Key Facts: Ethiopia

by World Grain Staff
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Capital: Addis Ababa

Population: 85,237,338 (July 2010 est.)

Religions: Orthodox 43.5%, Muslim 33.9%, Protestant 18.6%, traditional 2.6%, Catholic 0.7%, other 0.7% (2007 Census).

Location: Eastern Africa, west of Somalia.

Government: Federal republic. Chief of state: President Girma Woldegiorgis (since Oct. 8, 2001); head of government: Prime Minister Meles Zenawi (since August 1995).

Economy: Ethiopia’s poverty-stricken economy is based on agriculture, accounting for about 45% of GDP and 85% of total employment. The agricultural sector suffers from frequent drought and poor cultivation practices. Coffee is critical to the Ethiopian economy with exports of some $350 million in 2006, but historically low prices have seen many farmers switching to qat to supplement income. The war with Eritrea in 1998-2000 and recurrent drought have buffeted the economy, in particular coffee production. In November 2001, Ethiopia qualified for debt relief from the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative, and in December 2005 the IMF forgave Ethiopia’s debt. Under Ethiopia’s constitution, the state owns all land and provides long-term leases to the tenants. The system continues to hamper growth in the industrial sector as entrepreneurs are unable to use land as collateral for loans. Drought struck again late in 2002, leading to a 3.3% decline in GDP in 2003. Although GDP growth has since rebounded, soaring commodity prices in 2007 and 2008 and the global economic downturn led to balance of payments pressures, partially alleviated by recent emergency funding from the IMF.

GDP per capita: $900 (2009 est.); inflation: 85% (2009 est.); unemployment (NA).

Currency: Birr (ETB); 16.37 birr equals 1 U.S. dollar (Sept. 20, 2010).

Exports: $1.657 billion (2009 est.): coffee, qat, gold, leather products, live animals and oilseeds.

Imports: $7.093 billion (2009 est.): food and live animals, petroleum and petroleum products, chemicals, machinery, motor vehicles, cereals, textiles.

Major crops/agricultural products: Coffee, soybeans, wheat, rice, corn, sugarcane, cocoa, citrus; beef.

Agriculture: 43.5 % of GDP and 85% of the labor force

Internet: Code. .et; 136 (2009) hosts and 360,000 (2008) users.

Source: The CIA Factbook