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Ethiopia, a landlocked country on the Horn of Africa in the eastern part of the continent, has 112 million inhabitants. 45% of Ethiopians are under the age of 15. The capital city, Addis Ababa, is situated in the uplands at 2,500 metres above sea level and has a population of over 5 million. Since 1963, it has also been the seat of the African Union. In this still predominantly agrarian country, the cities are growing at lightning speed and there is a powerful drive towards industrialisation, which brings with it huge challenges.


80 different ethnic groups and languages contribute to the country's diversity. Around 60% of Ethiopians profess the Christian faith. Of these, a good two-thirds are Ethiopian Orthodox, and just less than a third are Protestant. Approximately 35% of Ethiopians are Muslim. The co-existence of ethnicities and faiths is not without tensions, yet largely peaceful. Religion and tradition play an important role – legends, songs and dances are often passed down through the generations.



36% of Ethiopian GDP (gross domestic product) is generated by the agricultural sector, which is also responsible for employing 70% of the population (small farmers). Another 42% of GDP is generated by the service sector, predominantly consisting of retail, public administration and banking. The remaining 22% is generated by industry, with a focus on food products, textiles and leather goods. Ethiopia is the world's fifth-largest coffee-producer, producing 400,000 tons a year. Coffee is also the country's key export. 

National development

Although Ethiopia's GDP is one of the fastest-growing in the world, just under 30% of Ethiopians still live below the poverty line. Because of drought and failed harvests, plagues of locusts and conflicts, nearly 8 million people depend on food aid. Ethiopia is a multi-ethnic state with over 80 different ethnicities. This diversity of cultures and political attitudes is often a source of domestic conflicts. What unites all ethnicities is the country's continuous independence, as Ethiopia was never colonised. ​

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