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Unique among African countries, the ancient Ethiopian monarchy maintained its freedom from colonial rule with the exception of a short-lived Italian occupation from 1936-41. In 1974, a military junta, the Derg, deposed Emperor Haile SELASSIE (who had ruled since 1930) and established a socialist state.

Torn by bloody coups, uprisings, wide-scale drought, and massive refugee problems, the regime was finally toppled in 1991 by a coalition of rebel forces, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front. A constitution was adopted in 1994, and Ethiopia’s first multiparty elections were held in 1995. A border war with Eritrea late in the 1990s ended with a peace treaty in December 2000. In November 2007, the Eritrea-Ethiopia Border Commission (EEBC) issued specific coordinates as virtually demarcating the border and pronounced its work finished. Alleging that the EEBC acted beyond its mandate in issuing the coordinates, Ethiopia has not accepted them and has not withdrawn troops from previously contested areas pronounced by the EEBC as belonging to Eritrea.

In August 2012, longtime leader Prime Minister MELES Zenawi died in office and was replaced by his Deputy Prime Minister HAILEMARIAM Desalegn, marking the first peaceful transition of power in decades.

Ethiopia’s economy is based on agriculture but the government is pushing to diversify into manufacturing, textiles, and energy generation. Coffee is a major export crop.

The agricultural sector suffers from poor cultivation practices and frequent drought, but recent joint efforts by the Government of Ethiopia and donors have strengthened Ethiopia’s agricultural resilience, contributing to a reduction in the number of Ethiopians threatened with starvation. The banking, insurance, telecommunications, and micro-credit industries are restricted to domestic investors, but Ethiopia has attracted significant foreign investment in textiles, leather, commercial agriculture and manufacturing. Under Ethiopia’s constitution, the state owns all land and provides long-term leases to the tenants; land use certificates are now being issued in some areas so that tenants have more recognizable rights to continued occupancy and hence make more concerted efforts to improve their leaseholds.

While GDP growth has remained high, per capita income is among the lowest in the world. Ethiopia’s economy continues on its state-led Growth and Transformation Plan and is scheduled to issue another development plan in 2015.

Ethiopia has achieved high single-digit growth rates through government-led infrastructure expansion and commercial agriculture development. Ethiopia in late 2014 issued its first sovereign bond, generating $1 billion in revenue for a 10 year note.

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$139.4 billion (2014 est.)
$128.9 billion (2013 est.)
$117.5 billion (2012 est.)
note: data are in 2014 US dollars
country comparison to the world: 73

GDP (official exchange rate):
$49.86 billion (2014 est.)

GDP – real growth rate:
8.2% (2014 est.)
9.7% (2013 est.)
8.8% (2012 est.)
* country comparison to the world: 11

GDP – per capita (PPP):
$1,500 (2014 est.)
$1,500 (2013 est.)
$1,400 (2012 est.)
note: data are in 2013 US dollars
country comparison to the world: 217

Gross national saving:
23.2% of GDP (2014 est.)
27% of GDP (2013 est.)
26.6% of GDP (2012 est.)
country comparison to the world: 54

GDP – composition, by end use:
household consumption: 83.7%
government consumption: 8%
investment in fixed capital: 36.8%
investment in inventories: 0%
exports of goods and services: 12.8%
imports of goods and services: -41.3%
(2014 est.)

GDP – composition, by sector of origin:
agriculture: 47.7%
industry: 10.4%
services: 41.9%
(2014 est.)

Agriculture – products:
cereals, coffee, oilseed, cotton, sugarcane, vegetables, khat, cut flowers; hides, cattle, sheep, goats; fish

food processing, beverages, textiles, leather, chemicals, metals processing, cement

Industrial production growth rate:
7.5% (2014 est.)
* country comparison to the world: 26

Labor force:
47.32 million (2014 est.)
* country comparison to the world: 14

Labor force – by occupation:
agriculture: 85%
industry: 5%
services: 10% (2009 est.)

Unemployment rate:
17.5% (2012 est.)
18% (2011 est.)
* country comparison to the world: 156

Population below poverty line:
39% (2012 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 4.1%
highest 10%: 25.6% (2005)

Distribution of family income – Gini index:
33 (2011)
30 (2000)
country comparison to the world: 102

revenues: $7.582 billion
expenditures: $9.025 billion (2014 est.)

Taxes and other revenues:
15.2% of GDP (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 191

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-):
-2.9% of GDP (2014 est.)
country comparison to the world: 113

Public debt:
55.1% of GDP (2014 est.)
50.2% of GDP (2013 est.)
note: official data cover central government debt, including debt instruments issued (or owned) by government entities other than the treasury and treasury debt owned by foreign entities; the data exclude debt issued by subnational entities, as well as intragovernmental debt; debt instruments for the social funds are not sold at public auctions
country comparison to the world: 62

Fiscal year:
8 July – 7 July

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
7.8% (2014 est.)
8.1% (2013 est.)

Central bank discount rate:

Commercial bank prime lending rate:
11% (31 December 2014 est.)
12% (31 December 2013 est.)
* country comparison to the world: 73

Stock of narrow money:
$11.31 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$10.24 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 75

Stock of broad money:
$19.23 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$17.43 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
* country comparison to the world: 88

Stock of domestic credit:
$20.27 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$18.15 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 86

Market value of publicly traded shares:

Current account balance:
-$3.534 billion (2014 est.)
-$2.783 billion (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 159

$4.14 billion (2014 est.)
$3.532 billion (2013 est.)
* country comparison to the world: 120

Exports – partners:
China 13%, Saudi Arabia 8.3%, Germany 8.3%, US 8.1%, Belgium 7.1% (2013)

Exports – commodities:
coffee, khat, gold, leather products, live animals, oilseeds

$12.08 billion (2014 est.)
$11.19 billion (2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 94

Imports – commodities:
food and live animals, petroleum and petroleum products, chemicals, machinery, motor vehicles, cereals, textiles

Imports – partners:
China 15.3%, Saudi Arabia 8.1%, India 7.2%, US 5.6% (2013)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$3.785 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$3.556 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 102

Debt – external:
$17.02 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
$14.49 billion (31 December 2013 est.)
country comparison to the world: 89

Exchange rates:
birr (ETB) per US dollar –
21.13 (2014 est.)
21.1 (2013 est.)
17.71 (2012 est.)
16.899 (2011 est.)
14.41 (2010 est.)

Eastern Africa, west of Somalia

Geographic coordinates:
8 00 N, 38 00 E

Map references:

total: 1,104,300 sq km
land: 1 million sq km
water: 104,300 sq km
* country comparison to the world: 27

Area – comparative:
slightly less than twice the size of Texas

Land boundaries:
total: 5,925 km
border countries (6): Djibouti 342 km, Eritrea 1,033 km, Kenya 867 km, Somalia 1,640 km, South Sudan 1,299 km, Sudan 744 km

0 km (landlocked)

Maritime claims:
none (landlocked)

tropical monsoon with wide topographic-induced variation

high plateau with central mountain range divided by Great Rift Valley

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Danakil Depression -125 m
highest point: Ras Dejen 4,533 m

Natural resources:
small reserves of gold, platinum, copper, potash, natural gas, hydropower

Land use:
agricultural land: 36.3%
arable land 15.2%; permanent crops 1.1%; permanent pasture 20%
forest: 12.2%
other: 51.5% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land:
2,896 sq km (2003)

Total renewable water resources:
122 cu km (2011)

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 5.56 cu km/yr (13%/1%/86%)
per capita: 80.5 cu m/yr (2005)

Natural hazards:
geologically active Great Rift Valley susceptible to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions; frequent droughts
volcanism: volcanic activity in the Great Rift Valley; Erta Ale (elev. 613 m), which has caused frequent lava flows in recent years, is the country’s most active volcano; Dabbahu became active in 2005, forcing evacuations; other historically active volcanoes include Alayta, Dalaffilla, Dallol, Dama Ali, Fentale, Kone, Manda Hararo, and Manda-Inakir

Environment – current issues:
deforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification; water shortages in some areas from water-intensive farming and poor management

Environment – international agreements:

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection
signed, but not ratified: Environmental Modification, Law of the Sea

Geography – note:
landlocked – entire coastline along the Red Sea was lost with the de jure independence of Eritrea on 24 May 1993; Ethiopia is, therefore, the most populous landlocked country in the world; the Blue Nile, the chief headstream of the Nile by water volume, rises in T’ana Hayk (Lake Tana) in northwest Ethiopia; three major crops are believed to have originated in Ethiopia: coffee, grain sorghum, and castor bean

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