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Introduction to Country Context

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Federal Republic of Ethiopia

The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia is located in the north-eastern part of Africa known as the Horn of Africa (see map). The country has a total surface area of approximately 1.1 million square kilometres.[1] Its topography ranges from peaks as high as 4550 m above sea level at Mt Ras Dashen in the north, to land 110 m below sea level in the Afar Depression.

Ethiopia is a land-locked country, sharing a border with six countries: Eritrea and Sudan in the north, Djibouti and Somalia in the east, Kenya in the south and South Sudan in the west.

The country has different climate zones, varying according to longitude and latitude. Climate variations such as rainfall and higher-than-average minimum temperature have created instability in the occurrence of certain diseases, in particular malaria.[2]

Ethiopia is the second most populous sub-Saharan African country, with a population of 84 million and a 2.6% annual growth rate.[3] A total of 83.6% of the population lives in rural areas, making Ethiopia one of the least urbanized countries in the world. The average national household size is 4.7.

The female to male ratio is nearly 50% of each sex.[4] However, the illiteracy rate for adult females is 77%, out of a total adult illiteracy rate of 64%.[5]

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The Ethiopian economy is agriculture based, with the agricultural sector accounting for nearly 42% of the gross domestic product and contributing 83.6% to overall employment. Agriculture produces food for domestic consumption, raw material for local industry and primary goods for export.[2]

The industrial sector, mainly based on processing agricultural goods, accounts for 13% of gross domestic product, while the service sector accounts for 45% of gross domestic product.[2]

Gross national income per capita is US$ 971; however, an estimated 39% of the population lives below US$1.25 purchasing power parity per day. Ethiopia’s Human Development Index is 0.363, which means that it is one of the least developed countries in the world, with a ranking of 174 out of 187 countries.[6]

The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia was established with the inception of the constitution in 1995. There are two parliament chambers: the Council of Peoples’ Representatives, with the highest authority of the Federal Government, and the Council of Federations, representing the common interests of nations, nationalities and people of the state. The responsibility at the federal level includes national defence, foreign relations and a general policy of common interest and benefits.[1]

Ethiopia consists of nine self-governing regional states (Afar, Amhara, Benshangul-Gumaz, Gambella, Harari, Oromia, Somali, Southern Nations Nationalities and People, Tigray) and two city administrations (Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa).

The regional states and the two city administration are divided into districts and kebeles (the smallest administrative unit in Ethiopia). The decentralization of power to regional governments and local communities is the basis for all types of public service delivery. This approach is believed to bring closer community participation at a grass-roots level.[1]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Ethiopian Government portal: government overview.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Ethiopian Government portal: Geography
  3. Annual report on macroeconomic development. Addis Ababa, Government of Ethiopia, Ministry of Finance and Economic Development 2011
  4. National statistics, population 2011. Addis Ababa, Central Statistics Agency, 2011
  5. Education Sector Development Program IV (ESDP IV) 2010/2011–2014/2015 (pdf 5.39Mb). Addis Ababa, Government of Ethiopia, Ministry of Education, 2011
  6. Sustainability and equity: a better future for all (pdf 5.61Mb). New York, United Nations Development Programme, 2011