Ethiopia Geography and Population

Ethiopia – Geography

Population data for Ethiopia is uncertain; latest census was held in 1994. Ethiopia is the country in Africa that has the third largest population (after Nigeria and Egypt), and the growth rate of over 3% per year is among the highest in the world. About half of the population is under 15. This in itself contributes to a very low standard of living for the vast majority, not least in rural areas. In the cities too, the number of very poor people has grown, especially after the former government’s strong control over the population’s move from country to city has lapsed. However, 85-90% still live in the countryside. At least a third of the adult population is illiterate, and the vast majority of these are women, reflecting in particular the very harsh living conditions of rural women.

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Contrary to what is otherwise common in Africa, the borders of Ethiopia are not primarily defined by the colonial powers. Nevertheless, the ethnic composition is extremely complex, with a large number of ethnic groups being forced and incorporated into Ethiopia as the empire expanded its borders. Thus, there are more than 80 ethnic groups, each with their own language and cultural distinctiveness, at the same time as coexistence has led to numerous mixes.

Three main groups are distinguished. Among the Semitic people, Amharas and Tigrays are most important; they are predominantly farmers in the northern and central highlands, and a majority are Christians. The Amharas have traditionally dominated politics and economics. The Cushite people include the largest single group, the Oromans. The majority are Muslims and many are cattle farmers in the southern and eastern lowlands, some as actual nomads. Finally, there are the relatively few Bantu people in the western and southwest peripheries; many of them are animists, and until the 1960’s and 1970’s their integration into Ethiopia was quite marginal.

An important factor behind the expansion of the Amharas was increasing population pressure and ecological degradation of their core areas in the Northern Highlands; this continues to apply. Migrations from the north to the thinner populated and more fertile regions to the south and west have thus contributed to the ethnic complexity. In connection with the major drought disaster in 1984-85, which hit the hardest in the northern highlands, the military regime forced the displacement of 1 million. people; however, many of these, after the fall of the board, have returned to their homes.

Over half of the population is believed to be Christian (predominantly Ethiopian Orthodox), while slightly less than half are Muslims.

The population situation is complicated by the many wars in the region, which have led to large flows of refugees in and out of the country. Ethiopia continues to house a significant number of refugees from Sudan and Somalia, and during the Ethiopian civil war, more than 1 million refugees fled. people to Sudan, from which they are now slowly returning. Also, the integration of the soldiers from the now demobilized army of the military regime, which had been Africa’s largest with more than 400,000 men, posed a significant problem.

Business and development

Both the empire and the military ruled decisively on the unity of Ethiopia under a central, Amharic- dominated regime. As a result, economic development was concentrated at the center of the country, and it promoted ethnic and regional opposition to the central government. The new government, on the other hand, has since 1991 sought to promote an ethnically based political organization. There are carried out extensive administrative restructuring into new, ethnically defined regions with extensive autonomy.

Agriculture employs approximately 80% of the population, the vast majority in small farms with a very low technological level even by African standards. In addition to farming, cattle farming is also important, and over a third of the acreage, especially in the lower, less fertile areas, is used for grazing. Agricultural productivity is very low, and even in good harvests, Ethiopia must import a significant portion of its food consumption, predominantly as food aid. At the same time, agriculture accounts for over 80% of coffee exports, which is by far the most important commodity, followed by hides and leather.

The land reform in 1975 effectively dealt with the Soviet model of the feudal system of large estates that had existed in large parts of the country until then, but the problems of small farmers increased. All land was nationalized and approximately 95% of the arable land was distributed to small farms according to the size and needs of each household, but so that it was redistributed at intervals and thus the individual farmer did not have security of the right of use for a given piece of land. At the same time, the government withdrew large resources from small farms through taxation and schemes that forced the farmers to sell especially cereals at very low prices. Thus the peasants had neither interest nor opportunity to improve their land and cultivation methods; production stagnated and vulnerability to drought periods increased.

The vast majority of state investment in the agricultural sector went to state farms and to a lesser extent cooperative farms set up on the remaining 5% of the land. The cooperative farms never became more important, but the state farms, despite significant inefficiencies in the 1980’s, accounted for a significant part of the marketed food production, as well as the majority of export production, especially coffee. With the change of government in 1991, the cooperatives disbanded, while most state farms sought to be continued, partly with the involvement of private capital. The government has declared that it will improve the conditions of small-scale farming, and price formation has been liberalized in favor of the peasants, but a reform of rights to the land is waiting.

The industry is of very limited scope. In addition to the processing of agricultural commodities for export (coffee, tea, leather), it is mainly light industry aimed at the domestic market: beverages, food and textiles and basic building materials. The companies are mainly located in and around Addis Ababa and to a lesser extent Dire Dawa. They were formerly state-owned, but the new government has initiated a privatization.

Infrastructure. Ethiopia has relatively good, albeit somewhat worn, year-round highways extending radially from Addis Ababa to the main cities of the province as well as to the port city of Assab in Eritrea. The other road network is very poorly developed and many sections are not navigable during the rainy season. The country’s only railway goes from Addis Ababa to the port city of Djibouti in the neighboring country of the same name. Following Eritrea’s independence, Ethiopia no longer has its own access to the sea. Due. the war with Eritrea strengthened Ethiopia’s relations with Djibouti; almost all the country’s exports go through the port of Djibouti. Domestic flights are well developed with connection to many small airports, and Addis Ababa is an important hub for international air traffic in Africa.

Read on about Ethiopia’s natural geography or about Ethiopia in general.

Ethiopia – Geography (Natural Geography)

Ethiopia – Geography (Nature Geography), Ethiopia’s core is made up of the highlands that extend to the north into Eritrea, but otherwise extend into the lowlands beyond the country’s borders. The highland, where 80% of the population lives, is divided into a western and an eastern part of the Rift Valley, which extends throughout the country. The highlands are generally located. at 2400 m altitude, but significant areas are over 3600 m and many peaks are above 4000 m; the highest is the Ras Dash (4620 m). Especially to the north, the highlands are characterized by dramatic landscapes with distinctive flat mountain peaks separated by deep river smells; here originates, among other things. The Blue Nile. A large population density has in many places led to heavy deforestation and subsequent erosion of otherwise fertile soil.

Rift Valley is located in approximately 1500 m in height and is only 40 km wide in the narrowest place. The valley contains a number of large lakes and volcanic hot springs. To the northeast, the valley extends into the deserted Daniak plain and reaches down to 116 m below sea level in the Kobar sink.

To the south and east, the landscape descends towards Somalia with the Harge Mountains and the Ogaden Desert. Towards Sudan, west of the highlands, lies a narrow strip of fertile lowland, which is difficult to access from the rest of Ethiopia.

Climate. The highlands have a mostly temperate climate with large 24-hour fluctuations. The rainfall is very unevenly distributed, but generally increases with altitude and to the west and south. The rainy season is from June to September, but there are large fluctuations from year to year and regular drought years occur regularly. In the lowlands, temperatures can even be very high, and with the exception of the southwestern lowlands, which get quite good rainfall, the areas are dry. The watery rivers from the highlands create the opportunity for irrigation, but the areas are mainly used for extensive cattle farming. Several of the rivers have a large, untapped hydropower potential; the main exploitation takes place in power plants on the Awash River in the Rift Valley.

Tourism. Ethiopia has great untapped potential as a tourist country. In the magnificent nature of the highlands, there are several species of mammals that are not seen elsewhere (including Abyssinian Capricorn, Geladabavian and Simien fox), and there are several national parks. In addition, the historic sites to the north such as Aksum and Lalibela are world-class attractions.

Ethiopia – Paleoanthropology (Fossils)

Ethiopia – Paleo Anthropology (Fossils), In Ethiopia, a number of important finds of forms have been made on the human development line during the 1990’s. Knowledge of Australopithecus afarensis has been expanded, new forms such as Ardipithecus ramidus kadabba (about 5.5 million years old) and Australopithecus garhi (2.5 million years) have been discovered, and two Ethiopian skulls of Paranthropus boisei have propagated it to the north. See also Ethiopia – Paleoanthropology.

Ethiopia – language

Ethiopia – languages, Ethiopia speaks partly Ethiopian languages, a branch of the Semitic languages and partly Cushitic and Omotic languages. A few speak nilotic languages. Of the Ethiopian languages, in particular, the official language is spoken Amharic (over 20 million) and Tigrinnya (about 3.2 million). In addition, Amharic was previously widely used as a second language. In addition, the language tigers, geez, now used only liturgically, and gurage. For culture and traditions of Ethiopia, please check allunitconverters.

Of the Kushite languages, the most important are Oromo and Somali. Of the remaining approximately 20 Kushite languages ​​include Saho, Sidamo and Hadiyya.

In the southwestern part of Ethiopia, omotic languages ​​are spoken (about 3 million). English is used as a second language in the education system.

Ethiopia – religion

Ethiopia – religion, Since 300-t. Christianity has been state religion in Ethiopia. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church, which was a state church until 1974, is especially widespread in the northern and central part of the country and includes approximately 43% (1995) of the population. Islamis dominant to the east and has an approximately 35%. A Catholic church (about 0.75%) and a number of Protestant church orientations (about 14%) have emerged in connection with the work of Western missionaries and are most prevalent in southern and western Ethiopia. The largest Protestant denominations are Baptist Kale Hiywot and Lutheran Mekane Yesus Church, each with over $ 1.5 million. members. approximately 6% of the population, mainly along the border with Sudan, are supporters of traditional African religions. The Protestant churches and Islam are growing strongly at the expense of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and traditional religion.