The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (FDRE) is situated in the Horn of Africa and has a population of 110 million people. With a proud and rich history going back thousands of years, whilst materially poor it is rich in social and spiritual resources.
It is the only African country that was never colonized, except for five years of Italian military occupation (1936-41). In 1974 the last Emperor, Haile Selassie’s reign ended and power fell to a communist military junta known as the Derg, backed by the Soviet Union until defeated in 1991 by the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) who continue to form the government. A new and popular Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, was appointed in February 2018. Ethiopia remains the most stable and the safest country in the region.
In the last 10 years, the country’s economic growth rate has been 10% per annum and Ethiopia is now the largest economy (by GDP) in East Africa and Central Africa. Ethiopia is set to become a middle income country by 2025.
Addis Ababa the capital, situated in the foothills of Mount Entoto is at an elevation of 2,400m (8,000’). With fairly uniform year-round temperatures and sunshine daily there is a heavy rainy season from July to September. The Ethiopian Julian calendar dates back to 25 BC and has 13 months – hence the tourist slogan “13 months of sunshine.”
Both geographically and culturally, Ethiopia is a diverse land. The central part of the country is a high plateau, with a mountain range and divided by the Great Rift Valley, arid low lands in the east and lush lowlands in the westernmost parts. Four major crops are believed to have originated in Ethiopia: coffee, grain sorghum, castor beans and teff. Ethiopian food – injura (made from teff) watt – is delicious!
There are 90 languages spoken, and more than 200 dialects. Amharic is recognized as the official working language of the Federal Government. The various regions of Ethiopia are free to determine their own working languages, with Oromiffa, Somali and Tigrinya recognized as official working languages in their respective regions.
Ethiopia is a country of outstanding beauty, remarkable historic sites and a generous hospitable people.