• Capital city – Addis Ababa
  • Located in the tropical zone of North Eastern Africa (Horn of Africa)
  • Land size approximately 1.1 million square kilometres
  • Borders five countries: Eritrea, Djibouti, Sudan, Kenya and Somalia
  • Great Rift Valley is the main geographical feature which makes parts of the country very rugged and isolated
  • Dramatic variations in climate due to the topography of the country (eg the altitude of Addis Ababa is between 2,200 and 2,500 meters above sea level)


  • Approximately 81,000,000
  • 49.7% is female (MOH – Ministry of Health, Ethiopia)
  • 85% of the population live in rural areas (MOH)
  • High population growth (2.7% p.a.) – around 2 million per year (MOH)
  • Low average life expectancy – 47 for males and 49 for females (MOH)
  • Ethiopia has the second largest population in Africa


  • Annual per capita income – approximately US$100 (MOH).
  • Around 47% of the population live below the poverty line (MOH).
  • Reliant on agriculture – eg. coffee (makes up 55% of Ethiopia’s exports) and Tef (grain used for local consumption).
  • Some mining of minerals (mainly salt) as well as limited production of gold and iron ore. These industries remain undeveloped due to a lack of capital to develop the resource deposits and the necessary supporting infrastructure.
  • Fresh cut flowers is a growing export industry.


  • The main language in Ethiopia is Amharic
  • There are a vast number of ethnic groups and around 80 different languages
  • Main religions are Christian and Muslim (approximately 50:50)


  • Low adult literacy rate of 38% (Men–50% and Women – 26.6%) (WHO – World Health Organisation)
  • Gender inequality results in higher enrolment rate of boys than girls in rural areas


  • Malaria, HIV and tuberculosis are major causes of illness and mortality
  • Floods and droughts create food insecurity that contributes to poor health, malnutrition and starvation
  • 27% of women suffer from severe malnutrition (WHO)
  • The rural population faces many obstacles regarding access to healthcare e.g. lack of transport to reach healthcare centres and inability to pay for health care
  • Limited resources to adequately build and equip medical facilities (eg the Felege Hiwot Hospital in Bahir Dah has 200 beds, 5 specialist doctors and is the referral hospital for 20 million people).


  • An ancient country with links back to King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba (1000 BC)
  • First country outside the Roman Empire to receive Christianity
  • The city of Harar is the 4th most holy city in Islam
  • ‘Divine’ kings ruled with the last being Emperor Haile Selassie 1 whose dynastic origins date from the 13th century
  • Haile Selassie was Regent from 1916 to 1930 and Emperor of Ethiopia from 1930 to 1974. He was deposed in a communist military coup.
  • Current government established in 1991 after overthrowing the Communist Derg.





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