Thursday, September 13, 2007

Facts About Ethiopia

  • At slightly less than twice the size of the U.S. state of Texas, Ethiopia is the 10th largest country in Africa. Landlocked Ethiopia sits in the part of northeastern Africa known as the Horn of Africa. It shares frontiers with the Sudan to the north and west, Djibouti to the northeast, Somalia to the southeast, Kenya to the south, and since 1993, with Eritrea to the north.
  • The vast highland plateau of Ethiopia forms the heart of the country and is divided by the Great Rift Valley, which runs from north to south. The highlands, with sometimes erratic rainfall, have been the home of settled agriculture for many centuries. In the lower areas, tropical cereals, oil seeds, coffee and cotton are the dominant crops, while at the higher altitudes, temperate cereals, fruits and beans are produced.
  • More than 80 percent of the population is engaged in agricultural activities which are largely dependent on timely and sufficient rains. Irrigated crops account for only a very small portion of the total agricultural production.
  • Thirty-five percent of Ethiopia's total population over the age of 15 can read and write.
  • Only 25 percent of Ethiopia's population have access to safe drinking water.
  • Ethiopia is one of the world's poorest developing countries, with an annual per capita income of $100.
  • With a population of more than 60 million people, Ethiopia has among the highest infant and maternal mortality rates and among the lowest life expectancy in the world (43 years).
  • Sixteen percent of the population lives in urban areas.
  • About 80 languages are spoken in Ethiopia. The official language is Amharic, but English, Arabic and Italian are used in commerce.
  • Ethiopia is the oldest independent country in Africa and one of the oldest in the world -- at least 2,000 years.

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