Investment Overviews

Ethiopia at a Glance

Official Name: Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (FDRE)

Political system: Federal State with multi-party system

Capital City: Addis Ababa, seat of the African Union (AU) and United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) 

Area: 1.104 million square kilometers

Population: Appx. 105 million (2018)

Language: Multiethnic state with more than 80 languages and 200 dialects. Amharic is the working language of the federal government, while Oromiffa and Tigrigna are widely spoken. English is taught in schools and is the main business language.

Location: Strategically located as a jumping off point in the Horn of Africa, close to the Middle East and Europe markets.

Arable land: 513,000 square kilometers (45%)

Irrigated land: 34,200 square kilometers (3%)

Population density: Appx. 90.5 per square kilometer (2017)


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Climate: Temperate in the highlands, ranging from 20°C to 30°C (68°F to 86°F) and hot in the lowlands, often reaching 45°C (113°F). Rainfall ranges from 200 mm to 2000 mm.

GDP per capita: US$ 846 (2017)

Rainy Seasons: Abundant rain in June through August; mild rains in February and March.

Topography: Ethiopia has an elevated central plateau varying in height from 2,000 to 3,000 meters above sea level. In the North and center of the country there are some 25 mountains whose peaks reach over 4,000 meters. The most famous Ethiopian river is the Blue Nile or Abbay, which flows a distance of 1,450 kilometers from its source to join the White Nile at Khartoum.

Economy: More than 70% of the population earns a living from the land mainly as substance farmers. Agriculture is the backbone of the national economy, and the principal exports from this sector are coffee, oilseeds, pulses, flowers, vegetables, sugar, and foodstuffs for animals. There is also the thriving livestock sector, exporting cattle, hides, and skins.

Currency: The units of currency are the birr and cents. Notes are 100,50,10 and 5 birr.

Time: Ethiopia is in GMT + 3 time zone. It follows the Julian calendar, which consists of 12 months of 30 days each and a 13th month of five or six days (on a leap year).

Working hours: Government office hours are 8:30 am – 12:30 pm and 1:30 pm – 5:30 pm from Monday through Thursday; and 8:30 am to 11:30 and 1:30 pm to 5:30 pm on Fridays.

Economic Indicators

  • As one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, Ethiopia’s economy has achieved robust, broad-based growth.
  • Averaging 10.3% a year from 2006/07 to 2016/17, compared to a regional average of 5.4%.
  • Ethiopia has made significant progress in achieving the Millennium Development Goals. The share of its population living below the poverty line declined from 44 percent in 2000 to around 30 percent in 2010; by the end of the GTP I period (2014/15), the figures fell further to 23.4 percent (National Planning Commission 2015).

Disclaimer: The official text of the Embassy Website is the English language version. Any discrepancies or differences created in translations are not binding and have no legal effect for compliance or enforcement purposes.