Ethiopia – Country Background

Capital:
Addis Ababa

History:
In addition to being perhaps the region of the first human, Ethiopia was an independent monarchy for millennia, dating back to many centuries BC. It generally avoided being colonized, with the exception of the years 1936-41, when Italy invaded and occupied.

In modern times, however, the country has been beset with issues of poverty and drought, particularly in the 1970s and 80s. In 1974 Haile Selassie, the longtime emperor, was overthrown in a coup by a communist junta, ending the long reign of the royal family. The 1990s were marked by the coming of democracy in the early part of the decade and a war with Eritrea after it seceded from the rest of the country in 1993. Prime Minister Meles Zenawi has been in power since 1995 and has received accolades for the country’s economic growth under his stewardship. 

Climate:
Tropical, but with wide variation due to differences in topography

People:
Population – 88,013,491
Median Age – 16.8 years
Population Growth Rate – 3.202%
Life Expectancy – 55.8 years
Literacy – 42.7%
Average Number of Years of Schooling – 8 years (male), 7 years (female)
Urban population – 17% 

Languages/Ethnicities/Religions:
Amarigna 32.7%, Oromigna 31.6%, Tigrigna 6.1%, Somaligna 6%, Guaragigna 3.5%, Sidamigna 3.5%, Hadiyigna 1.7%, other 14.8%
English is the major foreign language taught in schools but not spoken natively.

Oromo 32.1%, Amara 30.1%, Tigraway 6.2%, Somalie 5.9%, Guragie 4.3%, Sidama 3.5%, Welaita 2.4%, other 15.4%

Christian 60.8% (Orthodox 50.6%, Protestant 10.2%), Muslim 32.8%, traditional 4.6%, other 1.8%

Economy:
GDP Per Capita – $900 (2009 est.) 

GDP Composition by Sector:
Agriculture: 43.8%
Industry: 13.2%
Services: 43% (2009 est.) 

Labor Force by Occupation:
Agriculture: 85%
Industry: 5%
Services: 10%

Main Exports:
coffee, qat, gold, leather products, live animals, oilseeds 

What it is known for:
•  Long history of independence/successful resistance to European imperialism
•  Coffee products
•  Many bible stories from Old and New Testament. 

BWA’s Focus Areas in Ethiopia:
•  Water
•  Vocational Training
•  Basic Education
•  Agro-Pastoral Development and Irrigation Systems

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