Ethiopia, officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a country located in the Horn of Africa, and is the most populous landlocked country in the world. It is bordered by Eritrea to the north, Djibouti and Somalia to the east, Sudan and South Sudan to the west, and Kenya to the south. Ethiopia is the second-most populous nation on the African continent(SONY PCG-5G2L battery), with over 84,320,000 inhabitants, and the tenth largest by area, occupying 1,100,000 km2. Its capital, Addis Ababa, is known as "the political capital of Africa."
Ethiopia is one of the oldest sites of human existence known to scientists. It may be the region from which Homo sapiens first set out for the Middle East and points beyond. Ethiopia was a monarchy for most of its history until the last dynasty of Haile Selassie ended in 1974, and the Ethiopian dynasty traces its roots to the 2nd century BC. (SONY PCG-5G3L battery) Alongside Rome, Persia, China and India, the Kingdom of Aksum was one of the great world powers of the 3rd century and the first major empire in the world to officially adopt Christianity as a state religion in the 4th century. During the Scramble for Africa, Ethiopia was the only African country beside Liberia that retained its sovereignty as a recognized independent country(SONY PCG-F305 battery), and was one of only four African members of the League of Nations. Ethiopia then became a founding member of the UN. When other African nations received their independence following World War II, many of them adopted the colors of Ethiopia's flag, and Addis Ababa became the location of several global organizations focused on Africa. Ethiopia is one of the founding members of the Non-Aligned Movement(SONY PCG-5J1L battery), G-77 and the Organisation of African Unity. Addis Ababa is currently the headquarters of the African Union, the Pan African Chamber of Commerce, UNECA and the African Standby Force.
The ancient Ge'ez script is widely used in Ethiopia. The Ethiopian calendar is seven to eight years behind the Gregorian calendar. The country is a multilingual and multiethnic society of around 80 groups, with the two largest being the Oromo and the Amhara(SONY PCG-5J2L battery), both of which speak Afro-Asiatic languages. The majority of the population is Christian while a third of it is Muslim. Ethiopia is the site of the first Hijra in Islamic history and the oldest Muslim settlement in Africa at Negash. A substantial population of Ethiopian Jews resided in Ethiopia until the 1980s. The country is also the spiritual homeland of the Rastafari movement. There are 9 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Ethiopia(SONY PCG-5K2L battery).
Despite being the major source of the Nile, Ethiopia underwent a series of famines in the 1980s, exacerbated by adverse geopolitics and civil wars. The country has begun to recover, and it now has the biggest economy by GDP in East Africa and Central Africa. Ethiopia follows a federal republic political system and EPRDF has been the ruling party since 1991(SONY PCG-5L1L battery).
The Greek name Αἰθιοπία (from Αἰθίοψ, Aithiops, 'an Ethiopian') appears twice in the Iliad and three times in the Odyssey. The Greek historian Herodotus specifically uses it for all the lands south of Egypt, including Sudan and modern Ethiopia. Pliny the Elder says the country's name comes from a son of Hephaestus (aka Vulcan) named Aethiops. (SONY PCG-6S2L battery) Similarly, in the 15th century Ge'ez Book of Aksum, the name is ascribed to a legendary individual called Ityopp'is, an extrabiblical son of Cush, son of Ham, said to have founded the city of Axum. In addition to this Cushite figure, two of the earliest Semitic kings are also said to have born the name Ityopp'is according to traditional Ethiopian king lists. Modern European scholars beginning c. 1600 have considered the name to be derived from the Greek words aitho "I burn" + ops "face"(SONY PCG-6S3L battery).
The name Ethiopia also occurs in many translations of the Old Testament, but the Hebrew texts have Kush, which refers foremost to Nubia / Sudan. In the (Greek) New Testament, however, the Greek term Aithiops, ‘an Ethiopian’, does occur, referring to a servant of Candace or Kentakes, possibly an inhabitant of Meroe which was later conquered and destroyed by the Kingdom of Axum(SONY PCG-6V1L battery). The earliest attested use of the name Ityopya in the region itself is as a name for the Kingdom of Aksum in the 4th century, in stone inscriptions of King Ezana, who first Christianized the entire apparatus of the kingdom.
In English, and generally outside Ethiopia, the country was also once historically known as Abyssinia, derived from Habesh, an early Arabic form of the Ethiosemitic name "Ḥabaśāt" (unvocalized "ḤBŚT")(SONY PCG-6W1L battery). The modern form Habesha is the native name for the country's inhabitants (while the country has been called "Ityopp'ya"). In a few languages, Ethiopia is still referred to by names cognate with "Abyssinia," e.g., modern Arabic Al-Ḥabashah.
Main article: History of Ethiopia
East Africa, and more specifically the general area of Ethiopia, is widely considered the site of the emergence of early Homo sapiens in the Middle Paleolithic 400,000 years ago. Homo sapiens idaltu, found at site Middle Awash in Ethiopia, lived about 160,000 years ago. (SONY PCG-7111L battery)
Coins of the Axumite king Endybis, 227–235 AD. British Museum. The left one reads in Greek "AΧWMITW BACIΛEYC", "King of Axum". The right one reads in Greek: ΕΝΔΥΒΙC ΒΑCΙΛΕΥC, "King Endybis".
Around the 8th century BC, a kingdom known as Dʿmt was established in northern Ethiopia and Eritrea. Its capital was around the current town of Yeha, situated in northern Ethiopia(SONY PCG-71511M battery). Most modern historians consider this civilization to be a native African one, although Sabaean-influenced because of the latter's hegemony of the Red Sea, while others view Dʿmt as the result of a mixture of Sabaeans of southern Arabia and indigenous peoples. However, Ge'ez, the ancient Semitic language of Ethiopia, is now thought not to have derived from Sabaean (also South Semitic) (SONY PCG-6W3L battery). There is evidence of a Semitic-speaking presence in Ethiopia and Eritrea at least as early as 2000 BC. Sabaean influence is now thought to have been minor, limited to a few localities, and disappearing after a few decades or a century, perhaps representing a trading or military colony in some sort of symbiosis or military alliance with the Ethiopian civilization of Dʿmt or some other proto-Aksumite state. (SONY PCG-7113L battery)
After the fall of Dʿmt in the 4th century BC, the plateau came to be dominated by smaller successor kingdoms, until the rise of one of these kingdoms during the 1st century BC, the Aksumite Empire, ancestor of medieval and modern Ethiopia, which was able to reunite the area. The Aksumites established bases on the northern highlands of the Ethiopian Plateau, and from there expanded southward(SONY PCG-7133L battery). The Persian religious figure Mani listed Aksum with Rome, Persia, and China as one of the four great powers of his time.
In 316 AD, a Christian philosopher from Tyre, Meropius, embarked on a voyage of exploration along the coast of Africa. He was accompanied by, among others, two Syro-Greeks, Frumentius and his brother Aedesius(SONY PCG-7Z1L battery). The vessel was stranded on the coast, and the natives killed all the travelers except the two brothers, who were taken to the court and given positions of trust by the monarch. They both practiced the Christian faith in private, and soon converted the queen and several other members of the royal court.
Lebna Dengel, nəgusä nägäst (Emperor) of Ethiopia and a member of the Solomonic dynasty(SONY PCG-7Z2L battery) .
The Zagwe dynasty ruled many parts of modern Ethiopia and Eritrea from approximately 1137 to 1270. The name of the dynasty is derived from the Cushitic-speaking Agaw of northern Ethiopia. From 1270 AD onwards for many centuries, the Solomonic dynasty ruled the Ethiopian Empire(SONY PCG-8Y1L battery).
In the early 15th century, Ethiopia sought to make diplomatic contact with European kingdoms for the first time since Aksumite times. A letter from King Henry IV of England to the Emperor of Abyssinia survives. In 1428, the Emperor Yeshaq sent two emissaries to Alfonso V of Aragon, who sent return emissaries who failed to complete the return trip. (SONY PCG-8Y2L battery) The first continuous relations with a European country began in 1508 with Portugal under Emperor Lebna Dengel, who had just inherited the throne from his father.
King Fasilides' Castle.
This proved to be an important development, for when the Empire was subjected to the attacks of the Adal General and Imam, Ahmad ibn Ibrihim al-Ghazi (called "Grañ", or "the Left-handed"), Portugal assisted the Ethiopian emperor by sending weapons and four hundred men, who helped his son Gelawdewos defeat Ahmad and re-establish his rule. (SONY PCG-8Z2L battery)This Ethiopian–Adal War was also one of the first proxy wars in the region as the Ottoman Empire and Portugal took sides in the conflict.
When Emperor Susenyos I converted to Roman Catholicism in 1624, years of revolt and civil unrest followed resulting in thousands of deaths. The Jesuit missionaries had offended the Orthodox faith of the local Ethiopians, and on 25 June 1632 Susenyos's son, Emperor Fasilides, declared the state religion to again be Ethiopian Orthodox Christianity, and expelled the Jesuit missionaries and other Europeans(SONY PCG-8Z1L battery).
Main articles: Aussa Sultanate and Mudaito Dynasty
State flag of the Aussa Sultanate.
The Aussa Sultanate or Afar Sultanate succeeded the earlier Imamate of Aussa. The latter polity had come into existence in 1577, when Muhammed Jasa moved his capital from Harar to Aussa with the split of the Adal Sultanate into Aussa and the Harari city-state. At some point after 1672, Aussa declined and temporarily came to an end in conjunction with Imam Umar Din bin Adam's recorded ascension to the throne. (SONY PCG-7112L battery)
The Sultanate was subsequently re-established by Kedafu around the year 1734, and was thereafter ruled by his Mudaito Dynasty. The primary symbol of the Sultan was a silver baton, which was considered to have magical properties.
Emperor Yohannes IV led Ethiopian troops in the Battle of Gundet, among other campaigns.
Between 1755 to 1855, Ethiopia experienced a period of isolation referred to as the Zemene Mesafint or "Age of Princes"(SONY PCG-6W2L battery). The Emperors became figureheads, controlled by warlords like Ras Mikael Sehul of Tigray, Ras Wolde Selassie of Tigray, and by the Oromo Yejju dynasty, such as Ras Gugsa of Begemder, which later led to 17th century Oromo rule of Gondar, changing the language of the court from Amharic to Afaan Oromo.
Emperor Tewodros II's rule is often placed as the beginning of modern Ethiopia, ending the decentralized Zemene Mesafint (Era of the Princes) (SONY PCG-5K1L battery).
Ethiopian isolationism ended following a British mission that concluded an alliance between the two nations; however, it was not until 1855 that Ethiopia was completely united and the power in the Emperor restored, beginning with the reign of Emperor Tewodros II. Upon his ascent, despite still large centrifugal forces, he began modernizing Ethiopia and recentralizing power in the Emperor, and Ethiopia began to take part in world affairs once again(SONY VGP-BPS8 battery).
But Tewodros suffered several rebellions inside his empire. Northern Oromo militias, Tigrayan rebellion and the constant incursion of Ottoman Empire and Egyptian forces near the Red Sea brought the weakening and the final downfall of Emperor Tewodros II, who committed suicide in 1868 after his last battle with a British expeditionary force(SONY VGP-BPS8A battery).
After Tewodros' death, Tekle Giyorgis II was proclaimed Emperor. However, he was later defeated in the Battles of Zulawu (21 June 1871) and Adua (11 July 1871) by Dejazmach Kassai with the aid of John Kirkham, a British advisor who had trained his troops with modern weapons. Tekle Giyorgis was captured and deposed and Kassai was declared Emperor Yohannes IV on 21 January 1872(SONY VGP-BPL8 battery). In 1875 and 1876, Turkish/Egyptian forces, accompanied by many European and American 'advisors', twice invaded Abyssinia but were initially defeated at the Battle of Gundet losing 800 men, and then following the second invasion, decisively defeated by Emperor Yohannes IV at the Battle of Gura on 7 March 1875, losing at least 3000 killed or captured. (SONY VGP-BPS9 battery)From 1885 to 1889 Ethiopia joined the Mahdist War allied to Britain, Turkey and Egypt against the Sudanese Mahdist State. On 10 March 1889 Yonannes IV was killed whilst leading his army in the Battle of Gallabat (also called Battle of Metemma).
From Menelik to Adwa
Ethiopia as we currently know it began under the reign of Menelik II who was Emperor from 1889 until his death in 1913. From the central province of Shoa, Menelik set off to subjugate and incorporate ‘the lands and people of the South(SONY VGP-BPS9/S battery), East and West into an empire’; the people subjugated and incorporated were the Oromo, Sidama, Gurage, Wolayta and other groups. He did this with the help of Ras Gobena's Shewan Oromo militia, began expanding his kingdom to the south and east, expanding into areas that had not been held since the invasion of Ahmed Gragn, and other areas that had never been under his rule(SONY VGP-BPS9A battery), resulting in the borders of Ethiopia of today. At the same time there were also advances in road construction, electricity and education, development of a central taxation system, and the foundation and building of the city of Addis Ababa – which became capital of Shoa province in 1881 which Menelik then ruled as Ras, and subsequently became the new capital of Abyssinia on his accession to the throne in 1889(SONY VGP-BPS9A/B battery). Menelik had signed the Treaty of Wichale with Italy in May 1889 in which Italy would recognize Ethiopia’s sovereignty so long as Italy could control a small area north of Ethiopia (part of modern Eritrea). In return Italy was to provide Menelik with arms and support him as emperor. The Italians used the time between the signing of the treaty and its ratification by the Italian government to further expand their territorial claims(SONY VGP-BPS9/B battery). This conflict erupted in the battle of Adwa on 1 March 1896 in which Italy’s colonial forces were defeated by the Ethiopians.
The Great Ethiopian Famine of 1888 to 1892 cost it roughly one-third of its population.
Haile Selassie era
Ethiopian Lion of Judah flag
Haile Selassie was crowned 2 November 1930 with the titles King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah, Elect of God and Power of the Trinity. He is seen by the Rastafari as Jah incarnate(SONY VGP-BPS9A/B battery).
The early 20th century was marked by the reign of Emperor Haile Selassie I, who came to power after Iyasu V was deposed. It was he who undertook the modernization of Ethiopia, from 1916, when he was made a Ras and Regent (Inderase) for Zewditu I and became the de facto ruler of the Ethiopian Empire. Following Zewditu's death he was made Emperor on 2 November 1930(SONY VGP-BPS9/B battery).
Haile Selassie was born from parents of three Ethiopian ethnicities: the Oromo and Amhara, which are the country's two main ethnic groups, as well as the Gurage.
The independence of Ethiopia was interrupted by the Second Italo-Abyssinian War and Italian occupation (1936–1941). During this time of attack, Haile Selassie appealed to the League of Nations in 1935(SONY VGP-BPS9A/S battery), delivering an address that made him a worldwide figure, and the 1935 Time magazine Man of the Year. Following the entry of Italy into World War II, British Empire forces, together with patriot Ethiopian fighters, officially liberated Ethiopia in the course of the East African Campaign in 1941, while an Italian guerrilla campaign continued until 1943(SONY VGP-BPL9 battery). This was followed by British recognition of full sovereignty, (i.e. without any special British privileges), with the signing of the Anglo-Ethiopian Agreement in December 1944. On 26 August 1942 Haile Selassie I issued a proclamation outlawing slavery. Ethiopia had between two and four million slaves in early 20th century out of a total population of about eleven million. (SONY VGP-BPS10 battery)
In 1952 Haile Selassie orchestrated the federation with Eritrea which he dissolved in 1962. This annexation sparked the Eritrean War of Independence. Although Haile Selassie was seen as a national hero, opinion within Ethiopia turned against him owing to the worldwide oil crisis of 1973, food shortages, uncertainty regarding the succession, border wars, and discontent in the middle class created through modernization. (SONY VGP-BPL10 battery)
He played a leading role in the formation of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) in 1963.
Haile Selassie's reign came to an end in 1974, when a Soviet-backed Marxist-Leninist military junta, the "Derg" led by Mengistu Haile Mariam, deposed him, and established a one-party communist state which was called People's Democratic Republic of Ethiopia(SONY VGP-BPS11 battery).
See also: Ethiopia–Russia relations
The ensuing regime suffered several coups, uprisings, wide-scale drought, and a huge refugee problem. In 1977, there was the Ogaden War, when Somalia captured part of the Ogaden region, but Ethiopia was able to recapture the Ogaden after receiving military aid from the USSR, Cuba, South Yemen, East Germany and North Korea, including around 15,000 Cuban combat troops.
Logo of the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Party (EPRP) (SONY VGP-BPL11 battery).
Hundreds of thousands were killed as a result of the Red Terror, forced deportations, or from the use of hunger as a weapon under Mengistu's rule. The Red Terror was carried out in response to what the government termed "White Terror", supposedly a chain of violent events, assassinations and killings carried out by the opposition. In 2006, after a trial that lasted 12 years(SONY VGP-BPL12 battery), Ethiopia's Federal High Court in Addis Ababa found Mengistu guilty in absentia of genocide.
In the beginning of 1980s, a series of famines hit Ethiopia that affected around 8 million people, leaving 1 million dead. Insurrections against Communist rule sprang up particularly in the northern regions of Tigray and Eritrea. In 1989, the Tigrayan Peoples' Liberation Front (TPLF) merged with other ethnically based opposition movements to form the Ethiopian Peoples' Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) (SONY VGP-BPS12 battery). Concurrently the Soviet Union began to retreat from building world communism under Mikhail Gorbachev's glasnost and perestroika policies, marking a dramatic reduction in aid to Ethiopia from Socialist Bloc countries. This resulted in even more economic hardship and the collapse of the military in the face of determined onslaughts by guerrilla forces in the north(SONY VGP-BPS13 battery). The collapse of communism in general, and in Eastern Europe during the Revolutions of 1989, coincided with the Soviet Union stopping aid to Ethiopia altogether in 1990. The strategic outlook for Mengistu quickly deteriorated.
In May 1991, EPRDF forces advanced on Addis Ababa and the Soviet Union did not intervene to save the government side. Mengistu fled the country to asylum in Zimbabwe, where he still resides(SONY VGP-BPS13Q battery). The Transitional Government of Ethiopia, composed of an 87-member Council of Representatives and guided by a national charter that functioned as a transitional constitution, was set up. In June 1992, the Oromo Liberation Front withdrew from the government; in March 1993, members of the Southern Ethiopia Peoples' Democratic Coalition also left the government(SONY VGP-BPS13A/Q battery). In 1994, a new constitution was written that formed a bicameral legislature and a judicial system. The first formally multi-party election took place in May 1995 in which Meles Zenawi was elected the Prime Minister and Negasso Gidada was elected President.
Prime Minister of Ethiopia Meles Zenawi in July, 2008
In 1994, a constitution was adopted that led to Ethiopia's first multiparty election the following year(SONY VGP-BPS13B/Q battery). In May 1998, a border dispute with Eritrea led to the Eritrean–Ethiopian War, which lasted until June 2000 and cost both countries an estimated $1 million a day. This hurt Ethiopia's economy, but strengthened the ruling coalition.
On 15 May 2005, Ethiopia held a third multiparty election, which was highly disputed, with some opposition groups claiming fraud(SONY VGP-BPS13/B battery). Though the Carter Center approved the pre-election conditions, it expressed its dissatisfaction with post-election matters. European Union election observers continued to accuse the ruling party of vote rigging. The opposition parties gained more than 200 parliamentary seats, compared with just 12 in the 2000 elections. Despite most opposition representatives joining the parliament(SONY VGP-BPS13B/B battery), certain leaders of the CUD party, some of which refused to take up their parliamentary seats, were accused of inciting the post-election violence that ensued and were imprisoned. Amnesty International considered them "prisoners of conscience" and they were subsequently released.
The coalition of opposition parties and some individuals that was established in 2009 to oust at the general election in 2010 the regime of the EPRDF, Meles Zenawi’s party that has been in power since 1991, published its 65-page manifesto in Addis Ababa on 10 October 2009(SONY VGP-BPS13A/S battery).
Some of the eight member parties of this Ethiopian Forum for Democratic Dialogue (FDD or Medrek in Amharic) include the Oromo Federalist Congress (organized by the Oromo Federalist Democratic Movement and the Oromo People’s Congress), the Arena Tigray (organized by former members of the ruling party TPLF), the Unity for Democracy and Justice (UDJ, whose leader is imprisoned), and the Coalition of Somali Democratic Forces(SONY VGP-BPS21A/B battery).
In mid 2011, two consecutive missed rainy seasons precipitated the worst drought in East Africa seen in 60 years. Full recovery from the drought's effects are not expected until 2012, with long-term strategies by the national government in conjunction with development agencies believed to offer the most sustainable results. (SONY VGP-BPS21B battery)
Prime Minister Meles Zenawi died in Brussels, where he was being treated for an unspecified illness, on 20 August 2012. Deputy Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn was appointed as a new prime minister. Hailemariam will remain in the position until new elections in 2015.
Main article: Politics of Ethiopia
See also: Rulers and Heads of State of Ethiopia, Foreign relations of Ethiopia, and Ethiopian National Defense Force(SONY VGP-BPS21 battery)
The politics of Ethiopia takes place in a framework of a federal parliamentary republic, whereby the Prime Minister is the head of government. Executive power is exercised by the government. Federal legislative power is vested in both the government and the two chambers of parliament. On the basis of Article 78 of the 1994 Ethiopian Constitution, the Judiciary is completely independent of the executive and the legislature(SONY VGP-BPS21/S battery). The current realities of this provision are questioned in a report prepared by Freedom House.
According to the Democracy Index published by the Economist Intelligence Unit in late 2010, Ethiopia is an "authoritarian regime", ranking 118th out of 167 countries (with the larger number being less democratic). Ethiopia has dropped 12 places on the list since 2006, and the latest report attributes the drop to the regime's crackdown on opposition activities(SONY VGP-BPS13AS battery), media and civil society before the 2010 parliamentary election, which the report argues has made Ethiopia a de facto one-party state.
The election of Ethiopia's 547-member constituent assembly was held in June 1994. This assembly adopted the constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia in December 1994. The elections for Ethiopia's first popularly chosen national parliament and regional legislatures were held in May and June 1995(SONY VGP-BPS13S battery) . Most opposition parties chose to boycott these elections. There was a landslide victory for the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF). International and non-governmental observers concluded that opposition parties would have been able to participate had they chosen to do so.
The city hall in Addis Ababa(SONY VGP-BPS13B/S battery).
The current government of Ethiopia was installed in August 1995. The first President was Negasso Gidada. The EPRDF-led government of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi promoted a policy of ethnic federalism, devolving significant powers to regional, ethnically based authorities. Ethiopia today has nine semi-autonomous administrative regions that have the power to raise and spend their own revenues. Under the present government(SONY VGP-BPS13B/G battery), some fundamental freedoms, including freedom of the press, are circumscribed. Citizens have little access to media other than the state-owned networks, and most private newspapers struggle to remain open and suffer periodic harassment from the government. At least 18 journalists who had written articles critical of the government were arrested following the 2005 elections on genocide and treason charges(SONY VGP-BPS14 battery). The government uses press laws governing libel to intimidate journalists who are critical of its policies.
Zenawi's government was elected in 2000 in Ethiopia's first-ever multiparty elections; however, the results were heavily criticized by international observers and denounced by the opposition as fraudulent. The EPRDF also won the 2005 election returning Zenawi to power(SONY VGP-BPL14 battery). Although the opposition vote increased in the election, both the opposition and observers from the European Union and elsewhere stated that the vote did not meet international standards for fair and free elections. Ethiopian police are said to have massacred 193 protesters, mostly in the capital Addis Ababa, in the violence following the May 2005 elections in the Ethiopian police massacre(SONY VGP-BPS14/B battery).
The government initiated a crackdown in the provinces as well; in Oromia state the authorities used concerns over insurgency and terrorism to use torture, imprisonment, and other repressive methods to silence critics following the election, particularly people sympathetic to the registered opposition party Oromo National Congress (ONC). (SONY VGP-BPS14/S battery) The government has been engaged in a conflict with rebels in the Ogaden region since 2007. The biggest opposition party in 2005 was the Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD). After various internal divisions, most of the CUD party leaders have established the new Unity for Democracy and Justice party led by Judge Birtukan Mideksa. A member of the country's Oromo ethnic group, Ms. Birtukan Mideksa is the first woman to lead a political party in Ethiopia(SONY VGP-BPS14B battery).
As of 2008, the top five opposition parties are the Unity for Democracy and Justice led by Judge Birtukan Mideksa, United Ethiopian Democratic Forces led by Dr.Beyene Petros, Oromo Federalist Democratic Movement led by Dr. Bulcha Demeksa, Oromo People's Congress led by Dr. Merera Gudina, and United Ethiopian Democratic Party-Medhin Party led by Lidetu Ayalew(SONY VGP-BPS22 battery).
Main article: Human rights in Ethiopia
According to surveys in 2003 by the National Committee on Traditional Practices in Ethiopia, marriage by abduction accounts for 69% of the nation's marriages, with around 80% in the largest region, Oromiya, and as high as 92% in the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People's Region(SONY VGP-BPS22 battery).
Regions, zones, and districts
Before 1996, Ethiopia was divided into 13 provinces, many derived from historical regions. Ethiopia now has a tiered government system consisting of a federal government overseeing ethnically based regional countries, zones, districts (woredas), and neighborhoods (kebele).
Since 1996(SONY VGP-BPS18 battery), Ethiopia has been divided into nine ethnically-based and politically autonomous regional states (kililoch, singular kilil) and two chartered cities (astedader akababiwoch, singular astedader akababi), the latter being Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa (subdivisions 1 and 5 in the map, respectively). The kililoch are subdivided into sixty-eight zones, and then further into 550 woredas and several special woredas(SONY VGP-BPS22/A battery).
The constitution assigns extensive power to regional states that can establish their own government and democracy according to the federal government's constitution. Each region has at its apex a regional council where members are directly elected to represent the districts and the council has legislative and executive power to direct internal affairs of the regions(SONY VGP-BPS22A battery). Article 39 of the Ethiopian Constitution further gives every regional state the right to secede from Ethiopia. There is debate, however, as to how much of the power guaranteed in the constitution is actually given to the states. The councils implement their mandate through an executive committee and regional sectoral bureaus. Such elaborate structure of council, executive, and sectoral public institutions is replicated to the next level (woreda) (SONY Vaio VGN-CR120E/W battery).
Main article: Geography of Ethiopia
Map of Ethiopia.
At 435,071 square miles (1,126,829 km2), Ethiopia is the world's 27th-largest country. It is comparable in size to Bolivia. It lies between latitudes 3° and 15°N, and longitudes 33° and 48°E.
The major portion of Ethiopia lies on the Horn of Africa, which is the easternmost part of the African landmass. Bordering Ethiopia are Sudan and South Sudan to the west(SONY Vaio VGN-CR120E/R battery), Djibouti and Eritrea to the north, Somalia to the east, and Kenya to the south. Within Ethiopia is a vast highland complex of mountains and dissected plateaus divided by the Great Rift Valley, which runs generally southwest to northeast and is surrounded by lowlands, steppes, or semi-desert. The great diversity of terrain determines wide variations in climate, soils, natural vegetation, and settlement patterns(SONY Vaio VGN-CR120E/P battery).
Ethiopia is an ecologically diverse country, ranging from the deserts along the eastern border to the tropical forests in the south to extensive Afromontane in the northern and southwestern parts. Lake Tana in the north is the source of the Blue Nile. It also has a large number of endemic species, notably the Gelada Baboon, the Walia Ibex and the Ethiopian wolf (or Simien fox) (SONY Vaio VGN-CR120E/L battery). The wide range of altitude has given the country a variety of ecologically distinct areas, this has helped to encourage the evolution of endemic species in ecological isolation.
Main article: Climate of Ethiopia
The predominant climate type is tropical monsoon, with wide topographic-induced variation. The Ethiopian Highlands cover most of the country and have a climate which is generally considerably cooler than other regions at similar proximity to the Equator(SONY Vaio VGN-CR120 battery). Most of the country's major cities are located at elevations of around 2,000–2,500 m (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 m (7,874 ft), and experiences a healthy and pleasant climate year round(SONY Vaio VGN-CR11H/B battery). 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(SONY Vaio VGN-CR116E battery), 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(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ battery), and overnight lows averaging 5–10 °C (41–50 °F).
Most major cities and tourist sites in Ethiopia lie at a similar elevation to Addis Ababa and have a comparable climate. In less elevated regions, particularly the lower lying Ethiopian xeric grasslands and shrublands in the east of the country, the climate can be significantly hotter and drier. Dallol, in the Danakil Depression in this eastern zone, has the world's highest average annual temperature of 34 °C (93.2 °F) (Sony VAIO VGN-FZ11S battery).
Several spotted hyenas in the Harar night.
Ethiopia has 31 endemic species of mammals. The African Wild Dog prehistorically had widespread distribution in the territory. However, with last sightings at Fincha, this canid is thought to be potentially extirpated within Ethiopia. The Ethiopian Wolf is perhaps the most researched of all the endangered species within Ethiopia(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ15T battery).
Historically, throughout the African continent, wildlife populations have been rapidly declining owing to logging, civil wars, pollution, poaching and other human interference. A 17-year-long civil war along with severe drought, negatively impacted Ethiopia's environmental conditions leading to even greater habitat degradation. Habitat destruction is a factor that leads to endangerment(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ15G battery). When changes to a habitat occur rapidly, animals do not have time to adjust. Human impact threatens many species, with greater threats expected as a result of climate change induced by greenhouse gas emissions.
Ethiopia has a large number of species listed as critically endangered, endangered and vulnerable to global extinction. The threatened species in Ethiopia can be broken down into three categories (based on IUCN ratings) (Sony VAIO VGN-FZ460E battery); Critically Endangered, Endangered, and Vulnerable.
Main articles: Deforestation in Ethiopia and Environmental issues in Ethiopia
Deforestation is a major concern for Ethiopia as studies suggest loss of forest contributes to soil erosion, loss of nutrients in the soil, loss of animal habitats and reduction in biodiversity. At the beginning of the 20th century around 420 000 km² or 35% of Ethiopia’s land was covered by trees but recent research indicates that forest cover is now approximately 11.9% of the area. (Sony VAIO VGN-FZ440N battery) Ethiopia is one of the seven fundamental and independent centers of origin of cultivated plants of the world.
Ethiopia loses an estimated 1 410 km² of natural forests each year. Between 1990 and 2005 the country lost approximately 21 000 km².
Current government programs to control deforestation consist of education, promoting reforestation programs and providing alternate raw material to timber(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ440E battery). In rural areas the government also provides non-timber fuel sources and access to non-forested land to promote agriculture without destroying forest habitat.
Organizations such as SOS and Farm Africa are working with the federal government and local governments to create a system of forest management. Working with a grant of approximately 2.3 million euros the Ethiopian government recently(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ430E battery)began training people on reducing erosion and using proper irrigation techniques that do not contribute to deforestation. This project is assisting more than 80 communities.
Main article: Economy of Ethiopia
See also: Foreign aid to Ethiopia
Ethiopia was the fastest-growing non-oil-dependent African economy in the years 2007 and 2008. In spite of fast growth in recent years(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ280E battery), 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. The effectiveness of these policies is reflected in the 10% yearly economic growth from 2003–2008(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ190 battery). Despite these economic improvements, urban and rural poverty remains an issue in the country.
The Ethiopian Commercial Bank in Addis Abeba.
Ethiopia is often ironically referred to as the "water tower" of Eastern Africa because of the many (14 major) rivers that pour off the high tableland, including the Nile. 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(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ150E battery).
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(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ160 battery).
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(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ260E battery).
Agriculture accounts for almost 41% of the gross domestic product (GDP), 80% of exports, and 80% of the labor force. 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 (Sony VAIO VGN-FZ140E battery) (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. Exports are almost entirely agricultural commodities, and coffee is the largest foreign exchange earner. Ethiopia is Africa's second biggest maize producer. According to a UN report the GNP per capita of Ethiopia has reached $1541 as of 2009. (Sony VAIO VGN-FZ11L battery)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.
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. (Sony VAIO VGN-FZ11Z battery)
Coffee farmer filling cups with coffee.
Exports from Ethiopia in the 2009/2010 financial year totaled $US1.4 billion. Neighboring Kenya with half of Ethiopia's population exported goods worth US$5 billion during the same period.
Cross-border trade by pastoralists is often informal and beyond state control and regulation(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ11M battery). 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). This trade helps lower food prices(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ18M battery), increase food security, relieve border tensions and promote regional integration. 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. Recent initiatives have sought to document and regulate this trade(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ18 battery).
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. 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. (Sony VAIO VGN-FZ210CE battery) 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. Most regard Ethiopia's large water resources and potential as its "white oil" and its coffee resources as "black gold".(Sony VAIO VGN-FZ31S battery)