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Information on Ethiopia Travel
Officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is bordered by Eritrea to the north and northeast, Djibouti and Somalia to the east, Sudan and South Sudan to the west, and Kenya to the south. With around 88 million inhabitants, Ethiopia is the most populous landlocked country in the world, as well as the second-most populated nation on the African continent. It occupies a total area of 1,100,000 square kilometres (420,000 sq mi), and its capital and largest city is Addis Ababa.
HISTORY OF ETHIOPIA
Ethiopia is the oldest independent country in Africa and one of the oldest in the world. Herodotus, the Greek historian of the fifth century B.C., describes ancient Ethiopia in his writings. The Old Testament of the Bible records the Queen of Sheba's visit to Jerusalem. According to legend, Menelik I, the son of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, founded the Ethiopian Empire. Missionaries from Egypt and Syria introduced Christianity in the fourth century. Following the rise of Islam in the seventh century, Ethiopia was gradually cut off from European Christendom.
Known as Abyssinia until the 20th century, Ethiopia was ruled by the powerful kingdom of Aksum in the first centuries. In the 15th century, a Coptic Christian empire and the system of rule by absolutist monarch were established. After the 1500s, Ethiopia divided into a number of small kingdoms, which were reunified by Menelik II in the 1880s. Emperor Haile Selassie I succeeded to Ethiopia's throne in 1931. He was deposed in 1974, and a socialist state was instituted under Mengistu Haile Mariam. A year later, the monarchy was officially abolished and Ethiopia became a republic. Mengistu was ousted in 1991 by the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), which took over rule of the country. In 1995, the government, run primarily by members of the EPRDF, proclaimed the country the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.
President Meles Zenawi and members of the Transitional Government of Ethiopia (TGE) pledged to oversee the formation of a multi-party democracy. The election for a 547-member constituent assembly was held in June 1994, and this assembly adopted the constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia in December 1994. The elections for Ethiopia's first popularly chosen national parliament and regional legislatures were held in May and June 1995. Most opposition parties chose to boycott these elections, ensuring a landslide victory for the EPRDF, originally formed in 1989. International and non-governmental observers concluded
That opposition parties would have been able to participate had they chosen to do so. The government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia was installed in August 1995 with Meles Zenawi as the acting prime minister. Mr. Zenawi remained in that position until his death in August 2012. Former Deputy Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn became prime minister, marking the first peaceful transition of power in decades
According to the IMF, Ethiopia was one of the fastest growing economies in the world, registering over 10% economic growth from 2004 through 2009. It was the fastest-growing non-oil-dependent African economy in the years 2007 and 2008.Growth has decelerated moderately in 2012 to 7% and is projected to be 6.5% in the future .
Ethiopia's growth performance and considerable development gains came under threat during 2008 and 2011 with the emergence of twin macroeconomic challenges of high inflation and a difficult balance of payments situation. Inflation surged to 40% in August 2011 because of loose monetary policy, large civil service wage increase in early 2011, and high food prices. For 2011/12, end-year inflation was projected to be about at about 22 percent and single digit inflation is projected in 2012/13 with the implementation of tight monetary and fiscal policies.
The Commercial Bank of Ethiopia in Addis Ababa.
In spite of fast growth in recent years, GDP per capita is one of the lowest in the world, and the economy faces a number of serious structural problems. Agricultural productivity remains low, and frequent droughts still beset the country. Ethiopia is often ironically referred to as the "water tower" of Eastern Africa because of the many (14 major) rivers that pour off the high tableland, including the Nile. It also has the greatest water reserves in Africa, but few irrigation systems in place to use it. Just 1% is used for power production and 1.5% for irrigation.
Provision of telecommunications services is left to a state-owned monopoly. It is the view of the current government that maintaining state ownership in this vital sector is essential to ensure that telecommunication infrastructures and services are extended to rural Ethiopia, which would not be attractive to private enterprises.
The Ethiopian constitution defines the right to own land as belonging only to "the state and the people", but citizens may lease land (up to 99 years), and are unable to mortgage or sell. Renting of land for a maximum of twenty years is allowed and this is expected to ensure that land goes to the most productive user. Land distribution and administration is considered an area where corruption is institutionalized, and facilitation payments as well as bribes are often demanded when dealing with land-related issues.
Tef field near Mojo.
Agriculture accounts for almost 41% of the gross domestic product (GDP), 80% of exports, and 80% of the labor force. Many other economic activities depend on agriculture, including marketing, processing, and export of agricultural products. Production is overwhelmingly by small-scale farmers and enterprises and a large part of commodity exports are provided by the small agricultural cash-crop sector. Principal crops include coffee, pulses (e.g., beans), oilseeds, cereals, potatoes, sugarcane, and vegetables. A 2012 study suggested that new varieties of chickpea could benefit farmers and the Ethiopian economy in future. This study assessed the potential economic and poverty impact of 11 improved chickpea varieties, released by the national agricultural research organization of Ethiopia in collaboration with the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT). The researchers estimated using the varieties would bring about a total benefit of US$111 million for 30 years, with consumers receiving 39% of the benefit and producers 61%. The generated benefit is expected to lift more than 0.7 million people (both producers and consumers) out of poverty. The authors concluded that further investments in the chickpea and other legume research in Ethiopia is justified as a means of poverty alleviation.
Exports are almost entirely agricultural commodities, and coffee is the largest foreign exchange earner. Ethiopia is Africa's second biggest maize producer. According to UN estimations the per capita GDP of Ethiopia has reached $357 as of 2011.The same report indicated that the life expectancy had improved substantially in recent years. The life expectancy of men is reported to be 56 years and for women 60 years.
Exports from Ethiopia in the 2009/2010 financial year totaled $US1.4 billion.The country produces more coffee than any other nation on the continent.Ethiopia is also the 10th largest producer of livestock in the world. Other main export commodities are khat gold, leather products, and oilseeds. Recent development of the floriculture sector means Ethiopia is poised to become one of the top flower and plant exporters in the world. Cross-border trade by pastoralists is often informal and beyond state control and regulation. In East Africa, over 95% of cross-border trade is through unofficial channels and the unofficial trade of live cattle, camels, sheep and goats from Ethiopia sold to Somalia, Djibouti and Kenya generates an estimated total value of between US$250 and US$300 million annually (100 times more than the official figure) Entry requirements
You will need a visa to enter Ethiopia. Visas on arrival are only available for tourists at Addis Ababa (Bole) or Dire Dawa International airports, at a cost of approximately $US50 for 1 month and $US75 for 3 months (Euros, US dollars and Ethiopian birr are all accepted). All other categories of visitor must get a visa from the Ethiopian Embassy closest to their place of legal residence before travelling. Penalties for overstaying your visa can be severe (see below - Immigration Status).
If you travel to Ethiopia as a tourist you won’t be able to take employment, including voluntary employment. If you are caught in breach of your immigration status you may face a severe fine or possible imprisonment.
Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of entry into Ethiopia. Make sure you have two blank pages in your passport on arrival.
Yellow fever certificate
Yellow Fever vaccination is required for travellers who are arriving from, or have transited through, countries with risk of yellow fever transmission.
Once you are in Ethiopia you will not be able to change your immigration status. If you have any concerns about your immigration status in Ethiopia, you should contact the local immigration authorities:
Security, Immigration and Refugee Affairs Authority
Tourist visitors to Ethiopia should be aware that they will be unable to take employment, including voluntary employment, whilst visiting Ethiopia on a tourist visa. If visitors are caught in breach of their immigration status they may face severe fines or possible imprisonment.
Emergency Travel Documents : UK Emergency Travel Documents are accepted for entry, airside transit and exit from Ethiopia.