Full name: Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (FDRE)
Political system Federal system with multi-party democracy.
Head of state President Mulatu Teshome Wirtu(PHD)
Head of government Prime Minister Halilemariam Desalegn
Government The Ethiopian Constitution was adopted in 1995. The Constitution provides for federal system, which is structurally based on the federal government with nine autonomous regional states and two chartered city administrations. The FDRE has a parliamentarian form of government with a bicameral parliament which comprises the House of the Peoples’
Representatives and the House of the Federation. The House of the Peoples’ Representatives is the highest authority of the Federal Government.
Capital city Addis Ababa
Location Ethiopia is situated in the north-eastern part of Africa. It is bordered by South Sudan and the Sudan to the west, Eritrea to the north, Djibouti and Somalia to the east and Kenya to the south, extending 30 to 15 0 north of the equator and 33 0 to 48 0 east of the Greenwich meridian.
Area 1.14 million square kilometers (27th biggest country in the world).
Arable land 513,000 square kilometers (45%)
Irrigated land 34,200 square kilometers (3%)
Head of Government
President of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
Speaker of the House of People Representatives
H.E Dr. workneh Gebeyehu
The People and Culture
With a population of about 85 million, Ethiopia represents a melting pot of ancient cultures with Middle Eastern and African cultures evident in the religious, ethnic and language composition of its Semitic, Cushitic, Omotic and Nilotic peoples. The Ethiopian peoples comprise about eighty nationalities of which the Amhara and the Oromo constitute the majority, with about 60 percent of the total population.
Approximately 85 percent of the population live in the rural areas. The annual population growth rate is about 3.09 percent, and the economically active segment, between ages 14 and 60, is about 50 percent of the total population.
Ethiopia has been called a rich cultural mosaic due to its eighty different languages and dialects and as many, if not more, cultural variations.
The Amharas are located In the central highland plateau of Ethiopia and comprise the major population element in administrative zones of Gonder, Gojjam, in parts of Shoa and Wollo of the Amhara regional state.
The Oromos are the largest ethnic group in the country. They are a pastoral and agricultural people who live mainly in central and south - western Ethiopia.
People belonging to Nilo- Saharan ethnic group occupies the western part of the Country stretching from the borders with Eritrea to Lake Turkana. Elsewhere around the country there are a number of smaller communities whose cultures, languages and traditions are related to different facers of Ethiopia's long history and, as with all the peoples of the country, to its religions be they Orthodox Christians, Muslims or members of other faiths.
Folk culture is also an important element of today's Ethiopia. Artists and craftsmen make their own contributions to the countrie's cultural and social development. Almost every town has its own cultural troupe made up of singers and dancers, poets and writers, and its own cultural hall in which the troupe re-creates the song and dance of its particular area from a bygone age.
Ethiopia, like most countries in Africa, is a multi-ethnic state. Although the original physical differences between the major ethnic groups have been blurred by centuries, if not millennia, of intermarriage, there remain many who are distinct and unique.
Ethnic differences may also be observed from the great variety of languages spoken in the country, of which there are an astonishing eighty-three, with 200 dialects. These can be broken into four main groups: Semitic, Cushitic, Omotic, and Nilo-Saharan. The Semitic languages of Ethiopia are related to both Hebrew and Arabic. The Ethiopian languages of this family are derived from Ge'ez, the language of the ancient Axumite kingdom, which was also the language of the country's literature prior to the mid-nineteenth century, as well as parts of most present-day church services.
Ethiopia's Semitic languages are today spoken mainly in the north and centre of the country. The most important of them in the north is Tigrinya, which is used throughout Tigray. The principal Semitic language of the north-western and centre of the country is Amharic, which is the language of Gondar and Gojjam, as well as much of Wollo and Shewa. Moreover, Amharic is also the official language of administration, and the language of much modern Ethiopian literature.
Two other Semitic languages are spoken to the south and east of Addis Ababa: Guraginya, used by the Gurage in a cluster of areas to the south of the capital, and Adarinya, a tongue current only within the old walled city of Harar and used by the Adare, also known as Harrari, people. The Cushitic languages, which are less closely related than the Semitic, are found mainly in the south of the country. The most important tongue in this group is Afan Oromo. It is used in a wide stretch of country, including Welega and parts of Ilubabor in the west, Wollo in the north, Shewa and Arsi in the centre, Bale and Sidamo in the south, and Harerge in the east. Other Cushitic language in the area comprise Somalinya, which is spoken by the Somali in the Ogaden to the east, as well as in the neighboring Somali Republic and part of Djibouti, and the Sidaminya language, used in part of the Sidama region. Cushitic languages, however, are also used in the north of the country, namely Afarinya, spoken by the Afar of eastern Wollo and the northern half of the Djibouti Republic; Saho, in parts of Tigray; and Agawinya, in small pockets in different parts of western Ethiopia. The Omotic group of languages, which comprise considerably fewer speakers than either the Semitic or the Cushitic, are spoken the south-west of the country, mainly in Gamo Gofa. They have been given the name in recent years because they are spoken in the general area of the Omo River. The Nilo-Saharan languages, largely peripheral to Ethiopian civilization, are spoken in a wide arc of the country towards the Sudan frontier. They include, from north to south, Gumuz in Gondar and Gojjam, Berta in Welega, and Anuak in Ilubabor.
Ethiopia is the ninth largest country in Africa
The 3rd populous country in Africa
Ethiopia is a country of great geographical diversity. Located within the tropics, its physical conditions and variations in altitude have resulted in great range of terrain, climate, soil, flora and fauna. Ethiopia has high and rugged mountains, flat-topped plateau called "Ambas," deep gorges, incised river valleys and vast rolling plains. Its altitude ranges from the highest peak at Ras Dashen (4620 meters above sea level) down to the Dalol (also known as the Danakil) depression, approximately 148 meters below sea level. The major features of Ethiopia's landscape are lines of great escarpments overlooking the Afar plains and along its western borderlands, as well as great massifs. From lush plains and mountains to arid expanses, much of Ethiopia is dissected by tributaries to well known rivers including Abay (The Blue Nile), Tekeze, Awash, Omo, the Wabe Shebellie and Baro-Akobo.
Resulting from an extensive fault that cracked the old crystalline block of the African continent along the eastern side, Ethiopia's Great Rift Valley stretches from the eastern end of the Mediterranean Basin down to Mozambique in the southeastern part Africa. The Great Rift Valley system separates the western highlands and the southeastern highlands. On each side the highlands, the Rift Valley system give way to vast semi-arid lowland area in the east, west and especially the south.
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 1982–84,1987–88, and 1991.
The Ethiopian Calendar
While much of the world marks the passing of days according to the Gregorian calendar, Ethiopia has its own calendar, which is also known as the Ge'ez Calendar. Based upon the ancient Coptic Calendar, the Ethiopian Calendar is seven to eight years behind the Gregorian Calendar, owing to alternate calculations in determining the date of the annunciation of the birth of Jesus. The Ethiopian Calendar has 12 months of 30 days each, plus five or six additional days (sometimes known as the 13th month), which are added at the end of the year to match the calendar to the solar cycle. The year is currently 2000, according to the Ethiopian Calendar. Ethiopia celebrated the millennium at midnight on September 12, 2007. The year 2001 began in Ethiopia on September 11, 2008 of the Gregorian Calendar. Ethiopian Calendar: Gregorian Calendar:
- Meskerem (New Year) 11 September - 10 October
- Tikim 11 October - 9 November
- Hidar 10 November - 9 December
- Tahsas 10 December - 8 January
- Tir 9 January - 7 February
- Yakatit 8 February - 9 March
- Maggabit 10 March - 8 April
- Miyazya 9 April - 8 May
- Ginbot 9 May - 7 June
- Sene 8 June - 7 July
- Hamle 8 July - 6 August
- Nehasa 7 August - 6 September
- Pagume 6 - 10 September
The time in Ethiopia is eight hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time in the United States except during Daylight Savings Time in the United States, during which Ethiopian time is seven hours ahead.
The local currency is the Ethiopia Birr, made up of 100 cents. Visitors may import an unlimited amount of foreign currency, provided that declaration of such currency is made to Customs on arrival. Foreign currency may only be changed at authorized banks and hotels. The currency declaration form must be retained as this will be required by Customs on departure. Visitors will be able to change back any excess Ethiopian Birr to foreign currency in the airport before departure.
Ethiopia is a land of enormous diversity and as a result Ethiopia has more than 80 languages and over 200 dialects. Amharic or Amharigna is the official language of Ethiopia although the government encourages local languages to be taught in schools. The working languages of the national/regional governments may differ according to regions. Other main languages include Oromigna and Tigrigna. English, French, Italian and Arabic are also widely spoken