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Country information: Ethiopia



1.127.127 square kilometres


85,24 million (July 2009)

Capital city

Addis Abeba (2,97 million inhabitants 2006)

Official language

Amarigna (80 other languages for example: Oromigna 31.6%, Tigrigna 6.1%, Somaligna 6%, Guaragigna 3.5%)

GDP per capita (PPP)

US $ 800 (2008)

Population growth

3,21 per cent (2009)

Life expectancy

55,4 years (men: 52,9 years, women: 58 years) (2009)

Infant mortality

80,8 per 1 000 live births (2009)

Rate of illiteracy

57 % (2003)




Ethiopia remains a difficult destination for travellers; tourist infrastructure is virtually non-existent. Nonetheless, the government sees tourism as one of the most important future sources of income. The hope is that the country will draw tourists with a higher income and level of education who will visit out of interest in the country’s cultural and natural attractions. Most foreigners visit Ethiopia for business reasons and on the journey through to other destinations. According to UNWTO in 2004, approximately 210,000 guests visited the country and brought 139 million Euro into the country.


Commercial sexual exploitation of children in tourism

In recent years in Ethiopia there has been an increase in cases of prostitution and the commercial sexual exploitation of children. This increase, however, is not only connected with the developments in the tourism sector. The cause is more the extreme poverty of much of the population. The difficult financial situation forces more and more children onto the streets, where they are particularly at risk of abduction and commercial sexual exploitation. Some are attracted by promises of well-paid jobs. In addition to commercial sexual exploitation, sexual abuse of children in their own families has also increased.


On 14th May 1991, Ethiopia ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and undertook to protect children against all forms of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse.


HIV / Aids 

In 2007, according to estimates of UNAIDS and the World Health Organization, 980.000 people in Ethiopia were infected with HIV, including 530.000 women and 92.000 children. In the same year 84,000 Ethopians died. Amongst both men and women there is a growing belief that children catch HIV less easily, and that sexual intercourse with children has a cleansing and healing effect. Of course this is not true. Children, whose immune system is often weakened anyway as a result of poverty, have a particularly high risk of becoming infected by the virus, particularly because in addition to the traumatic mental effects of sexual abuse they frequently suffer considerable physical injury. In Ethiopia 1,3 per cent of the whole population is infected by the virus.


Local Contacts

African Network for the Prevention of & Protection Against Child Abuse and Neglect (ANPPCAN Ethiopian Chapter)

Mr. Ayalew Wolde Semait

P. O. Box 34359

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Phone: +251 505202

Fax: +251 539757



ECPAT Ethiopia

PO Box 9562

Addis Ababa

Phone: +251 115 534722

Fax: +251 115 524469






State and society

Head of state of the Democratic Federal Republic of Ethiopia is the President, who only has a representational function. Political power lies with the prime minister. The parliament consists of two chambers. The major political force is the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), which brings together various political groups.


Since the collapse of the socialist single-party system and the end of the civil war in 1991, Ethiopia has been in a state of transition and reconstruction. The long drought and the border conflict with Eritrea have seriously delayed renewal. Although a peace treaty was signed in 2000, border disputes continue. The government has adopted a policy of regionalisation, with increased decision-making powers being handed down to the regions.


Ethiopia is a multi-national country, and is very heterogeneous in terms of ethnicity, cultures, languages and religious beliefs. The three largest ethnic groups are the Oromo (ca. 35 per cent of the population), the Amhara (ca. 28 per cent) and the Tigré (less than 10 per cent), which together account for two-thirds of the population. Of a total of 85 ethnic groups, only seven are larger than one million people.

Some 45 to 50 per cent of the population are Moslem, 35 to 40 per cent are Ethiopian Orthodox Christian, twelve per cent are Animists.

Ethnic tensions regularly lead to loss of life and the displacement of tens of thousands of people every year. Even though the human rights situation has improved in recent years, Amnesty International still reports of human rights violations.


Ethiopia is one of the poorest countries in the world. More than half of Ethiopians live in poverty either temporarily or permanently. Only a quarter of the population has access to clean drinking water. Poverty and lack of opportunities lead to increasing violence and criminality, as well as growing drug consumption. More and more people live on the streets. Many poor families are forced to share accommodation with others. This tends to break up traditional family structures, which were often the only source of social stability. These two developments help to explain why the sexual abuse of children has increased. The desperate economic situation affects in particular the women, who traditionally have a higher work load than the men. Infant mortality is very high due to the poor standards of medical care, and rates of illiteracy of Ethiopian women are unusually high.



The Ethiopian economy is based on agriculture, with coffee as the most important crop, along with grains. Sheep and goat farming is widespread. Mining and industry only play a minor role.