Ethiopia has been a democratic republic since 1975. Under the 1994 constitution the country is a federal democratic republic. The power of government is concentrated in the hands of the Prime Minister, while the President performs purely representative functions, the latter is elected every 6 years by the Council of People’s Representatives, whose members are elected by direct suffrage for 5 years. The judicial system in use in the country is made up of special people’s courts, elected by members of urban and rural associations. The highest body in charge of the administration of justice is the Supreme Court based in Addis Ababa, then we find the High Court, the Provincial Courts, competent in civil and criminal matters, and the District Courts, competent only in civil matters. The death penalty is in effect. Following the independence of Eritrea (1993) and the consequent loss of access to the sea, the entire armed forces had to be reformed, opening access to all ethnic groups and selling the entire naval fleet to other countries. Today the defense system of the state is divided into the army and the air force. From the end of the war, the school reform program began. Education in Ethiopia is free, in all its cycles and compulsory from 7 to 13 years of age. Secondary education begins at 13 and lasts for a period of 6, divided into a first cycle of 2 years, with a preparatory function, and a second of 4, which can have a classical, commercial, technical or agricultural orientation. In 2007, the percentage of illiterate people was very high, reaching 64.1%. Higher studies are carried out in the
ECONOMY: GENERAL INFORMATION
The country’s economic landscape is particularly precarious following the prolonged situation of conflict with Eritrea and Somalia. In the first decade of the 2000s, the country’s fundamental problems were the lack of adequate means of communication, a strong economic disparity between the states in which the country is divided, the difficult conditions of rural populations, cyclical severe famines and AIDS; moreover, the frequent waves of drought make progress in the agricultural sector difficult, which is, moreover, too subject to the fluctuation of the prices of a monoculture: coffee. Ethiopia is the sub-Saharan state it received, mainly from the World Bank and IMF, the largest share of development aid. It went through a period of profound economic change during the seventies of the twentieth century with the turn of the Marxist-Leninist government HM Mengistu He, through the confiscation of estates, assigned small plots of land (not exceeding 10 ha) to peasant families and tried to modernize the rural population. In 1991, with the collapse of the Soviet Union, a period of profound economic crisis began for the country which led to a liberal turn. In the following decade, thanks to vast and conspicuous international aid, the country tried to invest in infrastructure, health, education and the energy sector. Despite the efforts Ethiopia is in a state of constant emergency, the per capita GDP is proof of this registered in 2008 of US $ 324. In part, however, Ethiopia’s difficulties are also attributable to organizational factors, as the country’s objective possibilities are considerable. It has favorable natural conditions, with different environments, which allow various forms of land exploitation; the water potential is very significant (the Nile river passes through its plateaus), to be used both for the production of electricity and for the irrigation of new agricultural areas; the presence of large areas of grass and permanent pasture would allow an increase in livestock breeding; the forest richness inadequately exploited is also varied. Visit shoe-wiki for Eastern Africa Economy.
ECONOMY: TRADE, COMMUNICATIONS AND TOURISM
The country’s trade balance is in deficit, albeit slightly improving, and reflects Ethiopia’s state of substantial underdevelopment. Internal trade is still poor: the market centers are reached weekly by peasants from the villages who come to make their sales (cereals, fruit and vegetables, head of cattle) and carry out essential purchases (salt, fabrics, pottery, etc.).). Only in Addis Ababa can one find a relatively large range of consumer goods. The imported goods come mainly from the European Union (especially from Italy), followed by China, the United States and Japan; they include motor vehicles, machinery, chemical and industrial products in general, fuels, etc. Exports see coffee clearly in first place, followed by hides and skins as well as some agricultural products;. Financially, Ethiopia manages to safeguard its economy by extensively resorting to foreign aid. § The communication routes are still enormously lacking and often still correspond to those built by the Italians during the colonial period: this constitutes a very serious obstacle for the development of the country; many areas have no connections with the capital or major centers. The roads are developed for 36,469 km (2004); however, only the main routes are asphalted or in any case have good practicability conditions (6980 km). The two roads that connect Addis Ababa with Eritrea (Asmara) passing through Gonder (Gondar) and Dessiè (Desē) ensure meridian communications, which are completed with the road to Kenya: the expressway connecting Addis Ababa with Nairobi is indeed an integral part of the East African highway system. The transversal communication routes are more lacking. The main railway is the one that connects Addis Ababa with Djibouti, built at the end of the century. XIX from a French company and which always represents an important infrastructure, although it no longer plays the role it once did. Extensive is the internal air network that also connects Ethiopia with various African, European and Asian countries. There are numerous small airports, which in fact are mostly simple stopovers; the main one is the international one in Addis Ababa. § On the other hand, the tourist contribution is almost nil, despite the government’s efforts to encourage the sector and despite the undoubted artistic interests (first of all Lalibela) and landscape offered by the country.