was $134 million and in 2001, grew to $349 million. Subsequent years brought with them significant levels of capital inflow ($255 million in 2002, $465 million in 2003, and $545 million in 2004), but not enough for a country the size of Ethiopia. At the end of 2004, total FDI stocks amounted to only $2.5 billion.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

The policy of the Ethiopian government is to create the conditions necessary for sustained economic growth. Farmers have reacquired the economic freedom of price, of production, and of settlement. The government aspires to an agriculture-led industrialization and focuses its attention on food security, rural savings, and labor formation issues. The government holds all land and issues long-term leases to tenants. The 1996 economic reform plan promoted free markets and liberalized trade laws as essential to economic growth. Increased military expenditures during 1999 and 2000 largely due to the war with Eritrea threatened stability.

Ethiopia's per capita income is the second lowest in the world, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), at about $100. In 2001, Ethiopia reached its decision point under the IMF/World Bank Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative, and was to receive $1.9 billion in debt relief. Also in 2001, Ethiopia negotiated a three-year $115 million Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF) Arrangement with the IMF, due to expire in March 2004. Although there was a bumper crop in 200001, the prices of coffee and cereals fell in 200102, and agricultural output was lower. Since July 2002, a severe drought affected Ethiopia; over 15 million people in Ethiopia and Eritrea alone were at risk of starvation in 2003.

The economy recovered well in 2004 and continued to grow substantially in 2005, due to a good performance of the agriculture sector. Since weather patterns were stable and favorable in 2005, analysts expected 2006 to be another good year for the Ethiopian economy. However, rising oil prices were expected to tone down the positive effect of the weather. The fact that the government owns all of the land in the country, which it leases to interested tenants, means that economic growth is seriously hindered because entrepreneurs cannot use that land as collateral for loans.

SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT

Other than modest government allocations for pensions, labor and social welfare for public employees, Ethiopia has no comprehensive public welfare or social security programs. Retirement is set at age 55 for public employees. Retired employees receive 30% of their average monthly salary during the last three years of employment. Most of the population depends on subsistence agriculture in deprived rural areas and therefore falls outside the scope of this limited retirement system.

Women have traditionally been restricted to subordinate roles in society. In rural areas, women are burdened with most of the strenuous agricultural and domestic work, while in urban areas, women are limited in their job opportunities. The civil code discriminates against women in family law and property issues. Domestic abuse is pervasive; societal norms inhibit most women from seeking intervention from the authorities. However, in 2004 a court was created to try cases of sexual abuse. Young women are still abducted for the purpose of marriage. The majority of girls are subject to female genital mutilation.

Human rights abuses persist, including arbitrary arrests, lengthy pretrial detention, and mistreatment of prisoners. However, the government encourages international human rights groups to send observers.

HEALTH

The availability of modern health services has been greatly extended since 1960, but these services still reach only a small portion of the population. Free medical care for the needy was introduced in 1977; however, in 1993, only 55% of the population had access to health care services. Ethiopia built a new hospital at Gore and a 500-bed hospital in Hārer was completed. The tuberculosis center in Addis Ababa was expanded and five new leprosariums were built in the provinces. Mental hospitals were built in Hārer and Asmera and the one in Addis Ababa was renovated. As of 2004, there were fewer than 3 physicians per 100,000 people, one of the lowest number of doctors per capita in the world. Additionally, there were only 19 nurses and 2 midwives per 100,000 people.

The wars, drought, political turmoil, and population pressures of the 1970s and early 1980s left their mark on the Ethiopian health situation. Between 1974 and 1992, there were 575,000 warrelated deaths. Hundreds of thousands of Ethiopians died during a famine in 1973 and as many as one million may have died between 1983 and 1985. Only 4% of women used any form of contraception. The fertility rate in 2000 was 5.6. Average life expectancy in 2005 was estimated at only 48.83 years; infant mortality was estimated at 95.32 per 1,000 live births.

Widespread diseases include malaria, tuberculosis, syphilis, gonorrhea, leprosy, dysentery, and schistosomiasis. In 2000, 24% of the population had access to safe drinking water and 15% had adequate sanitation. In 1999, there were 373 reported cases of tuberculosis per 100,000 people. Ethiopia made an effort to vaccinate children up to one year old against tuberculosis, 90%; diphtheria, pertussis, and tetanus, 63%; polio, 64%; and measles, 52%. As of 2000, an estimated 51% of all children under five years old were moderately or severely malnourished. Public health care expenditures were estimated at 4.1% of GDP.

The HIV/AIDS prevalence was 4.40 per 100 adults in 2003. As of 2004, there were approximately 1,500,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in the country. There were an estimated 1,200 deaths from AIDS in 2003. Ethiopia is one of several African countries in which female genital mutilation is performed. About 90% of all Ethiopian women undergo the ritual; no specific law in the country prohibits it.

HOUSING

Except in Addis Ababa, Hārer, Dirē Dawa, and a few other urban centers, most houses are built of mud or mortar and have thatched or tin roofs. In the rural areas the traditional thatched hut (tukul ) is still the most common dwelling. A 2005 Habitat for Humanity report indicated that about 85% of all houses are made with mud, sticks, and thatch. Only about 8% of all housing units are built with stone walls. Housing shortages and overcrowding were still major concerns as of 2005. Only about 27% of the population had access to safe drinking water and 10% had access to sanitation facilities. Homelessness is a big problem in urban areas; it has been estimated that 80% of the residents in Addis Ababa are homeless or in substandard housing. The housing deficit for urban areas alone has been estimated at over 699,000 units, about 42% of the total housing stock in the nation.

Housing development and finance are the joint responsibility of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development and the Housing and Savings Bank, which was established in November 1975. The government has developed the Ethiopian Housing Cooperative to encourage Ethiopia emigrants to return and build homes.

EDUCATION

After the 1974 revolution, emphasis was placed on increasing literacy in rural areas. Practical subjects were stressed, as was the teaching of socialism. Public education is compulsory and free at the primary level, which covers eight years of study. The first cycle of secondary studies covers an additional two years. After this, students may choose another two years of preparatory studies or three-year technical or vocational studies. The academic year runs from September to July.

Primary school enrollment in 2003 was estimated at about 47% of age-eligible students; 52% for boys and 42% for girls. The same year, secondary school enrollment was about 17% of age-eligible students; 21% for boys and 12% for girls. It is estimated that about 39% of all students complete their primary education. The student-to-teacher ratio for primary school was at about 67:1 in 2003; the ratio for secondary school was about 48:1.

Addis Ababa University (formerly Haile Selassie I University) has extension centers in Alemaya, Gonder, Awasa, Bahir-Dar, and Debre Zeyit. The University of Asmara is a Roman Catholic institution. In 2003, about 2% of the tertiary age population were enrolled in some type of higher education program. The adult literacy rate for 2004 was estimated at about 41.5%, with 49.2% for men and 33.8% for women.

As of 2003, public expenditure on education was estimated at 4.6% of GDP, or 13.8% of total government expenditures.

LIBRARIES AND MUSEUMS

The Addis Ababa University Library contains 550,000 volumes. The National Library, established in 1944, holds 164,000 volumes. The Alemaya University of Agriculture in Dirē Dawa holds 47,000 volumes. The first children's library in Ethiopia opened in 2003 in Addis Ababa. Addis Ababa is also the site of the Ethiopia Public Information Center, a depository library of the World Bank.

Addis Ababa is home to the National Museum, which houses a general collection of regional archaeology, history, and art; the Ethnographic Museum at the Institute of Ethiopian Studies, which includes collections of religious art, musical instruments, and ancient coins; the archaeological museum; the Natural History Museum; the Museum at the Holy Trinity Church; and the War Museum. There are regional museums in Harar, Makale, Wollamo Sodo, and Yirgalem. Many provincial monasteries and churches, as well as municipal authorities, maintain collections of documents, art, and antiquities.

MEDIA

All telephone and telegraph facilities are owned by the government and operated by the National Board of Telecommunications. The principal population centers are connected with Addis Ababa by telephone and radio circuits, and there is an earth-satellite station. In 2003, there were an estimated 6 mainline telephones for every 1,000 people; about 146,100 people were on a waiting list for telephone service installation. The same year, there was approximately 1 mobile phone in use for every 1,000 people.

Radio and television stations are run by the government. The Voice of Ethiopia radio service broadcasts mostly on AM in Amharic, but also in English, French, Arabic, and local languages. Ethiopian Television broadcasts about four hours daily. In 2001 there were eight radio stations and one television station. In 2003, there were an estimated 189 radios and 6 television sets for every 1,000 people. The same year, there were 2.2 personal computers for every 1,000 people and 1 of every 1,000 people had access to the Internet. There was one secure Internet server in the country in 2004.

The two major daily newspapers (with estimated 2002 circulations) are Addis Zeman (40,000; Amharic) and the Ethiopian Herald (37,000; English), both published by the government at Addis Ababa. There are also several weeklies published by the government. There were about 28 private Amharic-language weeklies and 1 independent Tigrinya-language weekly. Most independently owned newspapers are printed at government-owned presses.

All newspapers are strictly censored by the Ministry of Information and National Guidance. A 1992 Press Law, along with the constitution of Ethiopia, provide for free speech and a free press. The government is reported to use legal mechanisms to repress press rights in practice.

ORGANIZATIONS

Since the 1974 revolution, peasants' and urban dwellers' associations, encouraged by the government, have been the chief voluntary societies. Ethiopia has a national chamber of commerce as well as regional and local ones. Trade unions are encouraged and supported through the Confederation of Ethiopian Trade Unions. The African Economic Community has an office in Addis Ababa.

The Institute of Ethiopian Studies promotes interest and research in the nation's history and culture. The Association for Higher Education and Development is a multinational organization formed in 1999 to promote education in the country. The Ethiopian Medical Association promotes research and education on health issues and works to establish common policies and standards in healthcare. There are also several associations dedicated to research and education for specific fields of medicine and particular diseases and conditions, such as the Ethiopian Diabetes Association.

The Ethiopian Youth League is a primary organization promoting education and job training. The National Union of Eritrean Youth and Students serves as an umbrella organization that develops local youth groups interested in promoting traditional culture and values. The Ethiopian Scouts Association is also active. There are several sports associations throughout the country. Branches of the YMCA/YWCA are also active. The African Center for Women is a multinational organization encouraging women's participation in development programs and providing various educational and training programs.

There are national chapters of the Red Cross Society, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, UNICEF, and Habitat for Humanity.

TOURISM, TRAVEL, AND RECREATION

All visitors are required to have a valid passport and visa. Exit visas are required for visitors who stay more than 30 days. The chief tourist attractions are big-game hunting, early Christian monuments and monasteries, and the ancient capitals of Gonder and Aksum. There are seven national parks. In 2003, about 180,000 foreign visitors arrived in Ethiopia, a 15% increase from 2002. There were 3,497 hotel rooms with 5,419 beds and an occupancy rate of 60%. Tourism receipts totaled $336 million. The average length of stay in Ethiopia was three nights.

In 2005, the US Department of State estimated the daily cost of staying in Addis Ababa at $216.

FAMOUS ETHIOPIANS

The most famous Ethiopian in national legend is Menelik I, the son of the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon, regarded as the founder of the Aksumite Empire. This tradition is contained in the Kebra Negast, or Book of the Glory of Kings. The most famous Christian saint of Ethiopia is Frumentius of Tyre (b.Phoenicia, d.380?), the founder of the Ethiopian Church. The 15th-century composer Yared established the Deggua, or liturgical music, of the Ethiopian Church. A 13th-century monarch, Lalibela, is renowned for the construction of the great monolithic churches of Lasta (now called Lalibela). Emperor Amda-Seyon I (r.131344) reestablished suzerainty over the Muslim kingdoms of the coastal lowland regions. During the reign of King Zar' a-Ya'qob (143468), a ruler renowned for his excellent administration and deep religious faith, Ethiopian literature attained its greatest heights. Emperor Menelik II (18441913) is considered the founder of modern Ethiopia. Emperor Haile Selassie I (18911975) was noted for his statesmanship and his introduction of many political, economic, and social reforms. Lt. Col. Mengistu Haile Mariam (b.1937) led the 1974 coup and was head of state from 1977 to 1991. Legesse ("Meles") Zenawi (b.1955) became prime minister in 1995.

DEPENDENCIES

Ethiopia has no territories or colonies.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Clapp, Nicholas. Sheba: Through the Desert in Search of the Legendary Queen. Boston, Mass.: Houghton Mifflin, 2002.

Crummey, Donald. Land and Society in the Christian Kingdom of Ethiopia: From the Thirteenth to the Twentieth Century. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2000.

Ethiopia: Accelerating Industrial Growth through Market Reforms. New York: United Nations Industrial Development Organization, 1996.

Grierson, Roderick. Red Sea, Blue Nile: The Civilisation of Ancient and Medieval Ethiopia. London, Eng.: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 2002.

Henze, Paul B. Layers of Time: A History of Ethiopia. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1999.

Kamoche, Ken M. (ed.). Managing Human Resources in Africa. New York: Routledge, 2004.

Marcus, Harold G. A History of Ethiopia. Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press, 1994.

McCann, James. People of the Plow: An Agricultural History of Ethiopia, 18001990. Madison, Wis.: University of Wisconsin Press, 1995.

McPherson, E. S. P. Ethiopian Sovereignty and African Nationhood: Voice from the Ethio-Diaspora Call. Brooklyn, N.Y.: AandB Publishers, 2000.

Morell, Virginia. Blue Nile: Ethiopia's River of Magic and Mystery. Washington, D.C.: Adventure Press, 2001.

Shinn, David H. and Thomas P. Ofcansky. Historical Dictionary of Ethiopia. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press, 2004.

. Historical Dictionary of Ethiopia and Eritrea. Boulder, Colo.: netLibrary, 2000.

Woodward, Peter. The Horn of Africa: Politics and International Relations. New York: I.B. Tauris, 2003.

Zeilig, Leo and David Seddon. A Political and Economic Dictionary of Africa. Philadelphia: Routledge/Taylor and Francis, 2005.

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ETHIOPIA

Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
Ityop'iya Federalawi Demokrasiyawi Ripeblik

COUNTRY OVERVIEW

LOCATION AND SIZE.

Located in the Horn of Africa the pointy peninsula-like landmass that emanates out of the eastern part of the continentEthiopia has a total area of 1,127,127 square kilometers (935,183 square miles), rendering it slightly less than twice the size of Texas. A landlocked country completely surrounded by other states, Ethiopia has a total border length of 5,311 kilometers (3,300 miles). Ethiopia is bordered by Kenya to the south, Somalia to the east, Djibouti and Eritrea to the northeast, and Sudan to the west. The capital of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa, is located in the heart of the country.

POPULATION.

In 1975, the population of Ethiopia was approximately 32.2 million. With a relatively high growth rate of 2.7 percent between 1975 to 2000, the population of Ethiopia doubled during this period, reaching a total of 64,117,452 by July 2000. Currently, the population growth rate remains high (2.76 percent), and it is forecasted that the population will reach 90.9 million by 2015 (July 2000 est.). In order to restrain the growth process, the Ethiopian government recently included a population control component in its overall development program. The death rate was estimated at 17.63 deaths per 1,000 people, and the birth rate was 45.13 births per 1,000 people (2000 est.). In terms of the age structure of the population, 47 percent of Ethiopians are younger than 15 years of age, 50 percent are between the ages of 15 to 64, and only 3 percent are older than 65 years of age. Only 16.3 percent of the population live in urban areas.

Ethnically, the population of Ethiopia is extremely heterogeneous (diverse). The country's principal ethnic groups are the Oromo (40 percent), the Amhara and Tigre (32 percent), Sidamo (9 percent), Shankella (6 percent), Somali (6 percent), Afar (4 percent), and Gurage (2 percent). The remaining 1 percent belong to various other ethnic groups. In total, there are more than 80 different ethnic groups within Ethiopia. Islam is the predominant religion with 45 to 50 percent of the population identifying as Muslim, 35 to 40 percent as Ethiopian Orthodox (a distinct denomination of Christianity), and 12 percent as animist (a term used to delineate a wide range of native African religious belief systems). The remaining 3 to 8 percent are adherents of various other religions.

Many languages are spoken by the inhabitants of Ethiopia, including Amharic, Tigrinya, Orominga, Guaraginga, Somali, and Arabic. Numerous other local languages and dialects also are spoken. Many of the languages are from the Semetic or Cushtic linguistic groups. Amharic is the country's only official language, while English is the major foreign language taught to Ethiopians in the educational system.

Like many African countries, one of the most daunting prospects that Ethiopia faces is a massive HIV/AIDS epidemic. By the end of 1997, conservative estimates stated that 2.6 million Ethiopians were living with HIV/AIDS, while the adult prevalence rate was 7.4 percent. In addition to causing considerable suffering, HIV/AIDS places a large burden on health care expenditure and diminishes the ability of the poor to save and invest, due to the high cost of treating the disease. According to the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the efficacy of the government's plan to curb the epidemic will depend on its ability to address the structural factors that facilitate the spread of the disease, such as poverty and gender inequality.

OVERVIEW OF ECONOMY

The Ethiopian state consists, territorially, of the only area in Africa that was never colonized by a European power, with the exception of a brief Italian occupation from 1936 to 1941. Indeed, Ethiopiaor Abyssinia, as the area was once calledis one of the oldest independent countries in the entire world. Modern Ethiopia, characterized by political centralization and a modern state apparatus, emerged in the mid-19th century. Throughout much of the 20th century, Ethiopia was presided over by the emperor, Haile Selassie, who ruled the state autocratically (single-handedly and dictatorially), until he was overthrown and subsequently executed in the revolution of 1974.

Under Selassie's rule, the Ethiopian economy relied primarily on agriculture, particularly coffee production. During this time, agricultural production resembled a feudal system since land ownership was highly inequitable, and the vast majority of Ethiopians were obliged to till the fields of the wealthy landowners. Much of the marginal amount of industry that did exist was concentrated in the hands of foreign ownership. For example, by 1962, the Dutch H.V.A. Sugar Company, which commenced operations in Ethiopia in the early 1950s, employed 70 percent of the Ethiopian workforce involved in the industrial food-processing sector. The food-processing sector, in turn, employed 37 percent of all workers involved in manufacturing and industry.

Spouting anti-feudal and anti-imperialist (anti-foreign dominance) rhetoric, an administrative council of soldiers, known as the Derg, overthrew Selassie in 1974, ushering in a lengthy period of military dictatorial rule. The Derg regime, in turn, vocally promoted a Marxist -Leninist system, though according to Ghelawdewos Araia, author of Ethiopia: The Political Economy of Transition, it was only ostensibly (superficially) based on socialist principles. The Derg introduced substantial land reform and nationalized almost all of the country's important industries. The Derg regime, however, known for its particularly brutal suppression of opposition forces, failed to solve Ethiopia's many economic problems. In 1991, massive discontent led by the student movement, declining economic conditions caused by drought and famine, and provincial insurrections led by ethnic separatist groups forced the Derg chairman and Ethiopian president, Mengistu Haile Mariam, to flee the country. Following a period of transitional rule by the Transitional Government of Ethiopia, free elections were held in 1995, resulting in a victory for the Ethiopian's People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF).

Since its democratic assumption of power, the EPRDF has supported a process of economic reform based on the privatization of state-owned enterprises, promotion of agricultural exports, and deregulation of the economy. By 1999, the Ethiopian Privatization Agency had already overseen the privatization of more than 180 parastatals , including most state-owned retail shops, hotels, and restaurants.

Since the fall of the Derg regime, the economy has experienced several positive economic developments. In 1992, for example, the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) Staff Country Report No. 98/6 stated that 62,941 persons were registered as unemployed, whereas in 1996, the figure of officially unemployed fell to 28,350 persons. Of course, for both years, many unemployed Ethiopians, and perhaps even the majority, did not register themselves as such. Nonetheless, it would be fair to deduce that a considerable amount of formerly unemployed Ethiopians have found jobs throughout the 1990s. At the same time, however, the UNDP estimates that the annual growth rate in gross national product (GNP) per capita between 1990 to 1998 was 1.0 percent, while the average annual rate of inflation during the same period was 9.7 percent. This means that Ethiopians were having an increasingly difficult time purchasing the commodities, such as food, that are essential for human existence.

The Ethiopian economy remains highly dependent upon coffee production, with 25 percent of the population deriving its livelihood from the coffee sector. Indeed, from 1995 to 1998, coffee accounted for an average of 55 percent of the country's total value of exports. Gold, leather products, and oilseeds constitute some of the country's other important exports. Major export partners include Germany, Japan, Italy, and the United Kingdom, while import partners include Italy, the United States, Japan, and Jordan. Ethiopia's imports include food and live animals, petroleum and petroleum products, chemicals, machinery, and motor vehicles.

Since Ethiopia mostly exports agricultural products and imports higher valued capital goods , the country runs a severe balance of trade deficit. This deficit, in turn, means that Ethiopia must borrow heavily to finance its imports, a factor that has led to the development of a significantly sized external debt (owed to both foreign-owned banks and international financial institutions, such as the World Bank and the IMF). In 1997, the total debt stood at US$10 billion. The frequent droughts that plague the country also prevent the creation of a self-sufficient agricultural economy. Consequently, as many as 4.6 million people rely on annual food assistance provided by the wealthy industrial countries. Indeed, Ethiopia is the largest recipient of U.S. aid in sub-Saharan Africa. Notwithstanding (not including) emergency food aid, in 1996 Ethiopia received a total of US$45 million in Official Development Assistance (ODA) from the United States alone.

POLITICS, GOVERNMENT, AND TAXATION

The executive branch of the Ethiopian government consists of both an elected president, who is the chief of state, and a prime minister, who is the head of government. Cabinet ministers are selected by the prime minister and approved by the House of People's Representatives, the lower chamber of the bicameral parliament. Members of the lower chamber are directly elected by popular vote, while members of the upper chamber, the House of Federation, are chosen by the various state assemblies. The president and vice president of the Federal Supreme Court, the chief institution of the judicial branch of government, are recommended by the prime minister and appointed by the House of People's Representatives.

In June 1994, the first democratic multiparty elections in Ethiopia's history took place, ending a 3-year transitional period that commenced following the overthrow of the Derg regime. During the transitory phase, the Eritrean People's Liberation Front (EPLF) assumed control of Eritrea and established a provisional government in the Ethiopian province. In April 1993, the EPLF administered a separatist referendum under the auspices of the United Nations (UN), which subsequently formed the basis of a declaration of independence at the end of that month. Thereafter, Eritrea was recognized internationally as an independent sovereign nation. Since 1998, Ethiopia and Eritrea have officially been engaged in a border war as a result of territorial disputes.

The June 1994 national elections resulted in an overwhelming victory for the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), a coalition of numerous ethnically based Derg-opposition movements led by the Tigrayan Peoples' Liberation Front (TPLF). The TPLF initially entered politics as a Marxist guerrilla movement bent on overthrowing the Derg regime. As the leading party in the EPRDF, however, the TPLF has officially adopted a pro-democracy and pro-free market stance, as its economic and political policies clearly make manifest. Nonetheless, the U.S. Department of State argues that the EPRDF displays certain residual (left-over) control-oriented tendencies, which result from the party's quasi-authoritarian guerrilla past (during the insurgency, the TPLF was directed necessarily as a military unit). The recently held 2000 national elections saw the EPRDF return to power, and Meles Zenawi, the leader of the party, is serving his second term as prime minister. Most observers have agreed that Zenawi's government has pursued sound policies, which have contributed to economic growth and reductions in unemployment.

Several other parties also add to the plurality of Ethiopian political life, including the Coalition of Alternative Forces for Peace and Democracy (CAFPD); the Ethiopian Democratic Union (EDU); The Ethiopian Movement for Democracy, Peace, and Unity (EMDPU); the Ethiopian National Democratic Party (ENDP); the Oromo Liberation Front; and the All-Amhara People's Organization (AAPO), not to mention dozens of other smaller parties. While most parties are more or less prodemocracy and pro-free market, several Ethiopian parties, including the last 2 listed above, represent the specific interests of particular ethnic groups.

Import duties , which ranged from 0 to 50 percent and averaged approximately 20 percent in 1997, are the most significant contributor to government tax revenue. Income tax on employment, in turn, is the second most important source of tax revenue, while taxation of business profits is the third most important. There are 5 income tax brackets, with the highest marginal tax rate set at 40 percent for monthly incomes above 3,301 birr, and the lowest marginal tax rate set at 10 percent for monthly incomes between 121 to 600 birr. The profits of incorporated businesses are taxed at a uniform rate of 35 percent. Excise taxes are also quite important, and the tax rates of many products, including pure alcohol (150 percent), perfumes and automobiles (100 percent), dishwashers (80 percent), and tobacco and tobacco products (75 percent), are set at exceptionally high rates. Since most of these items are luxury products, the high tax rates do not affect poor consumers. However some of the more essential commodities, such as petroleum and petroleum products (20 percent), are also taxed quite heavily. The government's total revenue stood at US$1 billion in 1996.

INFRASTRUCTURE, POWER, AND COMMUNICATIONS

According to the U.S. Department of State's Country Commercial Guide 2000, Ethiopia's surface and transport infrastructure is exceedingly poor and underdeveloped. Indeed, the country has the lowest road density in the world, and only 13.3 percent of all roads are paved (1999 est.). There are few interconnecting links between nearby regions and large parts of the country are isolated and dependent upon pack animals for transportation. The main highway route is from Addis Ababa to the port of Djibouti, which Ethiopia uses extensively since it is a landlocked country without ports and harbors of its own. The only train network consists of the 681-kilometer (423-mile) long segment of the century old Addis Ababa-Djibouti railroad.

Communications
Country Newspapers Radios TV Sets a Cable subscribers a Mobile Phones a Fax Machines a Personal Computers a Internet Hosts b Internet Users b
1996 1997 1998 1998 1998 1998 1998 1999 1999
Ethiopia 1 195 5 N/A 0 0.0 N/A 0.01 8
United States 215 2,146 847 244.3 256 78.4 458.6 1,508.77 74,100
Dem. Rep. of Congo 3 375 135 N/A 0 N/A N/A 0.00 1
Eritrea N/A 91 14 N/A 0 0.4 N/A 0.01 1
aData are from International Telecommunication Union, World Telecommunication Development Report 1999 and are per 1,000 people.
bData are from the Internet Software Consortium (http://www.isc.org) and are per 10,000 people.
SOURCE: World Bank. World Development Indicators 2000.

Since May 1998, Ethiopia has expended considerable effort to repair and maintain the railroad lines. Moreover, with the help of various donors, including the World Bank, the European Union (EU), and the African Development Bank (ADB), the government has implemented a US$3.9 billion Road Sector Development Plan designed to expand the road network by 80 percent for 2007. In 1998, the World Bank approved a US$309 million loan to be used for the project, a welcome contribution even though the loan will contribute significantly to Ethiopia's overall debt.

As for air transport, there are a total of 85 airports in Ethiopia, 11 of which have paved runways. All passenger and cargo flights are provided by Ethiopian airlines. The airlines' international services link the country with 43 cities on 3 continents, while domestic services link 38 airfields and 21 landing strips with Addis Ababa.

The government-owned Ethiopian Telecommunications Corporation (ETC) provides the population with telephone services. However, with only 3.1 telephone mainlines per 1,000 people, very few Ethiopians actually have telephone access (1999 est.). The situation compares unfavorably with most other sub-Saharan African nations, to say nothing of the wealthier industrialized nations of the world. In the United States, for example, there are 640 phone lines per 1,000 people (1996 est.).

Almost 90 percent of Ethiopia's electricity is derived from hydropower, which is exclusively provided by the parastatal Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation. In 1999, the country's total electric capacity was 400 megawatts. Over the next several years, the government plans on tripling this capacity to reach 1,200 megawatts. Although doing so would satisfy current electrical needs, Ethiopia has an untapped natural potential to generate over 30,000 megawatts of hydroelectric power. Ethiopia neither exports nor imports electricity, though it does heavily import oil.

ECONOMIC SECTORS

Like most of the countries of the African continent, Ethiopia's economy is dominated by agricultural production. For many similar countries, this dominance is the direct result of the colonial period, which encouraged policies of agricultural exportation at the expense of industrial development. African territories were forced to export primary crops to their colonizing countries and to import higher value-added manufactured commodities. For Ethiopia, however, which was never a European colony, the agricultural predominance is in part a historical legacy of the feudalistic policies that prevailed throughout most of 20th century. These policies consisted of onerous (oppressive) obligations on the part of the peasantry, who were expected to provide high taxes and agricultural surplus to sustain the livelihoods of the ruling classes (consisting of the royal family, government officials, and lords and nobles). In this system, which lasted until the mid-1970s, the government was more concerned with maintaining the rule of the status quo (the existing order) than in fostering industrial development, which resulted in the foreign domination of industry.

Industry still remains a relatively small aspect of the Ethiopian economy, though there is potential for growth in both manufacturing and mining. The service sector, which has become extremely important in terms of contribution to the gross domestic product (GDP), is characterized by a strong financial system. Tourism is one area of the service sector that is currently marginal, though there is significant potential for commercial development.

AGRICULTURE

Agriculture, which constituted 46 percent of GDP and more than 80 percent of exports in 1998, is by far the most important economic activity in the Ethiopian economy (1998 est.). An estimated 85 percent of the population are engaged in agricultural production. Important agricultural exports include coffee, hides and skins (leather products), pulses, oilseeds, beeswax, and, increasingly, tea. Domestically, meat and dairy production play an integral role for subsistence purposes.

Socialist agricultural reforms conducted by the Derg included land reforms that led to relatively equitable patterns of land tenure. The state maintained complete ownership of land, and state marketing boards were created with monopolistic rights to purchase and sell agricultural commodities. Currently, the government retains the right of ultimate land ownership in the agricultural sector, though most marketing boards have been abolished. While marketing boards enabled farmers to sell their crops to the highest bidder, they also required the dissolution of minimum prices for agricultural commodities. Since the government normally purchased agricultural commodities at low prices, however, the abolition of marketing boards may prove to be a positive development.

With 25 percent of all Ethiopiansapproximately 15 million peoplegaining their livelihoods from coffee production, the coffee sector is the most important agricultural activity. According to the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency World Factbook 2000, coffee production, Ethiopia's largest source of foreign exchange, contributed US$267 million to the economy in 1999, with export volumes equaling 105,000 metric tons. Coffee has long held a central role in Ethiopia's export economy and, as early as the mid-1970s, about 55 percent of the nation's total export earnings derived from coffee exports. This percentage share remained more or less constant until the mid-1990s, when it increased to an average of 63 percent of total export earnings between 1995 to 1998.

With the export economy so heavily dependent upon the exportation of a single crop, the Ethiopian economy is structured into a precarious (insecure and dangerous) position. If annual production declines as a result of a bad harvest (due to natural factors, such as droughta constant threat), export earnings will suffer considerably, exacerbating (making worse) the country's already negative balance of trade. Similarly, if all coffee producing countries produce large amounts of coffee in a given yearresulting in an excessive supplyinternational prices for coffee will decline and Ethiopia's export economy will accordingly suffer. Such was the case in 1998, when a glut in the world supply of coffee reduced Ethiopia's coffee earnings by 22 percent from the previous year.

With 75 million heads of livestock, Ethiopia has the largest concentration of livestock on the African continent. According to the Country Commercial Guide 2000, however, it is difficult to calculate the cattle sector's exact value, since a substantial amount of meat and dairy production is for subsistence consumption. In certain regions, such as the highlands, livestock is utilized only to support farming. Still, hides and leather products are Ethiopia's second most important export, though the Commercial Guide states that the sector's huge potential remains largely untapped, as a result of weather conditions (drought), diseases, and the lack of a coherent government plan for the development of the sector. In 1996, Ethiopia produced 8,500 metric tons of leather and leather products for exportation, thereby earning a total of US$6.5 million.

Ethiopia is also the continent's leading producer and exporter of beeswax and honey. The country has approximately 7 million bee colonies. Other important agricultural activities include tea production, which has reached approximately 4,000 metric tons of output in recent years, and cotton and sugar production. Moreover, there are opportunities for expanding cultivation and export of dried fruits, cut flowers, and canned vegetable products.

While the agricultural export economy is constantly subjected to the caprices (whims) of the weather, so too is agricultural production geared towards domestic consumption. In 1992, for example, IMF statistics indicate that Ethiopia produced 51,850 quintals of cereals, mostly for domestic consumption, whereas the following year the cereals output dropped to 47,404 quintalsa decline of 8.6 percent. The decrease was largely the result of drought. The fact that Ethiopia has an extremely poor infrastructure for agricultural production does not help the matter. Though there is the potential for Ethiopia to become self-sufficient in grain production, the country must currently continue to import grains in addition to receiving food aid in order to feed the population.

Like many African countries, Ethiopia confronts several environmental issues that are particularly problematic for the agricultural sector of the economy. Such issues include deforestation (depletion of forests), over-grazing (depletion of pastures), soil erosion (depletion of quality soil), and desertification (extensive drying of the land). Since only 12 percent of all Ethiopian land is arable, 1 percent is used for permanent crops, and 40 percent is comprised of permanent pastures, it is essential for Ethiopia to address these environmental problems in order to maintain the land so fundamental for agricultural activities. Moreover, according to Girma Kebbede, the author of The State and Development in Ethiopia, it is precisely these environmental problemsrather than just the shifting weather patternswhich contribute primarily to the chronic famines that so frequently plague the country. Quite simply, limited arable land as a result of soil erosion and other environmental difficulties mean that in times of drought, there are very few available methods to prevent widespread famine.

INDUSTRY

Ethiopian industry, including both mining and manufacturing, constitutes approximately 12 percent of the GDP, while providing employment for 8 percent of the country's labor force (1998 est.). Under the Derg regime, almost all of the major industries were owned exclusively by the state. With a marginal average annual growth rate of 3.8 percent between 1980 and 1987, the state's policies of industrial control did not fare well. According to Kebbede, the failure of such policies can be attributed to "bureaucratic mismanagement, inefficiency, and corruption." State bureaucracies were costly and wasteful because they were not held responsible to any section of the society and because political and ideological questions took precedence over questions of efficiency or practicality. At the same time, however, one must remember that for many impoverished African countries fearful of foreign domination and eager to create more or less equitable societies, state control of industry seemed to be the most reasonable form of economic organization throughout the 1960s and 1970s. The country's first democratic government, formed in the early 1990s, made privatization of Ethiopia's industrial sector a major objective to promote economic growth, but progress remained slow at the beginning of 2000.

MINING.

Regarding the exploitation of natural resources, gold, marble, limestone, and small amounts of tantalum are the major minerals mined in Ethiopia. Of these minerals, gold, which provided US$12.5 million to the economy in 1996, is the most significant contributor to export earnings. Gold mining output has oscillated (wavered) considerably throughout the 1990s, fluctuating, for example, from 3,500 metric tons in 1992 to 1,800 metric tons in 1994 and 5,100 metric tons in 1996. Traditionally, the mining industry, which remains under state domination, has played a marginal role in Ethiopia's economy. Resources with potential for future commercial development include potash (recently found in large deposits), natural gas, iron ore, and possibly coal and geothermal energy.

MANUFACTURING.

Manufacturing as a percentage of the GDP only marginally increased throughout the 1990s.

In 1992, for example, manufacturing constituted 3.9 percent of the GDP, whereas its percentage share had slightly increased to 4.3 percent by 1998.

The manufacturing sector of the Ethiopian economy produces construction materials, metal, and chemical goods, in addition to basic consumer goods such as food, beverages, clothing, and textiles. Despite massive privatization campaigns, the industrial sector remained dominated by the state, with 150 public (state) enterprises accounting for more than 90 percent of the entire sector's value in 1999. Production by state-owned enterprises is centered on food and beverages, textiles, clothing, leather products, tobacco, rubber, plastic and cement. In 1999, there were also 165 private sector manufacturing firms involved in producing goods such as bakery products, textiles, footwear, and furniture.

Though certain areas of manufacturing are now open to participation by foreigners with permanent residence status as a result of legislation passed in 1998, still other areas, such as garment factories, are restricted from foreign participation. In 1998, there were a total of 163 foreign investment projects with total projected capital investment of US$1.2 billion. Of these projects, 90 were wholly foreign owned while 73 were joint ventures with local partners. Major foreign investors include the United States, with investments worth US$9 million in 1999, as well as Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Kuwait, and Italy. U.S.-based manufacturing companies that have a significant presence in Ethiopia include Pepsi-Cola, Coca-Cola, Caterpillar, General Motors, Xerox, and John Deere. Numerous other U.S. firms also operate in Ethiopia, albeit in different sectors of the economy.

SERVICES

Accounting for 42 percent of the GDP, services are an extremely important component of Ethiopia's economy (1998 est.). At the same time, however, with only 12 percent of the labor force engaged in services and government employment, a relatively small percentage of Ethiopians work in the service sector. The large contribution of services to the GDP stems mostly from the government and the strong financial sector.

TOURISM.

According to the aforementioned Country Commercial Guide 2000, the tourism industry in Ethiopia is negligible, though there is great potential for commercial development. With many unique indigenous plant, bird, and mammal species, the country has an enormous diversity of wildlife, exotic landscapes, and architectural ruins of prehistoric, historical, and religious significance. As such, Ethiopia is an ideal location for foreign and local visitors embarking upon historic, cultural, or ecotourism expeditions.

FINANCIAL SERVICES.

Following the 1974 revolution, the banking and financial sector in general came under the domination of the state. In 1994, legislation was passed that permitted the establishment of private banks and insurance companies but prohibited foreign ownership of such companies.

Ethiopia's central bank, the National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE), seeks to foster monetary stability and a sound financial system by maintaining credit and exchange conditions perceived to be conducive to the balanced growth of the economy. All transactions in foreign exchange must be carried out through authorized dealers under the control of the NBE. The Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE), whose assets totaled over US$3 billion in 1996, is a government-owned bank with 167 branches in operation and over US$1.5 billion on deposit (1996 est.). The CBE, the largest bank in Ethiopia, offers credit to investors on market terms, though the 100 percent collateral requirement limits the ability of small entrepreneurs with limited resources to capitalize upon business opportunities.

Ethiopia's first private bank, Awash, commenced operations in 1994 and now boasts 6 branches in Addis Ababa and 2 in the Oromiya Regional State. In addition to Awash, 5 other private banks now operate in Ethiopia, including Dashen Bank (with a total of 12 branches), the Bank of Abyssinia (2 branches), and Wegagen Bank (5 branches). The 2 newest private banks in operation are NIB International and United Bank. Since the banking and financial reforms of 1994, there are also 7 private insurance companies in operationUnited, Africa, Nile, Nyala, Awash, National, and Global. Ethiopia does not have a securities market, although the U.S. Department of State reported that a private sector initiative to establish a mechanism for buying and selling company shares was expected to begin by the year 2000.

RETAIL.

Ethiopia's retail sector consists mostly of small shops, local markets, and roadside stands, many of which are part of the informal sector of the economy, which remains unregulated and untaxed. Investment legislation passed in September 1998 also allows foreigners with permanent resident status to participate in retail and wholesale trade.

INTERNATIONAL TRADE

Ethiopia has chronically run a negative balance of payments , rendering the country highly dependent upon foreign aid and loans to finance imports. Throughout the 1990s, the situation has shown little sign of improvement. Indeed, the balance of trade deficit was US$829.4 million in 1992 anddespite a brief amelioration in 1994 when the deficit declined to US$609.5 millionit remained approximately the same in 1998, when it

Trade (expressed in billions of US$): Ethiopia
Exports Imports
1975 .240 .313
1980 .425 .716
1985 .333 .993
1990 .298 1.081
1995 .423 1.145
1998 .560 N/A
SOURCE: International Monetary Fund. International Financial Statistics Yearbook 1999.

reached US$830.0 million. The constant deficit ensures Ethiopia's perpetual indebtedness to the commercial banks of the rich industrial countries and international financial institutions, such as the IMF, the World Bank, and the ADB. In 1997, Ethiopia's total external debt stood at US$10 billion.

Ethiopia's major exports include coffee, gold, leather products, beeswax, canned vegetables, tea, sugar, cotton, and oilseeds. Purchasing approximately 22 percent of Ethiopia's exports in 1997, Germany is Ethiopia's largest trading partner. Along with many other countries of EU such as Italy, France, and the United KingdomGermany has steadily increased its quantity of Ethiopian imports. In 1992, for instance, the countries of the EU purchased approximately Br203.3 million worth of Ethiopian exports, whereas this figure increased dramatically to Br1,351.5 million in 1996. Similarly, the United States has increased its quantity of Ethiopian imports from Br19.6 million in 1992 to Br169.9 million in 1996. This major increase in trade with the Western countries can be explained primarily by the fall of the Derg and the subsequent liberalization policies pursued by the EPRDF. Other major importers of Ethiopian products include Saudi Arabia, China, and Japan, the latter of which purchased 12 percent of all Ethiopian exports in 1997. Ethiopia's largest trading partner in Africa is Djibouti, a neighboring country through which Ethiopia must conduct all of its importing and exporting since Ethiopia is landlocked and thus lacks a port of its own.

Ethiopia's major imports include food and live animals, petroleum and petroleum products, chemicals, machinery, civil and military aircraft, transport and industrial capital goods, agricultural machinery and equipment, and motor vehicles. Ethiopia's imports have followed the same pattern as its exports in the 1990s, with the percentage of imports from the countries of the EU and the United States steadily increasing. In 1991, imports worth Br364.7 million were purchased from the countries of the EU, while this figure increased to Br2,006.7 million in 1995. In the same year, a similar value (Br2,300.7 million) of imports came from various countries of Asia and the Middle East, including Japan, Saudi Arabia, and China. With imports to Ethiopia equaling Br146.8 million in 1995, Djibouti is Ethiopia's number-one regional exporter, while Kenya is second.

Ethiopia's balance of trade deficit can be largely explained by the unequal terms of trade between agricultural commodities (the country's major exports) and capital goods (Ethiopia's major imports). International markets accord a higher price to commodities that are manufacturedor "value-added"than to those that are in their raw form. Recognizing the uneven terms of international trade, many countries, including Ethiopia, pursued policies of protectionism throughout the 1960s and 1970s to develop national industrial capacity or import-substitution . In many cases, where the state pursued policies of complete industrial control, they failed miserably. For others, however, such as the economies of Southeast Asia, the policies were more successful, enabling these countries to eventually partake in liberalized free trade at the global level.

Ethiopia's policies of import substitution were largely disastrous. This does not mean, however, that the country should necessarily abandon all forms of protection in favor of free trade, which is theoretically designed to increase the efficiency of national industries through competition with the outside world. Instead, such liberalization may lead to the inability of Ethiopian industries to compete at all, thereby further assuring the dominance of the agricultural sector. To date, Ethiopia has proceeded with the liberalization process relatively cautiously, maintaining an average tariff rate of approximately 20 percent (1997 est.), though there are plans to reduce this figure to 17 to 18 percent. Ethiopia is considering application to the World Trade Organization (WTO), and it is already a member of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA). Regional trading arrangements such as the latter may offer member countries the opportunity to profit from increased trade while competing from a more level playing field. There has been little trade increase between the members of COMESA, however.

MONEY

Prior to 1993, the official rate of the Ethiopian birr was pegged (fixed) to the U.S. dollar at US$1:Br5.000. Since a pegged exchange rate does not necessarily represent a currency's true market value, the EPRDF replaced the fixed exchange rate system with a floating exchange rate system. The value of the birr is thus determined in an inter-bank market where the national bank sells foreign currency to private banks, the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia, and large corporations at weekly auctions.

Exchange rates: Ethiopia
birr (Br) per US$1
Dec 2000 8.3140
2000 8.3140
1999 8.1340
1998 7.5030
1997 6.8640
1996 6.4260
Note: Since May 1993, the birr market rate has been determined in an interbank market supported by weekly wholesale auction.
SOURCE: CIA World Factbook 2001 [ONLINE].

In this way, the official exchange rate is auction-determined. The purchasers of foreign exchange, in turn, are free to establish their own exchange rates.

The value of the birr in relation to the U.S. dollar has steadily depreciated since the implementation of the floating exchange system. In 1995, for instance, the exchange rate was set at US$1:Br6.3200 while, 3 years later in 1998, the rate had decreased to US$1:Br7.5030. As of January 2000, the rate was determined at US$1:Br8.2.

According to the Country Commercial Guide 2000, the Ethiopian currency has remained relatively stable, especially in comparison to the currencies of most other sub-Saharan African nations, as a result of conservative monetary policies and considerable foreign exchange reserves . Nonetheless, the steady depreciation of the currency means that it takes a growing amount of Ethiopian birr to purchase imports from abroad. While this can help the export economy, since fewer U.S. dollars are needed to purchase Ethiopian exports, it also renders valuable imports, such as food for the population, more expensive. In 1998, incidentally, food imports constituted 14 percent of all merchandise imports.

POVERTY AND WEALTH

Under the rule of Haile Selassie, Ethiopian society was characterized by gross inequality between the largely aristocratic eliteconsisting of landowners, lords, nobles, the royal family, government officials, and elements of the clergyand the impoverished peasantry. Indeed, according to Kebbede, the massive famines of the 1960s could have been avoided if the obligations on the part of the peasantry towards the elite (in terms of providing agricultural produce) had not been so oppressive. The Derg regime subsequently abolished feudal obligations and titles of privilege, even going to the extreme of executing numerous members of the high-ranking nobility (the socalled "red terror"). Despite the egalitarian rhetoric of the Derg, however, high-ranking government officials

GDP per Capita (US$)
Country 1975 1980 1985 1990 1998
Ethiopia N/A N/A 91 100 110
United States 19,364 21,529 23,200 25,363 29,683
Dem. Rep. of Congo 392 313 293 247 127
Eritrea N/A N/A N/A N/A 175
SOURCE: United Nations. Human Development Report 2000; Trends in human development and per capita income.

retained privileged economic positions. Today, Ethiopia's elite continues to consist of government officials, in addition to a small upper class of highly skilled managers and professionals.

Like all the countries of Sub-Saharan Africa, poverty is rampant in Ethiopia. The UNDP's Human Development Index (HDI) listings, which arranges countries according to their overall level of human development, ranks Ethiopia 171st out of a total of 174 nations. The HDI is a composite index (one that assesses more than one variable) that measures life expectance at birth, adult literacy rate, school enrollment ratio, and the GDP per capita . It is indicative of a country's general social and economic well-being. As such, Ethiopia's HDI ranking demonstrates that the country is one of the poorest and least developed in the world. Fortunately, the situation has shown small signs of improvement, and the Ethiopian HDI score increased from a dismal 0.265 in 1985 to a slightly better 0.309 in 1998 (the highest possible rank is 1.0, and Canadathe highest ranking HDI country scored 0.935 in 1998).

The Ethiopian government spends relatively little on education and health. In 1998, for example, public expenditure on health and education as percentages of the GDP equaled 1.6 percent and 4.0 percent respectively. Though these expenditures displayed marginal increases,

Distribution of Income or Consumption by Percentage Share: Ethiopia
Lowest 10% 3.0
Lowest 20% 7.1
Second 20% 10.9
Third 20% 14.5
Fourth 20% 19.8
Highest 20% 47.7
Highest 10% 33.7
Survey year: 1995
Note: This information refers to expenditure shares by percentiles of the population and is ranked by per capita expenditure.
SOURCE: 2000 World Development Indicators [CD-ROM].

they are nowhere near the percentage level of industrialized countries, such as the United States, which spent 5.4 percent of the GDP on education and 6.5 percent on health in 1998. Moreover, the Ethiopian government spends a significant amount on military expenditure, largely as a result of the border war with Eritrea, though such expenses have decreased substantially from 10.4 percent of the GDP in 1990 to 3.8 percent in 1998. The fact that the Ethiopian government must continually service a large debt does not help the social expenditure cause.

The vast majority of Ethiopians spend their meager incomes on the basic necessities of life, such as food, rents, clothing, fuel, and transportation. Very little is spent on entertainment and recreation, which are considered luxuries for those that live in considerable poverty. To make matters worse, in the past 10 years, the increase in the GNP per capita has been grossly outweighed by mounting inflation, which means that Ethiopians are having an increasingly difficult time purchasing the commodities essential for human existence. The UNDP estimates that the annual growth rate in GNP per capita between 1990 to 1998 was 1.0 percent, while the average annual rate of inflation during the same period was 9.7 percent.

WORKING CONDITIONS

Since 85 percent of Ethiopia's workforce engages in subsistence farming in the countryside, only a very small percentage of the population is involved in wage labor. The Ethiopian constitution and the 1993 labor law provide wage laborers with the right to form and belong to unions, though employees of the civil and security services (where most wage earners work), judges, and prosecutors are denied these rights. The Confederation of Ethiopian Trade Unions (CETU), established after the fall of the Derg regime in 1993, includes 9 federations organized by industrial and service sector. There is no requirement that unions belong to the CETU. Approximately 250,000 Ethiopian workers are unionized.

Workers who provide an "essential service," such as those who work in air transport, railways, bus service, police and fire services, post and telecommunications, banks, and pharmacies, are denied the right to strike. Other workers are granted the right to strike, though the unions involved must follow certain detailed procedures before doing so. The same applies for the right of an employer to lock out workers. Both sides must make efforts at reconciliation and provide at least 10 days notice to the government before the commencement of an action.

The minimum age for wage labor is 14 years, and various laws protect children between the ages of 14 to 18 years, including restrictions that they may not work more than 7 hours per day. The U.S. Department of State maintains that there are some efforts to enforce such regulations within the formal industrial sector, though there are large numbers of children of all ages that grow and harvest crops outside government regulatory control in the countryside or work as street peddlers in the cities. The harsh reality is that many impoverished parents depend on the work contributions of their children to ensure the survival of the household.

While there is no minimum wage in the private sector, a minimum wage in the public sector has been in effect since 1985. According to the U.S. Department of State, however, the minimum wage in the public sector, which equaled about US$16 per month in 1996, is insufficient to provide a decent standard of living for a worker and family. The Office of the Study of Wages and Other Remunerations, for instance, reports that a family of 5 requires a monthly income of US$61 in Ethiopia. Even with 2 minimum wage earners, therefore, a family receives only about half the income needed for adequate subsistence. These factors result in the family's reliance upon the children to contribute to the household income.

Most employees in Ethiopia work a 40-hour week, and the government, industry, and unions negotiate occupational health and safety standards. The Inspection Department of the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs cannot enforce these standards effectively, however, due to a lack of human and financial resources.

COUNTRY HISTORY AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

5TH CENTURY B.C. Ethiopia becomes one of the first countries in Africa. Ethiopia is described by the Greek historian Herodotus, and the Old Testament records a visit by the Ethiopian Queen of Sheba to Jerusalem.

4TH CENTURY. Missionaries from Syria and Egypt introduce Christianity to the country.

1493. The Portuguese establish contact with Ethiopia, prompting a lengthy conflict between Roman Catholic converts and adherents of Ethiopian Coptic Christianity.

1630s. All foreign missionaries are expelled from Ethiopia, and the country subsequently remains isolated from the West until the mid-19th century.

MID-19TH CENTURY. Under the Emperors Theodore (1855-68), Johannes IV (1872-89), and Menelik II (1889-1913), Ethiopia becomes a modern state characterized by political centralization.

1930. Adopting the throne name Haile Selassie, Ras Tafari Makonnen is crowned emperor, commencing a lengthy period of rule that witnesses the perpetuation of a quasi-feudal system, albeit with marginal reforms.

1936-42. The Italians occupy Ethiopia despite Selassie's plea to the League of Nations for intervention. The Italians are expelled by British and Ethiopian forces, and Selassie returns to rule after a period of forced exile.

1974. Following a period of civil unrest, Selassie is deposed, and a military administrative council known as the Derg declares a military dictatorship supposedly based on socialist principles. The Derg, which pursues abhorrent policies of political repression (the "red terror"), nationalizes the land and most of the economy.

1991. Ethnic insurrection, a collapsed economy, and recalcitrant (rebellious) students cause the final collapse of the Derg regime. The Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) is democratically voted into office.

1993. Eritrea establishes its independence under a UN-monitored referendum. Ethiopia and Eritrea commence a border war that continues to restrain the development of both countries.

FUTURE TRENDS

Despite the pervasive poverty, marginal growth rates, and tumultuous political and economic history of Ethiopia, there are several signs indicative of hope and improvement. For the first time in the country's history, for instance, an effective democracy has been institutionalized. While this will most certainly not solve Ethiopia's deeply embedded economic difficulties overnight, it is, if nothing else, a huge step forward in the direction of the establishment of a responsive and stable government. Moreover, the economy has experienced an unprecedented degree of stability since the mid-1990s, though this is, admittedly, counterbalanced by a precarious agricultural dependence and a chronic balance of payments deficit.

While there are undeniably positive developments, there remain severe impediments that prevent the assurance of a sustained path towards economic development. Perhaps the most significant question that the Ethiopian government must address is the specific policy framework that must be implemented over an extended period of time to surmount these impediments. Privatization and the absolute rule of the free market currently reign supreme in the international neo- liberal economic environment. Rather than accepting the virtues of neo-liberal ideology at face value, however, Ethiopia must adopt policies that are relevant to its particular circumstances. To its credit, this is precisely what the EPRDF seem to be doing. Though the government has pursued policies of trade liberalization, they have not promoted unobstructed free trade. Similarly, while many state-owned enterprises have been privatized, the government retains a considerable role in certain areas of the economy, such as telecommunications, infrastructure provision, and electricity. Moreover, foreign dominance, which can be nationally unprofitable, has been entirely excluded from certain segments of the economy, such as the finance sector. The EPRDF must continue along this path, withstanding international pressure to create a complete free market economy that may not be appropriate at this stage of Ethiopia's economic development.

DEPENDENCIES

Ethiopia has no territories or colonies.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Araia, Ghelawdewos. Ethiopia: The Political Economy of Transition. Lanham, Maryland: University Press of America, 1995.

Hansson, Gote. The Ethiopian Economy 1974-1994: Ethiopian Tikdem and After. London: Routledge, 1995.

International Monetary Fund. "IMF Staff Country Report, Ethiopia: Statistical Appendix." <http://www.imf.org>. Accessed May 2001.

Kebbede, Girma. The State and Development in Ethiopia. NewJersey: Humanities Press, 1992.

United Nations Development Programme. Human Development Report 2000. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000.

U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. World Factbook 2000. <http://www.odci.gov/cia/publications/factbook/index.html>. Accessed May 2001.

U.S. Department of State. Background Notes: Ethiopia. <http://www.state.gov/www/background_notes/ethiopia_0398 _bgn.html>. Accessed May 2001.

U.S. Department of State. FY 2000 Country Commercial Guide: Ethiopia. <http://www.state.gov/www/about_state/business/com_guides/2000/africa/ethiopia00_08.html>. Accessed May 2001.

World Bank Group. Ethiopia: Competitiveness Indicators. <http://wbln0018.worldbank.org/psd/compete.nsf/1f2245620075540d85256490005fb73a/74c17aa2249b1b70852564e40068db3c>. Accessed May 2001.

Neil Burron

CAPITAL:

Addis Ababa.

MONETARY UNIT:

Ethiopian birr (Br). One Ethiopian birr equals 100 cents. Notes come in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 50, and 100 birr, and coins come in denominations of 5, 10, 25, and 50 cents.

CHIEF EXPORTS:

Coffee, gold, leather products, oilseeds.

CHIEF IMPORTS:

Food and live animals, petroleum and petroleum products, chemicals, machinery, motor vehicles.

GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT:

US$33.3 billion (purchasing power parity, 1999 est.).

BALANCE OF TRADE:

Exports: US$420 million (1998 est.). Imports: US$1.25 billion (1998 est.).

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Ethiopia

Culture Name

Ethiopian

Orientation

Identification. The name "Ethiopia" derives from the Greek ethio, meaning "burned" and pia, meaning "face": the land of burned-faced peoples. Aeschylus described Ethiopia as a "land far off, a nation of black men." Homer depicted Ethiopians as pious and favored by the gods. These conceptions of Ethiopia were geographically vague.

In the late nineteenth century, Emperor Menelik II expanded the country's borders to their present configuration. In March 1896, Italian troops attempted to enter Ethiopia forcibly and were routed by Emperor Menelik and his army. The battle of Adwa was the only victory of an African army over a European army during the partitioning of Africa which preserved the country's independence. Ethiopia is the only African country never to have been colonized, although an Italian occupation occurred from 1936 to 1941.

In addition to the monarchy, whose imperial line can be traced to King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, the Ethiopian Orthodox Church was a major force in that, in combination with the political system, it fostered nationalism with its geographic center in the highlands. The combination of church and state was an indissoluble alliance that controlled the nation from King 'Ēzānā's adoption of Christianity in 333 until the overthrow of Haile Selassie in 1974. A socialist government (the Derge) known for its brutality governed the nation until 1991. The Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) defeated the Derge, established democratic rule, and currently governs Ethiopia.

The last twenty-five years of the twentieth century have been a time of revolt and political unrest but represent only a small portion of the time during which Ethiopia has been a politically active entity. Unfortunately, however, the country's international standing has declined since the reign of Emperor Selassie, when it was the only African member of the League of Nations and its capital, Addis Ababa, was home to a substantial international community. War, drought, and health problems have left the nation one of the poorest African countries economically, but the people's fierce independence and historical pride account for a people rich in self-determination.

Location and Geography. Ethiopia is the tenth largest country in Africa, covering 439,580 square miles (1,138,512 square kilometers) and is the major constituent of the landmass known as the Horn of Africa. It is bordered on the north and northeast by Eritrea, on the east by Djibouti and Somalia, on the south by Kenya, and on the west and southwest by Sudan.

The central plateau, known as the highlands, is surrounded on three sides by desert with a significantly lower elevation. The plateau is between six thousand and ten thousand feet above sea level, with the highest peak being Ras Deshan, the fourth-tallest mountain in Africa. Addis Ababa is the third-highest capital city in the world.

The Great Rift Valley (known for discoveries of early hominids such as Lucy, whose bones reside in the Ethiopian National Museum) bisects the central plateau. The valley extends southwest through the country and includes the Danakil Depression, a desert containing the lowest dry point on the earth. In the highlands is Lake Tana, the source of the Blue Nile, which supplies the great majority of water to the Nile River Valley in Egypt.

Variation in altitude results in dramatic climatic variation. Some peaks in the Simyen Mountains receive periodic snowfall, while the average temperature of the Danakil is 120 degrees Fahrenheit in the day time. The high central plateau is mild, with a mean average temperature of 62 degrees Fahrenheit.

The bulk of the rain in the highlands falls in the major rainy season from mid-June to mid-September, with an average of forty inches of rain during that season. A minor rainy season occurs from February to April. The northeastern provinces of Tigre and Welo are prone to drought, which tends to occur about once every ten years. The remainder of the year is generally dry.

Demography. In the year 2000, the population was approximately 61 million, with over eighty different ethnic groups. The Oromo, Amhara, and Tigreans account for more than 75 percent of the population, or 35 percent, 30 percent, and 10 percent respectively. Smaller ethnic groups include the Somali, Gurage, Afar, Awi, Welamo, Sidamo, and Beja.

The urban population is estimated to be 11 percent of the total population. The rural lowland population is composed of many nomadic and seminomadic peoples. The nomadic peoples seasonally graze livestock, while the seminomadic peoples are subsistence farmers. The rural highlands economy is based on agriculture and livestock raising.

Linguistic Affiliation. There are eighty-six known indigenous languages in Ethiopia: eighty-two spoken and four extinct. The vast majority of the languages spoken in the country can be classified within three families of the Afro-Asiatic super language family: the Semitic, Cushitic, and Omotic. Semitic-language speakers predominantly live in the highlands in the center and north. Cushitic-language speakers live in the highlands and lowlands of the south-central region as well as in the north-central area. Omotic speakers live predominantly in the south. The Nilo-Saharan super language family accounts for about 2 percent of the population, and these languages are spoken near the Sudanese border.

Amharic has been the dominant and official language for the last 150 years as a result of the political power of the Amhara ethnic group. The spread of Amharic has been strongly linked to Ethiopian nationalism. Today, many Oromo write their language, Oromoic, using the Roman alphabet as a political protest against their history of domination by the Amhara, who account for significantly less of the population.

English is the most widely spoken foreign language and the language in which secondary school and university classes are taught. French is heard occasionally in parts of the country near Djibouti, formerly French Somaliland. Italian can be heard on occasion, particularly among the elderly in the Tigre region. Remnants of the Italian occupation during World War II exist in the capital, such as the use of ciao to say "good-bye."

Symbolism. The monarchy, known as the Solomonic dynasty, has been a prominent national symbol. The imperial flag consists of horizontal stripes of green, gold, and red with a lion in the foreground holding a staff. On the head of the staff is an Ethiopian Orthodox cross with the imperial flag waving from it. The lion is the Lion of Judah, one of the many imperial titles signifying descent from King Solomon. The cross symbolizes the strength and reliance of the monarchy on the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, the dominant religion for the last sixteen hundred years.

Today, twenty-five years after the last emperor was dethroned, the flag consists of the traditional green, gold, and red horizontal stripes with a five-pointed star and rays emitting from its points in the foreground over a light blue circular background. The star represents the unity and equity of the various ethnic groups, a symbol of a federalist government based on ethnic states.

Sovereignty and freedom are characteristics and thus symbols of Ethiopia both internally and externally. Many African nation-states, such as Ghana, Benin, Senegal, Cameroon, and the Congo adopted Ethiopia's colors for their flags when they gained independence from colonial rule.

Some Africans in the diaspora established a religious and political tradition deemed Ethiopianism. Proponents of this movement, which predates pan-Africanism, appropriated the symbol of Ethiopia to liberate themselves from oppression. Ethiopia was an independent, black nation with an ancient Christian Church that was not a colonial biproduct. Marcus Garvey spoke of viewing God through the spectacles of Ethiopia and often quoted Psalm 68:31, "Ethiopia shall stretch her hands unto God." From Garvey's teachings, the Rastafarian movement emerged in Jamaica in the 1930s. The name "Rastafari" is derived from Emperor Haile Selassie, whose precoronation name was Ras Tafari Makonnen. "Ras" is both a princely and a military title meaning "head" in Amharic. There is a population of Rastafarians living in the town of Shashamane, which was part of a land grant given to the Ethiopian World Federation by Emperor Haile Selassie in return for support during the Italian occupation during World War II.

History and Ethnic Relations

Emergence of the Nation. Ethiopia was home to some of the earliest hominid populations and possibly the region where Homo erectus evolved and expanded out of Africa to populate Eurasia 1.8 million years ago. The most notable paleoanthropological find in the country was "Lucy," a female Australopithicus afarensis discovered in 1974 and referred to as Dinqnesh ("you are marvelous") by Ethiopians.

The rise of sizable populations with a writing system dates back to at least 800 b.c.e. Proto-Ethiopian script inlaid on stone tablets has been found in the highlands, notably in the town of Yeha. The origin of this civilization is a point of contention. The traditional theory states that immigrants from the Arabian peninsula settled in northern Ethiopia, bringing with them their language, proto-Ethiopian (or Sabean), which has also been discovered on the eastern side of the Red Sea.

This theory of the origin of Ethiopian civilization is being challenged. A new theory states that both sides of the Red Sea were a single cultural unit and that the rise of civilization in the Ethiopian highlands was not a product of diffusion and colonization from southern Arabia but a cultural exchange in which the people of Ethiopia played a vital and active role. During this time period, waterways such as the Red Sea were virtual highways, resulting in cultural and economic exchange. The Red Sea connected people on both coasts and produced a single cultural unit that included Ethiopia and Yemen, which over time diverged into different cultures. It is only in Ethiopia that proto-Ethiopian script developed and survives today in Ge'ez, Tigrean, and Amharic.

In the first century c.e., the ancient city of Axum became a political, economic, and cultural center in the region. The Axumites dominated the Red Sea trade by the third century. By the fourth century they were one of only four nations in the world, along with Rome, Persia, and the Kushan Kingdom in northern India, to issue gold coinage.

In 333, Emperor 'Ēzānā and his court adopted Christianity; this was the same year the Roman Emperor Constantine converted. The Axumites and the Romans became economic partners who controlled the Red Sea and Mediterranean Sea trades, respectively.

Axum flourished through the sixth century, when Emperor Caleb conquered much of the Arabian peninsula. However, the Axumite Empire eventually declined as a result of the spread of Islam, resulting in a loss of control over the Red Sea as well as a depletion of natural resources in the region that left the environment unable to support the population. The political center shifted southward to the mountains of Lasta (now Lalibela).

Around 1150, a new dynasty arose in the mountains of Lasta. This dynasty was called the Zagwe and controlled much of northern Ethiopia from 1150 until 1270. The Zagwe claimed descendency from Moses, using genealogy to establish their legitimacy, a characteristic of traditional Ethiopian politics.

The Zagwe were unable to forge national unity, and squabbling over political power led to a decline in the dynasty's authority. A small Christian kingdom in northern Shewa challenged the Zagwe politically and economically in the thirteenth century. The Shewans were led by Yekunno Amlak, who killed the Zagwe king and proclaimed himself emperor. It was Yekunno Amlak who forged national unity and began constructing the nation.

National Identity. Most historians regard Yekunno Amlak as the founder of the Solomonic dynasty. In the process of legitimizing his rule, the emperor reproduced and possibly created the Kebra Nagast (Glory of the Kings), which is regarded as the national epic. The Glory of the Kings is a blend of local and oral traditions, Old and New Testament themes, apocryphal text, and Jewish and Muslim commentaries. The epic was compiled by six Tigrean scribes, who claimed to have translated the text from Arabic into Ge'ez. Contained within its central narrative is the account of Solomon and Sheba, an elaborate version of the story found in I Kings of the Bible. In the Ethiopian version, King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba have a child named Menelik (whose name is derived from the Hebrew ben-melech meaning "son of the king"), who establishes a duplicate Jewish empire in Ethiopia. In establishing this empire, Menelik I brings the Ark of the Covenant with him, along with the eldest sons of the Israeli nobles. He is crowned the first emperor of Ethiopia, the founder of the Solomonic dynasty.

From this epic, a national identity emerged as God's new chosen people, heir to the Jews. The Solomonic emperors are descended from Solomon, and the Ethiopian people are the descendants of the sons of the Israeli nobles. The descent from Solomon was so essential to the nationalistic tradition and monarchical domination that Haile Selassie incorporated it into the country's first constitution in 1931, exempting the emperor from state law by virtue of his "divine" genealogy.

Both the Orthodox Church and the monarchy fostered nationalism. In the epilogue of the Glory of the Kings, Christianity is brought to Ethiopia and adopted as the "rightful" religion. Thus, the empire was genealogically descended from the great Hebrew kings but "righteous" in its acceptance of the word of Jesus Christ.

The Solomonic monarchy had a variable degree of political control over Ethiopia from the time of Yekunno Amlak in 1270 until Haile Selassie's dethroning in 1974. At times the monarchy was centrally strong, but during other periods regional kings held a greater amount of power. Menelik II played a vital role in maintaining a sense of pride in Ethiopia as an independent nation. On 1 March 1896, Menelik II and his army defeated the Italians at Adwa. The independence that emerged from that battle has contributed greatly to the Ethiopian sense of nationalistic pride in self-rule, and many perceive Adwa as a victory for all of Africa and the African diaspora.

Ethnic Relations. Traditionally, the Amhara have been the dominant ethnic group, with the Tigreans as secondary partners. The other ethnic groups have responded differently to that situation. Resistance to Amhara dominance resulted in various separatist movements, particularly in Eritrea and among the Oromo. Eritrea was culturally and politically part of highland Ethiopia since before Axum's achievement of political dominance; Eritreans claim Axumite descendency as much as Ethiopians do. However, in 1889, Emperor Menelik II signed the Treaty of Wichale, leasing Eritrea to the Italians in exchange for weapons. Eritrea was an Italian colony until the end of World War II. In 1947, Italy signed the Treaty of Paris, renouncing all its colonial claims. The United Nations passed a resolution in 1950 establishing Eritrea as a federation under the Ethiopian crown. By 1961, Eritrean rebels had begun fighting for independence in the bush. In November 1962, Haile Selassie abolished the federation and sent his army to quell any resistance, forcefully subordinating Eritrea against the will of its people.

African leaders passed the Cairo Resolution in 1964, which recognized the old colonial borders as the basis for nation-statehood. Under this treaty, Eritrea should have gained independence, but because of Haile Selassie's international political savvy and military strength, Ethiopia retained control. The Eritrean rebels fought the emperor until his deposition in 1974. When the Derge government was armed by the Soviets, the Eritreans still refused to accept external subjugation. The Eritrean People's Liberation Front (EPLF) fought side by side with the EPRDF and ousted the Derge in 1991, at which time Eritrea became an independent nation-state. Political confrontation has continued, and Ethiopia and Eritrea fought from June 1998 to June 2000 over the border between the two countries, with each accusing the other of infringing on its sovereignty.

The "Oromo problem" continues to trouble Ethiopia. Although the Oromo are the largest ethnic group in Ethiopia, never in their history have they maintained political power. During the period of European colonialism in Africa, the Ethiopian highlanders undertook an intra-African colonial enterprise. Many ethnic groups in the present state of Ethiopia, such as the Oromo, were subjected to that colonialization. Conquered ethnic groups were expected to adopt the identity of the dominant Amhara-Tigrean ethnic groups (the national culture). It was illegal to publish, teach, or broadcast in any Oromo dialect until the early 1970s, which marked the end of Haile Selassie's reign. Even today, after an ethnic federalist government has been established, the Oromo lack appropriate political representation.

Urbanism, Architecture, and the Use of Space

Traditional houses are round dwellings with cylindrical walls made of wattle and daub. The roofs are conical and made of thatch, and the center pole has sacred significance in most ethnic groups, including the Oromo, Gurage, Amhara, and Tigreans. Variations on this design occur. In the town of Lalibella the walls of many houses are made of stone and are two-storied, while in parts of Tigre, houses are traditionally rectangular.

In more urban areas, a mixture of tradition and modernity is reflected in the architecture. The thatched roofs often are replaced with tin or steel roofing. The wealthier suburbs of Addis Ababa have multistory residences made of concrete and tile that are very western in form. Addis Ababa, which became the capital in 1887, has a variety of architectural styles. The city was not planned, resulting in a mixture of housing styles. Communities of wattle-and-daub tin-roofed houses often lie next to neighborhoods of one- and two-story gated concrete buildings.

Many churches and monasteries in the northern region are carved out of solid rock, including the twelve rock-hewn monolithic churches of Lalibela. The town is named after the thirteenth-century king who supervised its construction. The construction of the churches is shrouded in mystery, and several are over thirty-five feet high. The most famous, Beta Giorgis, is carved in the shape of a cross. Each church is unique in shape and size. The churches are not solely remnants of the past but are an active eight-hundred-year-old Christian sanctuary.

Food and Economy

Food in Daily Life. Injera, a spongy unleavened bread made from teff grain, is the staple of every meal. All food is eaten with the hands, and pieces of injera are ripped into bite-sized pieces and used to dip and grab stews (wat ) made of vegetables such as carrots and cabbage, spinach, potatoes, and lentils. The most common spice is berberey, which has a red pepper base.

The food taboos found in the Old Testament are observed by most people as the Ethiopian Orthodox Church prescribes them. The flesh of animals with uncloven hoofs and those that do not chew their cud are avoided as unclean. It is nearly impossible to get pork. Animals used for food must be slaughtered with the head turned toward the east while the throat is cut "In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost" if the slaughterer is Christian or "In the name of Allah the Merciful" if the slaughterer is Muslim.

Food Customs at Ceremonial Occasions. The coffee ceremony is a common ritual. The server starts a fire and roasts green coffee beans while burning frankincense. Once roasted, the coffee beans are ground with a mortar and pestle, and the powder is placed in a traditional black pot called a jebena. Water is then added. The jebena is removed from the fire, and coffee is served after brewing for the proper length of time. Often, kolo (cooked whole-grain barley) is served with the coffee.

Meat, specifically beef, chicken, and lamb, is eaten with injera on special occasions. Beef is sometimes eaten raw or slightly cooked in a dish called kitfo. Traditionally, this was a staple of the diet, but in the modern era, many of the elite have shunned it in favor of cooked beef.

During Christian fasting periods, no animal products can be eaten and no food or drink can be consumed from midnight until 3 p.m. This is the standard way of fasting during the week, and on Saturday and Sunday no animal products may be consumed, although there is no time restriction on the fast.

Honey wine, called tej, is a drink reserved for special occasions. Tej is a mixture of honey and water flavored with gesho plant twigs and leaves and is traditionally drunk in tube-shaped flasks. High-quality tej has become a commodity of the upper class, which has the resources to brew and purchase it.

Basic Economy. The economy is based on agriculture, in which 85 percent of the population participates. Ecological problems such as periodic drought, soil degradation, deforestation, and a high population density negatively affect the agricultural industry. Most agricultural producers are subsistence farmers living in the highlands, while the population in the lowland peripheries is nomadic and engages in livestock raising. Gold, marble, limestone, and small amounts of tantalum are mined.

Land Tenure and Property. The monarchy and the Orthodox Church traditionally controlled and owned most of the land. Until the overthrow of the monarchy in 1974, there was a complex land tenure system; for example, there were over 111 different types of tenure in Welo Province. Two major types of traditional land ownership that are no longer in existence were rist (a type of communal land ownership that was hereditary) and gult (ownership acquired from the monarch or provincial ruler).

The EPRDF instituted a policy of public land use. In rural areas, peasants have land use rights, and every five years there is a reallotment of land among farmers to adapt to the changing social structures of their communities. There are several reasons for the nonexistence of individual land ownership in rural areas. If private ownership were legislated, the government believes that rural class divisions would increase as a result of a large number of peasants selling their land.

Commercial Activities. Agriculture is the major commercial activity. The chief staple crops include a variety of grains, such as teff, wheat, barley, corn, sorghum, and millet; coffee; pulses; and oilseed. Grains are the primary staples of the diet and are thus the most important field crops. Pulses are a principal source of protein in the diet. Oilseed consumption is widespread because the Ethiopian Orthodox Church prohibits the usage of animal fats on many days during the year.

Major Industries. After nationalization of the private sector before the 1974 revolution, an exodus of foreign-owned and foreign-operated industry ensued. The growth rate of the manufacturing sector declined. Over 90 percent of large scale industries are state-run, as opposed to less than 10 percent of agriculture. Under the EPRDF administration, there is both public and private industry. Public industries include the garment, steel, and textile industries, while much of the pharmaceuticals industry is owned by shareholders. Industry accounts for almost 14 percent of the gross domestic product, with textiles, construction, cement, and hydroelectric power constituting the majority of production.

Trade. The most important export crop is coffee, which provides 65 to 75 percent of foreign exchange earnings. Ethiopia has vast agricultural potential because of its large areas of fertile land, a diverse climate, and generally adequate rainfall. Hides and skins are the second largest export, followed by pulses, oilseed, gold, and chat, a quasi-legal plant whose leaves possess psychotropic qualities, that is chewed in social groups. The agricultural sector is subject to periodic drought, and poor infrastructure constrains the production and marketing of Ethiopia's products. Only 15 percent of the roads are paved; this is a problem particularly in the highlands, where there are two rainy seasons causing many roads to be unusable for weeks at a time. The two biggest imports are live animals and petroleum. The majority of Ethiopia's exports are sent to Germany, Japan, Italy and the United Kingdom, while imports are primarily brought in from Italy, the United States, Germany, and Saudi Arabia.

Division of Labor. Men do the most physically taxing activities outside the house, while women are in charge of the domestic sphere. Young children, especially on farms, get involved in household labor at an early age. Girls usually have a greater amount of work to do than boys.

Ethnicity is another axis of labor stratification. Ethiopia is a multi-ethnic state with a history of ethnic division. Currently, the Tigrean ethnic group controls the government and holds the core positions of power in the federal government. Ethnicity is not the sole basis for employment in the government; political ideology also plays an important role.

Social Stratification

Classes and Castes. There are four major social groups. At the top are high-ranking lineages, followed by low-ranking lineages. Caste groups, which are endogamous, with group membership ascribed by birth and membership associated with concepts of pollution, constitute the third social stratum. Slaves and the descendants of slaves are the lowest social group. This four-tier system is traditional; the contemporary social organization is dynamic, especially in urban areas. In urban society, the division of labor determines social class. Some jobs are esteemed more than others, such as lawyers and federal government employees. Many professions carry negative associations, such as metal workers, leather workers, and potters, who are considered of low status and frequently are isolated from mainstream society.

Symbols of Social Stratification. Symbols of social stratification in rural areas include the amount of grain and cattle a person possesses. While the symbols of wealth in urban areas are different, it is still these symbols which index high social status. Wealth is the chief criterion for social stratification, but the amount of education, the neighborhood in which one lives, and the job one holds are also symbols of high or low status. Automobiles are difficult to obtain, and the ownership of a car is a symbol of wealth and high status.

Political Life

Government. For almost sixteen hundred years, the nation was ruled by a monarchy with close ties to the Orthodox Church. In 1974, Haile Selassie, the last monarch, was overthrown by a communist military regime known as the Derge. In 1991, the Derge was deposed by the EPRDF (internally composed of the Tigrean People's Liberation Front, the Oromo People's Democratic Organization, and the Amhara National Democratic movement), which established a "democratic" government.

Ethiopia is currently an ethnic federation composed of eleven states that are largely ethnically based. This type of organization is intended to minimize ethnic strife. The highest official is the prime minister, and the president is a figurehead with no real power. The legislative branch consists of a bicameral legislation in which all people and ethnicities can be represented.

Ethiopia has not achieved political equality. The EPRDF is an extension of the military organization that deposed the former military dictatorship, and the government is controlled by the Tigrean People's Liberation Front. Since the government is ethnically and militarily based, it is plagued by all the problems of the previous regimes.

Leadership and Political Officials. Emperor Haile Selassie ruled from 1930 until 1974. During his lifetime, Selassie built massive infrastructure and created the first constitution (1931). Haile Selassie led Ethiopia to become the only African member of the League of Nations and was the first president of the Organization of African Unity, which is based in Addis Ababa. Micromanaging a nation caught up with the emperor in old age, and he was deposed by the communist Derge regime led by Lieutenant Colonel Mengistu Haile Mariam. Mengistu assumed power as head of state after having his two predecessors killed. Ethiopia then became a totalitarian state financed by the Soviet Union and assisted by Cuba. Between 1977 and 1978, thousands of suspected Derge oppositionists were killed.

In May 1991, the EPRDF forcefully took Addis Ababa, forcing Mengistu into asylum in Zimbabwe. Leader of the EPRDF and current prime minister Meles Zenawi pledged to oversee the formation of a multiparty democracy. The election of a 547-member constituent assembly was held in June 1994, and the adoption of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia's constitution ensued. Elections for the national parliament and regional legislatures were held in May and June of 1995, although most opposition parties boycotted the elections. A landslide victory was achieved by the EPRDF.

The EPRDF, along with 50 other registered political parties (most of which are small and ethnically based), comprise Ethiopia's political parties. The EPRDF is dominated by the Tigrean People's Liberation Front (TPLF). Because of that, after independence in 1991, other ethnically-based political organizations withdrew from the national government. One example is the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), which withdrew in June of 1992.

Social Problems and Control. Ethiopia is safer than the neighboring countries, particularly in urban areas. Ethnic issues play a role in political life, but this does not usually result in violence. Christians and Muslims live together peacefully.

Theft occurs infrequently in Addis Ababa and almost never involves weapons. Robbers tend to work in groups, and pickpocketing is the usual form of theft. Homelessness in the capital is a serious social problem, especially among the youth. Many street children resort to theft to feed themselves. Police officers usually apprehend thieves but rarely prosecute and often work with them, splitting the bounty.

Military Activity. The Ethiopian military is called the Ethiopian National Defence Force (ENDF) and is comprised of approximately 100,000 personnel, making it one of the largest military forces in Africa. During the Derge regime, troups numbered around one-quarter of a million. Since the early 1990s, when the Derge was overthrown, the ENDF has been in transition from a rebel force to a professional military organization trained in demining, humanitarian and peacekeeping operations, and military justice.

From June 1998 until the summer of 2000, Ethiopia was involved in the largest war on the African continent with its northern neighbor, Eritrea. The war was essentially a border conflict. Eritrea was occupying the towns of Badme and Zalambasa, which Ethiopia claimed was sovereign territory. The conflict can be traced to Emperor Menelik, who sold Eritrea to the Italians in the late nineteenth century.

Large-scale fighting occurred in 1998 and 1999 with no change in the combatants' positions. During the winter months, fighting was minimal because of the rains, which make it difficult to move armaments. In the summer of 2000, Ethiopia achieved large-scale victories and marched through the contested border area into Eritrean territory. After these victories, both nations signed a peace treaty, which called for United Nations peacekeeping troops to monitor the contested area and professional cartographers to demarcate the border. Ethiopian troops withdrew from undisputed Eritrean territory after the treaty was signed.

Social Welfare and Change Programs

Traditional associations are the major sources of social welfare. There are many different types of social welfare programs in different parts of the country; these programs have religious, political, familial, or other bases for their formation. Two of the most prevalent are the iddir and debo systems.

An iddir is an association that provides financial assistance and other forms of aid for people in the same neighborhood or occupation and between friends or kin. This institution became prevalent with the formation of urban society. The main objective of an iddir is to assist families financially during times of stress, such as illness, death, and property losses from fire or theft. Recently, iddirs have been involved in community development, including the construction of schools and roads. The head of a family who belongs to an iddir contributes a certain amount of money every month to benefit individuals in times of emergency.

The most widespread social welfare association in rural areas is the debo. If a farmer is having difficulty tending his fields, he may invite his neighbors to help on a specific date. In return, the farmer must provide food and drink for the day and contribute his labor when others in the same debo require help. The debo is not restricted to agriculture but is also prevalent in housing construction.

Nongovernmental Organizations and Other Associations

Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) are the main sources of aid to alleviate rural poverty. The Swedish International Development Agency was the first NGO in Ethiopia in the 1960s, focusing on rural development. Drought and war have been the two biggest problems in recent years. NGOs played a crucial role in famine relief in Welo and Tigre during the 19731974 and 19831984 famines through the coordination of the Christian Relief and Development Association. In 1985, the Churches Drought Action Africa/Ethiopia formed a joint relief partnership to distribute emergency food relief to areas controlled by rebel forces.

When the EPRDF took power in 1991, a large number of donor organizations supported and funded rehabilitation and development activities. Environmental protection and food-based programs take precedence today, although development and preventive health care are also activities on which NGO focuses.

Gender Roles and Statuses

Division of Labor by Gender. Traditionally, labor has been divided by gender, with authority given to the senior male in a household. Men are responsible for plowing, harvesting, the trading of goods, the slaughtering of animals, herding, the building of houses, and the cutting of wood. Women are responsible for the domestic sphere and help the men with some activities on the farm. Women are in charge of cooking, brewing beer, cutting hops, buying and selling spices, making butter, collecting and carrying wood, and carrying water.

The gender division in urban areas is less pronounced than it is in the countryside. Many women work outside of the home, and there tends to be a greater awareness of gender inequality. Women in urban areas are still responsible, with or without a career, for the domestic space. Employment at a baseline level is fairly equivalent, but men tend to be promoted much faster and more often.

The Relative Status of Women and Men. Gender inequality is still prevalent. Men often spend their free time socializing outside the home, while women take care of the household. If a man participates in domestic activities such as cooking and child rearing, he may become a social outcast.

The education of boys is stressed more than that of girls, who are supposed to help with household work. Girls are restricted from leaving the home and engaging in social activities with friends much more than boys are.

Marriage, Family, and Kinship

Marriage. Traditional marriage customs vary by ethnic group, although many customs are transethnic. Arranged marriages are the norm, although this practice is becoming much less common, especially in urban areas. The presentation of a dowry from the male's family to the female's family is common. The amount is not fixed and varies with the wealth of the families. The dowry may include livestock, money, or other socially valued items.

The proposal usually involves elders, who travel from the groom's house to the parents of the bride to ask for the marriage. The elders are traditionally the individuals who decide when and where the ceremony takes place. Both the bride's and groom's families prepare food and drink for the ceremony by brewing wine and beer and cooking food. A great deal of food is prepared for the occasion, especially meat dishes.

Christians often wed in Orthodox churches, and a variety of wedding types exist. In the takelil type, the bride and groom participate in a special ceremony and agree never to divorce. This type of commitment has become rare in recent years. Wedding garb in the cities is very western: suits and tuxedos for the men and a white wedding gown for the bride.

Domestic Unit. The basic family structure is much larger than the typical Western nuclear unit. The oldest male is usually the head of the household and is in charge of decision making. Men, usually having the primary income, control the family economically and distribute money. Women are in charge of domestic life and have significantly more contact with the children. The father is seen as an authority figure.

Children are socially required to care for their parents, and so there are often three to four generations in a household. With the advent of urban living, however, this pattern is changing, and children often live far from their families and have a much harder time supporting them. Urbanites have a responsibility to send money to their families in rural areas and often try their best to relocate their families to the cities.

Inheritance. Inheritance laws follow a fairly regular pattern. Before an elder passes away he or she orally states his or her wishes for the disposal of possessions. Children and living spouses are typically the inheritors, but if an individual dies without a will, property is allotted by the court system to the closest living relatives and friends. Land, although not officially owned by individuals, is inheritable. Men are more privileged then females and usually receive the most prized properties and equipment, while women tend to inherit items associated with the domestic sphere.

Kin Groups. Descent is traced through both the mother's and father's families, but the male line is more valued than the female. It is customary for a child to take the father's first name as his or her last name. In rural areas, villages are often composed of kin groups that offer support during difficult times. The kin group in which one participates tends to be in the male line. Elders are respected, especially men, and are regarded as the source of a lineage. In general, an elder or groups of elders are responsible for settling disputes within a kin group or clan.

Socialization

Infant Care. Children are raised by the extended family and community. It is the primary duty of the mother to care for the children as part of her domestic duties. If the mother is not available, the responsibility falls to the older female children as well as the grandmothers.

In urban society, where both parents often work, babysitters are employed and the father takes a more active role in child care. If a child is born out of wedlock, whoever the women claims is the father is required by law to support the child economically. If parents get divorced, a child five years old or older is asked with whom he or she wants to live.

Child Rearing and Education. During early childhood, children have the greatest exposure to their mothers and female relatives. At around the age of five, especially in urban areas, children start attending school if their families can afford the fees. In rural areas, schools are few and children do farm work. This means a very low percentage of rural youth attend school. The government is trying to alleviate this problem by building accessible schools in rural areas.

The patriarchal structure of society is reflected in the stress on education for boys over girls. Women face discrimination problems as well as physical abuse in school. Also, the belief still exists that females are less competent then males and that education is wasted on them.

Higher Education. Children who do well in elementary school go on to secondary school. It is felt that missionary schools are superior to government schools. Fees are required for missionary schools, although they are reduced considerably for religious adherents.

University is free, but admission is extremely competitive. Every secondary student takes a standardized examination to get into college. The acceptance rate is approximately 20 percent of all the individuals who take the tests. There is a quota for the various departments, and only a certain number of individuals are enrolled in their desired majors. The criterion is the grades of first-year students; those with the highest marks get the first choice. In 1999, enrollment at Addis Ababa University was approximately 21,000 students.

Etiquette

Greeting takes the form of multiple kisses on both cheeks and a plethora of exchanged pleasantries. Any hint of superiority is treated with contempt. Age is a factor in social behavior, and the elderly are treated with the utmost respect. When an elderly person or guest enters a room, it is customary to stand until that person is seated. Dining etiquette is also important. One must always wash the hands before a meal, since all food is eaten with the hands from a communal dish. It is customary for the guest to initiate eating. During a meal, it is proper form to pull injera only from the space directly in front of oneself. Depleted portions are replaced quickly. During meals, participation in conversation is considered polite; complete attention to the meal is thought to be impolite.

Religion

Religious Beliefs. There has been religious freedom for centuries in Ethiopia. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church is the oldest sub-Saharan African church, and the first mosque in Africa was built in the Tigre province. Christianity and Islam have coexisted peacefully for hundreds of years, and the Christian kings of Ethiopia gave Muhammad refuge during his persecution in southern Arabia, causing the Prophet to declare Ethiopia exempt from Muslim holy wars. It is not uncommon for Christians and Muslims to visit each other's house of worship to seek health or prosperity.

The dominant religion has been Orthodox Christianity since King 'Ēzānā of Axum adopted Christianity in 333. It was the official religion during the reign of the monarchy and is currently the unofficial religion. Because of the spread of Islam in Africa, Ethiopian Orthodox Christianity was severed from the Christian world. This has led to many unique characteristics of the church, which is considered the most Judaic formal Christian church.

The Ethiopian Orthodox Church lays claim to the original Ark of the Covenant, and replicas (called tabotat ) are housed in a central sanctuary in all churches; it is the tabot that consecrates a church. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church is the only established church that has rejected the doctrine of Pauline Christianity, which states that the Old Testament lost its binding force after the coming of Jesus. The Old Testament focus of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church includes dietary laws similar to the kosher tradition, circumcision after the eighth day of birth, and a Saturday sabbath.

Judaism historically was a major religion, although the vast majority of Ethiopian Jews (called Beta Israel) reside in Israel today. The Beta Israel were politically powerful at certain times. Ethiopian Jews often were persecuted during the last few hundred years; that resulted in massive secret airlifts in 1984 and 1991 by the Israeli military.

Islam has been a significant religion in Ethiopia since the eighth century but has been viewed as the religion of the "outside" by many Christians and scholars. Non-Muslims traditionally have interpreted Ethiopian Islam as hostile. This prejudice is a result of the dominance of Christianity.

Polytheistic religions are found in the lowlands, which also have received Protestant missionaries. These Evangelical churches are fast growing, but Orthodox Christianity and Islam claim the adherence of 85 to 90 percent of the population.

Religious Practitioners. The leader of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church is often referred to as the Patriarch or the Pope by Ethiopians. The Patriarch, a Copt himself, was traditionally sent from Egypt to lead the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. This tradition was abandoned in the 1950s when the Patriarch was chosen by Emperor Haile Selassie from within the Ethiopian Church.

The tradition of the Patriarch being sent from Egypt began in the fourth century. The conversion of Emperor 'Ēzānā of Axum to Christianity was facilitated by a Syrian boy named Frumentious, who worked in the emperor's court. After Emperor 'Ēzānā's conversion, Frumentious traveled to Egypt to consult the Coptic authorities about sending a Patriarch to head the Church. They concluded that Frumentious would best serve in that role and he was anointed 'Abba Salama (father of Peace) and became the first Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.

Within the Orthodox Church there are several categories of clergy, including priests, deacons, monks, and lay-priests. It was estimated in the 1960s that between 10 and 20 percent of all adult Amhara and Tigrean men were priests. These figures are much less extraordinary when one considers that at that time there were 17,000 to 18,000 churches in the Amhara and Tigrean regions in the north-central highlands.

Rituals and Holy Places. The majority of celebrations are religious in nature. The major Christian holidays include Christmas on 7 January, Epiphany (celebrating the baptism of Jesus) on 19 January, Good Friday and Easter (in late April), and Meskel (the finding of the true cross) on 17 September. Muslim holidays include Ramadan, Id Al Adha (Arafa) on 15 March, and the birthday of Muhammad on 14 June. During all religious holidays, adherents go to their respective places of worship. Many Christian holidays are also state holidays.

Death and the Afterlife. Death is a part of daily life as famine, AIDS, and malaria take many lives. Three days of mourning for the dead is the norm. The dead are buried the day they die, and special food is eaten that is provided by family and friends. Christians bury their dead on the grounds of the church, and Muslims do the same at the mosque. Muslims read from religious texts, while Christians tend to cry for their dead during the mourning period.

Medicine and Health Care

Communicable diseases are the primary illnesses. Acute respiratory infections such as tuberculosis, upper respiratory infections, and malaria are the Ministry of Health's priority health problems. These afflictions accounted for 17 percent of deaths and 24 percent of hospital admissions in 1994 and 1995. Poor sanitation, malnutrition, and a shortage of health facilities are some of the causes of communicable diseases.

AIDS has been a serious health problem in recent years. AIDS awareness and condom usage are increasing, however, especially among the urban and educated populations. In 1988 the AIDS Control and Prevention Office conducted a study in which 17 percent of the sample population tested positive for HIV. A total of 57,000 AIDS cases were reported up to April 1998, almost 60 percent of which were in Addis Ababa. This places the HIV-infected population in 1998 at approximately three million. The urban HIV-positive population is drastically higher than the rural at 21 percent versus under 5 percent, respectively, as of 1998. Eighty-eight percent of all infections result from heterosexual transmission, mainly from prostitution and multiple sex partners.

The federal government has created a National AIDS Control Program (NACP) to prevent the transmission of HIV and reduce the associated morbidity and mortality. The goals are to inform and educate the general population and increase awareness about AIDS. Prevention of transmission through safer sexual practices, condom usage, and appropriate screening for blood transfusion are goals of the NACP.

Government health spending has risen. The absolute level of health expenditure, however, remains far below the average for other sub-Saharan African countries. The health system is primarily curative despite the fact that most health problems are amenable to preventive action.

In 1995-1996, Ethiopia had 1,433 physicians, 174 pharmacists, 3,697 nurses, and one hospital for every 659,175 people. The physician-to-population ratio was 1:38,365. These ratios are very low in comparison to other sub-Saharan developing countries, although the distribution is highly unbalanced in favor of urban centers. For example, 62 percent of the doctors and 46 percent of the nurses were found in Addis Ababa, where 5 percent of the population resides.

Secular Celebrations

The major state holidays are New Year's Day on 11 September, Victory Day of Adwa on 2 March, Ethiopian Patriots Victory Day on 6 April, Labor Day on 1 May, and the Downfall of the Derge, 28 May.

The Arts and Humanities

Literature. The classical language of Ge'ez, which has evolved into Amharic and Tigrean, is one of the four extinct languages but is the only indigenous writing system in Africa that is still in use. Ge'ez is still spoken in Orthodox Church services. The development of Ge'ez literature began with translations of the Old and New Testaments from Greek and Hebrew. Ge'ez was also the first Semitic language to employ a vowel system.

Many apocryphal texts such as the Book of Enoch, the Book of Jubilees, and the Ascension of Isaiah have been preserved in their entirety only in Ge'ez. Even though these texts were not included in the Biblical canon, among Biblical scholars (and Ethiopian Christians) they are regarded as significant to an understanding of the origin and development of Christianity.

Graphic Arts. Religious art, especially Orthodox Christian, has been a significant part of the national culture for hundreds of years. Illuminated Bibles and manuscripts have been dated to the twelfth century, and the eight-hundred-year-old churches in Lalibela contain Christian paintings, manuscripts, and stone relief.

Wood carving and sculpture are very common in the southern lowlands, especially among the Konso. A fine arts school has been established in Addis Ababa that teaches painting, sculpture, etching, and lettering.

Performance Arts. Christian music is believed to have been established by Saint Yared in the sixth century and is sung in Ge'ez, the liturgical language. Both Orthodox and Protestant music is popular and is sung in Amharic, Tigrean, and Oromo. The traditional dance, eskesta, consists of rhythmic shoulder movements and usually is accompanied by the kabaro, a drum made from wood and animal skin, and the masinqo, a single-stringed violin with an A-shaped bridge that is played with a small bow. Foreign influences exist in the form of Afro-pop, reggae, and hip-hop.

The State of the Physical and Social Sciences

The university system fosters academic research in cultural and physical anthropology, archaeology, history, political science, linguistics, and theology. A large percentage of the leading scholars in these fields went to the University of Addis Ababa. A lack of funding and resources has constrained the development of the university system. The library system is inferior, and computers and Internet access are not available at the university.

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Adam Mohr

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Ethiopia

PROFILE
GEOGRAPHY
PEOPLE
HISTORY
GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS
ECONOMY
DEFENSE
FOREIGN RELATIONS
U.S.-ETHIOPIA RELATIONS
TRAVEL

Compiled from the November 2007 Background Note and supplemented with additional information from the State Department and the editors of this volume. See the introduction to this set for explanatory notes.

Official Name:

Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

PROFILE

Geography

Area: 1.1 million sq. km (472,000 sq. mi.); about the size of Texas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico combined.

Cities: Capital—Addis Ababa (pop. 5 million). Other cities—Dire Dawa (237,000), Nazret (189,000), Gondar (163,000), Dessie (142,000), Mekelle (141,000), Bahir Dar (140,000), Jimma (132,000), Awassa (104,000).

Terrain: High plateau, mountains, dry lowland plains.

Climate: Temperate in the highlands; hot in the lowlands.

People

Nationality: Noun and adjective—Ethiopian(s).

Population: (2006 est.) 77 million.

Annual growth rate: 2.7%.

Ethnic groups: (est.) Oromo 40%, Amhara 25%, Tigre 7%, Somali 6%, Sidama 9%, Gurage 2%, Wolaita 4%, Afar 4%, other nationalities 3%.

Religions: (est.) Ethiopian Orthodox Christian 40%, Sunni Muslim 45–50%, Protestant 5%, remainder indigenous beliefs.

Languages: Amharic (official), Tigrinya, Arabic, Guaragigna, Oromigna, English, Somali.

Education: Years compulsory—none. Attendance (elementary) 57%. Literacy—43%.

Health: Infant mortality rate—93/ 1,000 live births.

Work force: Agriculture—80%. Industry and commerce—20%.

Government

Type: Federal Republic.

Constitution: Ratified 1994.

Government branches: Executive—president, Council of State, Council of Ministers. Executive power resides with the prime minister. Legislative—bicameral parliament. Judicial—divided into Federal and Regional Courts.

Political subdivisions: 9 regions and 2 special city administrations: Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa.

Political parties: Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), the Coalition for Unity and Democracy Party (CUDP), the United Ethiopian Democratic Forces (UEDF), Oromo Federalist Democratic Movement (OFDM), and other small parties.

Suffrage: Universal starting at age 18.

Budget: (2006 est.) $3.4 billion.

Defense: $348 million (5.6% of GDP FY 2003).

National holidays: May 28.

Economy

Real GDP: (2006 est.) $13.3 billion.

Annual growth rate: (2006 est.) 9.6%.

Per capita income: (2006 est.) $130.

Average inflation rate: (2006 est.) 13%.

Natural resources: Potash, salt, gold, copper, platinum, natural gas (unexploited).

Agriculture: (47% of GDP) Products—coffee, cereals, pulses, oilseeds, khat, meat, hides and skins. Cultivated land—17%.

Industry: (12% of GDP) Types—textiles, processed foods, construction, cement, and hydroelectric power.

Trade: (2006 est.) Exports—$1.1 billion. Imports—$4.1 billion; plus remittances—official est. $400 million; unofficial est. $400 million.

Fiscal year: July 8-July 7.

GEOGRAPHY

Ethiopia is located in the Horn of Africa and is bordered on the north and northeast by Eritrea, on the east by Djibouti and Somalia, on the south by Kenya, and on the west and southwest by Sudan. The country has a high central plateau that varies from 1,800 to 3,000 meters (6,000 ft.-10,000 ft.) above sea level, with some mountains reaching 4,620 meters (15,158 ft.). Elevation is generally highest just before the point of descent to the Great Rift Valley, which splits the plateau diagonally. A number of rivers cross the plateau–notably the Blue Nile flowing from Lake Tana. The plateau gradually slopes to the lowlands of the Sudan on the west and the Somali-inhabited plains to the southe

The climate is temperate on the plateau and hot in the lowlands. At Addis Ababa, which ranges from 2,200 to 2,600 meters (7,000 ft.-8,500 ft.), maximum temperature is 26o C (80o F) and minimum 4o C (40o F). The weather is usually sunny and dry with the short (belg) rains occurring February-April and the big (meher) rains beginning in mid-June and ending in mid-September.

PEOPLE

Ethiopia's population is highly diverse. Most of its people speak a Semitic or Cushitic language. The Oromo, Amhara, and Tigreans make up more than three-fourths of the population, but there are more than 77 different ethnic groups with their own distinct languages within Ethiopia. Some of these have as few as 10,000 members. In general, most of the Christians live in the highlands, while Muslims and adherents of traditional African religions tend to inhabit lowland regions. English is the most widely spoken foreign language and is taught in all secondary schools. Amharic is the official language and was the language of primary school instruction but has been replaced in many areas by local languages such as Oromifa and Tigrinya.

HISTORY

Ethiopia is credited with being the origin of mankind. Bones discovered in eastern Ethiopia date back 3.2 million years. Ethiopia is the oldest independent country in Africa and one of the oldest in the world. Herodotus, the Greek historian of the fifth century B.C. describes ancient Ethiopia in his writings. The Old Testament of the Bible records the Queen of Sheba's visit to Jerusalem. According to legend, Menelik I, the son of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, founded the Ethiopian Empire. Missionaries from Egypt and Syria introduced Christianity in the fourth century A.D. Following the rise of Islam in the seventh century, Ethiopia was gradually cut off from European Christendom. The Portuguese established contact with Ethiopia in 1493, primarily to strengthen their influence over the Indian Ocean and to convert Ethiopia to Roman Catholicism. There followed a century of conflict between pro-and anti-Catholic factions, resulting in the expulsion of all foreign missionaries in the 1630s. This period of bitter religious conflict contributed to hostility toward foreign Christians and Europeans, which persisted into the 20th century and was a factor in Ethiopia's isolation until the mid-19th century.

Under the Emperors Theodore II (1855–68), Johannes IV (1872–89), and Menelik II (1889–1913), the kingdom was consolidated and began to emerge from its medieval isolation. When Menelik II died, his grandson, Lij Iyassu, succeeded to the throne but soon lost support because of his Muslim ties. The Christian nobility deposed him in 1916, and Menelik's daughter, Zewditu, was made empress. Her cousin, Ras Tafari Makonnen (1892–1975), was made regent and successor to the throne. In 1930, after the empress died, the regent, adopting the throne name Haile Selassie, was crowned emperor. His reign was interrupted in 1936 when Italian Fascist forces invaded and occupied Ethiopia. The emperor was forced into exile in England despite his plea to the League of Nations for intervention. Five years later, British and Ethiopian forces defeated the Italians, and the emperor returned to the throne.

After a period of civil unrest, which began in February 1974, the aging Haile Selassie I was deposed on September 12, 1974, and a provisional administrative council of soldiers, known as the Derg (“committee”) seized power from the emperor and installed a government, which was socialist in name and military in style. The Derg summarily executed 59 members of the royal family and ministers and generals of the emperor's government; Emperor Haile Selassie was strangled in the basement of his palace on August 22, 1975.

Lt. Col. Mengistu Haile Mariam assumed power as head of state and Derg chairman, after having his two predecessors killed. Mengistu's years in office were marked by a totalitarian-style government and the country's massive militarization, financed by the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc, and assisted by Cuba. From 1977 through early 1978 thousands of suspected enemies of the Derg were tortured and/or killed in a purge called the “red terror.” Communism was officially adopted during the late 1970s and early 1980s with the promulgation of a Soviet-style constitution, Politburo, and the creation of the Workers' Party of Ethiopia (WPE).

In December 1976, an Ethiopian delegation in Moscow signed a military assistance agreement with the Soviet Union. The following April, Ethiopia abrogated its military assistance agreement with the United States and expelled the American military missions. In July 1977, sensing the disarray in Ethiopia, Somalia attacked across the Ogaden Desert in pursuit of its irredentist claims to the ethnic Somali areas of Ethiopia. Ethiopian forces were driven back deep inside their own frontier but, with the assistance of a massive Soviet airlift of arms and Cuban combat forces, they stemmed the attack. The major Somali regular units were forced out of the Ogaden in March 1978. Twenty years later, development in the Somali region of Ethiopia lagged.

The Derg's collapse was hastened by droughts and famine, as well as by insurrections, particularly in the northern regions of Tigray and Eritrea. In 1989, the Tigrayan People's Liberation Front (TPLF) merged with other ethnically based opposition movements to form the Ethiopian Peoples' Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF). In May 1991, EPRDF forces advanced on Addis Ababa. Mengistu fled the country for asylum in Zimbabwe, where he still resides. In July 1991, the EPRDF, the

Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), and others established the Transitional Government of Ethiopia (TGE) which was comprised of an 87-member Council of Representatives and guided by a national charter that functioned as a transitional constitution. In June 1992 the OLF withdrew from the government; in March 1993, members of the Southern Ethiopia Peoples' Democratic Coalition left the government. In May 1991, the Eritrean People's Liberation Front (EPLF), led by Isaias Afwerki, assumed control of Eritrea and established a provisional government. This provisional government independently administered Eritrea until April 23-25, 1993, when Eritreans voted overwhelmingly for independence in a UN-monitored free and fair referendum. Eritrea was with Ethiopia's consent declared independent on April 27, and the United States recognized its independence on April 28, 1993.

In Ethiopia, President Meles Zenawi and members of the TGE pledged to oversee the formation of a multiparty democracy. The election for a 547-member constituent assembly was held in June 1994, and this assembly adopted the constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia in December 1994. The elections for Ethiopia's first popularly chosen national parliament and regional legislatures were held in May and June 1995. Most opposition parties chose to boycott these elections, ensuring a landslide victory for the EPRDF. International and nongovernmental observers concluded that opposition parties would have been able to participate had they chosen to do so. The Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia was installed in August 1995.

In May 1998, Eritrean forces attacked part of the Ethiopia-Eritrea border region, seizing some Ethiopian-controlled territory. The strike spurred a two-year war between the neighboring states that cost over 100,000 lives. Ethiopian and Eritrean leaders signed an Agreement on Cessation of Hostilities on June 18, 2000 and a peace agreement, known as the Algiers Agreement, on December 12, 2000.

The agreements called for an end to the hostilities, a 25-kilometer-wide Temporary Security Zone along the Ethiopia-Eritrea border, the establishment of a United Nations peace-keeping force to monitor compliance, and the establishment of the Ethiopia Eritrea Boundary Commission (EEBC) to act as a neutral body to assess colonial treaties and applicable international law in order to render final and binding border delimitation and demarcation determinations. The United Nations Mission to Eritrea and Ethiopia (UNMEE) was established in September 2000. The EEBC presented its border delimitation decision on April 13, 2002. To date, neither Ethiopia nor Eritrea has taken the steps necessary to enable the EEBC to demarcate the border.

Opposition candidates won 12 seats in national parliamentary elections in 2001. Ethiopia held the most free and fair national campaign period in the country's history prior to May 15, 2005 elections. Unfortunately, electoral irregularities and tense campaign rhetoric resulted in a protracted election complaints review process. Public protests turned violent in June 2005. The National Electoral Board released final results in September 2005, with the opposition taking over 170 of the 547 parliamentary seats and 137 of the 138 seats for the Addis Ababa municipal council. Opposition parties called for a boycott of parliament and civil disobedience to protest the election results.

In early November 2005, Ethiopian security forces responded to public protests by arresting scores of opposition leaders, as well as journalists and human rights advocates, and detaining tens of thousands of civilians in rural detention camps for up to three months. In December 2005, the government charged 131 opposition, media, and civil society leaders with capital offenses including “outrages against the constitution. Thirty-eight opposition leaders and journalists were convicted in June 2007. Approximately 150 of the elected opposition members of parliament have taken their seats. Ruling and opposition parties have engaged in a process of dialogue to address issues of democratic governance raised by the 2005 elections, including parliamentary rules of procedure, media regulation, and reform of the National Electoral Board.

GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS

Ethiopia is a federal republic under the 1994 constitution. The executive branch includes a president, Council of State, and Council of Ministers. Executive power resides with the prime minister. There is a bicameral parliament; national legislative elections were held in 2005. The judicial branch comprises federal and regional courts.

Political parties include the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), the Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD), the United Ethiopian Democratic Forces (UEDF), and other small parties. Suffrage is universal at age 18.

In 2003, Ethiopia continued its transition from a unitary to a federal system of government. The EPRDF-led government of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi has promoted a policy of ethnic federalism, devolving significant powers to regional, ethnically based authorities.

Ethiopia today has 9 semi-autonomous administrative regions and two special city administrations (Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa), which have the power to raise their own revenues. Under the present government, Ethiopians enjoy wider, albeit circumscribed, political freedom than ever before in Ethiopia's history.

Principal Government Officials

Last Updated: 2/1/2008

President: GIRMA Woldegiorgis

Prime Minister: MELES Zenawi

Dep. Prime Min.: ADDISU Legesse

Dep. Prime Min.: KASSU Ilala

Min. of Agriculture & Rural Development: ADDISU Legesse

Vice Min. of Agriculture & Rural Development: BELAY Ejigu

Vice Min. of Agriculture & Rural Development: GETACHEW Teklemedhin

Vice Min. of Agriculture & Rural Development: TEKALIGN Mamo

Min. of Cabinet Affairs: BERHANU Adelo

Min. of Capacity Building: TEFERA Walwa

Min. of Culture & Tourism: MOHAMOUD Dirir

Min. of Defense: KUMA Demeksa

Min. of Education: SNTAYEHU Weldemikael

Min. of Energy & Mines: ALEMAYEHU Tegenu

Min. of Federal Affairs: SIRAJ Fegisa

Min. of Finance & Economic Development: SUFIAN Ahmed

Min. of Foreign Affairs: SEYOUM Mesfin

Min. of Health: TEWODROS Adhanom

Min. of Information: BERHAN Hailu

Min. of Justice: ASEFA Kesito

Min. of Labor & Social Affairs: HASSAN Abdella

Min. of Revenue Collection: MELAKU Fenta

Min. of Trade & Industry: GIRMA Birru

Min. of Transport & Communications: JUNEDIN Sado

Min. of Water Resources: ASFAW Dingamo

Min. of Women's Affairs: HIRUT Dilebo

Min. of Works & Urban Development: KASSU Ilala

Min. of Youth & Sports: ASTER Mamo

Governor, National Bank: TEKLEWOLD Atnafu

Ambassador to the US: Samuel ASSEFA

Permanent Representative to the UN, New York: DAWIT Yohannes

Ethiopia maintains an embassy in the U.S. at 3506 International Drive, NW, Washington, DC 20008 (tel. 202-364-1200) headed by Ambassador Samuel Assefa. It also maintains a UN mission in New York and consulates in Los Angeles, Seattle (honorary), and Houston (honorary).

ECONOMY

The current government has embarked on a cautious program of economic reform, including privatization of state enterprises and rationalization of government regulation. While the process is still ongoing, so far the reforms have attracted only meager foreign investment, and the government remains heavily involved in the economy.

The Ethiopian economy is based on agriculture, which contributes 47% to GNP and more than 80% of exports, and employs 85% of the population. The major agricultural export crop is coffee, providing 35% of Ethiopia's foreign exchange earnings, down from 65% a decade ago because of the slump in coffee prices since the mid-1990s. Other traditional major agricultural exports are hides and skins, pulses, oilseeds, and the traditional “khat,” a leafy shrub that has psychotropic qualities when chewed. Sugar and gold production has also become important in recent years. Ethiopia's agriculture is plagued by periodic drought, soil degradation caused by inappropriate agricultural practices and overgrazing, deforestation, high population density, undeveloped water resources, and poor transport infrastructure, making it difficult and expensive to get goods to market. Yet agriculture is the country's most promising resource. Potential exists for self-sufficiency in grains and for export development in livestock, flowers, grains, oilseeds, sugar, vegetables, and fruits.

Gold, marble, limestone, and small amounts of tantalum are mined in Ethiopia. Other resources with potential for commercial development include large potash deposits, natural gas, iron ore, and possibly oil and geothermal energy. Although Ethiopia has good hydroelectric resources, which power most of its manufacturing sector, it is totally dependent on imports for its oil. A landlocked country, Ethiopia has relied on the port of Djibouti since the 1998–2000 border war with Eritrea. Ethiopia is connected with the port of Djibouti by road and rail for international trade. Of the 23,812 kilometers of all-weather roads in Ethiopia, 15% are asphalt. Mountainous terrain and the lack of good roads and sufficient vehicles make land transportation difficult and expensive.

However, the government-owned air-line's reputation is excellent. Ethiopian Airlines serves 38 domestic airfields and has 42 international destinations.

Dependent on a few vulnerable crops for its foreign exchange earnings and reliant on imported oil, Ethiopia lacks sufficient foreign exchange earnings. The financially conservative government has taken measures to solve this problem, including stringent import controls and sharply reduced subsidies on retail gasoline prices. Nevertheless, the largely subsistence economy is incapable of meeting the budget requirements for drought relief, an ambitious development plan, and indispensable imports such as oil. The gap has largely been covered through foreign assistance inflows.

DEFENSE

The Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF) numbers about 200,000 personnel, which makes it one of the largest militaries in Africa. During the 1998–2000 border war with Eritrea, the ENDF mobilized strength reached approximately 350,000. Since the end of the war, some 150,000 soldiers have been demobilized. The ENDF continues a transition from its roots as a guerrilla army to an all-volunteer professional military organization with the aid of the U.S. and other countries. Training in peacekeeping operations, professional military education, military training management, counter-terrorism operations, and military medicine are among the major programs sponsored by the United States. Ethiopia now has one peacekeeping contingent in Liberia.

FOREIGN RELATIONS

Ethiopia was relatively isolated from major movements of world politics until Italian invasions in 1895 and 1935. Since World War II, it has played an active role in world and African affairs. Ethiopia was a charter member of the United Nations and took part in UN operations in Korea in 1951 and the Congo in 1960. Former Emperor Haile Selassie was a founder of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), now known as the African Union (AU). Addis Ababa also hosts the UN Economic Commission for Africa. Ethiopia is also a member of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, a Horn of Africa regional grouping.

Although nominally a member of the Non-Aligned Movement, after the 1974 revolution, Ethiopia moved into a close relationship with the Soviet Union and its allies and supported their international policies and positions until the change of government in 1991. Today, Ethiopia has very good relations with the United States and the West, especially in responding to regional instability and supporting war on terrorism and, increasingly, through economic involvement.

Ethiopia's relations with Eritrea remained tense and unresolved. Following a brutal 1998–2000 border war in which tens of thousands died on both sides, the two countries signed a peace agreement in December 2000. A five-member independent international commission—Eritrean Ethiopia Boundary Commission (EEBC)— issued a decision in April 2002 and follow-up observations in March 2003 delimiting the border between the two countries, but thus far the parties have not agreed to final demarcation. The United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) peacekeeping mission patrols a 25-kilometer-wide Temporary Security Zone (TSZ) within Eritrea separating the two countries; a few minor incidents of violence have occurred, all between local villagers and militia or armed opposition groups supported by the other side. Both countries insist they will not instigate fighting, but both also remain prepared for any eventuality. Regarding its neighbor Somalia, the lack of central government and factional fighting in Somalia contributes to tensions along the boundaries of the two countries. Ethiopia has recently entered into a loose tripartite (nonmilitary) cooperation with Sudan and Yemen.

The irredentist claims of the extremist-controlled Council of Islamic Courts (CIC) in Somalia in 2006 posed a legitimate security threat to Ethiopia and to the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) of Somalia. In December 2006, the TFG requested the assistance of the Ethiopian military to respond to the CIC's aggression. Within a few weeks, the joint Ethiopian-TFG forces routed the CIC from Somalia, and the deployment of the African Union's Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) in March 2007 began to provide security in Mogadishu to allow for the quick withdrawal of Ethiopian troops from Somalia.

U.S.-ETHIOPIA RELATIONS

U.S.-Ethiopian relations were established in 1903 and were good throughout the period prior to the Italian occupation in 1935. After World War II, these ties strengthened on the basis of a September 1951 treaty of amity and economic relations. In 1953, two agreements were signed: a mutual defense assistance agreement, under which the United States agreed to furnish military equipment and training, and an accord regularizing the operations of a U.S. communication facility at Asmara.

Through fiscal year 1978, the United States provided Ethiopia with $282 million in military assistance and $366 million in economic assistance in agriculture, education, public health, and transportation. A Peace Corps program emphasized education, and U.S. Information Service educational and cultural exchanges were numerous.

After Ethiopia's revolution, the bilateral relationship began to cool due to the Derg's linking with international communism and U.S. revulsion at the Derg's human rights abuses. The United States rebuffed Ethiopia's request for increased military assistance to intensify its fight against the Eritrean secessionist movement and to repel the Somali invasion. The International Security and Development Act of 1985 prohibited all U.S. economic assistance to Ethiopia with the exception of humanitarian disaster and emergency relief. In July 1980, the U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia was recalled at the request of the Ethiopian Government, and the U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia and the Ethiopian Embassy in the United States were headed by Charges d'Affaires.

With the downfall of the Mengistu regime, U.S.-Ethiopian relations improved dramatically. Legislative restrictions on assistance to Ethiopia other than humanitarian assistance were lifted. Diplomatic relations were upgraded to the ambassadorial level in 1992. Total U.S. government assistance, including food aid, between 1991 and 2003 was $2.3 billion. During the severe drought year of FY 2003, the U.S. provided a record $553.1 million in assistance, of which $471.7 million was food aid.

Today, Ethiopia is a strategic partner of the United States in the Global War on Terrorism. U.S. development assistance to Ethiopia is focused on reducing famine vulnerability, hunger, and poverty and emphasizes economic, governance, and social sector policy reforms. Some military training funds, including training in such issues as the laws of war and observance of human rights, also are provided.

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

Last Updated: 2/19/2008

ADDIS ABABA (E) 14 Entoto Rd, Addis Ababa, (251-11) 517-4000, Fax (251-11) 517-4888, INMARSAT Tel 00871761258488, Workweek: Mon-Th 0745-1730, Fri 0745-1145, Website: http://ethiopia.usembassy.gov.

DCM OMS:Gayle Lowell
CDC:Vacant
CM OMS:Patricia Reber
FM:Daniel Ferguson
HRO:Ken Williams
MGT:Kay Crawford
POL ECO:Michael Gonzales
AMB:Donald Yamamoto
CON:Paul Cantrell
DCM:Deborah Malac
PAO:Michael McClellan
GSO:Jon E. Eklund
RSO:Mike Bishop
AFSA:Celia Thompson
AID:Glen Anders
CLO:Juliana Hightower
DAO:Col. Bradley Anderson
EST:Lisa Brodey
FMO:Paul R. Kenul
ICASS:Chair Kevin Rushing
IMO:Robert King
State ICASS:Michael McClellan

US MISSION TO AFRICAN UNION (M) 14 Entoto Rd, Addis Ababa, (251-11) 517-4000, Workweek: Mo-Th 0745 -1730, Fr 0745-1145.

AMB OMS:Cheryl Barnett
POL ECO:Robert Houston
AMB:Cindy Courville

TRAVEL

Consular Information Sheet

June 11, 2007

Country Description: The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia is a developing country in East Africa, and is comprised of nine states and two city administrations (Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa). The capital is Addis Ababa. Tourism facilities can be found in the most populous regions of Ethiopia, but infrastructure is basic. National elections held in May 2005, returned the ruling EPRDF party and Prime Minister Meles Zenawi to power. Although the opposition gained a significant number of seats in Parliament, some of its leaders rejected the results and called for civil disobedience. Disturbances followed in a number of cities including Addis Ababa. Leaders of the major opposition party as well as leaders of civil society were detained and are currently standing trial. The majority of the opposition have taken their seats in Parliament and initiated dialogue with the government.

Entry Requirements: It is not advisable that U.S. citizens arrive without a visa to Ethiopia. However, U.S. citizens may obtain a one-month or three month, single-entry tourist visa or a 10-day business visa upon arrival at the international airport in Ethiopia. This service is only available at Bole International Airport, Ethiopia's main airport in Addis Ababa. The visa fee is payable only in Ethiopian currency. To avoid possible confusion or delays, travelers should obtain a valid Ethiopian visa at the nearest Ethiopian Embassy prior to arrival, and must do so if entering across any land port of entry. Both visas can be extended by applying at the Main Immigration Office in Addis Ababa. If your entry visa has expired, you must obtain a visa extension and pay a monthly penalty fee of $20 USD on top of a court fine of up to 4000 ETB ($500 USD) by the time of departure. You are required to pay the penalty fee before you will be able to obtain an exit visa for $20 USD allowing you to leave Ethiopia.

Household electronic devices, including DVD players, cameras, cell phones and computer printers, must be declared. Laptop computers must be declared both upon arrival and departure. Tape recorders require special customs permits. Foreign currency must also be declared on arrival and departure. Prior to travel, individuals intending prolonged stays should direct their questions to the Ethiopian Embassy, 3506 International Dr., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008; telephone (202) 364-1200; fax (202) 587-0195. Inquiries overseas may be made at the nearest Ethiopian embassy or consulate. Visit the Embassy of Ethiopia web site at www.ethiopianembassy.org for the most current visa information.

Safety and Security: The overall countrywide situation as of June 2006 is stable. However, in the first half of 2006 there were several explosions in the capital city of Addis Ababa and the provincial capital Jijiga. Five deaths and dozens of injuries were reported in Addis Ababa, and injuries were also reported in Jijiga. Injuries and deaths due to civil unrest and explosions were also reported in the western Oromiya region in late 2005 and early 2006. Following the May 2005 elections, civil disobedience led to widespread unrest with injuries and deaths of Ethiopian citizens in June and November 2005.

Ethiopia and Eritrea signed a peace agreement in December 2000 that ended the border war. American citizens should exercise caution if they travel to areas off the principal roads along the Eritrean/Ethiopian border (within 50 km/30 miles of the Ethiopian/Eritrean border) because of the possibility of land mines. There is a UN peacekeeping mission in the border area. Due to abductions and banditry all travel within 30 miles of the Ethiopian-Eritrean border west of Adigrat to the Sudanese border, with the exception of the town of Axum, and within 60 miles east of Adigrat to the Djiboutian border are off limits to Embassy personnel. Travel to the northern Afar Region towards the Eritrean border is generally discouraged and permitted to Embassy personnel only on a case-by-case basis.

Since the mid-1990's the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) and government forces have clashed near Harar and in the Somali regional state, particularly in the Ogaden region. In April 2007, the ONLF claimed responsibility for attacking a Chinese oil exploration installation south of Jijiga, in Ethiopia's Somali region. The attack resulted in the death, kidnapping and wounding of Chinese personnel, in addition to the death and wounding of numerous local citizens. American citizens are reminded that the U.S. Embassy strongly discourages travel to the Ethiopia's Somali region and that a travel warning has been issued advising against all travel to Somalia. Armed rebel groups operate within the Somali, Oromiya and Afar regions. In December 2006, the Ethiopian Government, at the invitation of the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia, began military operations against extremists in Somalia. As of April 2007, military operations continue in Mogadishu, where an African Union peacekeeping force, AMISOM, is deployed.

Sporadic inter-ethnic clashes remain a concern throughout the Gambella region of western Ethiopia following outbursts of violence there in December 2003 and January 2004. There is an increased military and police presence in Gambella town. While the security situation in Gambella town is calm, it remains unpredictable throughout the rest of the region, and violence could recur without warning. Travel to this region is discouraged. Travel in Ethiopia via rail is discouraged due to episodes of derailment, sabotage, and bombings in February 2003.

In southern Ethiopia along the Kenyan border, banditry and incidents involving ethnic conflicts are also common. Travelers should exercise caution when traveling to any remote area of the country, including the borders with Eritrea, Somalia, Kenya and Sudan. Ethiopian security forces do not have a widespread presence in those regions. Travelers should maintain security awareness at all times and avoid large crowds and demonstrations. For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department's Internet web site where the current Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts, including the Worldwide Caution Travel Alert, can be found. Up-to-date information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S. and Canada, or for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll-line at 1-202-501-4444.

Crime: Pick-pocketing, “snatch and run,” and other petty crimes are common in Addis Ababa. Travelers should exercise caution in crowded areas such as the Mercato, Africa's largest open-air market. Visitors should limit the amount of cash they carry and leave valuables, such as passports, jewelry, and airline tickets in a hotel safe or other secure place. Keep wallets and other valuables where they will be less susceptible to pick-pockets.

Travelers should be cautious at all times when traveling on roads in Ethiopia. There have been reports of highway robbery, including carjacking, by armed bandits outside urban areas. Some incidents have been accompanied by violence. Travelers are cautioned to limit road travel outside major towns or cities to daylight hours and travel in convoys, if possible.

Information for Victims of Crime: The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed.

Medical Facilities and Other Health Information: Health facilities are limited in Addis Ababa and completely inadequate outside the capital. Although physicians are generally well trained, even the best hospitals in Addis Ababa suffer from inadequate facilities, antiquated equipment, and shortages of supplies (particularly medicines). Emergency assistance is limited. Travelers must carry their own supplies of prescription drugs and preventive medicines, as well as a doctor's note describing the medication. If the quantity of drugs exceeds that which would be expected for personal use, a permit from the Ministry of Health is required.

Malaria is prevalent in Ethiopia outside of the highland areas. Travelers who become ill with a fever or flu-like illness while traveling in a malaria-risk area and up to one year after returning home should seek prompt medical attention and explain to the health care provider their travel history and which antimalarials they have been taking. For additional information on malaria, protection from insect bites, and antimalarial drugs, please visit the CDC Travelers' Health website at http://www.cdc.gov/travel/malinfo.htm.

Ethiopia is a mountainous country and the high altitude may cause health problems even for healthy travelers. Addis Ababa is located at an altitude of 8,300 feet. Individuals may experience shortness of breath, fatigue, nausea, headaches, and inability to sleep. Travelers to Ethiopia should also avoid swimming in any lakes, rivers, or still bodies of water. Most bodies of water have been found to contain parasites. Travelers should be aware that Ethiopia has a high prevalence of HIV/AIDS. Ethiopia has had outbreaks of acute watery diarrhea, possible cholera, typhoid, or other bacterial diarrhea in the recent past, and the conditions for reoccurrences continue to exist.

Further information on prevention and treatment of cholera and other diarrheal diseases can be found at the CDC website: www.cdc.gov/travel/diseases.htm. Ethiopian authorities are monitoring the possibility of avian influenza following the deaths of poultry and birds; preliminary results are negative. For additional information on avian flu please visit the CDC website at http://www.cdc.gov/flu/avian. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World Health Organization's (WHO) website at http://www.who.int/en. Further health information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/ith.

Medical Insurance: The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation.

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Ethiopia is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

While travel on both paved and unpaved roads is generally considered safe, land mines and other antipersonnel devices can be encountered on isolated dirt roads that were targeted during various conflicts. Before undertaking any off-road travel, it is advisable to inquire of local authorities to ensure that the area has been cleared of mines. Excessive speed, unpredictable local driving habits, pedestrians and livestock in the roadway, and the lack of basic safety equipment on many vehicles are daily hazards on Ethiopian roads. In addition, road travel after dark outside Addis Ababa and other cities is dangerous and discouraged due to broken-down vehicles left on the roads, pedestrians using the roads, stray animals, and the possibility of armed robbery. Road lighting in cities is inadequate at best and nonexistent outside of cities.

Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Ethiopia's Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Ethiopia's air carrier operations. For more information, travelers may visit the FAA's Internet web site at http://www.faa.gov.

The Ethiopian government has closed air routes near the border with Eritrea and has referred to the airspace as a “no-fly zone.” The FAA currently prohibits U.S. aircraft and U.S. pilots from flying in Ethiopian airspace north of 12 degrees north latitude, the area along the country's northern border with Eritrea. For complete information on this flight prohibition, travelers may visit the FAA's website at www.faa.gov/ntap/index.htm.

Special Circumstances: Ethiopia does not recognize dual nationality. The government of Ethiopia considers Ethiopians who have become naturalized U.S. citizens to be Americans. Such individuals are not subject to Ethiopian military service. The Ethiopian government has stated that Ethiopian-Americans are given in almost all cases the same opportunity to invest in Ethiopia as Ethiopians. Although several years ago the government of Ethiopia arrested people of Eritrean origin who initially failed to disclose their U.S. citizenship, this has not occurred in recent years. Ethiopian officials have recently stated that Eritrean-Americans are treated as U.S. citizens and are not subject to arrest simply because of their ties to Eritrea.

Permits are required before either antiques or animal skins can be exported from Ethiopia. Antique religious artifacts, including “Ethiopian” crosses, require documentation from the National Museum in Addis Ababa for export.

Visitors must declare foreign currency upon arrival and may be required to present this declaration when applying for an exit visa or exchanging currency. Official and black market exchange rates are nearly the same. Foreign currency should be exchanged in authorized banks, hotels and other outlets and proper receipts should be obtained for the transactions. Exchange receipts are required to convert unused Ethiopian currency back to the original foreign currency. Penalties for exchanging money on the black market range from fines to imprisonment.

Credit cards are not accepted at most hotels, restaurants, shops, or other local facilities, although they are accepted at the Hilton and Sheraton Hotels in Addis Ababa. Some hotels and car rental companies, particularly in Addis Ababa, may require foreigners to pay in foreign currency or show a receipt for the source of foreign exchange if paying in local currency. However, many hotels or establishments are not permitted to accept foreign currency or may be reluctant to do so. Ethiopian institutions have on occasion refused to accept 1996 series U.S. currency, though official policy is that such currency should be treated as legal tender.

Ethiopian law strictly prohibits the photographing of military installations, police/military personnel, industrial facilities, government buildings, and infrastructure (roads, bridges, dams, airfields, etc.). Such sites are rarely marked clearly. Travel guides, police, and Ethiopian officials can advise if a particular site may be photographed. Photographing prohibited sites may result in the confiscation of film and camera.

There is a risk of earthquakes in Ethiopia. Buildings may collapse due to strong tremors. General information about natural disaster preparedness is available via the Internet from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at http://www.fema.gov.

Criminal Penalties: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Ethiopian laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Ethiopia are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States.

Children's Issues: For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, see the Office of Children's Issues website at http://travel.state.gov/family.

Registration and Embassy Locations: Americans living or traveling in Ethiopia are encouraged to register with the U.S. Embassy through the State Department's travel registration website and to obtain updated information on travel and security within Ethiopia. Americans without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in case of emergency.

The U.S. Embassy is located at Entoto Avenue, P.O. Box 1014, in Addis Ababa, telephone: 251-11-124-2424; emergency after-hours telephone: 251-11-124-2400; consular fax: 251-11-124-2435; website: http://addisababa.usembassy.gov.

International Adoption

October 2006

The information in this section has been edited from a report of the State Department Bureau of Consular Affairs, Office of Overseas Citizens Services. For more information, please read the International Adoption section of this book and review current reports online at http://travel.state.gov/family.

Disclaimer: The information in this flyer relating to the legal requirements of specific foreign countries is based on public sources and current understanding. Questions involving foreign and U.S. immigration laws and legal interpretation should be addressed respectively to qualified foreign or U.S. legal counsel.

Please Note: There are several U.S.-based adoption agencies authorized by the Government of Ethiopia to provide adoption services, and several others pending accreditation.

Ethiopia requires post placement reports on Ethiopian orphans at 3 months, 6 months, and one year after the adoption. Yearly reports until the child turns 18 are also required.

Patterns of Immigration: Please review current reports online at http://travel.state.gov/family.

Adoption Authority: The government office responsible for adoptions in Ethiopia is the Adoption Team in the Children and Youth Affairs Office (CYAO), which is under the Ministry of Women's Affairs (MOWA). The head of the Adoption Team can be reached at (251)-11-416-6362 or Fax: 251 11 416 6362 to request information about approved orphanages caring for children in need of permanent family placements through international adoption.

Eligibility Requirements for Adoptive Parents: The Ethiopian government prefers to place children with married couples who have been married for at least five years. In general, single persons under age 25 may not adopt, nor may openly gay or lesbian individuals or couples. However, the Ethiopian government has occasionally approved cases involving persons in all of these categories.

There is no statutory maximum age limit on the adoptive parent. However, Ethiopian practice is to limit the age of the parent to no more than 40 years greater than that of the adopted child.

Residency Requirements: There are no residency requirements for prospective adoptive parents.

Time Frame: Adoption agencies will advise adoptive parents approximately how long an adoption can take. Recent adoptions have taken between 6 and 24 months. Once the Ethiopian adoption process has been completed, it normally takes about an hour to apply for an immigrant visa for an adopted child for families working through approved adoption agencies.

Approved visas are typically picked up by the agencies the following morning. It may take months for private adopters, depending on the completeness of the application and the need for follow-up investigations.

Adoption Agencies and Attorneys: The U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa confirms that there are several American adoption agencies known to have bona fide licenses to facilitate international adoptions from Ethiopia to the United States. The Department of State is aware that there are American and foreign adoption agencies and individuals, located in both countries, who claim they can assist with adoptions in Ethiopia. Few orphanages are licensed to care for children in need of a permanent family placement through international adoption. MOWA has a list of adoption agencies authorized to provide adoption services.

Adoptive Parents Residing in Ethiopia: Adoptive parents residing in Ethiopia face a few issues not faced by those living in the United States. There is a sole social worker who is authorized to conduct a home study for the purposes of satisfying the requirements of USCIS' I-600A application and I-600 petition processes. To request a home study, prospective adoptive parents resident in Ethiopia may contact social worker Malahat BAIG-AMIN at 251 11 371 3307/3334 or cell phone number 251 91 131 5299. Prospective adoptive parents may also contact an accredited American agency to see if/when the agency may be sending a social worker to Ethiopia. Please see the International Adoption section of this book for more details and review current reports online at http://travel.state.gov/family.

Private Adoptions: Private adoptions are permitted in Ethiopia, but discouraged by MOWA because they take place under local adoption rules and may bypass the process and protections put in place by the Government of Ethiopia relating to international adoption.

The procedures for an intercountry adoption are different from those for a local adoption. International adoption rules in Ethiopia require U.S. citizens to work with Ethiopia's Children and Youth Affairs Office (CYAO) in Addis Ababa, which is under the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (MOWA), to effect an intercountry adoption. Americans who enter into private adoptions that bypass the CYAO, or that follow local rather than international adoption procedures, will not be able to take the child out of Ethiopia, and will not be able to obtain a U.S. immigrant visa for the child. An exception to this is Ethiopian-Americans who adopt orphaned blood relatives. They are permitted to adopt using local adoption procedures, but when applying for the child's immigrant visa will have to provide additional and convincing supporting documentation to prove orphan status due to the death or disappearance of, abandonment or desertion by, or separation or loss from, both parents. If the sole or surviving parent is incapable of providing the proper care the parent must have, in writing, irrevocably released the child for emigration and adoption.

Adoption Fees: Adoptive parents can expect to pay fees for authentication of U.S. documents for use abroad and for translation fees. All English-language documents submitted to the Ethiopian court must be accompanied by a translation in Amharic. The U.S. Embassy understands that translation services run about $1 per page, but check with your adoption agency for up to date information on translation costs.

MOWA and the police charge no fees for services creating dossiers on the parents and the child, investigating whether the child is a bona fide orphan, meeting in committee to review the case, and making their recommendations to the court. Courts charge no fees for services in accepting adoption petitions, making judgments, and issuing decrees. MOWA often asks for a letter from the U.S. Embassy supporting the parents' desire to adopt. If the Embassy has received the petition approval from USCIS, a letter can be issued supporting the adoption. This service is free.

If additional documents are required by MOWA, the agency/parents can submit certified copies. Cost for certification by the U.S. Embassy is $30 per grommeted package, or single document.

The services of MOWA in issuing a letter to the U.S. Embassy attesting to the orphan status of the child, and issuing requests so that the child's new birth certificate and passport can be issued, are free. The issuance of a local birth certificate costs about $2; for expeditious or same day service, add about $5. To have a birth certificate or other document authenticated at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs it costs about $16 for Ethiopian parents, about $35 for foreign parents. Ethiopian Passport issuance is about $35. Orphanages run by religious organizations, and the large government run orphanages, charge nothing for their services to prepare and sign adoption contracts.

Local unscrupulous adoption facilitators have been known to charge adoptive parents additional costs beyond what prospective adoptive parents believed they would be charged, often after they have arrived in Ethiopia and already have their children in their physical custody. Some of these parents indicated to the U.S. Embassy that the costs ran thousands of dollars more than they expected to pay.

Adoption Procedures: MOWA identifies orphans in need of a permanent family placement through international adoption. In general, Ethiopian orphans identified for intercountry adoption have been abandoned by their parents or have lost their parents to disease or other misfortune. MOWA places abandoned or orphaned children in orphanages or foster homes, pending adoption. When a child is abandoned, by law it comes into the custody of the government. When a child is found to have two HIV/AIDS-infected parents, or one living HIV/AIDS-infected parent, the government routinely declares that the child is an orphan and assumes legal guardianship of the child. Many AIDS-orphaned children adopted by Americans come from the HIV/AIDS hospice run by the Missionaries of Charity in Addis Ababa.

Prospective adoptive parents must take or send all of the required documents already certified and authenticated, to the Ethiopian Embassy in Washington, D.C. for additional authentication. Once the Embassy has completed its authentication, the completed packet is returned to the adoptive parents. Then the prospective adoptive parents forward the documents to MOWA. MOWA reviews the documents for completeness and creates a dossier on the adoptive parent(s).

The parents' dossier is taken to the Claims and Authentication Section of the Protocol Office at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Ethiopia to be authenticated. The parents' dossier is returned to CYAO. CYAO submits the parents' dossier to the Adoption Committee for review and approval to adopt. The Committee either approves or rejects the prospective adoptive parent(s), based on Ethiopian guidelines for international adoptions. Once the Committee has approved the parents' dossier, a child is selected and referred to the prospective parents to adopt. The child selected must have its own dossier at MOWA. That dossier describes the child, the child's history, how the child came to be an orphan, and who has legal guardianship of the child. Once a referral is made, the prospective adoptive parent may accept or refuse the referral.

Upon acceptance of the referral, a Contract of Adoption is signed between the child's legal guardian and the adoptive parent(s), or the agency representative. This contract is the basis for the issuance of the adoption decree, which shows that the guardian or the orphanage has relinquished their parental or guardian right in regard to the adopted child. The contract must be taken to the Inland Revenue Administration office to be stamped. CYAO opens a file at the Federal First Instance Court to apply for an appointment date for the adoption hearing. When the appointed court date arrives, the prospective parents or their agency's local representative will be asked to appear in court. All Ethiopian adoptions are full and final and irrevocable under Ethiopian law. After the adoption is complete, MOWA prepares a request to the city of Addis Ababa for the issuance of a new birth certificate, and a request to the Office of Security, Immigration and Refugee Affairs for an Ethiopian passport for the child in its new name. The U.S. Embassy needs both the new birth certificate and the passport to complete the child's U.S. immigrant visa application process. The court decree must be translated into English. The original and the translation are submitted to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) for authentication. If the adoption contract was made in Amharic, it too must be translated into English and the original translation authenticated by MOFA.

Please see the International Adoption section of this book for more details and review current reports online at http://travel.state.gov/family.

Required Documents: Prospective adoptive parents must provide the following to MOWA:

  • A written statement from the adoptive parents explaining why an Ethiopian child is preferred, with an original translation into Amharic.
  • Original birth certificate(s) of the prospective adoptive parent (s), each with an original translation into Amharic.
  • Original marriage license/certificate, if applicable, with an original translation into Amharic.
  • An original Ethiopian police clearance for each of the adoptive parents (including those residing in Ethiopia).
  • A medical certificate/clearance for each of the adoptive parents, with an original translation into Amharic.
  • The original home study prepared by a qualified social worker.
  • Evidence of economic status accompanied by an original translation into Amharic.
  • Three letters of reference from friends, relatives, church or other sources qualified to assess your character, the stability of your marriage, and your ability to parent, with original translations into Amharic.
  • Two passport-size photographs of the prospective adoptive parent(s).
  • If the adoptive parents do not come to Ethiopia together to over-see this entire process, then they must execute a power of attorney for their adoption agency, or if only one parent will travel to Ethiopia, the other parent must execute a power of attorney for him/her. That power of attorney must be authenticated by the Ethiopian embassy in Washington, D.C., and be submitted with an original translation into Amharic.
  • Obligation of Adoption or Social Welfare Agency signed by the adoption agency handling the adoption, or for private adopters, from the organization that provided the home study, or by the parents' employer, in which the parents agree to allow follow-up visits by a social worker, and to submit a regular progress report to CYAO on the child's (or children's) adjustment to/development in the adoptive home.
  • Verification by the adoption agency or home study organization on the child's qualification for naturalization under the parents' state laws, with an original translation into Amharic.

Ethiopian Embassy in the United States
3506 International Drive, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20008
Phone: 202-364-1200
Fax: 202-587-0195
[email protected]
http://www.ethiopianembassy.org/contact.shtml.

U.S. Immigration Requirements: Prospective adoptive parents are strongly encouraged to consult USCIS publication M-249, The Immigration of Adopted and Prospective Adoptive Children, as well as the Department of State publication, International Adoptions. Please see the International Adoption section of this book for more details and review current reports online at http://travel.state.gov/family.

American Embassy
Entoto Road
Addis Ababa

The Consular Section's telephone number is (251-11) 124-24-24. The fax number is (251-11) 124-35-35. The e-mail address is [email protected]

Additional Information: Specific questions about adoption in may be addressed to the U.S. Embassy. General questions regarding international adoption may be addressed to the Office of Children's Issues, U.S. Department of State, CA/OCS/CI, SA-29, 4th Floor, 2201 C Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20520-4818, toll-free Tel: 1-888-407-4747.

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Ethiopia

Basic Data
Official Country Name: Ethiopia
Region: Africa
Population: 64,117,452
Language(s): Amharic, Tigrinya, Orominga, Guaraginga, Somali, Arabic, English
Literacy Rate: 35.5%
Number of Primary Schools: 10,256
Compulsory Schooling: 6 years
Public Expenditure on Education: 4.0%
Educational Enrollment: Primary: 4,007,694
  Secondary: 819,242
  Higher: 42,226
Educational Enrollment Rate: Primary: 43%
  Secondary: 12%
  Higher: 1%
Teachers: Primary: 92,775
  Secondary: 25,984
Student-Teacher Ratio: Primary: 43:1
  Secondary: 35:1
Female Enrollment Rate: Primary: 30%
  Secondary: 10%
  Higher: 0.3%



History & Background

Ethiopia is the oldest independent nation in Africa. The current Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia is located on a massive rugged mountainous plateau in Eastern Africa. Ethiopia is a large country, twice the size of Texas or about the size of Spain and France combined. It covers 435,071 kilometers or 1,127,127 square miles in area and is the tenth largest of Africa's 53 countries. Ethiopia's mountainous terrain discouraged many foreign invaders; however, this natural fortress posed difficulties for communication and travel, thus contributing to the slow spread of education.

Ethiopia has Africa's fourth largest population at 58,733,000. This number is despite millions who die periodically from some of the world's most devastating famines caused by prolonged cycles of drought. Millions of Ethiopians have fled natural and man-made disasters and live as refugees in Sudan, Kenya, Italy, Great Britain, and the United States. The population is increasing at an annual rate of about 3 percent, and is expected to double in the next 14 years. Almost 73 percent of the population is under 18 years of age. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia's capital city, has 2,431,000 inhabitants and is growing rapidly. The need for new schools increases with the rising youthful population. Ethiopia has a high infant mortality rate of approximately 121 infant deaths per 1,000 births. There is only 1 doctor for every 36,000 Ethiopians. Access to modern medicine outside of the major cities is a problem. Consequently, many people depend upon traditional ethnic medicine. The life expectancy for males is only 45, and for females it is 48 years. High death rates have moderated a massive population explosion. Because they depend on their children to support them in their old age, and, because there is no social security system, Ethiopians typically have large families.

Ethiopia has an ethnically diverse population. Some 40 percent of its population is Oromo, the Christian Amhara and their Tigre allies are 35 percent of the population, 9 percent are of Sidamo descent, and the remaining 19 percent come from small indigenous groups, such as the Mursi, Hamar, Konso, Karo, Surma, and Bumi. A wide variety of physical types are evident, along with many very different languages, religious affiliations, and beliefs. Some observers believe that this diversity holds back modernization and threatens to plunge the nation into divisive conflict. Other observers believe that this diversity is Ethiopia's strength and has enabled it to resist onslaughts from Europe and Asia. For millennia, the monarchy united Ethiopians in loyalty to the emperor, just as it has held Great Britain together.

Amharic (Amarigna) is the language of the dominant Amhara ethnic group. It was the language of the imperial rulers for many centuries and is still widely spoken throughout Ethiopia. This is the principal language of instruction in most Ethiopian schools today. Millions of Ethiopians also speak Tigrinya, Oromo, Somali, Arabic, Italian, or English. The English language is growing in importance as the main language of instruction, especially in universities. Arabic is widely spoken in the north and east, and 40 to 45 percent of the Ethiopian population is Muslim. These people must learn Arabic to read their holy book, the Koran, which is written in ancient Arabic. The latter is very different from modern spoken Arabic, thus many Ethiopians cannot speak modern Arabic fluently. Approximately 35 to 40 percent of Ethiopia's population is Coptic Christian.

For many centuries Muslims refused to attack or invade Christian Ethiopia. Today Muslims are converting four new converts for every one converted to Christianity. They are zealous in their pursuit of converts all over Africa. By contrast, Christians seem to have lost their missionary zeal. Muslims traditionally attend Koran school, rather than state sponsored schools. This puts them at a disadvantage on national examinations for civil service jobs, as well as exams used to select government workers. These national examinations are often written in either English or Amharic. Christian schools use either Amharic or English as the language of instruction. This gives Christians a decisive advantage and helps explain their continued domination of Ethiopia's institutions, despite their minority status. Emperor Yohannes IV (1871-89) sought national unity through religious conformity, while Menelik II (1889-1913) sought centralization of government functions, creation of government health centers, financing of small industries, and spreading education as a means of creating that unity for Ethiopia. Both used church schools to educate Ethiopians.

For several thousand years religion controlled education in Ethiopia. The ancient Axumites created a system of writing that evolved from a Sabean script believed to have been introduced from Arabia. Similar to written Hebrew and related to Phoenician, the system is phonetic. The ancient Ge'ez language descended from such origins. Stone monoliths record the daring feats of ancient kings in Ge'ez, which has been the liturgical language of Ethiopia's Jews for 3,000 years and the Ethiopian Coptic Christian church since A.D. 400. This language was developed by a sophisticated ancient civilization and used not only by priests, but also by rulers who created impressive stone palaces, temples, and tombs, like the obelisks found at Aksum. Writings in Ge'ez, as well as Greek and Sabean, inscribed on these monuments describe military campaigns, the victories of Ethiopian kings, and trade with Arabia, Egypt, Syria, Greece, and India. Gold and silver coins were minted to facilitate commerce and trade.

Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and indigenous African religions have long peacefully co-existed in Ethiopia, but tensions have occasionally erupted in violence. Each major religion created schools for children of its adherents. Christianity is dominant in the north, northwest, and central states. Judaism is limited to the Lake Tana region. Islam is strong in the east, south, and west. Indigenous religions are strong in the southern, eastern, and western regions.

By far, the greatest traditional schools were constructed and managed by the Ethiopian Orthodox Coptic Church. King Erzana started church schools to perpetuate Christianity, but church schools achieved their "golden age" of expansion between A.D. 1200 and 1500. Church education has changed little since that time. Its primary mission has been to train individuals for the priesthood, but the secondary mission has been to spread the faith through Christian culture. Church schools trained not only priests, but monks and debtera (cantors), who were often better educated than the priests they served. The debteras were church scholars, custodians of education, and a privileged elite who helped decide who held power. Many were children of the elite and sought to keep the elite in power. Teachers were also trained in church schools, along with civil servants, such as judges, governors, scribes, treasurers, and administrators of all sorts. Religious schools were the only source of trained personnel.

Prompted by Italy, which militarily occupied Eritrea between 1885 and 1892, Emperor Menelik II began the modernization and secularization of Ethiopian education. The church did not challenge his opening of competing secular schools from 1905 onward. The government was modernized by creating 10 ministries, and the administration of education was left in the hands of the church, which satisfied its leaders. Secular curriculums included the study of French, English, Arabic, Italian, Amharic, Ge'ez, mathematics, physical training, and sports. Tuition, as well as room and board, were paid for by the emperor. From 1905 on, Ethiopians began to associate secular education with national progress. The elite began to discuss the need for universal education and literacy.

Empress Zewditu Menelik declared in 1921:

Every parent is hereby required to teach his child reading and writing through which the child may learn the difference between good and evil. . . . Any parent refusing to do so will be fined 50 dollars. . . . Those of you who are leaders of parishes in rural as well as urban areas, in addition to your regular responsibilities in the churches, teach the children of your respective communities how to read and write. . . . If you fail to teach, you will be deprived of your positions entrusted to you. . . . Every parent, after you have taught your child how to read and write, make him attend your choice of any of the local trade schools, lest your child will be faced with difficulty earning a livelihood. If you fail to do so, you will be considered as one who has deprived another of limbs, and accordingly you will be fined 50 dollars, which money will be used for the education of the poor. This proclamation applies to those between the ages of 7 and 21 years. A parent will not be held responsible for any child of his who is over 21 years old.

In effect, Ethiopia declared war against ignorance and illiteracy with the aim of transforming the country into a literate industrial society.

The evolution of education in Ethiopia can be logically divided into five periods. The first is the Pre-European traditional educational system, which was followed by the initial period of Secular education from 1900-1936, during which Ethiopian monarchs attempted to modernize education. The Italian Colonial educational system began in 1936 and lasted until 1941. The Independence era, which lasted from 1941 to 1974, was characterized by the efforts of a restored Emperor, Haile Selassie, to revive and develop Ethiopia's educational system. Finally, there was the post-Selassie Afro-Marxist and post-Marxist modern educational reform period which continues into 2001.


Educational SystemOverview


Education between the ages of 7 to 13 is free and compulsory. Jobs in Ethiopia's growing industrial sector require command of English in many cases, especially in the computer-related high-tech sector. Illiteracy rates are very high in farming communities where farming techniques have changed little over the centuries. Agriculture employs most Ethiopians, but industrial employment is increasing rapidly as emerging industries create new jobs.

Calligraphy was at one time a valued skill. It took one year to copy a book by hand. Books were treasured. A good scribe could support himself reproducing books. Scribes learned to illustrate their books with beautiful art depicting selected topics. They made leather covers and bound their books. Each page was made from either goat or sheep skin. Because of the time involved, and materials needed, the cost of book production was high. Great artists were granted the title Aleqa. Carried in special leather cases on the back under one's shawl, these priceless treasures were read each morning after rising and each night before sleeping. The art of making reed pens, ink, and parchment were also learned skills, and a master scribe was a valued member of a community. Ethiopian calligraphy reached its peak of perfection between A.D. 1400 and 1500.

The adviser to the Ministry of Education, Ernest Work, argued for the creation of a uniquely Ethiopian system of education. Work recommended that Amharic be the language of instruction. He argued that, "Ethiopian boys and girls should be educated in their own languages, learn about their own country and men and interesting things, as well as the world in general." He drew up a plan that mandated six years of elementary education for all. Industrial and trade school, agricultural schools, and homemaking courses followed elementary school. Five or six years of additional education was recommended for students who wanted to go into business. The final piece of Work's plan called for an Ethiopian university. He felt it should be established with foreign, private aid. It should foster a college of education for teacher training as well. A resident of Addis Abba commented on general literacy in 1935, saying, "It was remarkable to the resident of many year's standing that whereas in 1920 the boy of his household staff who could read and write was notable, in 1935 among the same society there were few young men and boys who had not mastered the elementary processes of reading and writing the Amharic script." Some teachers still teach Amharic using the fidel (Ethiopian alphabet) with 231 characters, but rather than make students memorize these they use Laubach, which are representations that are easier for students to grasp. They call this their "global approach." After mastering this, many students go on to learn the derse (how to write) or 12 types of essays. Sawasiw (grammar), is also learned by these leed (scholars). This honor is no longer restricted to the privileged.

There were 21 government schools and many more religious schools in 1935. The enrollment in just the government schools was 4,200 students, which excluded students studying abroad and in religious schools.

The language of instruction officially changed from Amharic to English after 1944. All books and materials were printed in English. This placed a heavy burden on learners for whom this was a second or third language. The British Council helped to ease the burden of this change by setting up libraries with books, pamphlets, and periodicals in English for Ethiopians. After 1954, Amharic was used from kindergarten to second grade, with English studied as a foreign language. English was the medium of instruction for third grade through the university.

The first evidence of radical educational reform was the post-revolution (1975-76) literacy campaign or Zemecha. More than half a million students with some high school education or more, as well as their teachers and professors, were pressed into service in an effort at development through cooperation. Their goal was to teach peasants to read and write in a year and a half. Each literate teacher was assigned 40 illiterate students. This army of literacy teachers was trained for 5 to 10 days in psychology, teaching methods, techniques for creating order in class, and the use of educational materials and teaching aids. The books they used also taught practical skills such as how to count money in a market place when selling crops, hygiene, childcare, and terracing land to prevent soil erosion.

The Empress Menen Girls' School originally opened in 1931 to educate Ethiopian girls and played an important role in educating Ethiopian women in the first decade following restored independence. By the early 1950s it had become one of the top four general secondary schools. The school sought to give girls a technical education, but it also tried to preserve traditional female occupations. Gradually, the school expanded to include a one-year teacher training course and a three-year diploma course.

Girls participated in traditional education far less than boys. Ethiopians believe that a woman's place is in the home or working in the farm fields with her husband. The art of homemaking was paramount. Attention was given to learning to bow low when greeting elders and strangers, as well as the custom of women receiving articles with both hands. These were the hallmarks of well-trained, traditional Ethiopian women. However, post-war Ethiopia declared that both boys and girls should be afforded equal opportunities. The number of female students between 1944 and 1951 averaged 19.5 percent. This was a problem. Many girls either stayed home or dropped out.

In addition to traditional classes and schooling, there were other educational opportunities as well. Technical schools were rebuilt and expanded. The language of instruction changed from French to English. Mechanics, electrical engineering, carpentry, and other practical subjects were offered along with mathematics, chemistry, physics, and history. The aim was to produce technicians, technical supervisors, and foremen.

Agricultural schools, such as the Ambo Agricultural School, were created to teach scientific commercial farming. The idea was to develop such schools into colleges of agricultural science. They were located near fertile farmland with ample rainfall and possible irrigation and hydroelectric sources. The United States provided a complete agricultural laboratory. Schools were well equipped with farm tools and machines. Graduates earned certificates that allowed them to work as agricultural technicians or to teach agricultural science in elementary schools. Some worked as farm managers, agricultural advisers, or as assistants on experimental stations. Modern farming techniques and practices thus entered Ethiopian society.

Traditional Ethiopian education was private and stressed the centrality of religion, the needs of the soul over those of the human body, modesty, humility, and dedication to persistent pursuit of thoroughness. Nobles prided themselves on being patrons of education, the arts, and literature. Many sponsored the creation of books and works of art. Elite parents hired resident scholars to teach their children. They gave generously to church sponsored schools, and the Orthodox Coptic Church jealously guarded its dominant role in education. Isolated cases of Roman Catholic, Lutheran, Greek Orthodox, Swedish Evangelical, and Hebrew schools could be found, and some noble children studied abroad at great expense. Students returning from overseas study often met with cool or even hostile receptions. Suspicion of things foreign was understandable given Ethiopia's history of defending itself against foreign forces that attempted to destroy it.

Decades ago, in principle, schools were open to girls and boys, but in practice, only boys whose parents were members of Orthodox churches were admitted. Traditional church schools were not impartial, nor were they democratic. No pretense of serving all citizens of Ethiopia was claimed or practiced. Most students lived at school, and the teacher served also as a parental figure. There were no classes on holidays or Sundays. Senior students assisted the priest in church services as a form of in-service training.

Preprimary schools remain the monopoly of church schools that teach writing and reading skills before children enter public, government-run schools. For tradition-bound conservative Ethiopians, such education is still important. Ethiopia has more than a quarter of a million trained priests educated within this traditional system. More than 20,000 churches and monasteries have schools attached which offer traditional education. In areas where the Ethiopian Orthodox Coptic Monophysite faith is practiced, other religions can set up schools, but they cannot recruit converts to their religion. Despite revolutionary change, such schools provide one type of literacy and training to large numbers of Ethiopians.

Curriculum under the Italians changed from how it was conducted under Ethiopian control; invading Italian forces changed the Ethiopian educational system in 1936. In the process of this change, thousands of educated Ethiopians were killed, and the survivors became exiles in England, France, and the United States. Italy created a dual system of education. European children were given sound academic training and prepared to lead, whereas Ethiopian children were educated for servitude. Their education was inferior in quality, thus preventing them from ever competing against Italians or challenging their authority or right to rule. Missionary schools complied with Italian educational regulations. Coptic, Catholic, Protestant, Muslim, and state schools were encouraged as a form of divide and rule tactic.

Beyond basic literacy, Italian colonial education for Ethiopians was designed merely to buy their loyalty. African schools were limited to teaching in Ge'ez, Tigranya, and Amharic. Religion, not science, was stressed for Africans, while just the reverse was true for Italian children. Italian scholars felt that ancient Rome made a mistake when it educated the native chiefs of Britain. Therefore, the Italians were advised not to educate Ethiopians beyond elementary school and not to teach them the Italian language.

Before the Italian invasion Ethiopia had over 4,000 students in schools, but after the invasion that number dropped sharply to 1,400 students. Inferior instruction for Ethiopians magnified the tragedy. Textbook printers were ordered to exclude all reference to Italy in 1848 and to the Italian revolution.

Preprimary & Primary Education

In the pre-European traditional educational system, children in primary schools, learned to read and write Ge'ez's 265 characters. Emphasis was placed on rote memorization. Admitted between the ages of 7 and 12, the time required for graduation depended on intelligence, health, and motivation. Elementary pupils had to learn to read, write, and recite the Dawit Medgem (Psalms of David). There are 15 sections, called negus (kings), which normally took two years to master. Next they learned to sing kum zema (church hymns), which took four years, and msaewait zema (advanced singing), which took an additional year to learn. Liturgical dancing and systrum holding required three years. Qine (poetry) and law required five years to learn. The interpretation of the Old and New Testaments, as well as the Apostles' Creed, took four years on average, while the interpretation of the works of learned monks and priests took three years. When a student knew the psalms by heart, he had mastered the "house of reading" and was now considered an elementary school graduate. His family gave a lavish feast to celebrate this achievement. If they could afford it, they gave his teacher property, money, clothes, or other gifts. Many subjects were learned simultaneously as in middle school.

Orthodox Coptic Church schools provided much needed training in reading and writing in preprimary schools. Thus, many children already had basic literacy skills by age six upon starting primary school. The first postwar formal curriculum was a 6-6 structure: six years of elementary school followed by six years of secondary school.

During the early 1930s, 18 percent of primary school age children were in school. By contrast, beginning in the early 1970s and continuing on into 2001, more than 50 percent of primary school age children attended school. The absolute number of primary school students increased from 859,000 to over 2 million. The number of primary school teachers rose from 18,642 to more than 35,000 during this period, but the teacher student ratio rose to 1 teacher for every 90 students. Overcrowding has also led the government to create a three-shift system, to extend the academic year by two months, and to stagger starting dates to accommodate rising demand. Nevertheless, the gains in education are impressive and substantial.

Revolutionaries increased primary schools from 2,754 to 5,800 between 1974 and 1984. They concentrated on building new primary schools in rural areas to end the placement of schools in privileged urban communities. Most new schools were built in under-privileged urban and rural areas. Formally neglected students had opportunities to learn, which were reinforced by quota systems that guaranteed them seats in secondary schools and universities as an additional incentive to learn. Revolutionary curriculums stress vocational studies over academic subjects. Gardening is introduced in the fourth grade. Polytechnic training begins in fifth grade, along with political education and history. The teacher pupil ratio increased from 1 teacher for every 44 students in 1974, to 1 teacher for every 64 students after the revolution because access to educational opportunities expanded.


Secondary Education


Middle school involved learning the Merha Euoor (Book of the Blind), which took six months, and history, which took one year. Mathematics, astronomy, canon and civil law, Christian ethics, world history, and the Amharic language were also studied in middle school. Amharic is considered the language of national unification and literature. Many subjects could be learned simultaneously if the student had the aptitude. Completion of middle school qualified a student to serve as a deacon in the Ethiopian Orthodox Coptic Church.

Many schools were boarding schools to accommodate the large number of war orphans who were homeless. This led to marked attrition at the secondary school level, except for bright students. Secondary school students who wanted to attend universities had to take the London Matriculation Examination, the General Certificate Examination, or the Ethiopian Secondary School Certificate Examination. Students headed for the United States took the College Entrance Examination set by the Board of Regents of New York State. These examinations measured Ethiopian secondary school graduates against international competitors for university seats globally.

In 1948 two years of junior high school were added, and secondary education was reduced to a four year curriculum. From 1954 on, primary school consisted of the first four grades, and junior high school started at the fifth grade and ended with the eighth grade. Efforts were made to create a uniform curriculum to facilitate transfers between schools. By 1943 the Haile Selassie Secondary School opened its doors and began training students. This school offered a full four-year secondary program. Most of the teachers were foreign. The school had two tracks. The first track prepared students for university entrance, while the second track prepared students for further technical training in vocations. The British assisted by opening the General Wingate Secondary School. This school had science laboratories, and offered classes in science, art, music, and handicrafts. Both secondary schools were boarding schools.

Competitive examination at the end of sixth grade determines which students can advance to junior high, high school, vocational training, and ultimately, the university. Elementary school students who fail the tests set by the Ministry of Education are not allowed to repeat a class. Failed students are not prepared for jobs, but neither can they go on to high school.

Junior high schools increased from 420 in 1973 to over 800 in 2001. Students attending junior high school rose from 101,800 to more than 215,000. The number of junior high school teachers rose from 3,226 to over 4,800. Polytechnic education is being expanded to include all children between the ages of 7 to 14 years of age. The goal is to stream junior high graduates into vocational training and productive work in line with Ethiopia's demands for industrial, health care, and service industry workers.

High school construction rose from 113 to an excess of 190 and is still rising rapidly. The secondary school population expanded from 82,300 to over 220,000 students. The high school teacher population rose from 2,955 to more than 5,500. The teacher pupil ratio rose from 1 teacher for every 10 students in 1962 to 1 teacher for every 30 students in 1970 and 1 teacher for every 44 students in 1984. In one sense this illustrates more open access to education; however, quality of education becomes a concern. Before 1974 approximately 91 percent of high school students entered the academic stream, 7 percent went into vocational subjects, and 2 percent studied education as part of teacher training.


Higher Education

Originally, the equivalent of higher education was reserved for students who intended to become debtera or leed themselves. This was a very small elite group of scholars. Advanced courses were only offered at special centers located in Gondar, Gojam, Tigre, and Wollo. Students had to memorize each lesson without flaw to advance. Three areas of specialization were studied. A student attended academies of music, poetry, and written texts. Life in the academy was severe, simple, and demanding. Students awoke at dawn each morning to prepare for the religious service. The master sat on an elevated platform, surrounded by admiring students. They recited the previous day's lesson and then began memorizing the new lesson for that day. Classes ended by late afternoon. They ate a modest dinner and then went out collecting firewood. The day's lessons were reinforced until midnight when they slept.

Advanced students began their training at the academy of music. These academies were attached to designated churches or monasteries. Works composed by Yared, a great composer and lyricist of the sixth century, were studied. He created a system of musical notation still widely used. Written in Ge'ez, it has dots, lines, and directional signs that tell the student how to sing a verse. Academy graduates can read these symbols and sing correctly. Ezel (low-voiced and dignified singing) was reserved for funerals, fasts, and vigils. Arary (light and happy singing) was reserved for great festivals and weddings. The Degwa (essential collection of ecclesiastical music) was mastered. Liturgical chants were accompanied by religious dancing, kabaro (drumming), and tsentsil (systrum) playing. It typically took eight years to complete the advanced courses in Ethiopian Church music. Ethiopian secular music, known as azmari (wandering minstrel), could also be studied. This music dealt with love, death, marriage, harvesting, and the like. An azmari, or minstrel, traveled widely, performing at weddings and joyous celebrations. He flattered, cajoled, and goaded people into dancing, laughing, and giving away money. He could use poetry and songs to insult anyone, even nobles.

The academy of poetry was the next challenge for advanced students. Students learned to translate Amharic into Ge'ez and enlarged their vocabularies in both languages. They studied Ethiopian culture, its traditions, folkways, values, and customs, as well as its rules and regulations. Comprehension of texts in Ge'ez was essential for students. They spent time in isolated solitude to compose original poems in Ge'ez. Though critiqued by the professors, originality was encouraged. Ge'ez grammar and philology and 12 styles of poetic composition form the curriculum of the poetry academy, which took 13 years to complete. Passages from famous philosophers, such as Plato, Aristotle, Zara Yacob, and Wolde Hiywet, were also studied.

The literary academy was the third academy of higher education. This school of literary texts required scholars to properly interpret stories and passages from the Old and New Testaments, together with literature, fiction, and books on the monastic life. Texts such as the Laws of Kings, the foundation of Ethiopian law for centuries, were also studied. Global history was taught from an Ethiopian perspective. Ten years were required to graduate from the literary academy.

The development of local schools in each province that sent their better students for education in the capital or abroad was encouraged. These local schools stressed knowledge of Ethiopia. Ethiopia's most promising scholars were given scholarships to study in Europe, the Middle East, other African nations, and North America. The largest number went to France, where most studied law, politics, economics, and science. French was Ethiopia's leading foreign language, thus many students felt comfortable in French universities.

A university college in Ethiopia was created in 1931 to reduce the expense and training of administrators. In 1941, old blueprints for this college were reactivated, and the emperor approved a plan. A Canadian Jesuit priest, Dr. Lucien Matte, was selected to head the college. By 1954 a civil charter was granted, and Haile Selassie University became a reality in 1961. Thus, following World War II, Ethiopia had built an educational system that covered a wide range of learning needs from kindergarten to the university level.

In 1965 the Ethiopian University Service was created (EUS). This program required university students to serve as teachers in rural Ethiopia for one academic year, between their third and forth years of study.

Entrance examinations to universities have been extremely competitive. They were inequitable and favored children of the elite from the best schools, usually from major urban areas. The twelfth grade school leaving examination alone screened out 80 percent of university applicants. From 1940 to 1960 those who failed to enter college were given government jobs. By 1970, there were few government jobs to dole out. Even the Armed Forces were full to capacity with high school graduates who had failed the university entrance exam.

In the early 1970s, a program was instituted to make a quota system for university student selection. Students from each region were assigned seats based upon the percentage of their ethnic group in Ethiopia's total population. The idea was to be fair to all groups. To achieve this goal, admission standards were lowered. Many students admitted had never seen a science laboratory in their rural homeland schools. They often knew neither English nor Amharic and found it difficult to follow lectures. The urban terrain was unfamiliar and frightening, and many dropped out and retreated to their mountain homes. Quotas proved a failure and the old selection system was quietly put back in place. Another program also tried to shorten the time needed to complete a degree from four years to three. Given the low quality of education in the high schools, this experiment also failed and had to be phased out. Students simply needed more time to master English and gain scientific knowledge.

A small number of students who complete high school enter universities, despite the explosion of education at the primary and secondary levels. In 1981, approximately 75,000 students took the university entrance examination (ESLCE), but only 3,000 were admitted to four-year colleges, while another 2,000 were admitted into institutes of technology and training schools. The number of students seeking university education is increasing rapidly, but Ethiopia's institutions of higher education do not yet have the capacity to absorb them.


Administration, Finance, & Educational Research

Originally, the Ethiopian government alone could not finance universal education, so missionaries of all denominations were allowed to build schools. This further broadened the base of education, but Ethiopians viewed non-Coptic religious education as unpatriotic. To them, learning from Catholics was a betrayal of the nation. Any education outside of Orthodox Coptic Church schools was tantamount to being anti-Ethiopian. They felt that learning in a Catholic school amounted to accepting Catholicism and represented a betrayal of national honor and the native religion. Such persons were willing instruments in the hands of alien powers. The Ethiopian Orthodox Coptic Church encouraged such attitudes toward both secular and non-Coptic schools, which hampered the spread of education nationally. Despite this, French Catholics opened the Ecole Francaise, which by 1921 had graduated 1,400 students. Education was free. The old Coptic Church monopoly on education was giving way to a diverse array of other schools, which complimented traditional religious education, which continues to flourish. To meet the rising cost of education a special education tax of 6 percent was levied on all imports and exports.

After his official coronation as emperor in 1930, Haile Selassie put all education under the control of the Ministry of Education and Fine Arts. The education tax generated revenue, and the new emperor added 2 percent of the treasury's national revenue to support education.

Finance for postwar secular education came from two sources. Approximately 3 percent of export taxes financed education. This was supplemented by dedicating 30 percent of the land tax to education. After 1948, elementary schools in rural areas were financed by a special rural land tax. Only church land was exempt. All other education was financed by the national treasury, which devoted 20 percent of its total income to education. This set a pattern followed later by Kenya's Jomo Kenyatta, who dedicated 30 percent of Kenya's budget to education.

Afro-Marxists have mobilized ordinary citizens in rural and urban areas to form associations. These committees furnish labor and building materials, and the government furnishes blueprints for school buildings. These citizen brigades are expected to build 16,000 learning centers throughout Ethiopia. Materials and tools are donated by the government if a community can not afford them. During the same period, the government committed itself to building 1,800 new primary schools. The new regime is promoting the idea of self-help and self-taxation to meet its educational targets.


Nonformal Education

Restoration of Ethiopia's education system was an impressive feat which included adult education. As early as 1948, the emperor opened the Berhanih Zare New (Your Light Is Today), a school and cultural institute whose ultimate purpose was to branch out into the field of mass education so that every person in the Empire would become literate in a prescribed period. Plans were made to adopt a simplification of the Amharic alphabet as a vehicle for achieving this end. Nevertheless, the goal of universal literacy remained elusive.

The adult literacy rate in 2001 remains at 35 percent. The main beneficiaries of adult literacy have been women who traditionally were less likely to be educated then men. Female enrollment in most schools is less than 34 percent, but in adult literacy classes it exceeds 50 percent in rural areas and 74 percent in cities.

Distance learning, via radio and television, beams 1,200 lessons per year in 10 languages to millions of Ethiopians in remote regions. Impressive gains by the Zemecha suggest that if they could agree to stop fighting one another, Ethiopia could eliminate illiteracy.


Teaching Profession


With few educated Ethiopians to teach the children and educated foreigners still fully committed to successfully defeating the Axis Powers and ending World War II, it was difficult for Ethiopia to rebuild its education system. Few Ethiopians remained who were either qualified to teach or had teaching experience. At all levels Ethiopians had to rely on foreign teachers to reopen their schools. For this reason, the courses taught and the methods of instruction were not uniform. These varied from one school to the next. The English, Swedes, Americans, and other nationalities conducted classes as they would at home. In 1962, after several decades of rebuilding and training teachers, the Bureau of Educational Research and Statistics reported that 62 percent of Ethiopia's teachers had only elementary education or lower, 13 percent had 3 to 4 years, 16 percent had 1 year of teacher training, and 9 percent had some teacher training at the community level. Under colonial rule, the best teachers taught at the university level and the worst at the primary school level. Primary school teacher salaries were so low that it was difficult to recruit and retain teachers with even a modest primary education. Ethiopia put the most money into the lower grades because it was believed that only a broadly educated mass could earn enough disposable income to support a small elite of doctors, lawyers, bureaucrats, artists, and administrators. Without such a semi-educated mass, the elite could not flourish. Ethiopia needed many teachers to reach this goal and to train them required constructing teachers' colleges.

A joint UNESCO- and USAID-funded and equipped teacher training program at Debre Berhan Community Teacher Training School failed because it required students to learn how to operate brick making equipment, build milking sheds for dairy cattle, make butter and cheese, and grow the vegetables that they ate at school. Parents objected that they wanted students to study academic subjects because the parents could teach them how to farm at home. Their attitude toward manual labor was negative. Many graduates were not accepted as agricultural experts when they returned home because elders culturally refused to accept orders or instruction from youth. Mothers pulled daughters out of the school complaining that they could learn hygiene, child-care, cooking, and handicrafts at home. They argued that their daughters did not have to go to school to learn such subjects. More than 42 percent of graduates dropped out of teaching after 5 years of service. More than money or materials, the limited number of teachers slowed the expansion of mass education. This teacher training college was abandoned after many parents transferred their children to other schools more academically oriented. Attitudes and culture held education back in postwar Ethiopia. Social Impact Assessments that predict the social response to development became mandatory by the 1970s to help avoid such costly cultural mistakes.


Summary

Ethiopia is an old and proud African nation with a long tradition of education. With each era new forms of education were added to previous forms, which continue to function and provide literacy in Ge'ez, Amharic, and Arabic. The old religious schools still can be relied on to provide basic literacy in remote regions. Secular schools now build on this foundation and extend it. Emperors Menelik II and Haile Selassie added a secular layer of educational institutions on top of the existing religious schools. Literacy and education were offered to many who could not have dreamed of this privilege in the past. Prosecuting two costly wars led to the slow growth of secondary education and the virtual stagnation of university level opportunities, despite tremendous pent-up demand. This may lead to social volatility, tensions, and turmoil in the future unless it is resolved.


Bibliography

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Dallas L. Browne

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ETHIOPIA

Major City:
Addis Ababa

Other Cities:
Asmara, Axum, Dire Dawa, Gondar, Harar, Jima, Mekele, Nazret

EDITOR'S NOTE

This chapter was adapted from the Department of State Post Report 2001 for Ethiopia. Supplemental material has been added to increase coverage of minor cities, facts have been updated, and some material has been condensed. Readers are encouraged to visit the Department of State's web site at http://travel.state.gov/ for the most recent information available on travel to this country.

INTRODUCTION

An assignment to Ethiopia offers an opportunity to live and work in a country with a rich and diverse culture and a heritage and history of independence among the longest and proudest on the African continent.

The seventeen years of revolution under the cruel, dictatorial Mengistu regime ended in 1991. Since then the Transitional Government has been working toward the creation of a democratically-based government and a free market economy. Much progress remains to be made, infrastructures created, and habits changed. Western donors, including the United States, are encouraging the Transitional Government through assistance programs directed toward food security, democracy and governance, and extensive privatization.

Ethiopia is a very poor country which suffers from recurring droughts and famines. The international community attempts to assist the government to alleviate and, increasingly, to prevent these natural and human disasters. The U.S. remains one of the largest donors in this effort.

MAJOR CITY

Addis Ababa

Addis Ababa, or "new flower", with an estimated population of over 3 million, spreads over a large hilly area in the mountains of the central highlands. The climate is temperate and pleasant most of the year. This high mountain settlement, a relatively new city, became Ethiopia's capital in 1890.

Its architecture is a confusion of older buildings in the Italian style, modern offices and apartments, Western-style villas, and mud-walled, tin-roofed dwellings. There are slum areas scattered about the city, as there are attractive and well-groomed villas.

Only a few of the main streets have names that are generally known or used. Street signs are rare, and although businesses and residences have house numbers, these appear to be in random order and difficult to locate. The main streets are paved, but many side streets are rocky and, in the rainy season, very muddy. All streets suffer from neglect and large pot holes. Traffic is impaired not only by road conditions, but also by unruly drivers, animals and pedestrians walking on the roadway, and very poor street lighting. Road accident rates in Addis Ababa are very high, fatalities frequent, and medical care very poor.

Addis Ababa is often called the "Capital of Africa" because the Organization of African Unity (OAU) makes the city it headquarters. In addition, the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UN ECA) was established here in 1958, and many international conferences are held in its very impressive Africa Hall.

Food

Vegetables, such as potatoes, onions, garlic, leeks, carrots, cauliflower, zucchini, tomatoes, cucumbers, leaf lettuce, spinach, beets, artichokes, and avocados are abundant all year on the local economy, though the quality varies with the season. Fresh fruits, such as bananas, oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruits, papayas, melons, man-goes, pineapples, plums, and strawberries are usually good and plentiful. A variety of meats (beef, lamb, veal, fish, pork, fish, and chicken) is available, but the quality is uneven. The variety and availability of locally-available food has been improving over the past several years.

Fresh milk and dairy products are sold locally, but the milk must be boiled before use. Full-fat powdered milk is available at local shops. Bread can be purchased locally. European-style grocery stores are opening throughout Addis Ababa, with an increasingly wide variety of products, mostly imported from Italy. Availability is quite good and prices are very high.

A cookbook with recipes for high altitude cooking is useful, and several are included in the Recommended Reading.

Clothing

Addis Ababa has some reliable local dressmakers, but fabric quality is not to U.S. standards. Local tailors are available, but the workmanship tends to be poor.

You will need two or three pairs of sturdy walking shoes since sidewalks are few, and roadways are general unpaved. "Shoesaver" or a similar water repellent helps to protect shoes during the rainy season. The secret of dealing with the often wide-range of daily temperatures is clothes layering.

Men: Spring-and fall-weight woolen business suits, sport coats, and slacks will fulfill your needs in Addis Ababa. Summer suits are also comfortable during daytime much of the year. Jackets, sweaters, and raincoats are advisable. Sun hats and warm weather clothes are needed if you plan to spend time outdoors during the dry season or to travel in lower, warmer areas.

Women: Light fall or spring wool suits and dresses combined with a limited number of wool skirts and sweaters will provide a basic wardrobe. Cotton or silk can be worn midday. Layered dressing such as sweaters or vests over blouses or dresses are often worn since homes and offices are cool. Both wool and cotton slacks can be worn here. Shorts are acceptable for tennis or jogging. A light daytime jacket and wool shawls are useful on occasion. A coat, jacket, or shawl is always needed at night. Raincoats, umbrellas, and rainboots are essential.

Children: Children need a good supply of pants, long-sleeved shirts, sweaters, sweatshirts, light jackets, sturdy shoes, socks, raincoats, rain-boots, warm pajamas, and bathrobes; include warm clothing. Bring cotton sunhats or caps as they are not available and sunburn is frequent at this altitude. Jeans are acceptable for school and particularly suitable for play clothes since weather permits outdoor play much of the year. Shorts and T-shirts are worn during warm weather.

Supplies and Services

While it is becoming easier to find many of the desired supplies in Addis Ababa, the quality is uneven and the prices very high. Some European products are appearing in the newer grocery stores.

Tailors are adequate for minor repairs and fittings. Seamstresses can reproduce a dress from a picture, pattern, or sketch to your measurements; however, the result may not be exactly what you want.

Men's and women's shoe repair is adequate and inexpensive. Dry cleaning and laundry service is satisfactory. Beauty shop prices are reasonable; however, the quality of service is not always good. Many barbershops are clean, and haircutting techniques are acceptable.

Education

Children's Education: The International Community School (ICSformerly the American Community School) opened in Fall 1966. It became the International Community School in May 1980. Classes are offered from pre-kindergarten through grade 12. ICS offers the International Baccalaureate Program (IB) and the Advanced Placement Program (AP). Enrollment was 320 students in the spring 2000, including Ethiopian and third-country nationals from some 50 different countries.

Bingham Academy is a nondenomi-national missionary-sponsored American school, which admits international students who can pass an English proficiency test. Bingham operates an American curriculum from kindergarten through grade 8.

The Sandford English Community School, which follows a British curriculum, offers instruction in English, and has begun to offer the IB program. Other national groupsGerman, Italian, French, and Swedishalso maintain good schools.

None of the schools have cafeterias, so children must bring their own lunches.

Several nursery schools in Addis Ababa accept children from age 3.

Special Educational Opportunities

Classes at Addis Ababa University are taught in English. Various cultural centers offers courses in French, Italian, German, Russian, and other languages.

Recreation and Social Life

Among the most difficult adjustments to Addis Ababa is its isolation, high altitude, lack of amenities, and socio-cultural complexity. You must often rely on your own resources to find necessary stimuli for a full and satisfying tour.

Sports

Weekend picnics, horseback riding, camping, hunting, and fishing are possible. Volleyball, softball, and basketball are popular sports activities in Addis Ababa.

Riding enthusiasts who prefer Western saddles should bring their own, since only English saddles are available here. A riding horse can be purchased and boarded. Horses can only be leased on an hourly basis from stables.

The Hilton Hotel has a sports club with a naturally heated outdoor pool, tennis courts, miniature golf, and a sauna. The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) Zebu Club has tennis courts, squash courts, swimming pool, restaurant, and bar. Some fees may apply.

The five-star Sheraton Addis opened in 1998. It has all the amenities that a five-star hotel has to offer. There are five restaurants and a 24-hour business center. Its Health Club has a swimming pool, tennis and squash courts, steam bath, and sauna. Annual membership fees are expensive and vary based on facilities used. Daily fees are available.

A private, small 6-hole golf course is operated on the British Embassy compound. The season runs from October to June. and you have to apply in advance for membership. Bring clubs, balls and tees. There also is a public course used by many expatriate players.

Addis Ababa also has two bowling alleys. Local equipment is satisfactory.

Touring and Outdoor Activities

Gardening is popular because results are almost immediate, and the growing season is year round. Flower and vegetable seeds are available on the local market although sometimes past their expiration date.

Overland travel in Ethiopia is difficult, due to the poor condition of roads and the questionable quality of many of the rest stops. In addition, roadside banditry occurs with some regularity in various parts of the country, and sensible precautions need to be taken.

The Grand Hotel (or Ras Hora) in Debre Zeit, 30 miles southeast of Addis Ababa, is perched on a hill overlooking a lovely crater lake. It has several in-door dining areas with European cooking. Its Sunday afternoon buffets are popular and prices are moderate. Campsites can be rented for a small fee. Some people water ski and swim in the lake, but this is not recommended as the bilharzia snail has been found in the water.

The Adama Ras Hotel in Nazareth, about 2 hours from Addis Ababa, has a swimming pool and is a good place to spend a weekend. A Sunday buffet emphasizes Italian specialties.

Sodere, about 2-hours from Addis Ababa, has hot mineral springs. Two swimming pools (one olympic size), a small restaurant, bungalows, and camping facilities make Sodere a pleasant weekend resort or day trip.

A 4-hour drive northwest of Addis Ababa takes you to the Blue Nile Gorge and to some of the most spectacular scenery in Ethiopia. Debre Libanos, a historic monastery, is located on the rim of a tributary canyon along the route. Nearby is a 400-year-old Portuguese bridge, where a spectacular view of the canyon can be seen, as well as baboons and monkeys.

The Ras Hotel at Ambo (2-hour drive) is 78 miles west of Addis Ababa on a good road that passes through beautiful countryside and the Menagesha Forest Preserve. It has a large outdoor pool filled by a warm mineral-water spring. Camping sites are available for a modest fee near the pool.

Ghion, also called Welisso, is a small resort town 71 miles (2-hour drive) southwest of Addis Ababa. The Ras Hotel at Ghion has water from hot mineral springs piped into large sunken baths in the hotel rooms. In addition, hot indoor and outdoor swimming pools are filled by warm mineral springs.

The Awash Game Park, about 140 miles from Addis Ababa, is another interesting point to visit. It offers an excellent opportunity for lucky camera buffs to photograph game of the Awash River valley. Overnight trailer accommodations are available in the heart of the park near the Awash River Falls. Fees are high and conditions are poor. However, the camping enthusiast can enjoy roughing it at a campsite for only a few dollars a night. Whitewater rafting trips, organized by expatriate guides, are offered from July to September on the Awash river. Cost for such weekend outings is about $150 per person.

Favorite spots for Ethiopians and foreigners alike are the chain of lakes in the Great Rift Valley. Lake Awassa is a 4-hour drive from Addis Ababa. It abounds with fish (catfish and tilapia) and is an excellent spot for relaxation. Three motel-type hotels with cafes are located here. Lake Chamo at Arba Minch offers the thrill of fishing for Blue Nile perch and watching crocodiles move about. The fish is outstanding for eating and weighs up to 200 pounds. Excellent camping is offered on virtually all of the lakes.

A favorite weekend spots is Lake Langano (the only bilharzia-free lake for swimming), which is a 3-hour drive from Addis Ababa. Fishing for catfish and tilapia, using light tackle and baited small hooks instead of artificial bait, is excellent. Two hotels with restaurants are also found at Lake Langano for those who prefer not to camp. Nearby is a game reserve where ostriches and other bird life is abundant.

If you are interested in ancient civilizations, you should visit the towns of the "historic route", comprised of Gonder, Bahir Dar, Axum, and Lali-bela. Gonder was the seat of government in the 16th and 17th centuries and has several interesting castles. Near Bahir Dar, on the Blue Nile river, is located the spectacular Tis-Esat falls. Lalibela is the site of the fabulous below ground monolithic stone churches hewn out of solid stone during the 12th and 13th centuries.

Dire Dawa and Harar are two interesting cities east of Addis Ababa and may be reached by car (10 hours), rail (10 hours), or air (35 minutes). Harar, a walled city, is the birthplace of the former Emperor and the site of the Harar Military Academy. It is considered by many to be the fourth most holy city in Islam. Road travel in this area can be hazardous.

Entertainment

Americans patronize several restaurants and the dining rooms of main hotels. Foreign cuisine includes Chinese, Italian, Greek, Indian, Middle Eastern, French, and Armenian. A number of restaurants serve Ethiopian food. The number, variety and quality of restaurants has increased markedly over the past year or two, yet usual precautions must be exercised to avoid intestinal difficulties.

Several embassies have cultural centers offering a variety of programs, from music and dance to art exhibitions and films.

The ethnological and archaeological museums are interesting. Various special interest groups are active, including drama and music groups and a wildlife club.

Social Activities

Rotary and Lions have chapters in Addis Ababa. The International Women's Club is a social and charitable organization for foreign and Ethiopian women. It is not limited to the diplomatic community, but provides contact with the foreign business community as well.

Many churches have their own denominational clubs, and numerous opportunities exist for extracurricular activities.

OTHER CITIES

AXUM (or Aksum) is a small city in the northern highlands, and capital of the old Axumite Kingdom which, before and during the early part of the Christian era, extended over parts of present-day Sudan and Ethiopia. Mysterious stelae are all that remain of Axum's days of glory. The city's cathedral, the Church of St. Mary of Zion, is the repository of many of the crowns of Ethiopian emperors. Legend says that the Ark of the Covenant was brought to this spot from Jerusalem (after the fall of the city in 586 B.C.) by a descendant of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. Today, Axum is a tourist town noted for its antiquities. Tall granite obelisks, 126 in all, stand or lie broken in the central square. One measuring 110 feet, now fallen, is said to be the tallest obelisk ever built. A museum in town has a rich display of crosses, jewels, vestments, and ceremonial swords.

DIRE DAWA , with a population over 150,000, is a commercial center second in importance to the capital. Located east of Addis Ababa, the city is a traditional caravan center situated at the intersection of roads leading to Addis Ababa, Harar, and the Republic of Djibouti. Soil in the area is extremely poor, thus food must be shipped in. The city has textile and cement factories, and coffee-and meat-canning plants. Caves decorated with prehistoric drawings are located near Dire Dawa.

Dire Dawa is really two towns: new and old. New Dire Dawa is a wide-avenued, tree-lined settlement with its jacarandas and flamboyance. Here there are numerous small marketplaces, busy with vendors in colorful dress with their spices, fruits, baskets, and silverware laid out before them. Old Dire Dawa is a place of narrow, meandering streets and square buildings which is the site of the traditional Afetissa market. Well-stocked with a variety of goods, Afetissa is a melting pot for all the peoples of the region.

The city population is composed mainly of Somalis, Oromos, Afars, and Arabs.

GONDAR , in northwestern Ethiopia, was the seat of government in the 16th and 17th centuries. The ruins of its castles and royal buildings show evidence of Portuguese and Arabian influence. Gondar is inhabited by Christians, Muslims, Falashas (Ethiopian Jews). The city's economy is based on subsistence agriculture, although textiles, jewelry, leatherwork, and copper-ware are produced here. Gondar (including Azeso) is a city of about 166,000 (1994), and is capital of the Begemdir and Simen province, which is home to 2.2 million people.

HARAR , a medieval walled city, is the gateway to the Ogaden Desert and the birthplace of the former emperor Haile Selassie. The modern citizens of Harar live almost entirely within the walls that have encircled this city for more than 300 years, maintaining their own language, customs, and crafts. Harar is famed for its basket weaving and the work of its silversmiths who craft beautiful anklets, necklaces, arm bands, silver chains, bangles, and earrings out of the precious metal. The city is also known for the excellent coffee grown in the surrounding mountains.

Harar has many ancient monuments dominated by the 16th century Grand Mosque with elegant twin towers and slender minaret. Other points of interest include the palace of the city's 1890s governor, Ras Makonnen; stained glass windows by Ethiopia's greatest living artist, Afewerk Tekle, in the Harar Military Academy; the city's cathedral Medkane Alem ("Redeemer of the World"), which houses a gallery with traditional religious art works; the tomb of Abu Said, an early Muslim ruler; and the colorful Shoa Gate Market. One of the city's most unique attractions is its Hyena Men, who make their living by collecting garbage and bones which they feed to the wild hyenas that live in the surrounding hills. Answering to a name, they dart forward to snatch their supper from the hands of the Hyena Men. There's a small charge for those who wish to see this spectacle. The city's population is composed of Hareri, Amharas, Oromos, and Somalis. Harar's 1986 population was approximately 68,000.

JIMA (also spelled Jimma and Gimma) is the capital and largest town of Kefa province, 220 miles (353 kilometers) southwest of Addis Ababa. It is in a heavily-wooded area known for coffee production. The name of the province may be the origin of the term coffee. Jima is a regional commercial zone with an agricultural school and nearby airport. Potassium and sodium nitrates are mined to the northeast. It has a population of over 120,000 (1994).

In the north-central area is MEKELE (also spelled Makalle), capital of Tigre province. It has a population of about 115,000 (1994). The city is noted for the ancient castle of Emperor Yohannes IV; a similar building has been converted to a hotel. Expeditions to area rock churches are arranged from Mekele. Mekele is the principal center of Ethiopia's inland salt trade. Newer industries include the production of incense and resin.

Situated 62 miles southeast of Addis Ababa, NAZRET is a growing agricultural and commercial center. It has a rapidly expanding population of 150,000 (1994). Rail lines and roads converge on the town, making it an excellent transport hub. Near Nazret, a huge sugar plantation and factory provide jobs. One of Ethiopia's chief exporters of oil cakes, oil seeds, and pulses has its headquarters in Nazret. Hot springs are also in the vicinity.

COUNTRY PROFILE

Geography and Climate

Ethiopia, part of the Horn of Africa, borders Eritrea, Sudan, Kenya, Somalia, and Djibouti and has an area of 1,127,127 square kilometers, slightly less than twice the size of Texas. Only 12 percent of the total land area is arable land, with about 85 percent of the people dependent on agriculture or animal husbandry for subsistence.

The terrain consists of high plateau, mountains, and dry lowland plains. Ethiopia has some of the world's most rugged and beautiful scenery. Changes in foliage and terrain offer striking differences and are readily apparent when travelling in any direction from Addis Ababa. Fertile farmland, high mountains with crater lakes, deep canyons and abysses, low-lying savannas, and desert are some of the many aspects of Ethiopia's topography.

The climate is temperate to cool in the highlands and hot in the lowlands. Addis Ababa's altitude is above 8,000 feet. So three weeks or more are required to acclimate. Addis Ababa has two primary seasons: a dry season from October to February, and for the rest of the year, a rainy season, divided into "small rains" and "big rains." The small rains, February through April, are generally intermittent showers. The big rains, June through September or longer, usually bring daily precipitation. The big rains are rarely continuous, and sunny mornings or afternoons can be expected on many days. Average annual rainfall in Addis Ababa is 50 inches (while by comparison, Washington DC has 41 inches).

Daytime temperatures are fairly constant throughout the year. The dry season has bright sunny days with moderate to cool temperatures; nights are chilly. The average daily temperature in Addis Ababa is 62.9°F. Daytime temperatures are rarely over 80°F. Sharp drops in temperature occur in late afternoon, sometimes making outside entertainment uncomfortable after 5 pm. Night temperatures drop to the low forties from November to January, and are warmer in the period from February to May.

Population

Ethiopia's population of about 61 million is growing by more than 2% annually. Per capita income is roughly $120 a year, one of the world's lowest. Major ethnic groups include Oromo (40%), Amhara (20%), Tigrayan (12%), and Sidama (9%). Other groups include Shankella, Gurage, Welaita, Somali, and Afar.

The official language is Amharic. English is spoken by the educated elite and trades people, and some older people also speak Italian. Other languages spoken are Tigrigna, Oromiffa, Afara, Somali, Arabic, and French.

The eye-catching dress of the Amhara men, which, nowadays is seen only on festive occasions, consists of jodhpur-type trousers worn with a white cotton "shamma" (toga) thrown over the shoulders. Western style suits are worn for business. Women wear a loose, flowing shamma over a long, white, full-skirted dress, usually with colorful embroidered borders on both the dress and shamma.

The main food of the highland people is a spicy dish called "wot," which is eaten with "injera," a thin, large, flat, spongy bread, made from a grass-like grain called "teff," and having a somewhat sour taste. (Teff is a range grass known in the U.S. as lovegrass.) Wot is a highly spiced stew prepared with meat, fish, poultry, lentils, chickpeas, vegetables, or a combination, and is eaten by hand spooning with pieces of injera. The local beverages include "tedj" (mead) made from a honey base, and "tella" (beer). Both are intoxicating. Ethiopian coffee, an intense brew, is served as a drink of hospitality and after every meal.

Ethiopian custom is to name persons to emphasize their individuality. Family names and groups are identified by their surnames through only one generation. A child receives a given name from its parents and adopts the first name of the father as a second or surname.

When a woman marries, she does not change her name to that of her husband. Her title changes from "Woizerit" (Miss) to "Woizero" (Mrs.). Persons are universally addressed by their first name rather than their surname, with "Ato," (Mr.) Woizero or Woizerit preceding the name.

The Ethiopian calendar varies from the Gregorian in that it has 12 months of 30 days and a 13th month of 5 days (or 6 in leap year). The new year begins on Meskerem 1 (September 11). The Ethiopian 24-hour day begins at sunrise (6 a.m.). Therefore, 7 a.m. by the Western standard is called 1 o'clock. However, business is usually conducted by European time and calendar.

Major religions are: Ethiopian Orthodox 45%, Muslim 45%, and the remainder divided among ani-mists, Protestants, and Roman Catholics. Many Ethiopians are deeply religious and observe fasting and feasts throughout the year, but Easter is by far the most important holiday for the Orthodox. The gayest and most spectacular festivals are Timket or Epiphany (in January) and Meskel (in September), the latter commemorating the finding of the True Cross by St. Helena.

Christianity came to Ethiopia in the fourth century. The established Ethiopian Orthodox Church, formerly linked administratively to the Egyptian Coptic Church headquartered in Alexandria, became autonomous in 1948. The Orthodox faith, traditionally associated with the Ethiopian (Abyssinian) culture of the highlands, was, until the overthrow of the Emperor, the official state religion. Ethiopia is now a secular state.

Islam first came to Ethiopia around 622 in Aksum in the far north of the country, when the Prophet Mohammed's disciples sought refuge. An Islamic military conquest of most areas of Ethiopia occurred in the mid-16th century, and it was only under Menelik II that religious freedom was restored in the late 19th century.

Public Institutions

Under its Constitution, adopted in 1994, Ethiopia has a parliamentary form of government, headed by a Prime Minister. The bicameral parliament, comprised of the 545-member House of Peoples Representatives (elected) and the 11-member House of Federation (appointed by the regional state councils), is made up largely of members of the ruling political coalition, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF). Some opposition and private candidates were elected in May 2000. The EPRDF includes a large number of primarily ethnically based component parties, the most influential of which by far is the Tigrayan People's Liberation Front (TPLF), led by a politburo of which the Prime Minister and his most trusted advisers are members. Ethiopia's government is structured as a federalist system, ethnically based. The 1994 Constitution redrew regional borders along ethnic lines, to the extent possible, and on paper devolved significant authority to regional governments. Ethnic federalism remains an experiment to date, but the regions do have some autonomy in areas of governance.

The EPRDF swept to power in 1991 by overthrowing the totalitarian Communist regime, known as the Derg, of Colonel Mengistu Haile Mariam. The Derg, which seized power in 1974 from Emperor Haile Selassie, was marked by brutality, especially during the "Red Terror" of the late 1970s, and massive militarization largely funded by the Soviet Union and Cuba. The Derg's strength was undermined by droughts and famine in the mid-1980s, but its collapse was hastened by several internal insurgent groups, including the Eritrean People's Liberation Front (EPLF), which sought Eritrea's independence from Ethiopia, and the TPLE As the struggle against the Derg continued, the TPLF allied itself with other ethnically based insurgent groups, forming the EPRDF.

Following the fall of the Derg, the EPRDF, the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF-the Oromo are Ethiopia's largest ethnic group) and others formed a transitional government, which governed until national elections in 1995. During that period, the OLF left the government, and members of some other political groupings were expelled. Eritreans, including many resident in Ethiopia, voted in favor of independence in a 1993 referendum, and Eritrea became a sovereign state. The May 1995 elections were boycotted by most groups in opposition to the EPRDF, and were marred by allegations of fraud and misconduct; nonetheless, they were found to be generally free and fair by international observers. General elections were held again in May 2000 and opposition parties scored great success.

Following his overthrow in 1991, Derg dictator Mengistu went into exile in Zimbabwe, where he remains. Some 2,500 other Derg officials also took refuge outside Ethiopia. The current government established a Special Prosecutor's Office (SPO) in 1991, to investigate and try cases of Derg extrajudicial killing, torture, detention without charge and other forms of brutality. As of the end of 1999, charges had been brought against over 5,000 persons, about half of whom were in detention.

Ethiopia has diplomatic relations with more than 90 countries, some 75 of which maintain missions in Addis Ababa. The Ethiopian capital is the home of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), and the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA). Numerous other international organizations are also represented here.

Arts, Science, and Education

One of the goals of Ethiopia's transitional government was to broaden access to education. Results of these efforts are yet to show obvious results, but overall there has been a significant increase of budgetary allocations in the educational system throughout the country.

The government, many donor countries and organizations have committed enormous resources to upgrading educational standards in Ethiopia. USAID has a major program to improve the quality and equity of primary schooling as the system expands. Efforts are underway to accommodate demand for schooling at all levels. Despite the overwhelming problems educational opportunities are expanding, but unfortunately not enough to keep abreast of population growth.

The Peace Corps began an active teacher-training program in fall 1995, but withdrew from the country in 1999.

Expansion efforts have been targeted at sectors of the population traditionally deprived of access to education, primarily girls, the rural and less sedentary populations. Current policy aims at universal primary education, although it will take decades to achieve this. As of 1999, more than 5.8 million children attended primary (grades 1-8) school. Instruction for primary students is in the local or regional language, but changes to English at grade 7. Participation rates for primary schools have dramatically increased since 1994, from 24% to 45.8%. Government policies strongly favor female participation in primary education, but girls lag boys in attendance significantly in many areas of the country. Junior and secondary schooling share many problems with primary, but the largest present concern is with issues of access, quality, and relevance of education.

The Ethiopian Government has encouraged community participation in the expansion of education The Ministry of Education faces monumental problems in trying to provide education for all Ethiopians, particularly given severe budgetary constraints and its efforts to install a decentralized system of education. Expansion needs to accelerate, and the challenge will be to ensure that quality is not to be sacrificed for quantity.

Opportunity for higher education also has expanded in Ethiopia, but entrance into institutions has become extremely competitive. The number of high school graduates far exceeds the number of places available in the institutes of higher learning, which now include six public universities, 11 specialized colleges, and a number of teacher training colleges and institutes, offering 2-, 3-, and 4-year programs. The Addis Ababa University celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2000. Many students go abroad each year to study in the West and India.

The Ethiopian artistic community is small but active. Many artists derive their inspiration from the ancient Ethiopian Christian paintings that decorate churches and monasteries. A substantial effort is underway to collect and preserve valuable paintings and manuscripts gathered from Ethiopian Orthodox churches. The Institute of Ethiopian Studies at Addis Ababa University has a recently renovated museum that includes a wide-ranging collection of Ethiopian church paintings and manuscripts. Ethiopia is also famous for its unique crosses, some of which are quite old. The National Museum has an interesting archeological collection, including the famous fossilized "Lucy," the oldest primate skeleton; and also a collection of imperial objects taken from the various palaces following the revolution.

Ethiopia has a rich musical heritage; encompassing a wide variety of styles derived from the country's many ethnic groups. Ethiopians are very proud of their traditional music and dance, and most theaters have regular cultural shows. Popular musicians and singers also perform in small bars throughout Addis Ababa and have an enthusiastic following among young and old. Western classical music is not especially popular among Ethiopians, and is generally performed only for foreign audiences, yet is part of the basic curriculum at the country's major music school.

Commerce and Industry

After the downfall of the Marxist Derg regime in 1991, Ethiopia began moving away from central planning for the economy and implementing open market policies. The government passed legislation to allow private banking and insurance companies, established incentives to attract foreign investment, and reduced bureaucratic hurdles and delays in registering businesses. The government also has opened up the power and telecommunications sectors to permit foreign investment. The exchange rate is determined by a weekly auction. Over the 12 months ending in May 2000, the value of the birr fell from 7.65 to the dollar to 8.20 to the dollar.

The macroeconomic picture for Ethiopia in mid-2000 after eight years of steady growth is uncertain because of border hostilities with Eritrea and drought. Business has slowed enormously since May 1998 and inflation exceeds 10%. A significant amount of government expenditure goes to support the military, reducing the amount of funds available for other projects.

Ethiopia's infrastructure is one of the most underdeveloped in all Africa, which has hampered economic growth. However, this situation is beginning to change. The World Bank is providing $350 million to upgrade Ethiopia's road network as part of the government's Road Sector Improvement program. Ethiopia's lone railway, stretching from Addis Ababa to the port of Djibouti, is also undergoing renovation. Ethiopia is committed to increasing the number of telephone lines by 700,000 over the next decade and has awarded contracts for the development of cellular telephone services. The national air carrier, Ethiopian Airlines, provides quality service to 37 domestic and 42 international destinations throughout Africa, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and North America utilizing primarily Boeing aircraft.

Agriculture is Ethiopia's most promising sector, contributing half of the country's GNP, more than 80% of its exports, and three-fourths of the country's employment. The country has a strong potential for self-sufficiency and even export development in grains, livestock, vegetables and fruits. This sector, however, is plagued by periodic drought, soil degradation caused by overgrazing, deforestation, and high population density, and a poor road network that makes it difficult for farmers to get their goods to market. The major export crop is coffee, which generates over 60% of Ethiopia's foreign exchange earnings. Other traditional agricultural exports are hides and skins, textiles, fruits and vegetables, flowers, honey and beeswax, pulses, oil-seeds and "khat," a leafy shrub with mild narcotic qualities when chewed.

Gold, marble, limestone and tantalum are mined in Ethiopia. Other resources with potential for commercial development include potash, natural gas, iron ore, coal, and possibly oil and geothermal energy. Ethiopia has vast hydroelectric potential that remains untapped. At present, however, Ethiopia is totally dependent on imports of oil for its manufacturing industries, vehicles and other petroleum needs. New hydroelectric projects are expected to triple the country's power generation by 2005. A landlocked country, Ethiopia uses the port of Djibouti for international trade.

Transportation

Local

Taxi and bus service is inadequate and considered dangerous due to the high frequency of accidents, many of them serious or fatal.

Regional

Ethiopian Airlines connects with the major cities in the country and along with other regional airlines, serves Nairobi, Djibouti, and other African cities regularly.

International

International flights are currently available from Addis Ababa to Europe on Ethiopian Airlines (Rome, Athens, Frankfurt, London), and Lufthansa (Frankfurt). In addition, flights are available to a variety of locations in Africa and the Middle East, as well as Bombay, Bangkok, Beijing and the U.S.

Communications

Telephone and Telegraph

Although telephone service is affected by the heavy rains, it is dependable most of the time. Long-distance telephone calls to the U.S. are via satellite and can be dialed directly. The cost is about $3 per minute and reception is usually good. It is less expensive to place a collect call from Addis Ababa to the U.S.; the least expensive method is direct dial from the U.S.

Internet service is poor and limited, but there are plans to expand service providers beyond the current state monopoly sometime in the future. Currently, those wanting internet service must spend months on a waiting list.

Radio and TV

A short wave radio is useful in Ethiopia, and reception is fair for the Voice of America and BBC.

The Voice of Ethiopia Radio, which broadcasts on AM, FM, and short-wave stations, carries daily 1-hour broadcasts in English. Programming is good and includes news and various magazine-style shows.

Ethiopian Television broadcasts 4 hours daily, including a 1 hour news program in English. Telecasts are in the 625 PAL format, which is used throughout most of Europe and Africa. Programming is about 50 percent in local languages, the remainder being films and documentaries. An increasing amount of programming is being received from the U.S. and the West, but the majority is locally produced.

Well-stocked video stores have opened in Addid Ababa, and cassettes are generally VHS or PAL; bring a VCR, preferably a multisystem multivoltage one.

Newspapers, Magazines, and Technical Journals

Personal subscriptions to the International Herald Tribune and overseas editions of Time and Newsweek can be ordered, and occasionally may be purchased locally. The Tribune arrives regularly, usually 10 to 12 days later than its publication date. Delivery of U.S. magazines generally takes about 2 weeks.

Health and Medicine

Medical Facilities

Have all routine and necessary dental work done before arrival. Orthodontia, root canal treatments, prostheses, etc., are not available, and local procedures are not advisable. Prescription glasses are rarely available. Acute eye conditions can be treated, but chronic diseases should be taken care of before arrival. If you need continued medication, bring a supply.

Community Health

Common diseases in Ethiopia include malaria, trachoma, tuberculosis, hepatitis, schistosomiasis, venereal diseases (including HIV/AIDS), influenza and common colds, parasitic and bacillary dysentery, and eye, ear, and skin infections. However, the Addis Ababa area is free of malaria-bearing mosquitoes. Domestic animals face a serious problem of tick fever for dogs and distemper for cats.

Preventive Measures

The 8,300-feet altitude in Addis Ababa can cause dizziness, insomnia, fatigue, and shortness of breath. The symptoms usually subside after a few weeks.

When traveling to lower altitudes, take malaria suppressants weekly to improve prophylaxis. Note: Too many people think that these pills are 100 percent effectivethey are not. Even if taken, they need to be supplemented by mosquito netting, insecticides, repellents, etc.

Incidence of infectious hepatitis among Americans has been small, but it is widespread in the local community. Alternatives such as vaccination for hepatitis A & B can be obtained.

To minimize the risk of amoebic and bacillary dysentery, you must demand scrupulous cleanliness and proper food care, hard to do when eating out. Domestic help who handle food should have periodic stool examinations. In restaurants, order well-cooked food and avoid salads, milk products, and ice cubes. Always order bottled water.

Tap water is unsafe and must be boiled and filtered before drinking. Powdered or canned milk is recommended over fresh milk or milk products, although milk can be boiled and filtered as well. Long-life sterilized milk is often available in local stores.

Fruits and vegetables must be cooked or peeled before eating. Leafy vegetables must be treated by soaking with bleach or an equivalent to kill bacteria. All local meats must be cooked thoroughly to avoid tapeworm.

The danger of severe sunburn cannot be overlooked. The high altitude of Addis and most surrounding areas make exposure to the sun more dangerous than at lower altitudes. Use of sun screen and sun hats is strongly recommended.

NOTES FOR TRAVELERS

Passage, Customs and Duties

The most direct air route from the U.S. to Addis Ababa is on U.S. flag carriers to Frankfurt, London, or Rome, connecting with Ethiopian Airlines and Lufthansa.

A passport and a valid Ethiopian visa are required to enter or transit Ethiopia. Due to animosity stemming from the recent border conflict with Eritrea, U.S. citizens of Eritrean origin who travel to Ethiopia may experience delays in the processing of their visa applications because all such applications must be cleared through the main Ethiopian immigration office in Addis Ababa. Laptop computers must be declared upon arrival and departure. Tape recorders require special customs permits. Individuals intending prolonged stays should check, prior to travel, with the Ethiopian Embassy, 3506 International Dr., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008; telephone (202) 364-1200; fax (202) 686-9857; web site http://www.ethiopianembassy.org. Inquiries overseas may be made at the nearest Ethiopian embassy or consulate.

Current yellow fever immunizations are needed for entry into Ethiopia and must be recorded on the vaccination certificates with the vaccination date, signature of the medical officer administering the vaccination, and an official seal. The record for yellow fever inoculations must also have the name of the serum manufacturer and the batch number. Yellow fever shots are not valid until 10 days after date of initial vaccination.

Quarantine authorities in Ethiopia are exacting in these matters, and people have been subjected to long delays and embarrassment when certificates have not been filled out. Polio (oral), tetanus-diphtheria, and typhoid immunizations are strongly recommended.

Tick fever and intestinal parasites are a special problem with pets, and rabies is common in Ethiopia. Bring a good supply of flea and tick collars and shampoos. African tick fever has killed several American-owned dogs. Rabies and puppy vaccines are available only sporadically. There are American and European veterinarians working in Addis Ababa.

Ethiopian law strictly prohibits the photographing of military installations, police/military personnel, industrial facilities, government buildings and infrastructure (roads, bridges, dams, airfields, etc.). Such sites are rarely clearly marked. Travel guides, police, and Ethiopian officials can advise if a particular site may be photographed. Photographing prohibited sites may result in the confiscation of film and camera.

U.S. citizens are encouraged to register at the U.S. Embassy and to obtain updated information on travel and security in Ethiopia. The U.S. Embassy is located at Entoto Avenue, P.O. Box 1014, in Addis Ababa, tel. [251] (1) 550-666, extension 316/336; emergency after-hours tel. [251] (1) 552-558; consular fax [251] (1) 551-094; web site: http://www.telecom.net.et/~usemb-et.

Pets

Authorization from the Ministry of Agriculture is required in advance of the arrival of pets. A certificate of good health showing valid rabies vaccination and freedom from communicable diseases is required when bringing pets into Ethiopia. No quarantine period is imposed provided these health certificates are in order.

Currency, Banking and Weights and Measures

The present official currency unit is the Ethiopian birr. There are 100 cents to the birr, with coins of 50, 25, 10, 5 and 1 cent. Bills are in the denominations of birr 100, 50, 10, 5, and 1.

The metric system of weights and measures is used.

Visitors must declare foreign currency upon arrival and may be required to present this declaration when applying for an exit visa. Official and black market exchange rates are nearly the same. Penalties for exchanging money on the black market range from fines to imprisonment. Credit cards are not accepted at most hotels, restaurants, shops, or other local facilities, although they are accepted at the Hilton and Sheraton Hotels in Addis Ababa. Foreigners are generally required to pay for hotel and car rental in foreign currency.

Disaster Preparedness

There is a high risk of earthquakes in Ethiopia. General information about natural disaster preparedness is available via the Internet from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at http://www.fema.gov/.

LOCAL HOLIDAYS

Jan. 7 Christmas (Coptic)

Jan.19 Timkety (Epiphany)

Mar. 2 Victory of Adwa

Apr/May Good Friday*

Apr/May Easter*

May 1 May Day

Apr/May Patriot's Victory Day*

May 28 Downfall of the Dergue

Sept. 11 Coptic New Year

Sept. 27 True Cross Day

Id al-Adha*

Ramadan*

Id al-Fitr*

Mawlid an Nabi*

*variable

RECOMMENDED READING

These titles are provided as a general indication of the material published on this country.

Beckwith and Fischer, Angela. African Ark. Harry A. Abrahams: New York, 1990.

Buxton, David. The Abyssinians. Thames & Hudson: London, 1970. A good concise historical overview through 1970.

Clapham, Christopher. Transformation and Continuity In Revolutionary Ethiopia. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 1988.

Gerster, Geog. Churches in Rock: Early Christian Art in Ethiopia. Phaidon: London, 1970. A beautiful book about the rock churches of Lalibela.

Gilkes, Patrick. The Dying Lion: Feudalism and Modernization in Ethiopia. St. Martin's Press: New York, 1978. A history of modern Ethiopia up to the 1974 revolution.

Giorgis, Dawit Wolde. Red Tears. Red Sea Press: Trenton, NJ, 1989.

Hancock, Graham. The Sign and the Seal. Simon and Schuster: New York, 1992.

Harbeson, John W The Ethiopian Transformation: The Quest for the Post-Imperial State. Westview Press: Boulder, CO and London, 1988.

Henze, Paul B. Ethiopian Journeys, Travels in Ethiopia 1969-72. Ernest Berm Ltd.: London, 1977. A good source of ideas for in-country trips.

Kane, Thomas L. Ethiopian Literature in Amharic. Otto Harassowitz: Wiesbaden, 1975. A comprehensive review of what is written in Amharic.

Kaplan, Robert D. Surrender or Starve. Westview Press: Boulder, CO and London, 1988.

Kapuscinski, Ryszard. The Emperor: Downfall of an Autocrat. Vintage Books: New York, 1984. Really about Poland, but also a very telling evocative account of the waning days of Haile Selassie's court.

Keller, Edmond J. Revolutionary Ethiopia: From Empire to People's Republic. Indiana University Press: Bloomington: 1991.

Korn, David A. Ethiopia, The U.S. and the Soviet Union. SIU Press: Carbondale, IL, 1986.

Levine, Donald H. Wax and Gold. University of Chicago Press: Chicago, 1968. Culture and a social structure with a historic perspective, the "classic" about Amhara culture, a must-read.

Marcus, Harold. A History of Ethiopia. Oxford University Press: Oxford, 1994.

Marcus, Harold. Ethiopia, Great Britain and the United States, 1941-1974: The Politics of Empire. University of California Press: Berkeley, 1983. Ethiopia's relations with the U.S. and U.K. up to the 1974 revolution.

Markakis, John. National and Class Conflict in the Horn of Africa. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 1987.

Mockler, Anthony. Haile Selassie's War. The Italian-Ethiopian Campaign, 1935-41. Random House: New York, 1985. A highly readable account of the war against and occupation of Ethiopia.

Ottoway, Marina. Soviet and American Influence in the Horn of Africa. Praeger: New York, 1982. An analysis of superpower rivalry and policies.

Ottoway, Marina and David. Ethiopia: Empire in Revolution. Africana Publishing: New York, 1978.

Pankhurst, Helen. Gender, Development and Identity: An Ethiopian Study. Zed Press: London, 1992.

Pankhurst, Richard. Economic History of Ethiopia. Haile Selassie I Press: Addis Ababa, 1968.

Pankhurst, Richard. A Social History of Ethiopia. Red Sea Press: Trenton, NJ, 1992.

Parfitt, Tudor. Operation Moses. Werdenfeld and Nicolson: London, 1985.

Prouty, Christ. Empress Taytu and Menilek IL Ethiopia 1883-1910. Raven's Educational and Development Services: London, 1986.

Sorensen, John. Imaging Ethiopia. Rutgers University Press: New Brunswick, 1993.

Spencer, John H. Ethiopia at Bay. Reference Publications Inc.: Algonac, MI, 1984. Memoir and history covering the period from 1935 to 1974 by an American adviser to Emperor Haile Selassie.

Tessema, Mammo, Richard Pankhurst, and S. Chojnacki. Religious Art of Ethiopia. Institut fiir Auslandsbeziehunger: Stuttgart, 1973. Many pictures in color.

U.S. Government, Department of the Army. Ethiopia-A Country Study. U.S. Government Printing Office: Washington, DC, 1993.

Williams, J. G. A Field Guide to the Birds of East Africa. Collins: London, 1980. A must for birdwatchers.

Williams, J.G. A Field Guide to the Mammals of East Africa. Collings: London, 1980. Recommended for wildlife enthusiasts.

Wolde-Mariam, Mesfin. Ethiopia's Vulnerability to Drought. Vikas Publishing House: New Delhi, 1984. A geographer's analysis of the climate and policies affecting cyclical droughts in Ethiopia.

Zewdie, Bahru. A History of Modern Ethiopia, 1855-1974. Ohio University Press: Athens, 1991.

Cookbooks for High Altitude Cooking

Cassell, Elizabeth Dyer. Mile-High Cakes. Colorado State University, Colorado Agricultural Experimental Station: Fort Collins, CO.

Cassell, Elizabeth Dyer. Deep Fat Frying at High Altitudes. Wyoming Agricultural Experimental Station: Laramie, WY.

Kennedy, Lillian. Altitude Recipes. More Mercantile Company: Denver, CO.

Swanson, Alice. Cake Mixing at High Altitude. St. Paul, MN.

Thiessen, Emma. High Altitude Vegetable Cookery.

views updated

Ethiopia

Compiled from the December 2006 Background Note and supplemented with additional information from the State Department and the editors of this volume. See the introduction to this set for explanatory notes.

Official Name:
Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

PROFILE

GEOGRAPHY

PEOPLE

HISTORY

GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS

ECONOMY

DEFENSE

FOREIGN RELATIONS

U.S.-ETHIOPIA RELATIONS

TRAVEL

PROFILE

Geography

Area: 1.1 million sq. km (472,000 sq. mi.); about the size of Texas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico combined.

Cities: Capital—Addis Ababa (pop. 5 million). Other cities—Dire Dawa (237,000), Nazret (189,000), Gondar (163,000), Dessie (142,000), Mekelle (141,000), Bahir Dar (140,000), Jimma (132,000), Awassa (104,000).

Terrain: High plateau, mountains, dry lowland plains.

Climate: Temperate in the highlands; hot in the lowlands.

People

Nationality: Noun and adjective—Ethiopian(s).

Population: (2006 est.) 77 million.

Annual growth rate: 2.7%.

Ethnic groups: (est.) Oromo 40%, Amhara 25%, Tigre 7%, Somali 6%, Sidama 9%, Gurage 2%, Wolaita 4%, Afar 4%, other nationalities 3%.

Religions: (est.) Ethiopian Orthodox Christian 40%, Sunni Muslim 45-50%, Protestant 5%, remainder indigenous beliefs.

Languages: Amharic (official), Tigrinya, Arabic, Guaragigna, Oromigna, English, Somali.

Education: Years compulsory—none. Attendance (elementary) 57%. Literacy—43%.

Health: Infant mortality rate—93/1,000 live births.

Work force: Agriculture—80%. Industry and commerce—20%.

Government

Type: Federal Republic.

Constitution: Ratified 1994.

Government branches: Executive—president, Council of State, Council of Ministers. Executive power resides with the prime minister. Legislative—bicameral parliament. Judicial—divided into Federal and Regional Courts.

Political subdivisions: 9 regions and 2 special city administrations: Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa.

Political parties: Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), the Coalition for Unity and Democracy Party (CUDP), the United Ethiopian Democratic Forces (UEDF), Oromo Federalist Democratic Movement (OFDM), and other small parties.

Suffrage: Universal starting at age 18.

Budget: (2005) $2.9 billion.

Defense: $348 million (5.6% of GDP FY 2003).

National holiday: May 28.

Economy

Real GDP: (2004) $8.1 billion.

Annual growth rate: (2004) 11.6%.

Per capita income: (2004) $116.

Average inflation rate: (2005) 11.6%.

Natural resources: Potash, salt, gold, copper, platinum, natural gas (unexploited).

Agriculture: (47% of GDP) Products—coffee, cereals, pulses, oilseeds, khat, meat, hides and skins. Cultivated land—17%.

Industry: (12% of GDP) Types—textiles, processed foods, construction, cement, and hydroelectric power.

Trade: (2004) Exports—$563 million. Imports—$2.1 billion; plus remittances—official est. $400 million; unofficial est. $400 million.

Fiscal year: July 8-July 7.

GEOGRAPHY

Ethiopia is located in the Horn of Africa and is bordered on the north and northeast by Eritrea, on the east by Djibouti and Somalia, on the south by Kenya, and on the west and southwest by Sudan. The country has a high central plateau that varies from 1,800 to 3,000 meters (6,000 ft.-10,000 ft.) above sea level, with some mountains reaching 4,620 meters (15,158 ft.). Elevation is generally highest just before the point of descent to the Great Rift Valley, which splits the plateau diagonally. A number of rivers cross the plateau—notably the Blue Nile flowing from Lake Tana. The plateau gradually slopes to the lowlands of the Sudan on the west and the Somali-inhabited plains to the southeast.

The climate is temperate on the plateau and hot in the lowlands. At Addis Ababa, which ranges from 2,200 to 2,600 meters (7,000 ft.-8,500 ft.), maximum temperature is 26°C (80°F) and minimum 4°C (40°F). The weather is usually sunny and dry with the short (belg) rains occurring February-April and the big (meher) rains beginning in mid-June and ending in mid-September.

PEOPLE

Ethiopia’s population is highly diverse. Most of its people speak a Semitic or Cushitic language. The Oromo, Amhara, and Tigreans make up more than three-fourths of the population, but there are more than 77 different ethnic groups with their own distinct languages within Ethiopia. Some of these have as few as 10,000 members. In general, most of the Christians live in the highlands, while Muslims and adherents of traditional African religions tend to inhabit lowland regions. English is the most widely spoken foreign language and is taught in all secondary schools. Amharic is the official language and was the language of primary school instruction but has been replaced in many areas by local languages such as Oromifa and Tigrinya.

HISTORY

Ethiopia is credited with being the origin of mankind. Bones discovered in eastern Ethiopia date back 3.2 million years. Ethiopia is the oldest independent country in Africa and one of the oldest in the world. Herodotus, the Greek historian of the fifth century B.C. describes ancient Ethiopia in his writings. The Old Testament of the Bible records the Queen of Sheba’s visit to Jerusalem. According to legend, Menelik I, the son of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, founded the Ethiopian Empire.

Missionaries from Egypt and Syria introduced Christianity in the fourth century A.D. Following the rise of Islam in the seventh century, Ethiopia was gradually cut off from European Christendom. The Portuguese established contact with Ethiopia in 1493, primarily to strengthen their influence over the Indian Ocean and to convert Ethiopia to Roman Catholicism. There followed a century of conflict between pro- and anti-Catholic factions, resulting in the expulsion of all foreign missionaries in the 1630s. This period of bitter religious conflict contributed to hostility toward foreign Christians and Europeans, which persisted into the 20th century and was a factor in Ethiopia’s isolation until the mid-19th century.

Under the Emperors Theodore II (1855-68), Johannes IV (1872-89), and Menelik II (1889-1913), the kingdom was consolidated and began to emerge from its medieval isolation. When Menelik II died, his grandson, Lij Iyassu, succeeded to the throne but soon lost support because of his Muslim ties. The Christian nobility deposed him in 1916, and Menelik’s daughter, Zewditu, was made empress. Her cousin, Ras Tafari Makonnen (1892-1975), was made regent and successor to the throne. In 1930, after the empress died, the regent, adopting the throne name Haile Selassie, was crowned emperor. His reign was interrupted in 1936 when Italian Fascist forces invaded and occupied Ethiopia. The emperor was forced into exile in England despite his plea to the League of Nations for intervention. Five years later, British and Ethiopian forces defeated the Italians, and the emperor returned to the throne.

After a period of civil unrest, which began in February 1974, the aging Haile Selassie I was deposed on September 12, 1974, and a provisional administrative council of soldiers, known as the Derg (“committee”) seized power from the emperor and installed a government, which was socialist in name and military in style. The Derg summarily executed 59 members of the royal family and ministers and generals of the emperor’s government; Emperor Haile Selassie was strangled in the basement of his palace on August 22, 1975.

Lt. Col. Mengistu Haile Mariam assumed power as head of state and Derg chairman, after having his two predecessors killed. Mengistu’s years in office were marked by a totalitarian-style government and the country’s massive militarization, financed by the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc, and assisted by Cuba. From 1977 through early 1978 thousands of suspected enemies of the Derg were tortured and/or killed in a purge called the “red terror.” Communism was officially adopted during the late 1970s and early 1980s with the promulgation of a Soviet-style constitution, Politburo, and the creation of the Workers’ Party of Ethiopia (WPE).

In December 1976, an Ethiopian delegation in Moscow signed a military assistance agreement with the Soviet Union. The following April, Ethiopia abrogated its military assistance agreement with the United States and expelled the American military missions. In July 1977, sensing the disarray in Ethiopia, Somalia attacked across the Ogaden Desert in pursuit of its irredentist claims to the ethnic Somali areas of Ethiopia. Ethiopian forces were driven back deep inside their own frontier but, with the assistance of a massive Soviet airlift of arms and Cuban combat forces, they stemmed the attack. The major Somali regular units were forced out of the Ogaden in March 1978. Twenty years later, development in the Somali region of Ethiopia lagged.

The Derg’s collapse was hastened by droughts and famine, as well as by insurrections, particularly in the northern regions of Tigray and Eritrea. In 1989, the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) merged with other ethnically based opposition movements to form the Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF). In May 1991, EPRDF forces advanced on Addis Ababa. Mengistu fled the country for asylum in Zimbabwe, where he still resides.

In July 1991, the EPRDF, the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), and others established the Transitional Government of Ethiopia (TGE) which was comprised of an 87-member Council of Representatives and guided by a national charter that functioned as a transitional constitution. In June 1992 the OLF withdrew from the government; in March 1993, members of the Southern Ethiopia Peoples’ Democratic Coalition left the government.

In May 1991, the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (EPLF), led by Isaias Afwerki, assumed control of Eritrea and established a provisional government. This provisional government independently administered Eritrea until April 23-25, 1993, when Eritreans voted overwhelmingly for independence in a UN-monitored free and fair referendum. Eritrea was with Ethiopia’s consent declared independent on April 27, and the United States recognized its independence on April 28, 1993.

In Ethiopia, President Meles Zenawi and members of the TGE pledged to oversee the formation of a multi-party democracy. The election for a 547-member constituent assembly was held in June 1994, and this assembly adopted the constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia in December 1994. The elections for Ethiopia’s first popularly chosen national parliament and regional legislatures were held in May and June 1995.

Most opposition parties chose to boycott these elections, ensuring a landslide victory for the EPRDF. International and non-governmental observers concluded that opposition parties would have been able to participate had they chosen to do so. The Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia was installed in August 1995.

GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS

Ethiopia is a federal republic under the 1994 constitution. The executive branch includes a president, Council of State, and Council of Ministers. Executive power resides with the prime minister. There is a bicameral parliament; national legislative elections were held in 2005. The judicial branch comprises federal and regional courts.

Political parties include the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), the Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD), the United Ethiopian Democratic Forces (UEDF), and other small parties. Suffrage is universal at age 18.

In 2003, Ethiopia continued its transition from a unitary to a federal system of government. The EPRDF-led government of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi has promoted a policy of ethnic federalism, devolving significant powers to regional, ethnically based authorities. Ethiopia today has 9 semi-autonomous administrative regions and two special city administrations (Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa), which have the power to raise their own revenues. Under the present government, Ethiopians enjoy wider, albeit circumscribed, political freedom than ever before in Ethiopia’s history.

Principal Government Officials

Last Updated: 8/1/2006

President: GIRMA Woldegiorgis

Prime Minister: MELES Zenawi

Dep. Prime Min.: ADDISU Legesse

Dep. Prime Min.: KASSU Ilala

Min. of Agriculture & Rural Development: ADDISU Legesse

Vice Min. of Agriculture & Rural Development: BELAY Ejigu

Vice Min. of Agriculture & Rural Development: GETACHEW Teklemedhin

Vice Min. of Agriculture & Rural Development: TEKALIGN Mamo

Min. of Cabinet Affairs: BERHANU Adelo

Min. of Capacity Building: TEFERA Walwa

Min. of Culture & Tourism: MOHAMOUD Dirir

Min. of Defense: KUMA Demeksa

Min. of Education: SNTAYEHU Weldemikael

Min. of Energy & Mines: ALEMAYEHU Tegenu

Min. of Federal Affairs: SIRAJ Fegisa

Min. of Finance & Economic Development: SUFIAN Ahmed

Min. of Foreign Affairs: SEYOUM Mesfin

Min. of Health: TEWODROS Adhanom

Min. of Information: BERHAN Hailu

Min. of Justice: ASEFA Kesito

Min. of Labor & Social Affairs: HASSAN Abdella

Min. of Revenue Collection: MELAKU Fenta

Min. of Trade & Industry: GIRMA Birru

Min. of Transport & Communications: JUNEDIN Sado

Min. of Water Resources: ASFAW Dingamo

Min. of Women’s Affairs: HIRUT Dilebo

Min. of Works & Urban Development: KASSU Ilala

Min. of Youth & Sports: ASTER Mamo

Governor, National Bank: TEKLEWOLD Atnafu

Ambassador to the US: Samuel ASSEFA

Permanent Representative to the UN, New York: DAWIT Yohannes

Ethiopia maintains an embassy in the U.S. at 3506 International Drive, NW, Washington, DC 20008 (tel. 202-364-1200) headed by Ambassador Samuel Assefa. It also maintains a UN mission in New York and consulates in Los Angeles, Seattle (honorary), and Houston (honorary).

ECONOMY

The current government has embarked on a cautious program of economic reform, including privatization of state enterprises and rationalization of government regulation. While the process is still ongoing, so far the reforms have attracted only meager foreign investment.

The Ethiopian economy is based on agriculture, which contributes 47% to GNP and more than 80% of exports, and employs 85% of the population. The major agricultural export crop is coffee, providing 35% of Ethiopia’s foreign exchange earnings, down from 65% a decade ago because of the slump in coffee prices since the mid-1990s. Other traditional major agricultural exports are hides and skins, pulses, oilseeds, and the traditional “khat,” a leafy shrub that has psycho-tropic qualities when chewed. Sugar and gold production has also become important in recent years.

Ethiopia’s agriculture is plagued by periodic drought, soil degradation caused by inappropriate agricultural practices and overgrazing, deforestation, high population density, undeveloped water resources, and poor transport infrastructure, making it difficult and expensive to get goods to market. Yet agriculture is the country’s most promising resource. Potential exists for self-sufficiency in grains and for export development in livestock, flowers, grains, oilseeds, sugar, vegetables, and fruits.

Gold, marble, limestone, and small amounts of tantalum are mined in Ethiopia. Other resources with potential for commercial development include large potash deposits, natural gas, iron ore, and possibly oil and geo-thermal energy. Although

Ethiopia has good hydroelectric resources, which power most of its manufacturing sector, it is totally dependent on imports for its oil. A landlocked country, Ethiopia has relied on the port of Djibouti since the 1998-2000 border war with Eritrea.

Ethiopia is connected with the port of Djibouti by road and rail for international trade. Of the 23,812 kilometers of all-weather roads in Ethiopia, 15% are asphalt. Mountainous terrain and the lack of good roads and sufficient vehicles make land transportation difficult and expensive. However, the government-owned airline’s reputation is excellent. Ethiopian Airlines serves 38 domestic airfields and has 42 international destinations.

Dependent on a few vulnerable crops for its foreign exchange earnings and reliant on imported oil, Ethiopia lacks sufficient foreign exchange earnings. The financially conservative government has taken measures to solve this problem, including stringent import controls and sharply reduced subsidies on retail gasoline prices. Nevertheless, the largely subsistence economy is incapable of meeting the budget requirements for drought relief, an ambitious development plan, and indispensable imports such as oil. The gap has largely been covered through foreign assistance inflows.

DEFENSE

The Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF) numbers about 200,000 personnel, which makes it one of the largest militaries in Africa. During the 1998-2000 border war with Eritrea, the ENDF mobilized strength reached approximately 350,000. Since the end of the war, some 150,000 soldiers have been demobilized. The ENDF continues a transition from its roots as a guerrilla army to an all-volunteer professional military organization with the aid of the U.S. and other countries. Training in peacekeeping operations, professional military education, military training management, counter-terrorism operations, and military medicine are among the major programs sponsored by the United States. Ethiopia now has two peacekeeping contingents in Burundi and Liberia.

FOREIGN RELATIONS

Ethiopia was relatively isolated from major movements of world politics until Italian invasions in 1895 and 1935. Since World War II, it has played an active role in world and African affairs. Ethiopia was a charter member of the United Nations and took part in UN operations in Korea in 1951 and the Congo in 1960. Former Emperor Haile Selassie was a founder of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), now known as the African Union (AU). Addis Ababa also hosts the UN Economic Commission for Africa. Ethiopia is also a member of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, a Horn of Africa regional grouping.

Although nominally a member of the Non-Aligned Movement, after the 1974 revolution, Ethiopia moved into a close relationship with the Soviet Union and its allies and supported their international policies and positions until the change of government in 1991. Today, Ethiopia has very good relations with the United States and the West, especially in responding to regional instability and supporting war on terrorism and, increasingly, through economic involvement.

Ethiopia’s relations with Eritrea remained tense and unresolved. Following a brutal 1998-2000 border war in which tens of thousands died on both sides, the two countries signed a peace agreement in December 2000. A five-member independent international commission—Eritrean Ethiopia Boundary Commission (EEBC)—issued a decision in April 2002 and follow-up observations in March 2003 delimiting the border between the two countries, but thus far the parties have not agreed to final demarcation. The United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) peacekeeping mission patrols a 25-kilometer-wide Temporary Security Zone (TSZ) within Eritrea separating the two countries; a few minor incidents of violence have occurred, all between local villagers and militia or armed opposition groups supported by the other side. Both countries insist they will not instigate fighting, but both also remain prepared for any eventuality. Regarding its neighbor Somalia, the lack of central government and factional fighting in Somalia contributes to tensions along the boundaries of the two countries. Ethiopia has recently entered into a loose tripartite (nonmilitary) cooperation with Sudan and Yemen.

U.S.-ETHIOPIA RELATIONS

U.S.-Ethiopian relations were established in 1903 and were good throughout the period prior to the Italian occupation in 1935. After World War II, these ties strengthened on the basis of a September 1951 treaty of amity and economic relations. In 1953, two agreements were signed: a mutual defense assistance agreement, under which the United States agreed to furnish military equipment and training, and an accord regularizing the operations of a U.S. communication facility at Asmara. Through fiscal year 1978, the United States provided Ethiopia with $282 million in military assistance and $366 million in economic assistance in agriculture, education, public health, and transportation. A Peace Corps program emphasized education, and U.S. Information Service educational and cultural exchanges were numerous.

After Ethiopia’s revolution, the bilateral relationship began to cool due to the Derg’s linking with international communism and U.S. revulsion at the Derg’s human rights abuses. The United States rebuffed Ethiopia’s request for increased military assistance to intensify its fight against the Eritrean secessionist movement and to repel the Somali invasion. The International Security and Development Act of 1985 prohibited all U.S. economic assistance to Ethiopia with the exception of humanitarian disaster and emergency relief. In July 1980, the U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia was recalled at the request of the Ethiopian Government, and the U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia and the Ethiopian Embassy in the United States were headed by Charges d’Affaires.

With the downfall of the Mengistu regime, U.S.-Ethiopian relations improved dramatically. Legislative restrictions on assistance to Ethiopia other than humanitarian assistance were lifted. Diplomatic relations were upgraded to the ambassadorial level in 1992. Total U.S. government assistance, including food aid, between 1991 and 2003 was $2.3 billion. During the severe drought year of FY 2003, the U.S. provided a record $553.1 million in assistance, of which $471.7 million was food aid. U.S. development assistance to Ethiopia is focused on reducing famine vulnerability, hunger, and poverty and emphasizes economic, governance, and social sector policy reforms. Some military training funds, including training in such issues as the laws of war and observance of human rights, also are provided.

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

ADDIS ABABA (E) Address: 14 Entoto Rd, Addis Ababa; Phone: (251-11) 517-4000; Fax: (251-11) 517-4888; INMARSAT Tel: 00871761258488; Workweek: Mon-Th 0745-1730, Fri 0745-1145; Website: addisababa. usembassy.gov.

AMB:Donald Yamamoto
CM OMS:Judith L. Reed
DCM:Janet E. Wilgus
DCM OMS:Judith L. Reed
POL/ECO:Kevin K. Sullivan
CON:Daniel Gershator
MGT:Kay Crawford
AFSA:Daniel Gershator
AID:Glen Anders
CDC:Dr. Tadesse Wuhib
CLO:Juliana Hightower
DAO:Donald Zedler
EEO:Bettina A. Malone
EST:Lisa Brodey
FMO:Paul R. Kenul
GSO:Jon E. Eklund
ICASS Chair:Kevin Rushing
IMO:Michael A. Reed
PAO:Anthony O. Fisher
RSO:Mike Bishop
State ICASS:Mike Bishop

Last Updated: 12/12/2006

TRAVEL

Consular Information Sheet : August 23, 2006

Country Description: The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia is a developing country in East Africa, and is comprised of nine states and two city administrations (Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa). The capital is Addis Ababa. Tourism facilities can be found in the most populous regions of Ethiopia, but infrastructure is basic.

National elections held in May 2005 returned the ruling EPRDF party and Prime Minister Meles Zenawi to power. Although the opposition gained a significant number of seats in Parliament, some of its leaders rejected the results and called for civil disobedience. Disturbances followed in a number of cities including Addis Ababa. Leaders of the major opposition party as well as leaders of civil society were detained and are currently standing trial. The majority of the opposition have taken their seats in Parliament and initiated dialogue with the government.

Entry/Exit Requirements: It is not advisable that U.S. citizens arrive without a visa to Ethiopia. However, U.S. citizens may obtain a one-month or three month, single-entry tourist visa or a 10-day business visa upon arrival at the international airport in Ethiopia. This service is only available at Bole International Airport, Ethiopia’s main airport in Addis Ababa. The visa fee is payable only in Ethiopian currency. Because of possible confusion or delays, travelers should obtain a valid Ethiopian visa at the nearest Ethiopian Embassy prior to arrival, and must do so if entering across any land port of entry. Both visas can be extended by applying at the Main Immigration Office in Addis Ababa. If your entry visa has expired, you must obtain an extension by the time of departure. Ethiopia charges a departure tax of U.S.$20 that is now automatically added to airline ticket fare.

Household electronic devices, including DVD players, cameras, cell phones and computer printers, must be declared. Laptop computers must be declared both upon arrival and departure. Tape recorders require special customs permits. Foreign currency must also be declared on arrival and departure. Prior to travel, individuals intending prolonged stays should direct their questions to the Ethiopian Embassy, 3506 International Dr., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008; telephone (202) 364-1200; fax (202) 587-0195. Inquiries overseas may be made at the nearest Ethiopian embassy or consulate. Visit the Embassy of Ethiopia web site at www.ethiopianembassy.org for the most current visa information.

Safety and Security: The overall countrywide situation as of June 2006 is stable. However, in the first half of 2006 there were several explosions in the capital city of Addis Ababa and the provincial capital Jijiga. Five deaths and dozens of injuries were reported in Addis Ababa, and injuries were also reported in Jijiga. Injuries and deaths due to civil unrest and explosions were also reported in the western Oromiya region in late 2005 and early 2006. Following the May 2005 elections, civil disobedience led to widespread unrest with injuries and deaths of Ethiopian citizens in June and November 2005.

Ethiopia and Eritrea signed a peace agreement in December 2000 that ended the border war. American citizens should exercise caution if they travel to areas off the principal roads along the Eritrean/Ethiopian border (within 50 km/30 miles of the Ethiopian/Eritrean border) because of the possibility of land mines. There is a UN peacekeeping mission in the border area.

Since the mid-1990’s, the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) and government forces have clashed around Harar and in the Somali regional state, particularly in the Ogaden region. Cross-border travel by road from Ethiopia into Somalia is not advised. Somali groups affiliated with terrorist organizations may occasionally operate within the Somali, Oromiya, and Afar regions. The U.S. Embassy restricts travel of Embassy personnel to the Somali Region (Ogaden) to a case-by-case basis, and discourages travel to the Somali region if unrelated to humanitarian objectives.

Sporadic inter-ethnic clashes remain a concern throughout the Gambella region of western Ethiopia following outbursts of violence there in December 2003 and January 2004. There is an increased military and police presence in Gambella town. While the security situation in Gambella town is calm, it remains unpredictable throughout the rest of the region, and violence could recur without warning. Travel to this region is discouraged.

Travel in Ethiopia via rail is discouraged due to episodes of derailment, sabotage, and bombings in February 2003. In southern Ethiopia along the Kenyan border, banditry and incidents involving ethnic conflicts are also common. Travelers should exercise caution when traveling to any remote area of the country, including the borders with Eritrea, Somalia, Kenya and Sudan. Ethiopian security forces do not have a widespread presence in those regions.

Travelers should maintain security awareness at all times and avoid large crowds and demonstrations.

For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department’s Internet web site where the current Travel Warnings and Public Announcements, including the Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, can be found. Up-to-date information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S., or for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll-line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

Crime: Pick-pocketing, “snatch and run,” and other petty crimes are common in Addis Ababa. Travelers should exercise caution in crowded areas such as the Mercato, Africa’s largest open-air market. Visitors should limit the amount of cash they carry and leave valuables, such as passports, jewelry, and airline tickets in a hotel safe or other secure place. Keep wallets and other valuables where they will be less susceptible to pick-pockets.

Travelers should be cautious at all times when traveling on roads in Ethiopia. There have been reports of highway robbery, including carjacking, by armed bandits outside urban areas. Some incidents have been accompanied by violence. Travelers are cautioned to limit road travel outside major towns or cities to daylight hours and travel in convoys, if possible.

Information for Victims of Crime: The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed.

Medical Facilities and Other Health Information: Health facilities are limited in Addis Ababa and completely inadequate outside the capital. Although physicians are generally well trained, even the best hospitals in Addis Ababa suffer from inadequate facilities, antiquated equipment, and shortages of supplies (particularly medicines). Emergency assistance is limited. Travelers must carry their own supplies of prescription drugs and preventive medicines, as well as a doctor’s note describing the medication. If the quantity of drugs exceeds that which would be expected for personal use, a permit from the Ministry of Health is required.

Malaria is prevalent in Ethiopia outside of the highland areas. Travelers who become ill with a fever or flu-like illness while traveling in a malaria-risk area and up to one year after returning home should seek prompt medical attention and explain to the health care provider their travel history and which antimalarials they have been taking. For additional information on malaria, protection from insect bites, and antimalarial drugs, please visit the CDC Travelers’ Health website at http://www.cdc.gov/travel/malinfo.htm.

Ethiopia is a mountainous country and the high altitude may cause health problems even for healthy travelers. Addis Ababa is located at an altitude of 8,300 feet. Individuals may experience shortness of breath, fatigue, nausea, headaches, and inability to sleep.

Travelers to Ethiopia should also avoid swimming in any lakes, rivers, or still bodies of water. Most bodies of water have been found to contain parasites. Travelers should be aware that Ethiopia has a high prevalence of HIV/AIDS. Ethiopia has had outbreaks of acute watery diarrhea, possible cholera, typhoid, or other bacterial diarrhea in the recent past, and the conditions for reoccurrences continue to exist. Further information on prevention and treatment of cholera and other diarrheal diseases can be found at the CDC website: www.cdc.gov/travel/diseases.htm. Ethiopian authorities are monitoring the possibility of avian influenza following the deaths of poultry and birds; preliminary results are negative. For additional information on avian flu please visit the CDC website at http://www.cdc.gov/flu/avian/.

Medical Insurance: The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation.

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Ethiopia is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

While travel on both paved and unpaved roads is generally considered safe, land mines and other anti-personnel devices can be encountered on isolated dirt roads that were targeted during various conflicts. Before undertaking any off-road travel, it is advisable to inquire of local authorities to ensure that the area has been cleared of mines. Excessive speed, unpredictable local driving habits, pedestrians and livestock in the roadway, and the lack of basic safety equipment on many vehicles are daily hazards on Ethiopian roads. In addition, road travel after dark outside Addis Ababa and other cities is dangerous and discouraged due to broken-down vehicles left on the roads, pedestrians using the roads, stray animals, and the possibility of armed robbery. Road lighting in cities is inadequate at best and nonexistent outside of cities.

Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Ethiopia as being in compliance with ICAO international aviation safety standards for oversight of Ethiopia’s air carrier operations. For more information, travelers may visit the FAA’s Internet web site at http://www.faa.gov.

The Ethiopian government has closed air routes near the border with Eritrea and has referred to the airspace as a “no-fly zone.” The FAA currently prohibits U.S. aircraft and U.S. pilots from flying in Ethiopian airspace north of 12 degrees north latitude, the area along the country’s northern border with Eritrea. For complete information on this flight prohibition, travelers may visit the FAA’s website at www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/index.cfm.

Special Circumstances: Ethiopia does not recognize dual nationality. The government of Ethiopia considers Ethiopians who have become naturalized U.S. citizens to be Americans. Such individuals are not subject to Ethiopian military service. The Ethiopian government has stated that Ethiopian-Americans are given in almost all cases the same opportunity to invest in Ethiopia as Ethiopians. Although several years ago the government of Ethiopia arrested people of Eritrean origin who initially failed to disclose their U.S. citizenship, this has not occurred in recent years. Ethiopian officials have recently stated that Eritrean-Americans are treated as U.S. citizens and are not subject to arrest simply because of their ties to Eritrea.

Permits are required before either antiques or animal skins can be exported from Ethiopia. Antique religious artifacts, including “Ethiopian” crosses, require documentation from the National Museum in Addis Ababa for export.

Visitors must declare foreign currency upon arrival and may be required to present this declaration when applying for an exit visa or exchanging currency. Official and black market exchange rates are nearly the same. Foreign currency should be exchanged in authorized banks, hotels and other outlets and proper receipts should be obtained for the transactions. Exchange receipts are required to convert unused Ethiopian currency back to the original foreign currency. Penalties for exchanging money on the black market range from fines to imprisonment. Credit cards are not accepted at most hotels, restaurants, shops, or other local facilities, although they are accepted at the Hilton and Sheraton Hotels in Addis Ababa. Some hotels and car rental companies, particularly in Addis Ababa, may require foreigners to pay in foreign currency or show a receipt for the source of foreign exchange if paying in local currency. However, many hotels or establishments are not permitted to accept foreign currency or may be reluctant to do so. Ethiopian institutions have on occasion refused to accept 1996 series U.S. currency, though official policy is that such currency should be treated as legal tender.

Ethiopian law strictly prohibits the photographing of military installations, police/military personnel, industrial facilities, government buildings, and infrastructure (roads, bridges, dams, airfields, etc.). Such sites are rarely marked clearly. Travel guides, police, and Ethiopian officials can advise if a particular site may be photographed. Photographing prohibited sites may result in the confiscation of film and camera.

There is a risk of earthquakes in Ethiopia. Buildings may collapse due to strong tremors. General information about natural disaster preparedness is available via the Internet from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at http://www.fema.gov/.

Criminal Penalties: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country’s laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Ethiopian laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Ethiopia are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States.

Children’s Issues: For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, see the Office of Children’s Issues website at http://travel.state.gov/family/family_1732.html.

Registration/Embassy Location: Americans living or traveling in Ethiopia are encouraged to register with the U.S. Embassy through the State Department’s travel registration website and to obtain updated information on travel and security within Ethiopia. Americans without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in case of emergency.

The U.S. Embassy is located at Entoto Avenue, P.O. Box 1014, in Addis Ababa, telephone: 251-11-124-2424; emergency after-hours telephone: 251-11-124-2400; consular fax: 251-11-124-2435; website: http://addisababa.usembassy.gov/.

International Adoption : October 2006

The information below has been edited from a report of the State Department Bureau of Consular Affairs, Office of Overseas Citizens Services. For more information, please read the International Adoption section of this book and review current reports online at www.travel.state.gov/family.

Disclaimer: The information in this flyer relating to the legal requirements of specific foreign countries is based on public sources and current understanding. Questions involving foreign and U.S. immigration laws and legal interpretation should be addressed respectively to qualified foreign or U.S. legal counsel.

Please Note: There are several U.S.-based adoption agencies authorized by the Government of Ethiopia to provide adoption services, and several others pending accreditation. Ethiopia requires post placement reports on Ethiopian orphans at 3 months, 6 months, and one year after the adoption. Yearly reports until the child turns 18 are also required.

Patterns of Immigration: Please review current reports online at www.travel.state.gov/family.

Adoption Authority: The government office responsible for adoptions in Ethiopia is the Adoption Team in the Children and Youth Affairs Office (CYAO), which is under the Ministry of Women’s Affairs (MOWA). The head of the Adoption Team can be reached at (251)-11-416-6362 or Fax: 251 11 416 6362 to request information about approved orphanages caring for children in need of permanent family placements through international adoption.

Eligibility Requirements for Adoptive Parents: The Ethiopian government prefers to place children with married couples who have been married for at least five years. In general, single persons under age 25 may not adopt, nor may openly gay or lesbian individuals or couples. However, the Ethiopian government has occasionally approved cases involving persons in all of these categories.

There is no statutory maximum age limit on the adoptive parent. However, Ethiopian practice is to limit the age of the parent to no more than 40 years greater than that of the adopted child.

Residency Requirements: There are no residency requirements for prospective adoptive parents.

Time Frame: Adoption agencies will advise adoptive parents approximately how long an adoption can take. Recent adoptions have taken between 6 and 24 months.

Once the Ethiopian adoption process has been completed, it normally takes about an hour to apply for an immigrant visa for an adopted child for families working through approved adoption agencies. Approved visas are typically picked up by the agencies the following morning. It may take months for private adopters, depending on the completeness of the application and the need for follow-up investigations.

Adoption Agencies and Attorneys: The U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa confirms that there are several American adoption agencies known to have bona fide licenses to facilitate international adoptions from Ethiopia to the United States. The Department of State is aware that there are American and foreign adoption agencies and individuals, located in both countries, who claim they can assist with adoptions in Ethiopia. Few orphanages are licensed to care for children in need of a permanent family placement through international adoption.

MOWA has a list of adoption agencies authorized to provide adoption services. Please see the International Adoption section of this book for more details and review current reports online at www.travel.state.gov/family.

Private Adoptions: Private adoptions are permitted in Ethiopia, but discouraged by MOWA because they take place under local adoption rules and may bypass the process and protections put in place by the Government of Ethiopia relating to international adoption.

The procedures for an intercountry adoption are different from those for a local adoption. International adoption rules in Ethiopia require U.S. citizens to work with Ethiopia’s Children and Youth Affairs Office (CYAO) in Addis Ababa, which is under the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (MOWA), to effect an intercountry adoption. Americans who enter into private adoptions that bypass the CYAO, or that follow local rather than international adoption procedures, will not be able to take the child out of Ethiopia, and will not be able to obtain a U.S. immigrant visa for the child. An exception to this is Ethiopian-Americans who adopt orphaned blood relatives. They are permitted to adopt using local adoption procedures, but when applying for the child’s immigrant visa will have to provide additional and convincing supporting documentation to prove orphan status due to the death or disappearance of, abandonment or desertion by, or separation or loss from, both parents. If the sole or surviving parent is incapable of providing the proper care the parent must have, in writing, irrevocably released the child for emigration and adoption.

Adoption Fees: Adoptive parents can expect to pay fees for authentication of U.S. documents for use abroad and for translation fees. All English-language documents submitted to the Ethiopian court must be accompanied by a translation in Amharic. The U.S. Embassy understands that translation services run about $1 per page, but check with your adoption agency for up to date information on translation costs.

MOWA and the police charge no fees for services creating dossiers on the parents and the child, investigating whether the child is a bona fide orphan, meeting in committee to review the case, and making their recommendations to the court.

Courts charge no fees for services in accepting adoption petitions, making judgments, and issuing decrees.

MOWA often asks for a letter from the U.S. Embassy supporting the parents’ desire to adopt. If the Embassy has received the petition approval from USCIS, a letter can be issued supporting the adoption. This service is free. If additional documents are required by MOWA, the agency/parents can submit certified copies. Cost for certification by the U.S. Embassy is $30 per grommeted package, or single document.

The issuance of a local birth certificate costs about $2; for expeditious or same day service, add about $5. To have a birth certificate or other document authenticated at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs it costs about $16 for Ethiopian parents, about $35 for foreign parents. Ethiopian Passport issuance is about $35.

Orphanages run by religious organizations, and the large government run orphanages, charge nothing for their services to prepare and sign adoption contracts. The Department does not know what the licensed adoption agencies charge to process an Ethiopian adoption.

Adoption Procedures:

Step One—Prospective adoptive parents must take or send all of the required documents, already certified and authenticated, to the Ethiopian Embassy in Washington, D.C. for additional authentication. Once the Embassy has completed its authentication, the completed packet is returned to the adoptive parents. Then the prospective adoptive parents forward the documents to:

Ministry Of Women’s
Affairs (MOWA)
Children and Youth Affairs Office,
Adoption Team (CYAO)
P.O. Box 1293
Addis Ababa
Ethiopia

Step Two—The parents’ dossier is taken to the Claims and Authentication Section of the Protocol Office at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Ethiopia to be authenticated.

Step Three—The parents’ dossier is returned to CYAO. At this point, for private adoptions only, MOWA usually asks the U.S. Embassy to provide a letter of support for the adoptive parents.

Step Four—CYAO submits the parents’ dossier to the Adoption Committee for review and approval to adopt.

Step Five—Once the Committee has approved the parents’ dossier, a child is selected and referred to the prospective parents to adopt, according to the parents’ preferences for age and sex. Once a referral is made, the prospective adoptive parent may accept or refuse the referral.

Step Six—Upon acceptance of the referral, a Contract of Adoption is signed between the child’s legal guardian and the adoptive parent(s), or the agency representative.

Step Seven—CYAO opens a file at the Federal First Instance Court to apply for an appointment date for the adoption hearing.

Step Eight—A notice seeking any other claimants to the child is published in the local press stating the child’s name and the name of the adopting parents. Anyone opposed to the adoption is requested to appear at MOWA by a certain date and time.

Step Nine—When the appointed court date arrives, the prospective parents or their agency’s local representative will be asked to appear in court.

Step Ten—After the adoption is complete, MOWA prepares a request to the city of Addis Ababa for the issuance of a new birth certificate, and a request to the Office of Security, Immigration and Refugee Affairs for an Ethiopian passport for the child in its new name.

Step Eleven—The court decree must be translated into English.

Documentary Requirements: Prospective Adoptive Parents must provide the following to MOWA:

  • A written statement from the adoptive parents explaining why an Ethiopian child is preferred, with an original translation into Amharic.
  • Original birth certificate(s) of the prospective adoptive parent (s), each with an original translation into Amharic.
  • Original marriage license/certificate, if applicable, with an original translation into Amharic.
  • An original Ethiopian police clearance for each of the adoptive parents (including those residing in Ethiopia).
  • A medical certificate/clearance for each of the adoptive parents, with an original translation into Amharic.
  • The original home study prepared by a qualified social worker, which specifies the following: personal and family status; character and personal qualities; educational background; duration and stability of marriage; financial and medical situations; present address and U.S. address; condition of home in country of residence; address and names of family of origin (i.e., parents; and the agency’s recommendation regarding your suitability as an adoptive parent with an original translation into Amharic.).
  • Evidence of economic status, which must include a letter from employer showing salary, date of employment, position in the organization and a bank statement. Proof of life and health insurance, other proof of income or assets may also be submitted. Each document must be accompanied by an original translation into Amharic.
  • Three letters of reference from friends, relatives, church or other sources qualified to assess your character, the stability of your marriage, and your ability to parent, with original translations into Amharic.
  • Two passport-size photographs of the prospective adoptive parent(s).

Please see the International Adoption section of this book for more details and review current reports online at travel.state.gov/family.

Embassy in the United States:
3506 International Drive, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20008
Phone: 202-364-1200
Fax: 202-587-0195
[email protected]
http://www.ethiopianembassy.org/contact.shtml.

U.S. Immigration Requirements: Prospective adoptive parents are strongly encouraged to consult USCIS publication M-249, The Immigration of Adopted and Prospective Adopted Children, as well as the Department of State publication, International Adoptions. Please see the International Adoption section of this book for more details and review current reports online at travel.state.gov/family.

U.S. Embassy:
American Embassy
Entoto Road
Addis Ababa

The Consular Section’s telephone number is (251-11) 124-24-24. The fax number is (251-11) 124-35-35. The email address is [email protected] American citizens can walk in from 8:00 a.m.–11:30 a.m., Monday through Friday and 1:00 pm –4:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

Additional Information: Specific questions about adoption in [this country] may be addressed to the U.S. Embassy in [this country]. General questions regarding international adoption may be addressed to the Office of Children’s Issues, U.S. Department of State, CA/OCS/CI, SA-29, 4th Floor, 2201 C Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20520-4818, toll-free Tel: 1-888-407-4747.

views updated

ETHIOPIA

Compiled from the January 2006 Background Note and supplemented withadditional information from the State Department and the editors of thisvolume. See the introduction to this set for explanatory notes.

Official Name:
Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia


PROFILE

Geography

Area:

1.1 million sq. km (472,000 sq. mi.); about the size of Texas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico combined.

Cities:

Capital—Addis Ababa (pop. 2.6 million). Other cities—Dire Dawa (237,000), Nazret (189,000), Gondar (163,000), Dessie (142,000), Mekelle (141,000), Bahir Dar (140,000), Jimma (132,000), Awassa (104,000).

Terrain:

High plateau, mountains, dry lowland plains.

Climate:

Temperate in the highlands; hot in the lowlands.

People

Nationality:

Noun and adjective—Ethiopian(s).

Population (2003 est.):

70.5 million.

Annual growth rate:

2.7%.

Ethnic groups (est.):

Oromo 35%, Amhara 30%, Tigre 6.3%, Somali 6%, Sidama 6%, Gurage 4%, Wolaita 4%, Afar 2%, other nationalities 6.7%.

Religions (est.):

Ethiopian Orthodox Christian 45%, Sunni Muslim 40-45%, Protestant 5%, remainder indigenous beliefs.

Language:

Amharic (official), Tigrinya, Arabic, Guaragigna, Oromigna, English, Somali.

Education:

Years compulsory—none. Attendance (elementary) 57%. Literacy—35%.

Health:

Infant mortality rate—97/1,000 live births.

Work force:

Agriculture—80%. Industry and commerce—20%.

Government

Type:

Federal Republic.

Constitution:

Ratified 1994.

Branches:

Executive—president, Council of State, Council of Ministers. Executive power resides with the prime minister. Legislative—bicameral parliament. Judicial—divided into Federal and Regional Courts.

Administrative subdivisions:

9 regions and 2 special city administrations: Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa.

Political parties:

Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), the Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD), the United Ethiopian Democratic Forces (UEDF), and other small parties.

Suffrage:

Universal starting at age 18.

Central government budget (2004): $2.4 billion.

Defense:

$348 million (5.6% of GDP FY 2003).

National holiday:

May 28.

Economy

Real GDP (2004):

$8.1 billion.

Annual growth rate (2004):

11.6%.

Per capita income (2004):

$116.

Average inflation rate (2004):

7%.

Natural resources:

Potash, salt, gold, copper, platinum, natural gas (unexploited).

Agriculture (47% of GDP):

Products—coffee, cereals, pulses, oilseeds, khat, meat, hides and skins. Cultivated land—17%.

Industry (12% of GDP):

Types—textiles, processed foods, construction, cement, and hydroelectric power.

Trade (2004):

Exports—$563 million. Imports—$2.1 billion; plus remittances—official est. $400 million; unofficial est. $400 million.

Fiscal year:

July 8-July 7.


GEOGRAPHY

Ethiopia is located in the Horn of Africa and is bordered on the north and northeast by Eritrea, on the east by Djibouti and Somalia, on the south by Kenya, and on the west and southwest by Sudan. The country has a high central plateau that varies from 1,800 to 3,000 meters (6,000 ft.-10,000 ft.) above sea level, with some mountains reaching 4,620 meters (15,158 ft.). Elevation is generally highest just before the point of descent to the Great Rift Valley, which splits the plateau diagonally. A number of rivers cross the plateau—notably the Blue Nile flowing from Lake Tana. The plateau gradually slopes to the lowlands of the Sudan on the west and the Somali-inhabited plains to the southeast.

The climate is temperate on the plateau and hot in the lowlands. At Addis Ababa, which ranges from 2,200 to 2,600 meters (7,000 ft.-8,500 ft.), maximum temperature is 26ºC (80ºF) and minimum 4ºC (40ºF). The weather is usually sunny and dry with the short (belg) rains occurring February-April and the big (meher) rains beginning in mid-June and ending in mid-September.


PEOPLE

Ethiopia's population is highly diverse. Most of its people speak a Semitic or Cushitic language. The Oromo, Amhara, and Tigreans make up more than three-fourths of the population, but there are more than 77 different ethnic groups with their own distinct languages within Ethiopia. Some of these have as few as 10,000 members. In general, most of the Christians live in the highlands, while Muslims and adherents of traditional African religions tend to inhabit lowland regions. English is the most widely spoken foreign language and is taught in all secondary schools. Amharic is the official language and was the language of primary school instruction but has been replaced in many areas by local languages such as Oromifa and Tigrinya.


HISTORY

Ethiopia is credited with being the origin of mankind. Bones discovered in eastern Ethiopia date back 3.2 million years. Ethiopia is the oldest independent country in Africa and one of the oldest in the world. Herodotus, the Greek historian of the fifth century B.C. describes ancient Ethiopia in his writings. The Old Testament of the Bible records the Queen of Sheba's visit to Jerusalem. According to legend, Menelik I, the son of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, founded the Ethiopian Empire. Missionaries from Egypt and Syria introduced Christianity in the fourth century A.D. Following the rise of Islam in the seventh century, Ethiopia was gradually cut off from European Christendom. The Portuguese established contact with Ethiopia in 1493, primarily to strengthen their influence over the Indian Ocean and to convert Ethiopia to Roman Catholicism. There followed a century of conflict between pro- and anti-Catholic factions, resulting in the expulsion of all foreign missionaries in the 1630s. This period of bitter religious conflict contributed to hostility toward foreign Christians and Europeans, which persisted into the 20th century and was a factor in Ethiopia's isolation until the mid-19th century.

Under the Emperors Theodore II (1855-68), Johannes IV (1872-89), and Menelik II (1889-1913), the kingdom was consolidated and began to emerge from its medieval isolation. When Menelik II died, his grandson, Lij Iyassu, succeeded to the throne but soon lost support because of his Muslim ties. The Christian nobility deposed him in 1916, and Menelik's daughter, Zewditu, was made empress. Her cousin, Ras Tafari Makonnen (1892-1975), was made regent and successor to the throne. In 1930, after the empress died, the regent, adopting the throne name Haile Selassie, was crowned emperor. His reign was interrupted in 1936 when Italian Fascist forces invaded and occupied Ethiopia. The emperor was forced into exile in England despite his plea to the League of Nations for intervention. Five years later, British and Ethiopian forces defeated the Italians, and the emperor returned to the throne.

After a period of civil unrest, which began in February 1974, the aging Haile Selassie I was deposed on September 12, 1974, and a provisional administrative council of soldiers, known as the Derg ("committee") seized power from the emperor and installed a government, which was socialist in name and military in style. The Derg summarily executed 59 members of the royal family and ministers and generals of the emperor's government; Emperor Haile Selassie was strangled in the basement of his palace on August 22, 1975.

Lt. Col. Mengistu Haile Mariam assumed power as head of state and Derg chairman, after having his two predecessors killed. Mengistu's years in office were marked by a totalitarian-style government and the country's massive militarization, financed by the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc, and assisted by Cuba. From 1977 through early 1978 thousands of suspected enemies of the Derg were tortured and/or killed in a purge called the "red terror." Communism was officially adopted during the late 1970s and early 1980s with the promulgation of a Soviet-style constitution, Politburo, and the creation of the Workers' Party of Ethiopia (WPE).

In December 1976, an Ethiopian delegation in Moscow signed a military assistance agreement with the Soviet Union. The following April, Ethiopia abrogated its military assistance agreement with the United States and expelled the American military missions. In July 1977, sensing the disarray in Ethiopia, Somalia attacked across the Ogaden Desert in pursuit of its irredentist claims to the ethnic Somali areas of Ethiopia. Ethiopian forces were driven back deep inside their own frontier but, with the assistance of a massive Soviet airlift of arms and Cuban combat forces, they stemmed the attack. The major Somali regular units were forced out of the Ogaden in March 1978. Twenty years later, development in the Somali region of Ethiopia lagged.

The Derg's collapse was hastened by droughts and famine, as well as by insurrections, particularly in the northern regions of Tigray and Eritrea. In 1989, the Tigrayan People's Liberation Front (TPLF) merged with other ethnically based opposition movements to form the Ethiopian Peoples' Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF). In May 1991, EPRDF forces advanced on Addis Ababa. Mengistu fled the country for asylum in Zimbabwe, where he still resides.

In July 1991, the EPRDF, the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), and others established the Transitional Government of Ethiopia (TGE) which was comprised of an 87-member Council of Representatives and guided by a national charter that functioned as a transitional constitution. In June 1992 the OLF withdrew from the government; in March 1993, members of the Southern Ethiopia Peoples' Democratic Coalition left the government.

In May 1991, the Eritrean People's Liberation Front (EPLF), led by Isaias Afwerki, assumed control of Eritrea and established a provisional government. This provisional government independently administered Eritrea until April 23-25, 1993, when Eritreans voted overwhelmingly for independence in a UN-monitored free and fair referendum. Eritrea was with Ethiopia's consent declared independent on April 27, and the United States recognized its independence on April 28, 1993.

In Ethiopia, President Meles Zenawi and members of the TGE pledged to oversee the formation of a multi-party democracy. The election for a 547-member constituent assembly was held in June 1994, and this assembly adopted the constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia in December 1994. The elections for Ethiopia's first popularly chosen national parliament and regional legislatures were held in May and June 1995. Most opposition parties chose to boycott these elections, ensuring a landslide victory for the EPRDF. International and nongovernmental observers concluded that opposition parties would have been able to participate had they chosen to do so. The Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia was installed in August 1995.


GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS

Ethiopia is a federal republic under the 1994 constitution. The executive branch includes a president, Council of State, and Council of Ministers. Executive power resides with the prime minister. There is a bicameral parliament; national legislative elections were held in 2005. The judicial branch comprises federal and regional courts.

Political parties include the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), the Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD), the United Ethiopian Democratic Forces (UEDF), and other small parties. Suffrage is universal at age 18.

In 2003, Ethiopia continued its transition from a unitary to a federal system of government. The EPRDF-led government of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi has promoted a policy of ethnic federalism, devolving significant powers to regional, ethnically based authorities. Ethiopia today has 9 semi-autonomous administrative regions and two special city administrations (Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa), which have the power to raise their own revenues. Under the present government, Ethiopians enjoy wider, albeit circumscribed, political freedom than ever before in Ethiopia's history.

Principal Government Officials

Last Updated: 10/14/2005

President: GIRMA Woldegiorgis
Prime Minister: MELES Zenawi
Dep. Prime Min.: ADDISU Legesse
Dep. Prime Min.: KASSU Ilala
Min. of Agriculture & Rural Development: ADDISU Legesse
Vice Min. of Agriculture & Rural Development: BELAY Ejigu
Vice Min. of Agriculture & Rural Development: GETACHEW Teklemedhin
Vice Min. of Agriculture & Rural Development: TEKALIGN Mamo
Min. of Cabinet Affairs: BERHANU Adelo
Min. of Capacity Building: TEFERA Walwa
Min. of Culture & Tourism: MOHAMOUD Dirir
Min. of Defense: KUMA Demeksa
Min. of Education: SNTAYEHU Weldemikael
Min. of Energy & Mines: ALEMAYEHU Tegenu
Min. of Federal Affairs: SIRAJ Fegisa
Min. of Finance & Economic Development: SUFIAN Ahmed
Min. of Foreign Affairs: SEYOUM Mesfin
Min. of Health: TEWODROS Adhanom
Min. of Information: BERHAN Hailu Min. of Justice: ASEFA Kesito
Min. of Labor & Social Affairs: HASSAN Abdella
Min. of Revenue Collection: MELAKU Fenta
Min. of Trade & Industry: GIRMA Birru
Min. of Transport & Communications: JUNEDIN Sado
Min. of Water Resources: ASFAW Dingamo
Min. of Women's Affairs: HIRUT Dilebo
Min. of Works & Urban Development: KASSU Ilala
Min. of Youth & Sports: ASTER Mamo
Governor, National Bank: TEKLEWOLD Atnafu
Ambassador to the US: KASSAHUN Ayele
Charge d'Affaires to the UN, New York: TERUNEH Zenna

Ethiopia maintains an embassy in the U.S. at 3506 International Drive, NW, Washington, DC 20008 (tel. 202-364-1200) headed by Ambassador Kassahun Ayele. It also maintains a UN mission in New York and consulates in Los Angeles, Seattle (honorary), and Houston (honorary).


ECONOMY

The current government has embarked on a cautious program of economic reform, including privatization of state enterprises and rationalization of government regulation. While the process is still ongoing, so far the reforms have attracted only meager foreign investment.

The Ethiopian economy is based on agriculture, which contributes 47% to GNP and more than 80% of exports, and employs 85% of the population. The major agricultural export crop is coffee, providing 35% of Ethiopia's foreign exchange earnings, down from 65% a decade ago because of the slump in coffee prices since the mid-1990s. Other traditional major agricultural exports are hides and skins, pulses, oilseeds, and the traditional "khat," a leafy shrub that has psycho-tropic qualities when chewed. Sugar and gold production has also become important in recent years.

Ethiopia's agriculture is plagued by periodic drought, soil degradation caused by inappropriate agricultural practices and overgrazing, deforestation, high population density, undeveloped water resources, and poor transport infrastructure, making it difficult and expensive to get goods to market. Yet agriculture is the country's most promising resource. Potential exists for self-sufficiency in grains and for export development in livestock, flowers, grains, oilseeds, sugar, vegetables, and fruits.

Gold, marble, limestone, and small amounts of tantalum are mined in Ethiopia. Other resources with potential for commercial development include large potash deposits, natural gas, iron ore, and possibly oil and geothermal energy. Although Ethiopia has good hydroelectric resources, which power most of its manufacturing sector, it is totally dependent on imports for its oil. A landlocked country, Ethiopia has relied on the port of Djibouti since the 1998-2000 border war with Eritrea. Ethiopia is connected with the port of Djibouti by road and rail for international trade. Of the 23,812 kilometers of all-weather roads in Ethiopia, 15% are asphalt. Mountainous terrain and the lack of good roads and sufficient vehicles make land transportation difficult and expensive. However, the government-owned airline's reputation is excellent. Ethiopian Airlines serves 38 domestic airfields and has 42 international destinations.

Dependent on a few vulnerable crops for its foreign exchange earnings and reliant on imported oil, Ethiopia lacks sufficient foreign exchange earnings. The financially conservative government has taken measures to solve this problem, including stringent import controls and sharply reduced subsidies on retail gasoline prices. Nevertheless, the largely subsistence economy is incapable of meeting the budget requirements for drought relief, an ambitious development plan, and indispensable imports such as oil. The gap has largely been covered through foreign assistance inflows.



DEFENSE

The Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF) numbers about 200,000 personnel, which makes it one of the largest militaries in Africa. During the 1998-2000 border war with Eritrea, the ENDF mobilized strength reached approximately 350,000. Since the end of the war, some 150,000 soldiers have been demobilized. The ENDF continues a transition from its roots as a guerrilla army to an all-volunteer professional military organization with the aid of the U.S. and other countries. Training in peacekeeping operations, professional military education, military training management, counter-terrorism operations, and military medicine are among the major programs sponsored by the United States. Ethiopia now has two peacekeeping contingents in Burundi and Liberia.


FOREIGN RELATIONS

Ethiopia was relatively isolated from major movements of world politics until Italian invasions in 1895 and 1935. Since World War II, it has played an active role in world and African affairs. Ethiopia was a charter member of the United Nations and took part in UN operations in Korea in 1951 and the Congo in 1960. Former Emperor Haile Selassie was a founder of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), now known as the African Union (AU). Addis Ababa also hosts the UN Economic Commission for Africa. Ethiopia is also a member of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, a Horn of Africa regional grouping.

Although nominally a member of the Non-Aligned Movement, after the 1974 revolution, Ethiopia moved into a close relationship with the Soviet Union and its allies and supported their international policies and positions until the change of government in 1991. Today, Ethiopia has very good relations with the United States and the West, especially in responding to regional instability and supporting war on terrorism and, increasingly, through economic involvement.

Ethiopia's relations with Eritrea remained tense and unresolved. Following a brutal 1998-2000 border war in which tens of thousands died on both sides, the two countries signed a peace agreement in December 2000. A five-member independent international commission—Eritrean Ethiopia Boundary Commission (EEBC)—issued a decision in April 2002 and follow-up observations in March 2003 delimiting the border between the two countries, but thus far the parties have not agreed to final demarcation.

The United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) peacekeeping mission patrols a 25-kilometer-wide Temporary Security Zone (TSZ) within Eritrea separating the two countries; a few minor incidents of violence have occurred, all between local villagers and militia or armed opposition groups supported by the other side. Both countries insist they will not instigate fighting, but both also remain prepared for any eventuality. Regarding its neighbor Somalia, the lack of central government and factional fighting in Somalia contributes to tensions along the boundaries of the two countries. Ethiopia has recently entered into a loose tripartite (nonmilitary) cooperation with Sudan and Yemen.


U.S.-ETHIOPIA RELATIONS

U.S.-Ethiopian relations were established in 1903 and were good throughout the period prior to the Italian occupation in 1935. After World War II, these ties strengthened on the basis of a September 1951 treaty of amity and economic relations. In 1953, two agreements were signed: a mutual defense assistance agreement, under which the United States agreed to furnish military equipment and training, and an accord regularizing the operations of a U.S. communication facility at Asmara. Through fiscal year 1978, the United States provided Ethiopia with $282 million in military assistance and $366 million in economic assistance in agriculture, education, public health, and transportation. A Peace Corps program emphasized education, and U.S. Information Service educational and cultural exchanges were numerous.

After Ethiopia's revolution, the bilateral relationship began to cool due to the Derg's linking with international communism and U.S. revulsion at the Derg's human rights abuses. The United States rebuffed Ethiopia's request for increased military assistance to intensify its fight against the Eritrean secessionist movement and to repel the Somali invasion. The International Security and Development Act of 1985 prohibited all U.S. economic assistance to Ethiopia with the exception of humanitarian disaster and emergency relief. In July 1980, the U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia was recalled at the request of the Ethiopian Government, and the U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia and the Ethiopian Embassy in the United States were headed by Charges d'Affaires.

With the downfall of the Mengistu regime, U.S.-Ethiopian relations improved dramatically. Legislative restrictions on assistance to Ethiopia other than humanitarian assistance were lifted. Diplomatic relations were upgraded to the ambassadorial level in 1992. Total U.S. government assistance, including food aid, between 1991 and 2003 was $2.3 billion. During the severe drought year of FY 2003, the U.S. provided a record $553.1 million in assistance, of which $471.7 million was food aid. U.S. development assistance to Ethiopia is focused on reducing famine vulnerability, hunger, and poverty and emphasizes economic, governance, and social sector policy reforms. Some military training funds, including training in such issues as the laws of war and observance of human rights, also are provided.

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

ADDIS ABABA (E) Address: 14 Entoto Rd, Addis Ababa; Phone: (251-11) 517-4000; Fax: (251-11) 517-4888; INMARSAT Tel: 00871761258488; Workweek: Mon-Th 0745-1730, Fri 0745-1145; Website: addisababa. usembassy.gov

AMB OMS:vacant
CM:Vicki J. Huddleston
DCM:Janet Wilgus
DCM OMS:Judith L. Reed
POL/ECO:Kevin K. Sullivan
COM:Elizabeth E. Jaffee
CON:Daniel Gershator
MGT:Brian R. Moran
AFSA:Daniel K. Balzer
AID:William Hammink
CLO:Chris O'Connell
DAO:Richard Orth
EST:Daniel K. Balzer
FMO:Paul Kenul
GSO:Jon Eklund
ICASSChair:R. Douglass Arbuckle
IMO:Michael A. Reed
PAO:Anthony O. Fisher
RSO:Daniel Becker
Last Updated: 1/4/2006

TRAVEL

Consular Information Sheet

October 14, 2005

Country Description:

The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia is a developing country in East Africa, and is comprised of nine states and two city administrations (Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa). The capital is Addis Ababa. Tourism facilities can be found in the most populous regions of Ethiopia, but are basic.

A border dispute between Ethiopia and neighboring Eritrea erupted in May 1998 and escalated into full-scale conflict that continued until a cease-fire was reached in June 2000. In December 2000, a peace agreement was signed between the two countries to delimit and demarcate the border. The peace process is still ongoing, and the border between Ethiopia and Eritrea remains undemarcated.

Ethiopia held national elections on May 15, 2005. Disputes over the results of those elections have increased political tensions in the country.

Entry/Exit Requirements:

U.S. citizens may obtain a one-month tourist visa or a 10-day business visa upon arrival in Ethiopia. This service is only available at Bole International Airport, Ethiopia's main airport in Addis Ababa. The visa fee is payable only in Ethiopian currency. However, because of possible confusion or delays, travelers should obtain a valid Ethiopian visa at the nearest Ethiopian Embassy prior to arrival whenever possible. Both visas can be extended by applying at the Main Immigration Office in Addis Ababa. If your entry visa has expired, you must obtain an extension by the time of departure. Ethiopia charges a departure tax, payable only in US dollars.

Laptop computers must be declared upon arrival and departure. Tape recorders require special customs permits. Prior to travel, individuals intending prolonged stays should direct their questions to the Ethiopian Embassy, 3506 International Dr., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008; telephone (202) 364-1200; fax (202) 587-0195; website http://www.ethiopianembassy.org. Inquiries overseas may be made at the nearest Ethiopian embassy or consulate.

Visit the Embassy of Ethiopia web site at www.ethiopianembassy.org for the most current visa information.

Safety and Security:

Although Ethiopia and Eritrea signed a peace agreement in December 2000, American citizens should exercise caution if traveling to the northern Tigray and Afar regions (within 50km/30 miles of the Ethiopian/Eritrean border) because of land mines and unsettled conditions in the border area. There is a UN peacekeeping mission in the border area, but the border with Eritrea has not yet been demarcated. U.S. citizens should stay clear of security operations and should not try to intercede with police on behalf of Eritreans or anyone else.

Since the mid-1990's, various opposition elements and government forces have clashed around Harar and in the Somali regional state, particularly near the border with Somalia. Cross-border travel by road from Ethiopia into Somalia is not advised. Somali groups affiliated with terrorist organizations may occasionally operate within the Somali, Oromiya, and Afar regions. The U.S. Embassy restricts travel of Embassy personnel to the Somali Region (Ogaden) to a case-by-case basis.

Sporadic inter-ethnic clashes remain a concern throughout the Gambella region of western Ethiopia following outbursts of violence there in December 2003 and January 2004. There is an increased military and police presence in Gambella town. While the security situation in Gambella town is calm, it remains unpredictable throughout the rest of the region, and violence could recur without warning. Travel to this region is discouraged.

Travel in Ethiopia via rail is strongly discouraged due to episodes of derailment, sabotage, and bombings as recently as February 2003.

In southern Ethiopia along the Kenyan border, banditry and incidents involving ethnic conflicts are also common. Travelers should exercise caution when traveling to any remote area of the country, including the borders with Eritrea, Somalia, Kenya and Sudan. Ethiopian security forces do not have a widespread presence in those regions.

Travelers should maintain security awareness at all times and avoid large crowds and demonstrations.

For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department's Internet web site at http://travel.state.gov where the current Travel Warnings and Public Announcements, including the Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, can be found. Up-to-date information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S., or for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll-line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

Crime:

Pick-pocketing, "snatch and run," and other petty crimes are common in Addis Ababa. Travelers should exercise caution in crowded areas such as the Mercato, Africa's largest open-air market. Visitors should limit the amount of cash they carry and leave valuables, such as passports, jewelry, and airline tickets in a hotel safe or other secure place. Keep wallets and other valuables where they will be less susceptible to pick-pockets.

Travelers should be cautious at all times when traveling on roads in Ethiopia. There have been reports of highway robberies, including carjackings, by armed bandits outside urban areas. Some incidents have been accompanied by violence. Travelers are cautioned to limit road travel outside major towns or cities to daylight hours and travel in convoys, if possible.

Information for Victims of Crime:

The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed.

Medical Facilities and Other Health Information:

Health facilities are limited in Addis Ababa and completely inadequate outside the capital. Although physicians are generally well trained, even the best hospitals in Addis Ababa suffer from inadequate facilities, antiquated equipment, and shortages of supplies (particularly medicines). Emergency assistance is limited. Travelers must carry their own supplies of prescription drugs and preventive medicines, as well as a doctor's note describing the medication. If the quantity of drugs exceeds that which would be expected for personal use, a permit from the Ministry of Health is required.

Malaria is prevalent in Ethiopia outside of Addis Ababa. Travelers who become ill with a fever or flu-like illness while traveling in a malaria-risk area and up to one year after returning home should seek prompt medical attention and explain to the health care provider their travel history and which antimalarials they have been taking. For additional information on malaria, protection from insect bites, and antimalarial drugs, please visit the CDC Travelers'' Health website at http://www.cdc.gov/travel/malinfo.htm.

Ethiopia is a mountainous country and the high altitude may cause health problems even for healthy travelers. Addis Ababa is located at an altitude of 8,300 feet. Individuals may experience shortness of breath, fatigue, nausea, headaches, and inability to sleep.

Travelers to Ethiopia should also avoid swimming in any lakes, rivers, or still bodies of water. Most bodies of water have been found to contain parasites. Finally, travelers should be aware that Ethiopia has a high prevalence of HIV/AIDS.

Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747) or via the CDC's Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World Health Organization's (WHO) web-site at http://www.who.int/en. Further health information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/ith.

Medical Insurance:

The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation.

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions:

While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Ethiopia is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

While travel on both paved and unpaved roads is generally considered safe, land mines and other anti-personnel devices can be encountered on isolated dirt roads that were targeted during various conflicts. Before undertaking any off-road travel, it is advisable to inquire of local authorities to ensure that the area has been cleared of mines. Excessive speed, unpredictable local driving habits, pedestrians and livestock in the roadway, and the lack of basic safety equipment on many vehicles are daily hazards on Ethiopian roads. In addition, road travel after dark outside Addis Ababa and other cities is dangerous and discouraged due to broken-down vehicles left on the roads, pedestrians using the roads, stray animals, and the possibility of armed robbery. Road lighting in cities is inadequate at best and nonexistent outside of cities.

Aviation Safety Oversight:

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Ethiopia as being in compliance with ICAO international aviation safety standards for oversight of Ethiopia's air carrier operations.

The Ethiopian government has closed air routes near the border with Eritrea and has referred to the airspace as a "no-fly zone." The FAA currently prohibits U.S. aircraft and U.S. pilots from flying in Ethiopian airspace north of 12 degrees north latitude, the area along the country's northern border with Eritrea. For complete information on this flight prohibition, travelers may visit the FAA's website at www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/index.cfm.

Special Circumstances:

Ethiopia does not recognize dual nationality. The government of Ethiopia considers Ethiopians who have become naturalized U.S. citizens to be Americans. Such individuals are not subject to Ethiopian military service. The Ethiopian government has stated that Ethiopian-Americans are given the same opportunity to invest in Ethiopia as Ethiopians. Although several years ago the government of Ethiopia arrested people of Eritrean origin who initially failed to disclose their U.S. citizenship, this has not occurred in recent years. Ethiopian officials have recently stated that Eritrean-Americans are treated as U.S. citizens and are not subject to arrest simply because of their ties to Eritrea.

Permits are required before either antiques or animal skins can be exported from Ethiopia. Antique religious artifacts, including "Ethiopian" crosses, require documentation from the National Museum in Addis Ababa for export.

Visitors must declare foreign currency upon arrival and may be required to present this declaration when applying for an exit visa or exchanging currency. Official and black market exchange rates are nearly the same. Foreign currency should be exchanged in authorized banks, hotels and other outlets and proper receipts should be obtained for the transactions. Penalties for exchanging money on the black market range from fines to imprisonment. Credit cards are not accepted at most hotels, restaurants, shops, or other local facilities, although they are accepted at the Hilton and Sheraton Hotels in Addis Ababa. Foreigners are generally required to pay for hotel and car rental in foreign currency.

Ethiopian law strictly prohibits the photographing of military installations, police/military personnel, industrial facilities, government buildings, and infrastructure (roads, bridges, dams, airfields, etc.). Such sites are rarely marked clearly. Travel guides, police, and Ethiopian officials can advise if a particular site may be photographed. Photographing prohibited sites may result in the confiscation of film and camera.

There is a risk of earthquakes in Ethiopia. Buildings may collapse due to strong tremors. General information about natural disaster preparedness is available via the Internet from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at http://www.fema.gov/.

Criminal Penalties:

While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Ethiopian laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Ethiopia are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. Engaging in illicit sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States.

Children's Issues:

For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, see the Office of Children's Issues website at http://www.travel.state.gov/family/family_1732.html.

Registration/Embassy Location:

Americans living or traveling in Ethiopia are encouraged to register with the U.S. Embassy through the State Department's travel registration website, https://travelregistration.state.gov, and to obtain updated information on travel and security within Ethiopia. Americans without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in case of emergency.

The U.S. Embassy is located at Entoto Avenue, P.O. Box 1014, in Addis Ababa, telephone: 251-11-124-2424; emergency after-hours telephone: 251-11-124-2400; consular fax: 251-11-124-2435; website: http://addisababa.usembassy.gov/.

International Adoption

August 2005

The information below has been edited from a report of the State Department Bureau of Consular Affairs, Office of Overseas Citizens Services. For more information, please read the International Adoption section of this book and review current reports online at www.travel.state.gov/family.

Disclaimer:

The information in this flyer relating to the legal requirements of specific foreign countries is based on public sources and our current understanding. Questions involving foreign and U.S. immigration laws and legal interpretation should be addressed respectively to qualified foreign or U.S. legal counsel.

Patterns of Immigration of Adopted Orphans to the U.S.:

Recent U.S. immigrant visa statistics reflect the following pattern for visa issuance to orphans:

Fiscal Year: Number of Immigrant Visas Issued
FY 2004: 289
FY 2003: 135
FY 2002: 105
FY 2001: 158
FY 2000: 95

Adoption Authority in Ethiopia:

The government office responsible for adoptions in Ethiopia is the Adoption Team in the Children and Youth Affairs Office (CYAO), which is under the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (MOLSA). Ato Haddush, Head of the Adoption Team, can be reached at 011-251-1-505-358. Prospective Adoptive Parents may contact Mr. Haddush to request information about approved orphanages caring for children in need of permanent family placements through international adoption.

Eligibility Requirements for Adoptive Parents:

Married couples may adopt if at least one spouse is at least twenty-five years old. Both spouses must be a party to the adoption. Ethiopian law allows a single person to adopt if that person is at least twenty-five years old. Generally, only single women are allowed to adopt. Some single American men have been allowed to adopt on a case-by-case basis.

There is no statutory maximum age limit on the adoptive parent; however, Ethiopian practice is to limit the age of the parent to no more than 40 years greater than that of the adopted child.

Residency Requirements:

There are no residency requirements for prospective adoptive parents.

Time Frame:

Obtaining approval for an adoption by non-Ethiopian parents is an extremely document-intense and time-consuming process. The adoption of a child in Ethiopia by U.S. citizens and obtaining an immigrant visa for that child involves U.S. federal and state agencies, and at least five Ethiopian government agencies/ministries. Documents must be translated into Amharic in the U.S. and into English in Ethiopia. Nearly every document must be certified, registered and/or authenticated. The Ethiopian court closes for part of every year, and the adoption workload at MOLSA is steadily growing. Adoption agencies will advise adoptive parents approximately how long an adoption can take. Recent private adoptions have taken between 6 and 24 months.

Once the Ethiopian adoption process has been completed, it normally takes about an hour to apply for an immigrant visa for an adopted child for families working through approved adoption agencies. It may take months for private adopters, depending on the completeness of the application and the need for follow-up investigations.

Adoption Agencies and Attorneys:

The Department of State is aware that there are American and foreign adoption agencies and individuals, located in both countries, who claim they can assist with adoptions in Ethiopia. The U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa confirms that there are five American adoption agencies known to have bona fide licenses to facilitate international adoptions from Ethiopia to the United States. Few orphanages are licensed to care for children in need of a permanent family placement through international adoption. Please see the International Adoption section of this book for more details and review current reports online at travel.state.gov/ family

Adoption Fees in Ethiopia:

Adoptive parents can expect to pay fees for authentication of U.S. documents for use abroad and translation fees. All English-language documents submitted to the Ethiopian court must be accompanied by a translation in Amharic. The U.S. Embassy understands that translation services run about $1 per page, but check with your adoption agency for up to date information on translation costs.

MOLSA and the police charge no fees for services creating dossiers on the parents and the child, investigating whether the child is a bona fide orphan, meeting in committee to review the case, and making its recommendations to the court.

Courts charge no fees for services in accepting adoption petitions, making judgments and issuing decrees.

MOLSA often asks for a letter from the U.S. Embassy supporting the parents' desire to adopt. If the Embassy has received the petition approval from USCIS, a letter can be issued supporting the adoption. This service is free.

If additional documents are required by MOLSA, the agency/parents can submit certified copies. Cost for certification by the U.S. Embassy is $30 per grommeted package, or single document.

The services of MOLSA in issuing a letter to the U.S. Embassy attesting to the orphan status of the child, and issuing requests so that the child's new birth certificate and passport can be issued, are free. The issuance of a local birth certificate costs about $2; for expeditious or same day service add about $5. To have a birth certificate or other document authenticated at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs it costs about $16 for Ethiopian parents, about $35 for foreign parents. Ethiopian Passport issuance is about $35. Orphanages run by religious organizations and the large government run orphanages charge nothing for their services preparing and signing adoption contracts.

Adoption Procedures:

MOLSA identifies orphans in need of a permanent family placement through international adoption. In general, Ethiopian orphans identified for intercountry adoption have been abandoned by their parents or have lost their parents to disease or other misfortune. MOLSA places abandoned or orphaned children in orphanages or foster homes, pending adoption. When a child is abandoned, by law it comes into the custody of the government. When a child is found to have two HIV/AIDS-infected parents, or one living, HIV/AIDS-infected parent, the government routinely declares that the child is an orphan and assumes legal guardianship of the child. Many AIDS-orphaned children adopted by Americans come from the HIV/AIDS hospice run by the Missionaries of Charity in Addis Ababa.

Step One - Prospective adoptive parents must take or send all of the required documents, already certified and authenticated, to the Ethiopian Embassy in Washington, D.C. for additional authentication. Once the Embassy has completed its authentication, the completed packet is returned to the adoptive parents. Then the prospective adoptive parents forward the documents to: The Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs

Children and Youth Affairs Office, Adoption Team; P.O. Box 2056; Addis Ababa; Ethiopia.

MOLSA reviews the documents for completeness and creates a dossier on the adoptive parent(s).

Step Two - The parents' dossier is taken to the Claims and Authentication Section of the Protocol Office at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Ethiopia to be authenticated.

Step Three - The parents' dossier is returned to CYAO.

Step Four - CYAO submits the parents' dossier to the Adoption Committee for review and approval to adopt.

Step Five - Once the Committee has approved the parents' dossier, a child is selected and referred to the prospective parents to adopt, according to the parents' preferences for age and sex. Once a referral is made, the prospective adoptive parent may accept or refuse the referral.

Step Six - Upon acceptance of the referral, a Contract of Adoption is signed between the child's legal guardian and the adoptive parent(s), or the agency representative. This contract is the basis for the issuance of the adoption decree, which shows that the guardian or the orphanage has relinquished their parental or guardian right in regard to the adopted child.

Step Seven - CYAO opens a file at the Federal First Instance Court to apply for an appointment date for the adoption hearing.

Step Eight - A notice seeking any other claimants to the child is published in the local press stating the child's name and the name of the adopting parents. Anyone opposed to the adoption is requested to appear at MOLSA by a certain date and time.

Step Nine - When the appointed court date arrives, the prospective parents or their agency's local representative will be asked to appear in court.

Step Ten - After the adoption is complete, MOLSA prepares a request to the city of Addis Ababa for the issuance of a new birth certificate, and a request to the Office of Security, Immigration and Refugee Affairs for an Ethiopian passport for the child in its new name.

Step Eleven - The court decree must be translated into English.

Documents Required For Adoption In Ethiopia:

Prospective Adoptive Parents must provide the following to MOLSA:

  • A written statement from the adoptive parents explaining why an Ethiopian child is preferred, with an original translation into Amharic.
  • Original birth certificate(s) of the prospective adoptive parent (s), each with an original translation into Amharic.
  • Original marriage license/certificate, if applicable, with an original translation into Amharic.
  • An original Ethiopian police clearance for each of the adoptive parents.
  • A medical certificate/clearance for each of the adoptive parents, with an original translation into Amharic.
  • The original home study prepared by a qualified social worker, which specifies the following: personal and family status; character and personal qualities; educational background; duration and stability of marriage; financial and medical situations; present address and U.S. address; condition of home in country of residence; address and names of family of origin (i.e., parents; and the agency's recommendation regarding your suitability as an adoptive parent with an original translation into Amharic.) Evidence of economic status, which must include a letter from employer showing salary, date of employment and position in the organization and a bank statement. Proof of life and health insurance, other income or assets may also be submitted. Each document must be accompanied by an original translation into Amharic.
  • Three letters of reference from friends, relatives, church or other sources qualified to assess your character, the stability of your marriage, and your ability to parent, with original translations into Amharic.
  • Two passport-size photographs of the prospective adoptive parent(s).
  • If the adoptive parents do not come to Ethiopia together to oversee this entire process, then they must execute a power of attorney for their adoption agency, or if only one parent will travel to Ethiopia, the other parent must execute a power of attorney for him/her. That power of attorney must be authenticated by the Ethiopian embassy in Washington, D.C., and submitted with an original translation into Amharic.
  • "Obligation of Adoption or Social Welfare Agency" signed by the adoption agency handling the adoption, or for private adopters from the organization that provided the home study or by the parents' employer, in which the parents agree to allow follow-up visits by a social worker, and to submit a regular progress report to CYAO on the child's (or children's) adjustment to/development in the adoptive home. These visits should be scheduled at 3 months, 6 months and 1 year after the adoption and annually thereafter until the child reaches the age of 18. This form must be forwarded together with the psychosocial study/home study and with an original translation into Amharic.
  • Verification by the adoption agency or home study organization on the child's qualification for naturalization under the parents' state laws, with an original translation into Amharic.

Authenticating U.S. Documents to be Used Abroad:

Ethiopia is not a party of the Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement for Legalization of Foreign Public Documents, so the Legalization Convention "apostille" certificate should not be used for documents to be presented in Ethiopia. Instead, the "chain authentication method" will be used to authenticate documents for Ethiopia. Please visit the State Department website http://travel.state.gov for additional information about authentication procedures.

Ethiopia Embassy in the United States:

13506 International Dr. NW Washington DC 20008 Phone: 202-364-1200 Fax: 202-587-0195 [email protected] http://www.ethiopianembassy.org/contact.shtml

U.S. Immigration Requirements:

Please see the International Adoption section of this book for more details and review current reports online at travel.state.gov/family.

U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia:

The Consular Section is located at: American Embassy Entoto Road; Addis Ababa.

The Consular Section's telephone number is (00251-1) 55-06-60. The fax number is (00251-1) 55-10-94. The e-mail address is [email protected] American citizens can walk in from 8:00 am-12 pm, Monday through Friday and 1:00 pm - 3:30 pm Monday through Thursday.

Additional Information:

Specific questions about adoption in Ethiopia may be addressed to the U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia. General questions regarding international adoption may be addressed to the Office of Children's Issues, U.S. Department of State, CA/OCS/CI, SA-29, 4 th Floor, 2201 C Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20520-4818, toll-free, tel: 1-888-404-4747.

views updated

ETHIOPIA

Compiled from the January 2005 Background Note and supplemented with additional information from the State Department and the editors of this volume. See the introduction to this set for explanatory notes.

Official Name:
Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia


PROFILE

Geography

Area: 1.1 million sq. km (472,000 sq. mi.); about the size of Texas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico combined.

Cities: Capital—Addis Ababa (pop. 2.6 million). Other cities—Dire Dawa (237,000), Nazret (189,000), Gondar (163,000), Dessie (142,000), Mekelle (141,000), Bahir Dar (140,000), Jimma (132,000), Awassa (104,000).

Terrain: High plateau, mountains, dry lowland plains.

Climate: Temperate in the highlands; hot in the lowlands.

People

Nationality: Noun and adjective—Ethiopian(s).

Population: (2003 est.) 70.5 million.

Annual growth rate: 2.7%.

Ethnic groups: (est.) Oromo 35%, Amhara 30%, Tigre 6.3%, Somali 6%, Sidama 6%, Gurage 4%, Wolaita 4%, Afar 2%, other nationalities 6.7%.

Religions: (est.) Ethiopian Orthodox Christian 45%, Sunni Muslim 40-45%, Protestant 5%, remainder indigenous beliefs.

Languages: Amharic (official), Tigrinya, Arabic, Guaragigna, Oromigna, English, Somali.

Education: Years compulsory—none. Attendance (elementary) 57%. Literacy—35%.

Health: Infant mortality rate—97/1,000 live births.

Work force: Agriculture—80%. Industry and commerce—20%.

Government

Type: Federal Republic.

Constitution: Ratified 1994.

Branches: Executive—president, Council of State, Council of Ministers. Executive power resides with the prime minister. Legislative—bicameral parliament. Judicial—divided into Federal and Regional Courts.

Administrative subdivisions: 9 regions and 2 special city administrations: Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa.

Political parties: Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) and 50 other registered parties, most of which are small and ethnically based.

Suffrage: Universal starting at age 18.

Central government budget: (2003) $2.3 billion.

Defense: $348 million (5.6% of GDP FY 2003).

National holiday: May 28.

Economy

Real GDP: (2003) $6.1 billion.

Annual growth rate: (2003) −3.8%.

Per capita income: (2003) $92.

Average inflation rate: (last 3 years) 0%.

Natural resources: Potash, salt, gold, copper, platinum, natural gas (unexploited).

Agriculture: (45% of GDP) Products—coffee, cereals, pulses, oilseeds, khat, meat, hides and skins. Cultivated land—17%.

Industry: (11% of GDP) Types—textiles, processed foods, construction, cement, and hydroelectric power.

Trade: (2002) Exports—$451 million. Imports—$1.8 billion; plus remittances—official est. $400 million; unofficial est. $400 million.

Fiscal year: July 8-July 7.


GEOGRAPHY

Ethiopia is located in the Horn of Africa and is bordered on the north and northeast by Eritrea, on the east by Djibouti and Somalia, on the south by Kenya, and on the west and southwest by Sudan. The country has a high central plateau that varies from 1,800 to 3,000 meters (6,000 ft.-10,000 ft.) above sea level, with some mountains reaching 4,620 meters (15,158 ft.). Elevation is generally highest just before the point of descent to the Great Rift Valley, which splits the plateau diagonally. A number of rivers cross the plateau—notably the Blue Nile flowing from Lake Tana. The plateau gradually slopes to the lowlands of the Sudan on the west and the Somali-inhabited plains to the southeast.

The climate is temperate on the plateau and hot in the lowlands. At Addis Ababa, which ranges from 2,200 to 2,600 meters (7,000 ft.-8,500 ft.), maximum temperature is 26º C (80º F.) and minimum 4º C (40º F.). The weather is usually sunny and dry with the short (belg) rains occurring February-April and the big (meher) rains beginning in mid-June and ending in mid-September.


PEOPLE

Ethiopia's population is highly diverse. Most of its people speak a Semitic or Cushitic language. The Oromo, Amhara, and Tigreans make up more than three-fourths of the population, but there are more than 77 different ethnic groups with their own distinct languages within Ethiopia. Some of these have as few as 10,000 members. In general, most of the Christians live in the highlands, while Muslims and adherents of traditional African religions tend to inhabit lowland regions. English is the most widely spoken foreign language and is taught in all secondary schools. Amharic is the official language and was the language of primary school instruction but has been replaced in many areas by local languages such as Oromifa and Tigrinya.


HISTORY

Ethiopia is credited with being the origin of mankind. Bones discovered in eastern Ethiopia date back 3.2 million years. Ethiopia is the oldest independent country in Africa and one of the oldest in the world. Herodotus, the Greek historian of the fifth century B.C. describes ancient Ethiopia in his writings. The Old Testament of the Bible records the Queen of Sheba's visit to Jerusalem. According to legend, Menelik I, the son of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, founded the Ethiopian Empire. Missionaries from Egypt and Syria introduced Christianity in the fourth century A.D. Following the rise of Islam in the seventh century, Ethiopia was gradually cut off from European Christendom. The Portuguese established contact with Ethiopia in 1493, primarily to strengthen their influence over the Indian Ocean and to convert Ethiopia to Roman Catholicism. There followed a century of conflict between pro- and anti-Catholic factions, resulting in the expulsion of all foreign missionaries in the 1630s. This period of bitter religious conflict contributed to hostility toward foreign Christians and Europeans, which persisted into the 20th century and was a factor in Ethiopia's isolation until the mid-19th century.

Under the Emperors Theodore II (1855-68), Johannes IV (1872-89), and Menelik II (1889-1913), the kingdom was consolidated and began to emerge from its medieval isolation. When Menelik II died, his grandson, Lij Iyassu, succeeded to the throne but soon lost support because of his Muslim ties. The Christian nobility deposed him in 1916, and Menelik's daughter, Zewditu, was made empress. Her cousin, Ras Tafari Makonnen (1892-1975), was made regent and successor to the throne. In 1930, after the empress died, the regent, adopting the throne name Haile Selassie, was crowned emperor. His reign was interrupted in 1936 when Italian Fascist forces invaded and occupied Ethiopia. The emperor was forced into exile in England despite his plea to the League of Nations for intervention. Five years later, British and Ethiopian forces defeated the Italians, and the emperor returned to the throne.

After a period of civil unrest, which began in February 1974, the aging Haile Selassie I was deposed on September 12, 1974, and a provisional administrative council of soldiers, known as the Derg ("committee") seized power from the emperor and installed a government, which was socialist in name and military in style. The Derg summarily executed 59 members of the royal family and ministers and generals of the emperor's government; Emperor Haile Selassie was strangled in the basement of his palace on August 22, 1975.

Lt. Col. Mengistu Haile Mariam assumed power as head of state and Derg chairman, after having his two predecessors killed. Mengistu's years in office were marked by a totalitarian-style government and the country's massive militarization, financed by the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc, and assisted by Cuba. From 1977 through early 1978 thousands of suspected enemies of the Derg were tortured and/or killed in a purge called the "red terror." Communism was officially adopted during the late 1970s and early 1980s with the promulgation of a Soviet-style constitution, Politburo, and the creation of the Workers' Party of Ethiopia (WPE).

In December 1976, an Ethiopian delegation in Moscow signed a military assistance agreement with the Soviet Union. The following April, Ethiopia abrogated its military assistance agreement with the United States and expelled the American military missions. In July 1977, sensing the disarray in Ethiopia, Somalia attacked across the Ogaden Desert in pursuit of its irredentist claims to the ethnic Somali areas of Ethiopia. Ethiopian forces were driven back deep inside their own frontier but, with the assistance of a massive Soviet airlift of arms and Cuban combat forces, they stemmed the attack. The major Somali regular units were forced out of the Ogaden in March 1978. Twenty years later, development in the Somali region of Ethiopia lagged.

The Derg's collapse was hastened by droughts and famine, as well as by insurrections, particularly in the northern regions of Tigray and Eritrea. In 1989, the Tigrayan People's Liberation Front (TPLF) merged with other ethnically based opposition movements to form the Ethiopian Peoples' Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF). In May 1991, EPRDF forces advanced on Addis Ababa. Mengistu fled the country for asylum in Zimbabwe, where he still resides.

In July 1991, the EPRDF, the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), and others established the Transitional Government of Ethiopia (TGE) which was

comprised of an 87-member Council of Representatives and guided by a national charter that functioned as a transitional constitution. In June 1992 the OLF withdrew from the government; in March 1993, members of the Southern Ethiopia Peoples' Democratic Coalition left the government.

In May 1991, the Eritrean People's Liberation Front (EPLF), led by Isaias Afwerki, assumed control of Eritrea and established a provisional government. This provisional government independently administered Eritrea until April 23-25, 1993, when Eritreans voted overwhelmingly for independence in a UN-monitored free and fair referendum. Eritrea was with Ethiopia's consent declared independent on April 27, and the United States recognized its independence on April 28, 1993.

In Ethiopia, President Meles Zenawi and members of the TGE pledged to oversee the formation of a multiparty democracy. The election for a 547-member constituent assembly was held in June 1994, and this assembly adopted the constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia in December 1994. The elections for Ethiopia's first popularly chosen national parliament and regional legislatures were held in May and June 1995. Most opposition parties chose to boycott these elections, ensuring a landslide victory for the EPRDF. International and nongovernmental observers concluded that opposition parties would have been able to participate had they chosen to do so. The Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia was installed in August 1995.


GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS

Ethiopia is a federal republic under the 1994 constitution. The executive branch includes a president, Council of State, and Council of Ministers. Executive power resides with the prime minister. There is a bicameral parliament; the most recent national legislative elections were held in 2000. The judicial branch comprises federal and regional courts. Political parties include the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) and 50 other registered parties, most of which are small and ethnically based. Suffrage is universal at age 18.

In 2003, Ethiopia continued its transition from a unitary to a federal system of government. The EPRDF-led government of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi has promoted a policy of ethnic federalism, devolving significant powers to regional, ethnically based authorities. Ethiopia today has 9 semi-autonomous administrative regions and two special city administrations (Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa), which have the power to raise their own revenues. Under the present government, Ethiopians enjoy wider, albeit circumscribed, political freedom than ever before in Ethiopia's history.

Principal Government Officials

Last Updated: 10/6/04

President: Girma Woldegiorgis
Prime Minister: Meles Zenawi
Dep. Prime Min.: Addisu Legesse
Dep. Prime Min.: Kassu Ilala
Min. of Agriculture & Rural Development: Addisu Legesse
Vice Min. of Agriculture & Rural Development: Belay Ejigu
Vice Min. of Agriculture & Rural Development: Getachew Teklemedhin
Vice Min. of Agriculture & Rural Development: Tekalign Mamo
Min. of Cabinet Affairs: Berhanu Adelo
Min. of Capacity Building: Tefera Walwa
Min. of Defense: Abadula Gemeda
Min. of Education: Genet Zewdie
Min. of Federal Affairs: Abay Tsehay
Min. of Finance & Economic Development: Sufian Ahmed
Min. of Foreign Affairs: Seyoum Mesfin
Min. of Health: Kebede Tadesse , Dr.
Min. of Information: Bereket Simeon
Min. of Infrastructure: Kassu Ilala
Min. of Justice: Harka Haroyu
Min. of Labor & Social Affairs: Hassan Abdella
Min. of Mines & Energy Resources: Mohamoud Dirir
Min. of Revenue: Getachew Belay
Min. of Trade & Industry: Girma Birru
Min. of Water Resources: Shiferaw Jarso
Min. of Youth, Sports, & Culture: Teshome Toga
Governor, National Bank: Teklewold Atnafu
Ambassador to the US: Kassahun Ayele
Charge d'Affaires to the UN, New York: Teruneh Zenna

Ethiopia maintains an embassy in the U.S. at 3506 International Drive, NW, Washington, DC 20008 (tel. 202-364-1200) headed by Ambassador Kassahun Ayele. It also maintains a UN mission in New York and consulates in Los Angeles, Seattle (honorary), and Houston (honorary).


ECONOMY

The current government has embarked on a cautious program of economic reform, including privatization of state enterprises and rationalization of government regulation. While the process is still ongoing, so far the reforms have attracted only meager foreign investment.

The Ethiopian economy is based on agriculture, which contributes 45% to GNP and more than 80% of exports, and employs 85% of the population. The major agricultural export crop is coffee, providing 35% of Ethiopia's foreign exchange earnings, down from 65% a decade ago because of the slump in coffee prices since the mid-1990s.

Other traditional major agricultural exports are hides and skins, pulses, oilseeds, and the traditional "khat," a leafy shrub that has psychotropic qualities when chewed. Sugar and gold production has also become important in recent years.

Ethiopia's agriculture is plagued by periodic drought, soil degradation caused by inappropriate agricultural practices and overgrazing, deforestation, high population density, undeveloped water resources, and poor transport infrastructure, making it difficult and expensive to get goods to market. Yet agriculture is the country's most promising resource. Potential exists for self-sufficiency in grains and for export development in livestock, flowers, grains, oilseeds, sugar, vegetables, and fruits.

Gold, marble, limestone, and small amounts of tantalum are mined in Ethiopia. Other resources with potential for commercial development include large potash deposits, natural gas, iron ore, and possibly oil and geothermal energy. Although Ethiopia has good hydroelectric resources, which power most of its manufacturing sector, it is totally dependent on imports for its oil. A landlocked country, Ethiopia has relied on the port of Djibouti since the 1998-2000 border war with Eritrea. Ethiopia is connected with the port of Djibouti by road and rail for international trade. Of the 23,812 kilometers of all-weather roads in Ethiopia, 15% are asphalt. Mountainous terrain and the lack of good roads and sufficient vehicles make land transportation difficult and expensive. However, the government-owned airline's reputation is excellent. Ethiopian Airlines serves 38 domestic airfields and has 42 international destinations.

Dependent on a few vulnerable crops for its foreign exchange earnings and reliant on imported oil, Ethiopia lacks sufficient foreign exchange earnings. The financially conservative government has taken measures to solve this problem, including stringent import controls and sharply reduced subsidies on retail gasoline prices. Nevertheless, the largely subsistence economy is incapable of meeting the budget requirements for drought relief, an ambitious development plan, and indispensable imports such as oil. The gap has largely been covered through foreign assistance inflows.


DEFENSE

The Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF) numbers about 200,000 personnel, which makes it one of the largest militaries in Africa. During the 1998-2000 border war with Eritrea, the ENDF mobilized strength reached approximately 350,000. Since the end of the war, some 150,000 soldiers have been demobilized. The ENDF continues a transition from its roots as a guerrilla army to an all-volunteer professional military organization with the aid of the U.S. and other countries. Training in peacekeeping operations, professional military education, military training management, counter-terrorism operations, and military medicine are among the major programs sponsored by the United States. Ethiopia now has two peacekeeping contingents in Burundi and Liberia.


FOREIGN RELATIONS

Ethiopia was relatively isolated from major movements of world politics until Italian invasions in 1895 and 1935. Since World War II, it has played an active role in world and African affairs. Ethiopia was a charter member of the United Nations and took part in UN operations in Korea in 1951 and the Congo in 1960. Former Emperor Haile Selassie was a founder of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), now known as the African Union (AU). Addis Ababa also hosts the UN Economic Commission for Africa. Ethiopia is also a member of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, a Horn of Africa regional grouping.

Although nominally a member of the Non-Aligned Movement, after the 1974 revolution, Ethiopia moved into a close relationship with the Soviet Union and its allies and supported their international policies and positions until the change of government in 1991. Today, Ethiopia has very good relations with the United States and the West, especially in responding to regional instability and supporting war on terrorism and, increasingly, through economic involvement.

Ethiopia's relations with Eritrea remained tense and unresolved. Following a brutal 1998-2000 border war in which tens of thousands died on both sides, the two countries signed a peace agreement in December 2000. A five-member independent international commission—Eritrean Ethiopia Boundary Commission (EEBC)—issued a decision in April 2002 and follow-up observations in March 2003 delimiting the border between the two countries, but thus far the parties have not agreed to final demarcation. The United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) peacekeeping mission patrols a 25-kilometer-wide Temporary Security Zone (TSZ) within Eritrea separating the two countries; a few minor incidents of violence have occurred, all between local villagers and militia or armed opposition groups supported by the other side. Both countries insist they will not instigate fighting, but both also remain prepared for any eventuality. To break this deadlock, the UN has appointed a special envoy, Lloyd Axworthy, to find a negotiated settlement within the framework of the EEBC decision. Regarding its neighbor Somalia, the lack of central government and factional fighting in Somalia contributes to tensions along the boundaries of the two countries. Ethiopia has recently entered into a loose tripartite (nonmilitary) cooperation with Sudan and Yemen.


U.S.-ETHIOPIA RELATIONS

U.S.-Ethiopian relations were established in 1903 and were good throughout the period prior to the Italian occupation in 1935. After World War II, these ties strengthened on the basis of a September 1951 treaty of amity and economic relations. In 1953, two agreements were signed: a mutual defense assistance agreement, under which the United States agreed to furnish military equipment and training, and an accord regularizing the operations of a U.S. communication facility at Asmara. Through fiscal year 1978, the United States provided Ethiopia with $282 million in military assistance and $366 million in economic assistance in agriculture, education, public health, and transportation. A Peace Corps program emphasized education, and U.S. Information Service educational and cultural exchanges were numerous.

After Ethiopia's revolution, the bilateral relationship began to cool due to the Derg's linking with international communism and U.S. revulsion at the Derg's human rights abuses. The United States rebuffed Ethiopia's request for increased military assistance to intensify its fight against the Eritrean secessionist movement and to repel the Somali invasion. The International Security and Development Act of 1985 prohibited all U.S. economic assistance to Ethiopia with the exception of humanitarian disaster and emergency relief. In July 1980, the U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia was recalled at the request of the Ethiopian Government, and the U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia and the Ethiopian Embassy in the United States were headed by Charges d'Affaires.

With the downfall of the Mengistu regime, U.S.-Ethiopian relations improved dramatically. Legislative restrictions on assistance to Ethiopia other than humanitarian assistance were lifted. Diplomatic relations were upgraded to the ambassadorial level in 1992. Total U.S. government assistance, including food aid, between 1991 and 2003 was $2.3 billion. During the severe drought year of FY 2003, the U.S. provided a record $553.1 million in assistance, of which $471.7 million was food aid. U.S. development assistance to Ethiopia is focused on reducing famine vulnerability, hunger, and poverty and emphasizes economic, governance, and social sector policy reforms. Some military training funds, including training in such issues as the laws of war and observance of human rights, also are provided.

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

ADDIS ABABA (E) Address: 14 Entoto Rd, Addis Ababa; Phone: (251-1) 17-40-00; Fax: (251-1) 24-24-01; INMARSAT Tel: 00871761258488; Workweek: Mon-Th 0745-1715, Fri 0745-1245; Website: www.telecom.net.et/~usemb-et/

AMB:Aurelia E. Brazeal
AMB OMS:Debra R. DeBose
DCM:Janet E. Wilgus
DCM OMS:Rosita M. Strand
POL:Brian L. Goldbeck
COM:Elizabeth E. Jaffee
CON:Santiago Busa
MGT:Brian R. Moran
AFSA:Daniel K. Balzer
AID:William Hammink
CLO:Ceres C. Busa
DAO:Lee J. Whiteside LTC
ECO:Brian L. Goldbeck
EEO:Debra R. DeBose
EST:Daniel K. Balzer
FMO:Peggy D. Guttierrez
GSO:Ellen M. Rose
ICASS Chair:R. Douglass Arbuckle
IMO:Charles A. Stephens, Acting
LAB:TBD
PAO:Samuel S. Westgate III
RSO:Robert R. Hornbeck
State ICASS:Charles B. Gurney
Last Updated: 10/11/2004

TRAVEL

Consular Information Sheet

August 11, 2004

Country Description: The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia is a developing east African country comprising 11 semi-autonomous administrative regions organized loosely along major ethnic lines. Tourism facilities in Ethiopia are minimal. The capital is Addis Ababa.

A border dispute between Ethiopia and neighboring Eritrea erupted in May 1998 and escalated into fullscale conflict that continued until a cease-fire was reached in June 2000. In December 2000, a peace agreement was signed between the two countries to delimit and demarcate the border. The peace process is ongoing and the border between Ethiopia and Eritrea remains closed.

Entry/Exit Requirements: Citizens of the United States may obtain tourist/visitors visas upon arrival in Ethiopia. This service is only available at Bole International Airport, Ethiopia's main airport in Addis Ababa, and at the airport in Dire Dawa. The fee of 390 birr (approximately 45 dollars (US)) is payable only in Ethiopian currency. Travelers may exchange currency upon arrival. However, because of possible confusion or delays, travelers should obtain a valid Ethiopian visa prior to arrival whenever possible. An exit visa is required if your entry visa has expired by the time of departure. In such circumstances, an exit visa can be obtained at the main immigration office in Addis Ababa only and not at Bole International Airport. Ethiopia charges a 20 dollar (US) departure tax, payable in USD cash only.

Due to animosity stemming from the ongoing border dispute with Eritrea, U.S. citizens of Eritrean origin who seek to travel to Ethiopia may experience delays in processing of their visa applications because all such applications must be cleared through the main Ethiopian immigration office in Addis Ababa.

Laptop computers must be declared upon arrival and departure. Tape recorders require special customs permits. Prior to travel, individuals intending prolonged stays should direct their questions to the Ethiopian Embassy, 3506 International Dr., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008; telephone (202) 364-1200; fax (202) 587-0195; website http://www.ethiopianembassy.org. Inquiries overseas may be made at the nearest Ethiopian embassy or consulate.

In an effort to prevent international child abduction, many governments have initiated procedures at entry/exit points. These often include requiring documentary evidence of relationship and permission for the child's travel from the parent(s) or legal guardian not present.

Having such documentation on hand, even if not required, may facilitate entry and departure.

Dual Nationality: Ethiopia does not recognize dual nationality. The Government of Ethiopia considers Ethiopians who have become naturalized U.S. citizens to be Americans. Such individuals are not subject to Ethiopian military service. The Ethiopian Foreign Ministry has stated that Ethiopian-Americans are given the same opportunity to invest in Ethiopia as Ethiopians. Although several years ago the Government of Ethiopia arrested people of Eritrean origin who initially failed to disclose their U.S. citizenship, this has not appeared to be a problem in recent years. Ethiopian officials have recently stated that Eritrean-Americans are treated as U.S. citizens and are not subject to arrest simply because of their ties to Eritrea. For additional information, see the Bureau of Consular Affairs' website at http://travel.state.gov for our Dual Nationality flyer.

Safety and Security: Although Ethiopia and Eritrea signed a peace agreement in December 2000, American citizens should exercise caution if traveling to the northern Tigray and Afar regions (within 50km/30 miles of the Ethiopian/Eritrean border) because of land mines and unsettled conditions in the border area. There is a peacekeeping mission in the border area, but the border with Eritrea has not yet been finalized. U.S. citizens should stay clear of security operations and should not try to intercede with police on behalf of Eritreans or anyone else.

Since the mid-1990s, various opposition elements and government forces have clashed around Harar and in the Somali regional state, particularly near the border with Somalia. Cross-border travel by road from Ethiopia into Somalia is not advised. Somali groups affiliated with terrorist organizations may occasionally operate within the Somali, Oromiya, Ogaden, and Afar regions. The U.S. Embassy restricts travel of Embassy personnel to the Somali Region (Ogaden) to a case-by-case basis.

Sporadic inter-ethnic clashes remain a concern throughout the Gambella region of western Ethiopia following outbursts of violence there in December 2003 and January 2004. Unknown assailants opened fire on passenger trucks in ambush attacks on March 12, resulting in 17 deaths. The situation remains unpredictable throughout Gambella, and violence could recur without warning. Travel to this region is strongly discouraged.

Travel in Ethiopia via rail is strongly discouraged due to episodes of derailment, sabotage, and bombings as recently as February 2003.

In southern Ethiopia along the Kenyan border, banditry and incidents involving ethnic conflicts are also common. Travelers should exercise caution when traveling to any remote area of the country, including the borders with Eritrea, Somalia, Kenya and Sudan. Ethiopian security forces do not have a widespread presence in those regions.

For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department's Internet website at http://travel.state.gov where the current Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, the East Africa Public Announcement, as well as consular information for other countries, such as Travel Warnings and Public Announcements can be found. Up to date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the United States, or, for callers outside the United States and Canada, a regular toll line at 1-317-472-2328. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Easter Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

Crime Information: Crime is a growing problem in Addis Ababa. Pick pocketing, "snatch and run," and other petty crimes are common. Travelers should exercise caution in crowded areas such as the Mercato in Addis Ababa, Africa's largest open-air market. Visitors should limit the amount of cash they carry and leave valuables, such as passports, jewelry, and airline tickets in a hotel safe or other secure place. Keep wallets and other valuables where they will be less susceptible to pick pockets.

Travelers should be cautious at all times when traveling on roads in Ethiopia. There are reports of highway robberies, including carjackings, by armed bandits throughout the country. Some incidents have been accompanied by violence. Travelers are cautioned to limit road travel out-side major towns or cities to daylight hours and travel in convoys, if possible.

The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to local police and to the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, to contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed.

The pamphlets A Safe Trip Abroad and Tips for Travelers to Sub-Saharan Africa provide useful information on personal security while traveling abroad and on travel in the region. Both are available via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov.

Medical Facilities: Health facilities are extremely limited in Addis Ababa and completely inadequate outside the capital. Although physicians are generally well trained, even the best hospitals in Addis Ababa suffer from inadequate facilities, antiquated equipment, and shortages of supplies (particularly medicine).

Emergency assistance is limited. Travelers must carry their own supplies of prescription drugs and preventive medicines, as well as a doctor's note describing the medication. If the quantity of drugs exceeds that which would be expected for personal use, a permit from the Ministry of Health is required.

Medical Insurance: The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation. U.S. medical insurance plans seldom cover health costs incurred outside the United States unless supplemental coverage is purchased. Further, U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do not provide payment for medical services outside the United States. However, many travel agents and private companies offer insurance plans that will cover health care expenses incurred overseas including emergency services such as medical evacuations.

When making a decision regarding health insurance, Americans should consider that many foreign doctors and hospitals require payment in cash prior to providing service and that a medical evacuation to the U.S. may cost well in excess of $50,000. Uninsured travelers who require medical care overseas often face extreme difficulties. When consulting with your insurer prior to your trip, ascertain whether payment will be made to the overseas healthcare provider or whether you will be reimbursed later for expenses you incur. Some insurance policies also include coverage for psychiatric treatment and for disposition of remains in the event of death.

Useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas insurance programs, is provided in the Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs brochure, Medical Information for Americans Traveling Abroad, available via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page.

Other Health Information: Ethiopia is a mountainous country in which the high altitude may cause health problems even for healthy travelers. Addis Ababa is located at an altitude of 8,000 feet. Individuals may experience shortness of breath, fatigue, nausea, headaches, and inability to sleep.

Malaria is prevalent in Ethiopia outside of Addis Ababa. Travelers outside of Addis Ababa should take malaria prophylaxis. P. falciparum malaria, the serious and sometimes fatal strain in Ethiopia, is resistant to the anti-malarial drug chloroquine. Because travelers to Ethiopia are at high risk for contracting malaria, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises that travelers should take one of the following anti-malarial drugs: mefloquine (Lariam™), doxycycline, or atovaquone/proguanil (Malarone™). The CDC has determined that a traveler who is on an appropriate antimalarial drug has a greatly reduced chance of contracting the disease. In addition, other personal protective measures, such as the use of insect repellents, help to reduce malaria risk. Travelers who become ill with a fever or flu-like illness while traveling in a malaria-risk area and up to one year after returning home should seek prompt medical attention and tell the physician their travel history and what antimalarials they have been taking. For additional information on malaria, protection from insect bites, and antimalarial drugs, please visit the CDC Travelers' Health website at http://www.cdc.gov/travel/malinfo.htm.

Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747); fax 1-888-CDC-FAXX (1-888-232-3299), or via the CDC's Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the World Health Organization's website at http://www.who.int/en. Further health information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/ith.

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Ethiopia is provided for general reference only and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

Safety of Public Transportation: Poor
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Fair
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Poor

While travel on both paved and unpaved roads is generally considered safe, land mines and other anti-personnel devices can be encountered on isolated dirt roads that were targeted during various conflicts. Before undertaking any off-road travel, it is advisable to inquire of local authorities to ensure that the area has been cleared of mines. Excessive speed, unpredictable local driving habits, pedestrians and livestock in the roadway, and the lack of basic safety equipment on many vehicles are daily hazards on Ethiopian roads. In addition, road travel after dark outside Addis Ababa and other cities is dangerous and discouraged due to broken-down vehicles left on the roads, pedestrians using the roads, stray animals, and the possibility of armed robbery. Road lighting in cities is inadequate at best and nonexistent outside of cities.

For additional general information about road safety, including links to foreign government sites, see the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs website at http://travel.state.gov/road_safety.html.

Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Ethiopia's civil aviation authority as Category 1—in compliance with international aviation safety standards for oversight of Ethiopia's air carrier operations.

For further information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation within the U.S. at 1-800-322-7873, or visit the FAA's Internet website at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/index.cfm. For information regarding the DOD policy on specific carriers, travelers may contact DOD at (618) 229-4801.

The Ethiopian government has closed air routes near the border with Eritrea and has referred to the airspace as a "no-fly zone." The FAA currently prohibits U.S. aircraft and U.S. pilots from flying in Ethiopian airspace north of 12 degrees north latitude, the area along the country's northern border with Eritrea. For complete information on this flight prohibition, travelers may visit the FAA's website at http://www.faa.gov/avr/arm/sfar87.doc.

Customs Restrictions: Permits are required before either antiques or animal skins can be exported from Ethiopia. Antique religious artifacts, including "Ethiopian" crosses, require documentation from the National Museum in Addis Ababa for export.

Criminal Penalties: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Ethiopian laws, even unknowingly, may be arrested, imprisoned, or expelled. Penalties for possession, use or trafficking in illegal drugs in Ethiopia are strict and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines. The use of the mild stimulant "khat" is legal in Ethiopia, but it is considered an illegal substance in many other countries, including the United States.

Under the PROTECT Act of April 2003, it is a crime, prosecutable in the United States, for a U.S. citizen or permanent resident alien, to engage in illicit sexual conduct in a foreign country with a person under the age of 18, whether or not the U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident alien intended to engage in such illicit sexual conduct prior to going abroad. For purposes of the PROTECT Act, illicit sexual conduct includes any commercial sex act in a foreign country with a person under the age of 18. The law defines a commercial sex act as any sex act, on account of which anything of value is given to or received by a person under the age of 18.

Under the Protection of Children from Sexual Predators Act of 1998, it is a crime to use the mail or any facility of interstate or foreign commerce, including the Internet, to transmit information about a minor under the age of 16 for criminal sexual purposes that include, among other things, the production of child pornography. This same law makes it a crime to use any facility of interstate or foreign commerce, including the Internet, to transport obscene materials to minors under the age of 16.

Currency Issues: Visitors must declare foreign currency upon arrival and may be required to present this declaration when applying for an exit visa. Official and black market exchange rates are nearly the same. Penalties for exchanging money on the black market range from fines to imprisonment. Credit cards are not accepted at most hotels, restaurants, shops, or other local facilities, although they are accepted at the Hilton and Sheraton Hotels in Addis Ababa. Foreigners are generally required to pay for hotel and car rental in foreign currency.

Photography Restrictions: Ethiopian law strictly prohibits the photographing of military installations, police/military personnel, industrial facilities, government buildings, and infrastructure (roads, bridges, dams, airfields, etc.). Such sites are rarely marked clearly. Travel guides, police, and Ethiopian officials can advise if a particular site may be photographed. Photographing prohibited sites may result in the confiscation of film and camera.

Disaster Preparedness: There is a high risk of earthquakes in Ethiopia. Buildings may collapse due to strong tremors. General information about natural disaster preparedness is available via the Internet from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at http://www.fema.gov/.

Children's Issues: For information on international adoption of children and international child abduction, please refer to our Internet site at http://travel.state.gov/family or telephone Overseas Citizens Services at 1-888-407-4747. This number is available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). Callers who are unable to use toll-free numbers, such as those calling from overseas, may obtain information and assistance during these hours by calling 1-317-472-2328. For specific information please consult the U.S. Embassy Addis Ababa website at the internet address listed in the following paragraph.

Registration/Embassy Location: The State Department recently launched a secure online travel registration website which will allow you, as an American citizen, to record foreign trip and residence information that the Department of State can use to communicate with you and assist you in case of an emergency. This website can be accessed through a link on http://travel.state.gov or at https://travelregistration.state.gov/ibrs. If you are already registered with the Embassy, please re-register on line to update your records. U.S. citizens may come to the Embassy to register their presence in Ethiopia.

The U.S. Embassy is located at Entoto Avenue, P.O. Box 1014, in Addis Ababa, telephone: 251-1-17-40-00 emergency after-hours telephone: 251-1-24-24-00; consular fax: 251-1-24-24-35; website: http://addisababa.usembassy.gov/.

International Adoption

January 2005

The information below has been edited from a report of the State Department Bureau of Consular Affairs, Office of Overseas Citizens Services. For more information, please read the International Adoption section of this book and review current reports online at www.travel.state.gov/family.

Disclaimer: The information in this circular relating to the legal requirements of specific foreign countries is provided for general information only. Questions involving interpretation of specific foreign laws should be addressed to foreign legal counsel. Please see Important Notice Regarding Adoption Agents and Facilitators at the Web site for the Bureau of Consular Affairs at http://travel.state.gov.

Please Note: The U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa confirms that only four agencies are approved by the Ethiopian Government. It is possible for long-term residents of Ethiopia to adopt without an agency; however, this is done on a case-by-case basis. U.S. citizens must work with the Ethiopian governmental central authority, the Children, Youth and Family Affairs Department (CYFAD) which is under the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs. Americans who enter into private adoptions that bypass the CYFAD will not be able to take the child out of Ethiopia, and will not be able to obtain a U.S. immigrant visa.

Availability of Children for Adoption: Recent U.S. immigrant visa statistics reflect the following pattern for visa issuance to orphans:

FY-1996: IR-3 immigrant visas issued to Ethiopian orphans adopted abroad – 44, IR-4 immigrant visas issued to Ethiopians orphans adopted in the U.S.—0
FY-1997: IR-3 Visas—50, I
R-4 Visas – 32
FY-1998: IR-3 Visas—87,
IR-4 Visas – 9
FY-1999: IR-3 Visas—66,
IR-4 Visas – 5
FY-2000: IR-3 Visas—112,
IR-4 Visas – 14
FY-2001: IR-3 Visas—117,
IR-4 Visas—41

Ethiopian Adoption Authority: The government office responsible for adoptions in Ethiopia is the Children Youth and Family Affairs Department (CYFAD) which is under the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs. They can be reached at 011-251-1-505-358.

Adoption Procedures: Please review current reports online at travel.state.gov/family for specific details.

Age and Civil Status Requirements: Any person who is twenty-five years old or older may adopt. Where there is an adoption made by a married couple, at least one of them should be twenty-five. There is no maximum age limit on the adoptive parent.

Adoption Agencies in Ethiopia: The U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa confirms that only four agencies are approved by the Ethiopian Government. Prospective adoptive parents are advised to fully research any adoption agency or facilitator they plan to use for adoption services. For U.S.-based agencies, it is suggested that prospective adoptive parents contact the Better Business Bureau and licensing office of the Department of Health and Family Services in the state where the agency is located. Neither the U.S. Embassy nor the Department of State can vouch for the efficacy or professionalism of any agent or facilitator. Please review current reports online at travel.state.gov/family for a list of Ethiopian agency contact information.

Doctors: The U.S. Embassy maintains current lists of doctors and sources for medicines, should either you or your child experience health problems while in Ethiopia. As part of the Immigrant Visa application process, your child must undergo a physical examination by a panel physician who has a contractual agreement with the U.S. Embassy. One of the panel physicians is a pediatrician by specialty.

Documentary Requirements:

  • Birth Certificate of prospective parent (s)
  • Marriage license/certificate, if applicable
  • Duration and stability of marriage
  • Police Clearance of applicant and spouse
  • Medical certificate (may be obtained from a U.S. clinic)
  • Evidence of economic status, including a letter from employer showing salary, date of employment and position in the organization; bank statement; life insurance statement; other income or assets
  • Two letters of reference from friends, relatives, church or other sources qualified to assess your character, the stability of your marriage, and your ability to parent.
  • A short written statement from you explaining why an Ethiopian child is preferred
  • Two passport-size photographs of the prospective adoptive parent(s).
  • Home study prepared by a qualified social worker, which specifies the following: personal and family status; character and personal qualities; educational background; duration and stability of marriage; financial and medical situations; present address and U.S. address; condition of home in country of residence; address and names of family of origin (i.e., parents; recommendation regarding your suitability as an adoptive parent.
  • The agency who does the home study and recommendation on the applicants must be accepted by the concerned government and the respective Ethiopian Embassy or consulate.
  • "Obligation of Adoption or Social Welfare Agency" signed by the Adoption Agency handling the case, or by the parents' employer, in which the parents' agree to allow follow-up visits by a social worker, and to submitted the Children, Youth and Family Affairs Department (CYFAD) regular progress reports on the child's (or children's) adjustment to/development in the adoptive home. These visits are usually scheduled at 3 months, 6 months, 1 year and then once a year until the child reaches the age of 18.
  • "Obligation of Adoption or Social Welfare Agency" form must be forwarded together with the psychosocial study.
  • Verification by the adoption agency on qualification for naturalization under the national law of the applicant.

All the documents mentioned should be submitted or forwarded directly by the concerned person(s) or agency to the secretary of CYFAD.

Authentications: Documents issued in the U.S. need to be authenticated at the Ethiopian Embassy for use abroad. For additional information about authentication procedures, please see the Judicial Assistance page of the Bureau of Consular Affairs Web site at http://travel.state.gov.

U.S. Immigration Requirements for Orphans: An Ethiopian child adopted by an U.S. citizen must obtain an immigrant visa before he or she can enter the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident. Please see the International Adoption section of this book for more details and review current reports online at travel.state.gov/family

Questions: Specific questions regarding adoption in Ethiopia may be addressed to the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in Ethiopia. You may also contact the Office of Children's Issues, SA-29, 2201 C Street, NW, U.S. Department of State, Washington, DC 20520-2818, Tel: toll-free 1-888-407-4747 with specific questions.

views updated

ETHIOPIA

Compiled from the May 2003 Background Note and supplemented with additional information from the State Department and the editors of this volume. See the introduction to this set for explanatory notes.

Official Name:
Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

PROFILE
GEOGRAPHY
PEOPLE
HISTORY
DEFENSE
ECONOMY
FOREIGN RELATIONS
U.S.-ETHIOPIA RELATIONS
TRAVEL


PROFILE


Geography

Area: 1.1 million sq. km (472,000 sq. mi.); about the size of Texas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico combined.

Cities: Capital—Addis Ababa (pop. 2.3 million). Other cities—Dire Dawa (180,000), Harar (138,000), Dessie (105,000), Nazret (100,000), Bahir Dar (95,000), Awassa (90,000)

Terrain: High plateau, mountains, dry lowland plains.

Climate: Temperate in the highlands; hot in the lowlands.


People

Nationality: Noun and adjective—Ethiopian(s).

Population: (2002 est.) 68 million.

Annual growth rate: 2.64%.

Ethnic groups: (est.) Oromo 35%, Amhara 30%, Tigre 6.3%, Somali 6% Sidama 6%, Gurage 4%, Wolaita 4%, Afar 2%, other nationalities 6.7%.

Religions: Muslim 45%, Ethiopian Orthodox Christian 45%, Protestant 5%, indigenous beliefs, remainder.

Languages: Amharic (official), Tigrinya, Arabic, Guaragigna, Oromigna, English, Somali.

Education: Years compulsory—none. Attendance (elementary) 46%. Literacy—35.5%.

Health: Infant mortality rate-97/1,000 live births.

Work force: Agriculture—80%. Industry and commerce—20%.


Government

Type: Federal Republic.

Constitution: Ratified 1994.

Branches: Executive—President, Council of State, Council of Ministers. Executive power resides with the prime minister. Legislative—bicameral parliament. Judicial — divided into Federal and Regional Courts.

Administrative subdivisions: 10 regions.

Political parties: Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) and 50 other registered parties, most of which are small and ethnically based.

Suffrage: Universal.

Central government budget: $1.76 billion.

Defense: $350 million (5.6% FY 2002).

National holiday: May 28.

Flag: Green, yellow and red horizontal stripes from top to bottom, with gold five-pointed star and rays on a blue circular background.


Economy

Real GDP: $6.1 billion.

Annual growth rate: (2002) 5%.

Per capita income: $110.

Average inflation rate: (last 3 years) 3.5%.

Natural resources: Potash, salt, gold, copper, platinum, natural gas (unexploited).

Agriculture: (40% of GDP) Products—coffee, cereals, pulses, oilseeds, khat, meat, hides and skins. Cultivated land—67%.

Industry: (13.7% of GDP) Types—textiles, processed foods, construction, cement, hydroelectric power.

Trade: (2002 est.) Exports—$400 million. Imports—$1.6 billion.

Fiscal year: July 8-July 7.


GEOGRAPHY

Ethiopia is located in the Horn of Africa and is bordered on the north and northeast by Eritrea, on the east by Djibouti and Somalia, on the south by Kenya, and on the west and southwest by Sudan. The country has a high central plateau that varies from 1,800 to 3,000 meters (6,000 ft.-10,000 ft.) above sea level, with some mountains reaching 4,620 meters (15,158 ft.). Elevation is generally highest just before the point of descent to the Great Rift Valley, which splits the plateau diagonally. A number of rivers cross the plateau—notably the Blue Nile rising from Lake Tana. The plateau gradually slopes to the lowlands of the Sudan on the west and the Somali-inhabited plains to the southeast.

The climate is temperate on the plateau and hot in the lowlands. At Addis Ababa, which ranges from 2,200 to 2,600 meters (7,000 ft.-8,500 ft.), maximum temperature is 26°C (80°F) and minimum 4°C (40°F). The weather is usually sunny and dry with the short (belg) rains

occurring February-April and the big (meher) rains beginning in mid-June and ending in mid-September.


PEOPLE

Ethiopia's population is highly diverse. Most of its people speak a Semitic or Cushitic language. The Oromo, Amhara, and Tigreans make up more than three-fourths of the population, but there are more than 80 different ethnic groups within Ethiopia. Some of these have as few as 10,000 members. In general, most of the Christians live in the highlands, while Muslims and adherents of traditional African religions tend to inhabit lowland regions. English is the most widely spoken foreign language and is taught in all secondary schools. Amharic was the language of primary school instruction but has been replaced in many areas by local languages such as Oromifa and Tigrinya.


HISTORY

Ethiopia is the oldest independent country in Africa and one of the oldest in the world. Herodotus, the Greek historian of the fifth century B.C. describes ancient Ethiopia in his writings. The Old Testament of the Bible records the Queen of Sheba's visit to Jerusalem. According to legend, Menelik I, the son of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, founded the Ethiopian Empire. Missionaries from Egypt and Syria introduced Christianity in the fourth century A.D. Following the rise of Islam in the seventh century, Ethiopia was gradually cut off from European Christendom. The Portuguese established contact with Ethiopia in 1493, primarily to streng then their hegemony over the Indian Ocean and to convert Ethiopia to Roman Catholicism. There followed a century of conflict between pro- and anti-Catholic factions, resulting in the expulsion of all foreign missionaries in the 1630s. This period of bitter religious conflict contributed to hostility toward foreign Christians and Europeans, which persisted into the 20th century and was a factor in Ethiopia's isolation until the mid-19th century.

Under the Emperors Theodore II (1855-68), Johannes IV (1872-89), and Menelik II (1889-1913), the kingdom began to emerge from its medieval isolation. When Menelik II died, his grandson, Lij Iyassu, succeeded to the throne but soon lost support because of his Muslim ties. He was deposed in 1916 by the Christian nobility, and Menelik's daughter, Zewditu, was made empress. Her cousin, Ras Tafari Makonnen (1892-1975), was made regent and successor to the throne. In 1930, after the empress died, the regent, adopting the throne name Haile Selassie, was crowned emperor. His reign was interrupted in 1936 when Italian Fascist forces invaded and occupied Ethiopia. The emperor was forced into exile in England despite his plea to the League of Nations for intervention. Five years later, the Italians were defeated by British and Ethiopian forces, and the emperor returned to the throne.

After a period of civil unrest which began in February 1974, the aging Haile Selassie I was deposed on September 12, 1974, and a provisional administrative council of soldiers, known as the Derg ("committee") seized power from the emperor and installed a government which was socialist in name and military in style. The Derg summarily executed 59 members of the royal family and ministers and generals of the emperor's government; Emperor Haile Selassie was strangled in the basement of his palace on August 22, 1975.

Lt. Col. Mengistu Haile Mariam assumed power as head of state and Derg chairman, after having his two predecessors killed. Mengistu's years in office were marked by a totalitarian-style government and the country's massive militarization, financed by the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc, and assisted by Cuba. From 1977 through early 1978 thousands of suspected enemies of the Derg were tortured and/or killed in a purge called the "red terror." Communism was officially adopted during the late 1970s and early 1980s with the promulgation of a Soviet-style constitution, Politburo, and the creation of the Workers' Party of Ethiopia (WPE).

In December 1976, an Ethiopian delegation in Moscow signed a military assistance agreement with the Soviet Union. The following April, Ethiopia abrogated its military assistance agreement with the United States and expelled the American military missions. In July 1977, sensing the disarray in Ethiopia, Somalia attacked across the Ogaden Desert in pursuit of its irredentist claims to the ethnic Somali areas of Ethiopia. Ethiopian forces were driven back far inside their own frontiers but, with the assistance of a massive Soviet airlift of arms and Cuban combat forces, they stemmed the attack. The major Somali regular units were forced out of the Ogaden in March 1978. Twenty years later, the Somali region of Ethiopia remains underdeveloped and insecure.

The Derg's collapse was hastened by droughts and famine, as well as by insurrections, particularly in the northern regions of Tigray and Eritrea. In 1989, the Tigrayan People's Liberation Front (TPLF) merged with other ethnically based opposition movements to form the Ethiopian Peoples' Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF). In May 1991, EPRDF forces advanced on Addis Ababa. Mengistu fled the country and was granted asylum in Zimbabwe, where he still resides.

In July 1991, the EPRDF, the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), and others established the Transitional Government of Ethiopia (TGE) which was comprised of an 87-member Council of Representatives and guided by a national charter that functioned as a transitional constitution. In June

1992 the OLF withdrew from the government; in March 1993, members of the Southern Ethiopia Peoples' Democratic Coalition left the government.

In May 1991, the Eritrean People's Liberation Front (EPLF), led by Isaias Afwerki, assumed control of Eritrea and established a provisional government. This provisional government independently administered Eritrea until April 23-25, 1993, when Eritreans voted overwhelmingly for independence in a UN-monitored free and fair referendum. Eritrea was declared independent on April 27, and the United States recognized Eritrean independence on April 28.

In Ethiopia, President Meles Zenawi and members of the TGE pledged to oversee the formation of a multiparty democracy. The election for a 547-member constituent assembly was held in June 1994, and this assembly adopted the constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia in December 1994. The elections for Ethiopia's first popularly chosen national parliament and regional legislatures were held in May and June 1995. Most opposition parties chose to boycott these elections, ensuring a landslide victory for the EPRDF. International and non-governmental observers concluded that opposition parties would have been able to participate had they chosen to do so.

The Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia was installed in August 1995. The EPRDF-led government of Prime Minister Meles has promoted a policy of ethnic federalism, devolving significant powers to regional, ethnically based authorities. Ethiopia today has 10 semi-autonomous administrative regions which have the power to raise and spend their own revenues. Under the present government, Ethiopians enjoy greater political participation and freer debate than ever before in their history, although some fundamental freedoms, including freedom of the press, are in practice somewhat circumscribed.


Principal Government Officials Last Updated: 2/14/03


President: Girma Woldegiorgis,

Prime Minister: Meles Zenawi,

Dep. Prime Min.: Addisu Legesse,

Dep. Prime Min.: Kassu Ilala,

Min. of Agriculture: Mulatu Teshome,

Min. of Capacity Building: Tefera Walwa,

Min. of Defense: Abadula Gemeda,

Min. of Education: Genet Zewdie,

Min. of Federal Affairs: Abay Tsehay,

Min. of Finance & Economic Development: Sufian Ahmed,

Min. of Foreign Affairs: Seyoum Mesfin,

Min. of Health: Kebede Tadesse, Dr.

Min. of Information: Bereket Simeon,

Min. of Infrastructure: Kassu Ilala,

Min. of Justice: Harka Haroyu,

Min. of Labor & Social Affairs: Hassan Abdella,

Min. of Mines & Energy Resources: Mohamoud Dirir,

Min. of Revenue: Getachew Belay,

Min. of Rural Development: Addisu Legesse,

Min. of Trade & Industry: Girma Birru,

Min. of Water Resources: Shiferaw Jarso,

Min. of Youth, Sports, & Culture: Teshome Toga,

Governor, National Bank: Teklewold, Atnafu

Ambassador to the US: Kassahun Ayele,

Permanent Representative to the UN, New York: Abdul Mejid Hussein,



Ethiopia maintains an embassy in the U.S. at 2134 Kalorama Road, NW, Washington, DC 20008 (tel. 202/234-2281) headed by Ambassador Berhane Gebre-Christos. A separate trade and commercial office is located at 1800 K Street, N.W., Suite 824, Washington, D.C. 20006 (tel. 202/452-1272).


DEFENSE

The Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF) numbers about 200,000 personnel, which makes it one of the largest militaries in Africa.

During the 1998-2000 border war with Eritrea, the ENDF mobilized up to a strength of approximately 350,000. Since the end of the war, they have demobilized some 150,000 soldiers. The ENDF continues a transition from its roots as a guerril la army to a professional military organization with the aid of the U.S. and other countries. Training in peacekeeping operations, professional military education, military training management, and military medicine are among the major programs sponsored by the United States.


ECONOMY

The current government has embarked on a program of economic reform, including privatization of state enterprises and rationalization of government regulation. While the process is still ongoing, the reforms have begun to attract much-needed foreign investment.

The Ethiopian economy is based on agriculture, which contributes 45% to GNP and more than 80% of exports, and employs 85% of the population. The major agricultural export crop is coffee, providing 65%-75% of Ethiopia's foreign exchange earnings. Other traditional major agricultural exports are hides and skins, pulses, oilseeds, and the traditional "khat," a leafy shrub which has psychotropic qualities when chewed.

Ethiopia's agriculture is plagued by periodic drought, soil degradation caused by overgrazing, deforestation, high population density, and poor infrastructure, making it difficult and expensive to get goods to market. Yet it is the country's most promising resource. A potential exists for self-sufficiency in grains and for export development in livestock, grains, vegetables, and fruits.

Gold, marble, limestone, and small amounts of tantalum are mined in Ethiopia. Other resources with potential for commercial development include large potash deposits, natural gas, iron ore, and possibly oil and geothermal energy. Although Ethiopia has good hydroelectric resources, which power most of its manufacturing sector, it is totally dependent on imports for its oil. A landlocked country, Ethiopia uses the seaports of Assab and Massawa in Eritrea. Ethiopia also uses the port of Djibouti, connected to Addis Ababa by rail, for international trade. Of the 23,812 kilometers of Ethiopia's all-weather roads, 15% are asphalt. Mountainous terrain and the lack of good roads and sufficient vehicles make land transportation difficult. However, the government-owned airline is excellent. Ethiopian Airlines serves 38 domestic airfields and has 42 international destinations.

Dependent on a few vulnerable crops for its foreign exchange earnings and reliant on imported oil, Ethiopia lacks sufficient foreign exchange. The financially conservative government has taken measures to solve this problem, including stringent import controls and sharply reduced subsidies on retail gasoline prices. Nevertheless, the largely subsistence economy is incapable of supporting high military expenditures, drought relief, an ambitious development plan, and indispensable imports such as oil and, therefore, must depend on foreign assistance.


FOREIGN RELATIONS

Ethiopia was relatively isolated from major movements of world politics until the 1895 and 1935 Italian invasions. Since World War II, it has played an active role in world and African affairs. Ethiopia was a charter member of the United Nations and took part in UN operations in Korea in 1951 and the Congo in 1960. Former Emperor Haile Selassie was a founder of the Organization of African Unity (OAU). Addis Ababa is the host capital for the UN Economic Commission for Africa and the OAU.

Although nominally a member of the Non-Aligned Movement, after the 1974 revolution, Ethiopia moved into a close relationship with the Soviet Union and its allies and supported their international policies and positions until the change of government in 1991. Today, Ethiopia has very good relations with the United States and the West, especially in responding to regional instability and, increasingly, through economic involvement.

Ethiopia's relations with Eritrea are tense. Following a brutal 1998-2000 border war in which tens of thousands died, the two countries signed a peace agreement in December 2000. A five-member independent international commission—Eritrean Ethiopia Boundary Commission (EEBC)—issued a decision in April 2002 and follow-up observations in March 2003 delimiting the border between the two countries, but thus far the parties have not agreed to final demarcation. The United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) peacekeeping mission patrols a 25-kilometerwide Temporary Security Zone (TSZ) between the two countries; a few minor incidents of violence have occurred, all between local villagers and militia or armed opposition groups supported by the other side. Both countries insist they will not instigate fighting, but both also remain prepared for any eventuality. Ethiopia's borders with Sudan and Somalia contributes to tension with the National Islamic Front regime in Sudan and several groups in Somalia. Ethiopia has recently entered into a loose tripartite (nonmilitary) cooperation with Sudan and Yemen aimed at Eritrea, as all three countries have disputes with Eritrea over border and other issues.


U.S.-ETHIOPIA RELATIONS

U.S.-Ethiopian relations were established in 1903 and were good throughout the period prior to the Italian occupation in 1935. After World War II, these ties strengthened on the basis of a September 1951 treaty of amity and economic relations. In 1953, two agreements were signed: a mutual defense assistance agreement, under which the United States agreed to furnish military equipment and training, and an accord regularizing the operations of a U.S. communication facility at Asmara. Through fiscal year 1978, the United States provided Ethiopia with $282 million in military assistance and $366 million in economic assistance in agriculture, education, public health, and transportation. A Peace Corps program emphasized education, and U.S. Information Service educational and cultural exchanges were numerous.

After Ethiopia's revolution, the bilateral relationship began to cool as a result of the Derg's identification with international communism and U.S. revulsion at the Derg's murderous means of maintaining itself in power. The United States rebuffed Ethiopia's request for increased military assistance to intensify its fight against the Eritrean secessionist movement and to repel the Somali invasion. The International Security and Development Act of 1985 prohibited all U.S. economic assistance to Ethiopia with the exception of humanitarian disaster and emergency relief. In July 1980, the U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia was recalled at the request of the Ethiopian Government, and the U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia and the Ethiopian Embassy in the United States were headed by Charges d'Affaires.

With the downfall of the Mengistu regime, U.S.-Ethiopian relations improved dramatically. Legislative restrictions on assistance to Ethiopia other than humanitarian assistance were lifted. Diplomatic relations were upgraded to the ambassadorial level in 1992. During FY 1997, the U.S. provided about $77.2 million in assistance to Ethiopia, of which $39.9 million was food aid ($6.4 million in emergency food assistance). U.S. development assistance to Ethiopia is conditional on progress in democracy and human rights as well as economic reforms. Some in military training funds, including training in such issues as the laws of war and observance of human rights, also are provided. The Peace Corps returned about 3 years ago to Ethiopia where, in the past, it had one of its largest programs. In FY 1999, the Peace Corps had more than 100 Volunteers in-country; however, due to political instability, the Peace Corps no longer operates in Ethiopia.


Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

Addis Ababa (E), Entoto St. • P.O. Box 1014, Tel [251] (1) 550-666, Fax 551-328, Telex 21282; AMB Fax 550-342; PAO Tel 550-007, Fax 551-748; AID Tel 510-851, Fax 510-043; ADM/GSO Fax 550-774; POL/ECO Fax 550-174. E-mail: [email protected] fax 551-094; E-mail: [email protected]

AMB: Aurelia B. Brazeal
AMB OMS: Deborah L. Davids
DCM: Thomas Hull III
POL/ECO: David C. Becker
ECO/COM: Juha P. Salin
CON: Santiago Busa
MGT: Eva J. Groening
RSO: Joseph F. Clark, Jr.
IMO: Charles Vinnedge
RPO: Mai-Thao T. Nguyen
REO: Daniel K. Balzer
REF: Stephen A. Hubler
AID: Mary L. Lewellen
ORA: Stacey Kazacos
PAO: Jeremy L. Carper
DAO: LTC Lee J. Whiteside
RMO: Dr. Allen A. Ries

Last Modified: Monday, December 15, 2003


TRAVEL


Consular Information Sheet January 13, 2004


Americans planning travel to Ethiopia should read the East Africa Public Announcement, available on the Department of State website at http://travel.state.gov. Travelers should also read the current Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, available on the same website.

Country Description: The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia is a developing east African country comprising 11 semi-autonomous administrative regions organized loosely along major ethnic lines. Tourism facilities in Ethiopia are minimal. The capital is Addis Ababa.

A border dispute between Ethiopia and neighboring Eritrea erupted in May 1998 and escalated into full-scale conflict that continued until a cease-fire was reached in June 2000. In December 2000, a peace agreement was signed between the two countries to delimit and demarcate the border. The peace process is ongoing and the border between Ethiopia and Eritrea remains closed.

Entry and Exit Req uirements: Citizens of the United States may obtain tourist/visitors visas upon arrival in Ethiopia. This service is only available at Bole International Airport, Ethiopia's main airport, in Addis Ababa. The fee of 390 birr (approximately 45 dollars (US)) is payable only in Ethiopian currency. Travelers may exchange currency upon arrival. However, because of possible confusion or delays, travelers should obtain a valid Ethiopian visa prior to arrival whenever possible. An exit visa is required if your entry visa has expired by the time of departure. In such circumstances, an exit visa can be obtained at the main immigration office in Addis Ababa only and not at Bole International Airport. Ethiopi a charges a 20 dollar (US) departure tax, payable in USD cash only.

Due to animosity stemming from the ongoing border dispute with Eritrea, U.S. citizens of Eritrean origin who seek to travel to Ethiopia may experience delays in processing of their visa applications because all such applications must be cleared through the main Ethiopian immigration office in Addis Ababa.

Laptop computers must be declared upon arrival and departure. Tape recorders require special customs permits. Prior to travel, individuals intending prolonged stays should direct their questions to the Ethiopian Embassy, 3506 International Dr., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008; telephone (202) 364-1200; fax (202) 686-9857; website www.ethiopian.embassy.org. Inquiries overseas may be made at the nearest Ethiopian embassy or consulate.

In an effort to prevent international child abduction, many governments have initiated procedures at entry/exit points. These often include requiring documentary evidence of relationship and permission for the child's travel from the parent(s) or legal guardian not present. Having such documentation on hand, even if not required, may facilitate entry and departure.

Dual Nationality: Ethiopia does not recognize dual nationality. The Government of Ethiopia considers Ethiopians who have become naturalized U.S. citizens to be Americans. Such individuals are not subject to Ethiopian military service. The Ethiopian Foreign Ministry has stated that Ethiopian-Americans are given the same opportunity to invest in Ethiopia as Ethiopians. Eritrean-Americans are treated as U.S. citizens, although the Government of Ethiopia has arrested people of Eritrean origin who initially failed to disclose their U.S. citizenship. For additional information, see the Bureau of Consular Affairs' website at http://travel.state.gov for our Dual Nationality flyer.

Safety and Security: Although Ethiopia and Eritrea signed a peace agreement in December 2000, American citizens should exercise caution if traveling to the northern Tigray and Afar regions (within 50km/30 miles of the Ethiopian/Eritrean border) because of land mines and unsettled conditions in the border area. There is a peacekeeping mission in the border area, but the border with Eritrea has not yet been finalized. U.S. citizens should stay clear of security operations and should not try to intercede with police on behalf of Eritreans or anyone else.

Since the mid-1990's, various opposition elements and government forces have clashed around Harar and in the Somali regional state, particularly near the border with Somalia. Cross-border travel by road from Ethiopia into Somalia is not advised. Somali groups affiliated with terrorist organizations may occasionally operate within the Somali, Oromiya, and Afar regions.

Interethnic clashes are prevalent in the western-most tip of the Gambella Region in west Ethiopia. A flare-up of interethnic conflict from December 13-17, 2003 has claimed many lives. Travel to this region is not recommended.

Travel in Ethiopia via rail is strongly discouraged due to episodes of derailment, sabotage, and bombings as recently as February 2003.

In southern Ethiopia along the Kenyan border, banditry and incidents involving ethnic conflicts are also common. Travelers should exercise caution when traveling to any remote area of the country, including the borders with Eritrea, Somalia, Kenya and Sudan. Ethiopian security forces do not have a widespread presence in those regions.

For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department's Internet website at http://travel.state.gov where the current Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, the East Africa Public Announcement, as well as consular information for other countries, such as Travel Warnings and Public Announcements can be found.

Crime Information: Crime is a growing problem in Addis Ababa. Pick pocketing, "snatch and run," and other petty crimes are common. Travelers should exercise caution in crowded areas such as the Mercato in Addis Ababa, Africa's largest open-air market. Visitors should limit the amount of cash they carry and leave valuables, such as passports, jewelry, and airline tickets in a hotel safe or other secure place. Keep wallets and other valuables where they will be less susceptible to pick pockets.

Travelers should be cautious at all times when traveling on roads in Ethiopia. There are reports of highway robberies, including carjackings, by armed bandits throughout the country. Some incidents have been accompanied by violence. Travelers are cautioned to limit road travel outside major towns or cities to daylight hours and travel in convoys, if possible.

The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to local police and to the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, to contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed.

The pamphlets A Safe Trip Abroad and Tips for Travelers to Sub-Saharan Africa provide useful information on personal security while traveling abroad and on travel in the region. Both are available via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov or from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402, or via the internet at http://www.gpoaccess.gov.

Medical Facilities: Health facilities are extremely limited in Addis Ababa and completely inadequate outside the capital. Although physicians are generally well trained, even the best hospitals in Addis Ababa suffer from inadequate facilities, antiquated equipment, and shortages of supplies (particularly medicine). Emergency assistance is limited. Travelers must carry their own supplies of prescription drugs and preventive medicines, as well as a doctor's note describing the medication. If the quantity of drugs exceeds that which would be expected for personal use, a permit from the Ministry of Health is required.

Medical Insurance: The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation. U.S. medical insurance plans seldom cover health costs incurred outside the United States unless supplemental coverage is purchased. Further, U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do not provide payment for medical services outside the United States. However, many travel agents and private companies offer insurance plans that will cover health care expenses incurred overseas including emergency services such as medical evacuations.

When making a decision regarding health insurance, Americans should consider that many foreign doctors and hospitals require payment in cash prior to providing service and that a medical evacuation to the U.S. may cost well in excess of $50,000. Uninsured travelers who require medical care overseas often face extreme difficulties. When consulting with your insurer prior to your trip, ascertain whether payment will be made to the overseas healthcare provider or whether you will be reimbursed later for expenses you incur. Some insurance policies also include coverage for psychiatric treatment and for disposition of remains in the event of death.

Useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas insurance programs, is provided in the Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs brochure, Medical Information for Americans Traveling Abroad, available via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page.

Other Health Information: Ethiopia is a mountain ous country in which the high altitude may cause health problems even for healthy travelers. Addis Ababa is located at an altitude of 8,000 feet. Individuals may experience shortness of breath, fatigue, nausea, headaches, and inability to sleep.

Malaria is prevalent in Ethiopia outside of Addis Ababa. Travelers outside of Addis Ababa should take malaria prophy laxis. P. falciparum malaria, the serious and sometimes fatal strain in Ethiopia, is resistant to the anti-malarial drug chloroquine. Because travelers to Ethiopia are at high risk for contracting malaria, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises that travelers should take one of the following antimalarial drugs: mefloquine (Lariam™), doxycycline, or atovaquone/proguanil (Malarone™). The CDC has determined that a traveler who is on an appropriate antimalarial drug has a greatly reduced chance of contracting the disease. In addition, other personal protective measures, such as the use of insect repellents, help to reduce malaria risk. Travelers who become ill with a fever or flu-like illness while traveling in a malaria-risk area and up to one year after returning home should seek prompt medical attention and tell the physician their travel history and what antimalarials they have been taking. For additional information on malaria, protection from insect bites, and antimalarial drugs, please visit the CDC Travelers' Health website at http://www.cdc.gov/travel/malinfo.htm.

Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747); fax 1-888-CDC-FAXX (1-888-232-3299), or via the CDC's Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the World Health Organization's website at http://www.who.int/en. Further health information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/ith.

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Ethiopia is provided for general reference only and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

Safety of Public Transportation: Poor
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Fair
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Poor
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Poor


While travel on both paved and unpaved roads is generally considered safe, land mines and other anti-personnel devices can be encountered on isolated dirt roads that were targeted during various conflicts. Before undertaking any off-road travel, it is advisable to inquire of local authorities to ensure that the area has been cleared of mines. Excessive speed, unpredictable local driving habits, pedestrians and livestock in the roadway, and the lack of basic safety equipment on many vehicles are daily hazards on Ethiopian roads. In addition, road travel after dark outside Addis Ababa and other cities is dangerous and discouraged due to broken-down vehicles left on the roads, pedestrians using the roads, stray animals, and the possibility of armed robbery. Road lighting in cities is inadequate at best and nonexistent outside of cities.

For additional general information about road safety, including links to foreign government sites, see the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs website at http://travel.state.gov/road_safety.html.

Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Ethiopia's civil aviation authority as Category 1 — in compliance with international aviation safety standards for oversight of Ethiopia's air carrier operations.

For further information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation within the U.S. at 1-800-322-7873, or visit the FAA's Internet website at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/index.cfm. The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some foreign air carriers for suitability as official providers of air services. For information regarding the DOD policy on specific carriers, travelers may contact DOD at (618) 229-4801.

The Ethiopian government has closed air routes near the border with Eritrea and has referred to the airspace as a "no-fly zone." The FAA currently prohibits U.S. aircraft and U.S. pilots from flying in Ethiopian airspace north of 12 degrees north latitude, the area along the country's northern border with Eritrea. For complete information on this flight prohibition, travelers may visit the FAA's website at http://www.faa.gov/avr/arm/sfar87.doc.

Customs Restrictions: Permits are required before either antiques or animal skins can be exported from Ethiopia. Antique religious artifacts, including "Ethiopian" crosses, require documentation from the National Museum in Addis Ababa for export.

Criminal Penalties: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Ethiopian laws, even unknowingly, may be arrested, imprisoned, or expelled. Penalties for possession, use or trafficking in illegal drugs in Ethiopia are strict and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines. The use of the mild stimulant "khat" is legal in Ethiopia, but it is considered an illegal substance in many other countries, including the United States.

Currency Issues: Visitors must declare foreign currency upon arrival and may be required to present this declaration when applying for an exit visa. Official and black market exchange rates are nearly the same. Penalties for exchanging money on the black market range from fines to imprisonment. Credit cards are not accepted at most hotels, restaurants, shops, or other local facilities, although they are accepted at the Hilton and Sheraton Hotels in Addis Ababa. Foreigners are generally required to pay for hotel and car rental in foreign currency.

Photography Restrictions: Ethiopian law strictly prohibits the photographing of military installations, police/military personnel, industrial facilities, government buildings, and infrastructure (roads, bridges, dams, airfields, etc.). Such sites are rarely marked clearly. Travel guides, police, and Ethiopian officials can advise if a particular site may be photographed. Photographing prohibited sites may result in the confiscation of film and camera.

Disaster Preparedness: There is a high risk of earthquakes in Ethiopia. Buildings may collapse due to strong tremors. General information about natural disaster preparedness is available via the Internet from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at http://www.fema.gov/.

Children's Issues: For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, please refer to our Internet site at http://travel.state.gov/children's_issues or telephone 202-736-7000. For specific information please consult the U.S. Embassy Addis Ababa website at the internet address listed in the following paragraph.

Registration/Embassy Location: U.S. citizens are encouraged to register at the U.S. Embassy and to obtain updated information on travel and security in Ethiopia. Biographic information, passport data, and the itinerary may be faxed directly to the consular section at 251-1-551-094.

The U.S. Embassy is located at Entoto Avenue, P.O. Box 1014, in Addis Ababa, telephone: 251-1-550-666, extension 316/336; emergency after-hours telephone: 251-1-552-558; consular fax: 251-1-551-094; website: http://addisababa.usembassy.gov/.

Public Announcement December 23, 2003


This Public Announcement is being issued to alert U.S. citizens to security concerns in the southwestern Gambella Region of Ethiopia. This Public Announcement expires on March 19, 2004.

On December 13, 2003, eight people were killed when an Ethiopian vehicle carrying Ethiopian refugee officials was attacked in the Gambella Region, which borders Sudan. Following this latest incident, UNHCR withdrew non-essential personnel from Gambella.

Inter-ethnic clashes are prevalent in the western-most tip of the Gambella Region in west Ethiopia. Travel to this region is not recommended. Visitors should seek current guidance from the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa or from local officials before traveling to areas along the Ethiopia/Sudan border.

U.S. citizens planning to travel to Ethiopia should consult the Department of State's Consular Information Sheet for Ethiopia, the East Africa Public Announcement and the most recent Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, which are available via the Internet at http://travel.state.gov. American citizens may obtain up-to-date information on security conditions by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States, or 317-472-2328 from overseas.

U.S. citizens visiting or resident in Ethiopia are encouraged to register at the U.S. Embassy and obtain updated information on travel and security from the Embassy before traveling in Western Ethiopia. The U.S. Embassy is located at Entoto Avenue, P.O. Box 1014, in Addis Ababa, telephone: [251] (1) 550-666, extension 316/336; emergency after-hours telephone: [251] (1) 552-558; consular fax: [251] (1) 551-094; website: http://usembassy.state.gov/ethiopia.