ETHIOPIAN Facts & Figures

Size: 426,371 square miles

Population: 82,101,998

Capital:  Addis Ababa

Currency: Birr

Weather / Climate:

The predominant climate type is tropical monsoon, with wide topographic-induced variation. The Ethiopian Highlands which cover most of the country have a climate which is generally considerably cooler than other regions at similar proximity to the Equator. Most of the country's major cities are located at elevations of around 2,000–2,500 meters (6,562–8,202 ft) above sea level, including historic capitals such as Gondar and Axum.

The modern capital Addis Ababa is situated on the foothills of Mount Entoto at an elevation of around 2,400 meters (7,874 ft), and experiences a healthy and pleasant climate year round. With fairly uniform year round temperatures, the seasons in Addis Ababa are largely defined by rainfall, with a dry season from October–February, a light rainy season from March–May, and a heavy rainy season from June–September. The average annual rainfall is around 1,200 mm (47.2 in). There are on average 7 hours of sunshine per day, meaning it is sunny for around 60% of the available time. The dry season is the sunniest time of the year, though even at the height of the rainy season in July and August there are still usually several hours per day of bright sunshine. The average annual temperature in Addis Ababa is 16 °C (60.8 °F), with daily maximum temperatures averaging 20–25 °C (68–77 °F) throughout the year, and overnight lows averaging 5–10 °C (41–50 °F).

Taken from

ETHIOPIAN languages

According to Ethnologue, there are 90 individual languages spoken in Ethiopia.[118] Most belong to the Afro-Asiatic language family, mainly of the Cushitic and Semitic branches. Languages from the Nilo-Saharan phylum are also spoken by the nation's Nilotic ethnic minorities.

English is the most widely spoken foreign language and is the medium of instruction in secondary schools. Amharic was the language of primary school instruction, but has been replaced in many areas by regional languages such as Oromifa and Tigrinya.

In terms of writing system, Ethiopia's principal orthography is Ge'ez or Ethiopic. Used as an abugida for several of the country's languages, it first came into use in the 5th–6th centuries BC as an abjad to transcribe the Semitic Ge'ez language. Ge'ez now serves as the liturgical language of the Ethiopian and Eritrean Orthodox Churches. Other writing systems have also been used over the years by different Ethiopian communities. The latter include Sheikh Bakri Sapalo's script for Oromo.

According to the 2007 Ethiopian census, the largest first languages are: Oromigna 24,929,268 speakers or 33.8% of the total population;[3] Amharic 21,631,370 or 29.33%[3] (official language[4]); Somali 4,609,274 or 6.25%;[3] Tigrinya 4,324,476 or 5.86%;[3] Sidamo 2,981,471 or 4.84%;[3] Wolaytta 1,627,784 or 2.21%,[3] Gurage 1,481,783 or 2.01%;[3] and Afar 1,281,278 or 1.74%.[3] Widely-spoken foreign languages include Arabic (official[4]), English (official; major foreign language taught in schools[4]), and Italian (spoken by European minority).

Taken from wikipedia




The country's population is highly diverse, containing over 80 different ethnic groups. Most people in Ethiopia speak Afro-Asiatic languages, mainly of the Semitic or Cushitic branches. The latter include the Oromo, Amhara, Tigray and Somali, who together make up three-quarters of the population.

Nilo-Saharan-speaking Nilotic ethnic minorities also inhabit the southern regions of the country, particularly in areas bordering South Sudan. Among these are the Mursi and Anuak.

Ethiopiais also a multi-religious country. Most of the Christians live in the highlands, while the Muslims mainly inhabit the lowlands. Adherents of traditional faiths are mainly concentrated in the southern regions.

Within the borders of Ethiopia lie the homelands of upwards of 80 ethnic groups, some of which number less than 1,000 reported members. No definitive list of these peoples exist, and authorities not only disagree over which are properly considered subgroups or which are artificial combinations of smaller groups, many smaller ethnic groups are omitted from every list.

Taken from wikipedia


Ethiopian cuisine characteristically consists of spicy vegetable and meat dishes, usually in the form of wat (or wot), a thick stew, served atop injera, a large sourdoughflatbread[1], which is about 50 centimeters (20 inches) in diameter and made out of fermented teff flour.[1] Ethiopians eat with their right hands, using pieces of injera to pick up bites of entrées and side dishes.[1] Utensils are rarely used with this dish.

The Ethiopian Orthodox Church prescribes a number of fastingperiods, including Wednesdays, Fridays, and the entire Lenten season, so Ethiopian cuisine contains many dishes that are vegan. This has also led Ethiopian cooks to develop a rich array of cooking oil sources: besides sesame and safflower, Ethiopian cuisine also uses nug (also spelled noog, known also as niger seed).[2]

Types of Ethiopian food

Ethiopian cuisine mostly consists of breads, stews (known as Wat), grains, and spices. Typically, an Ethiopian meal consists of a combination of injera (flatbread) with different wats, yet each diverse cultural group has their unique variation. A typical snack would be baked small pieces of bread called dabo kollo or local grains called kollo. Pasta is frequently available throughout Ethiopia, including rural areas.[1] Coffee is also a large part of Ethiopian culture/cuisine, after every meal a coffee ceremony is enacted and espresso coffee is drunk.

Berbere, a combination of powdered chili pepper and other spices (somewhat analogous to Southwestern American chili powder), is an important ingredient used in many dishes. Also essential is niter kibbeh, a clarified butter infused with ginger, garlic, and several spices.

Watstews all begin with a large amount of chopped red onion, which are simmered or sauteed in a pot. Once the onions have softened, niter kebbeh (or, in the case of vegan dishes, vegetable oil) is added. Following this, berbere is added to make a spicy keiy wat, or may omit the berbere for a milder alicha wat or alecha wat . In the event that the berbere is particularly spicy, the cook may elect to add it before the kibbeh or oil so the berbere will cook longer and become milder. Meat such as beef, chicken, fish (Amharic: asa), goat or lamb  is added; legumes such as split peas or lentils or vegetables such as potato, carrots and chard (Tigrinya: costa) are also used in wat.


Meat or vegetables are sautéed to make tibs. Tibs is served normal or special, "special tibs" is served on a hot dish with vegetables (salad) mixed in. The mid-18th century European visitor to Ethiopia, Remedius Prutky, describes tibs as a portion of grilled meat served "to pay a particular compliment or show especial respect to someone."[3]


Another distinctive Ethiopian dish is kitfo (frequently spelled ketfo), which consists of raw (or rare) ground beef marinated in, a very spicy chili powder and niter kibbeh. Gored gored is very similar to kitfo, but uses cubed, rather than ground, beef.


Fit-fitor fir-fir, made from shredded injera with spices, is a common breakfast dish. Another popular breakfast food is dulet , a spicy mixture of tripe, liver, beef, and peppers with injera. Fatira consists of a large fried pancake made with flour, often with a layer of egg, eaten with honey. Chechebsa (or kita firfir) resembles a pancake covered with berbere and kibbeh, or spices, and may be eaten with a spoon.


Kolois a roasted barley snack food often served in a paper cone.[1] Snacking on Popcorn is also common.[1]


Tej is a potent honey wine,[1] similar to mead, that is frequently served in bars (in particular, in a tej bet; Ge'ez. Katikala and araki are inexpensive local spirits that are very strong.

Tella is a home-brewed beer served in bars, which are also called "buna bets" (coffee houses).

Coffee (buna) holds a legitimate claim as originating from Ethiopia,[1] where it is a critical component of the economy[4] and is a central part of Ethiopian beverages. Equally important is the coffee ceremony which accompanies the serving of the coffee, which is sometimes served from a jebena, a clay coffee pot in which the coffee is boiled. The preparer roasts the coffee beans, then walks around the room so participants may sample the scent of coffee. Then the preparer grinds the coffee using a traditional tool called a mokecha. The coffee is put in to the jebena, boiled with water, and then served with small cups called si'ni. Coffee is usually served with sugar but is also served with salt in many parts of Ethiopia. Snacks such as popcorn or barley may be served with the coffee. In most homes a dedicated coffee area is surrounded by fresh grass, with special furniture for the coffee maker. A complete ceremony has three rounds of coffee (Abon, Tona Bereka) and is accompanied by the burning of frankincense.

Ambois a bottled carbonated mineral water, sourced from the town of Ambo.[1]

Atmet is a barley and oat-flour based drink that is cooked with water, sugar and kibe (Ethiopian clarified butter) until the ingredients have married and become a consistency slightly thicker than egg-nog. Though this drink is often given to women who are nursing, the sweetness and smooth texture make it a comfort drink for anyone who enjoys its flavor.

Serving style

A mesob is a tabletop on which food is traditionally served. The mesob is usually woven from straw, and has a lid kept on it until the mealtime. Just before the food is ready, a basin of water and soap is brought out for hand-washing. When the food is ready, the top is taken off the mesob and the food is placed in the sunken top of the mesob. When the meal is finished, the basin of water and soap is brought back out for hand-washing again.

Gurage dishes

Gurage cuisine additionally makes use of the false banana plant, a type of ensete. The plant is pulverized and fermented to make a bread-like food called qocho or kocho, which is eaten with kitfo.[5] The root of this plant may be powdered and prepared as a hot drink called bulla, which is often given to those who are tired or ill. Another typical Gurage preparation is coffee with butter (kebbeh).

The most popular Gurage main dish is kitfo. Gomen kitfo is another dish prepared in the occasion of Meskel, a very popular holiday marking the discovery of the True Cross. Collard greens are boiled, dried and then finely chopped and served with butter, chili and spices.


A goorsha is an act of friendship. As stated above, a person uses his or her right hand to strip off a piece of injera, roll it in the wat or kitfo, and then put the rolled injera into his or her mouth. During a meal with friends, a person may strip off a piece of injera, roll it in the sauce, and then put the rolled injera into a friend's mouth. This is called a goorsha, and the larger the goorsha, the stronger the friendship.[6]

Taken from wikipedia

Doing business in ETHIOPIA

Ethiopiawas the fastest-growing non-oil-dependent African economy in the years 2007 and 2008.[92] In spite of fast growth in recent years, GDP per capita is one of the lowest in the world, and the economy faces a number of serious structural problems. There have been efforts for reform since 1991, but the scope of reform is modest. Agricultural productivity remains low, and frequent droughts still beset the country.[93] The effectiveness of these policies is reflected in the ten-percent yearly economic growth from 2003–2008. Despite these economic improvements, urban and rural poverty remains an issue in the country.

Ethiopiais often ironically referred to as the "water tower" of Eastern Africa because of the many (14 major) rivers that pour off the high tableland. It also has the greatest water reserves in Africa, but few irrigation systems in place to use it. Just 1% is used for power production and 1.5% for irrigation.[94]

Historically, Ethiopia's feudal and communist economic structure has always kept it one rainless season away from devastating droughts. Ethiopia has great potential to be a producer, as it is one of the most fertile countries in Africa. According to the New York Times, Ethiopia "could easily become the breadbasket for much of Europe if her agriculture were better organized."

Provision of telecommunications services is left to a state-owned monopoly. It is the view of the current government that maintaining state ownership in this vital sector is essential to ensure that telecommunication infrastructures and services are extended to rural Ethiopia, which would not be attractive to private enterprises.

The Ethiopian constitution defines the right to own land as belonging only to "the state and the people", but citizens may only lease land (up to 99 years), and are unable to mortgage or sell. Renting of land for a maximum of twenty years is allowed and this is expected to ensure that land goes to the most productive user.

Agriculture accounts for almost 41 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP), 80 percent of exports, and 80 percent of the labour force.[citation needed] Many other economic activities depend on agriculture, including marketing, processing, and export of agricultural products. Production is overwhelmingly by small-scale farmers and enterprises and a large part of commodity exports are provided by the small agricultural cash-crop sector. Principal crops include coffee, pulses (e.g., beans), oilseeds, cereals, potatoes, sugarcane, and vegetables. Recently, Ethiopia has had a fast-growing annual GDP and it was the fastest-growing non-oil-dependent African nation in 2007.[95][96] Exports are almost entirely agricultural commodities, and coffee is the largest foreign exchange earner. Ethiopia is Africa's second biggest maize producer.[97] Ethiopia's livestock population is believed to be the largest in Africa, and as of 1987 accounted for about 15 percent of the GDP.[citation needed] According to a recent UN report the GNP per capita of Ethiopia has reached $1541 (2009).[citation needed] The same report indicated that the life expectancy had improved substantially in recent years. The life expectancy of men is reported to be 56 years and for women 60 years.


Ethiopia produces more coffee than any other country in Africa. Coffee was domesticated in Ethiopia.

Ethiopia is also the 10th largest producer of livestock in the world. Other main export commodities are khat, gold, leather products, and oilseeds. Recent development of the floriculture sector means Ethiopia is poised to become one of the top flower and plant exporters in the world.[99]

Exports from Ethiopia in the 2009/2010 financial year totaled $US1.4 billion. Neighbouring Kenya with half of Ethiopia's population exported goods worth US$5 billion during the same period.[100]

Cross-border trade by pastoralists is often informal and beyond state control and regulation. However, in East Africa, over 95% of cross-border trade is through unofficial channels and the unofficial trade of live cattle, camels, sheep and goats from Ethiopia sold to Somalia, Kenya and Djibouti generates an estimated total value of between US$250 and US$300 million annually (100 times more than the official figure).[101] This trade helps lower food prices, increase food security, relieve border tensions and promote regional integration.[101] However, there are also risks as the unregulated and undocumented nature of this trade runs risks, such as allowing disease to spread more easily across national borders. Furthermore, the government of Ethiopia is purportedly unhappy with lost tax revenue and foreign exchange revenues.[101] Recent initiatives have sought to document and regulate this trade.[101]

With the private sector growing slowly, designer leather products like bags are becoming a big export business, with Taytu becoming the first luxury designer label in the country.[102] Additional small-scale export products include cereals, pulses, cotton, sugarcane, potatoes and hides. With the construction of various new dams and growing hydroelectric power projects around the country, Ethiopia also plans to export electric power to its neighbors.[103][104] However, coffee remains its most important export product and with new trademark deals around the world, including recent deals with Starbucks, the country plans to increase its revenue from coffee.[105] Most regard Ethiopia's large water resources and potential as its "white oil" and its coffee resources as "black gold".[106][107]

The country also has large mineral resources and oil potential in some of the less inhabited regions. Political instability in those regions, however, has inhibited development. Ethiopian geologists were implicated in a major gold swindle in 2008. Four chemists and geologists from the Ethiopian Geological Survey were arrested in connection with a fake gold scandal, following complaints from buyers in South Africa. Gold bars from the National Bank of Ethiopia were found to be gilded metal by police, costing the state around US$17 million, according to the Science and Development Network website.[108]


Ethiopia has 681 km of railway that mainly consists of the Addis Ababa – Djibouti Railway, with a 1,000 mm (3 ft 3 38 in) narrow gauge. At present the railway is under joint control of Djibouti and Ethiopia, but negotiations are underway to privatize this transport utility.

As the first part of a 10-year Road Sector Development Program, between 1997 and 2002 the Ethiopian government began a sustained effort to improve its infrastructure of roads. As a result, as of 2002 Ethiopia has a total (Federal and Regional) 33 297 km of roads, both paved and gravel.

Taken from wikipedia

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