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Essay/Term paper: Ethiopia

Essay, term paper, research paper:  World History

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Relief: Ethiopia consists mainly of Desert and Mountains. Many valleys and
plateau's also can be found in the country. Due to these landform types the
percentage of farm land is approximately 5.7% of the total amount of land in
Ethiopia. The amount of arable land is 10% of the 5.7% total. Ethiopia has an
area of 1 221 900 sq. km. Ethiopia does not receive any problems such as
volcanism, tidal waves, etc., but it does receive great winds and monsoons. It
is located in Eastern Africa neighboured by Sudan (NW), Kenya(S), and
Somalia(SE). Elevations can be seen on figure 1, and the physical features of
Ethiopia on figure 2.

Climate: The Climate in Ethiopia is of three different climatic zones. These
being the cool or dega zone, consisting of the central parts of the western and
eastern sections of the high plateaus and the area around Harar, with terrains
roughly above 7 900 ft. in elevation. The second zone is the temperate, or
weina dega zone, comprising portions of the high plateau between 4 900 and 7 900
ft.. The final area being the hot or kolla zone, encompassing an area with an
altitude less than 5 000 ft. The cool zones temperatures and precipitation can
be seen on figure 3. The temperate zones temperatures range from 15.6C to 29.4C.
The temperature in the hot zone of the lowlands can reach temperatures as high
as 60C.

There are two distinct seasons in Ethiopia the rainy season, or kremt, lasting
from mid-June to mid-semptember. the other is the Dry season, or bega,
lasting from mid-September to mid-June. In April and May there is slight
transition period. The greatest amount of precipitation is found in the
southwest areas, near gore. They receive approx. 104 in. a year. The littlest
amount of precipitation is found in the Great Rift Valley receiving less than 4
inches per year. the average annual precipitation in the central plateau at 48

The prevailing winds that strike Ethiopia are the Southwesterly monsoon in the
rainy season and the northeasterly wind from the Arabian Desert in the dry

Ethiopia's climatic conditions suffer severe drought jeopardizing millions with
starvation. These extreme weather changes create horrible growing seasons,
making yields quite unsuccessful.

Vegetation: The percentage of forest land is minimal in Ethiopia, most of the
area is grazed dry farmland, and some generally arable land. Near areas where
beef cattle are being raised tsete flies can be found in great numbers. They
spread a sleeping disease, that in turn wear down farmers, and create less
productivity, and more disease than needed. Another insect that causes severe
problems are locusts. They are considered the plague of Ethiopia, eating,
therefore ruining crops. Due to lack of money Ethiopia does not have sufficient
preservation facilities, and much of there food rots and goes to waste. Rodents
also get into crops and eat whatever is at hand.

Soils: Almost all of Ethiopia's soils are made up of infertile red and yellow
laterite. Humus and other nutrients are washed out of the soils and into the
rivers. Much land is lost from erosion and desertification, from constant over
grazing and loss of trees.

Wildlife: I couldn't find any information on Ethiopia's wildlife, but I would
suspect it is minimal. Small amounts of cattle and ox.


Race: Ethiopia is quite unique for the number of races throughout the country.
These races are shown on figure 4.

Languages: In Ethiopia there are over 70 languages and 200 dialects spoken, but
only eight of the languages are commonly used. Amharic is the official language
of Ethiopia. Tigrinya and Arabic are the official languages of Eritrea. These
are the only three languages with a written script. Due to the number of
languages, many Ethiopians are bilingual and even trilingual. See figure 4.

Religions: Due to all these different religions many problems arise, such as
which religion should be the inferior religion? Around 1931 Emperor Haile
Selassie ruled. When the emperor was overthrown the Ethiopian Orthodox Church
lost its favoured position, along with its lands and most of its property.
Other religions, particularly Western Protestant evangelical organizations, have
found their activities sharply curtailed by the government. this has been
displayed through closure of churches, seizure and nationalization of property
and facilities, and harassment and surveillance. Some religions have assembled
"secret areas" for worship and other practices of there religion. See figure 4.

Population: The population in Ethiopia is extremely high, with a vastly
increasing birthrate. Forms of family planning are not used steadily, if at all.
The population can be seen in figure 5 and past and future estimations of
Ethiopia's population can be seen in figure 6.

Housing and Clothing: Homes outside of the city are primarily made of a
mud/straw mixture. These homes obviously contain no electricity, or insulation.
All forms of heating would be done by man made fires, or some form of wood stove.
Due to the poor nature of the country nothing else is affordable. Clothing
consists of a loin cloth for men, and for women some form of cloth is wrapped
around the body. In the city houses are typically made of cement with a tin
roof. Here you may find small amounts of electricity for heating and cooking,
but nothing much more. Some wealthy families may have a television etc. In
the city most people wear Western clothing.

Diet: If the area is not getting foreign aid of any sort the meals, if any,
consist of a food called injera. This is a pancake like sour bread of
spongelike texture made chiefly with teff, a cereal grain. Other foods include
wat, a beef or chicken sauce or stew made with hot spices. The universal drink
is talla, a beer fermented from barley, and the leaves of the gesho plant. Taj,
a fermented honey beverage, is consumed by the wealthier classes. Raw mature
meat is relished, but fish is not popular. Locusts are eaten by some cultures.
Many of the Ethiopian people are suffering from mass starvation. reasons for
the lack of food in Ethiopia are: Over Population, caused by lack of use of
family planning. 2.Poor Soils, most of the U.D.C.'s have infertile red and
yellow laterite. 3.Variable Climates 4.Poor Distribution, 5.Food Destruction,
6.Tools and Technology: lack of proper farming equipment, to obtain successful
yields., 8. Ignorance, 9.Food Taboos, 10.Poor Seeds. These are only a few of
the problems involved with lack of food in Ethiopia. Unfortunately most of the
quality food in Ethiopia is grown by latifundia, and is exported to other

Jobs: Jobs are very sparse, and if found, involve intense backbreaking work, at
a minimal cost. Due to the amount of unemployed people, practically any form of
work thrown at them will be taken. Latifundia offer jobs to occupants, such as
coffee bean and cotton picking, and they pay them pennies an hour. Some of
these jobs are extremely far from home, breaking up families for weeks. Others
are self-employed farmers, or do not work at all.

Health: Health care in Ethiopia gets slightly better as years pass, but still
only a small portion of the population receives it. Famine care is immensely
small, and needs great improvement. The most commonly found diseases in
Ethiopia are malaria, tuberculosis, leprosy, venereal diseases, smallpox, typhus,
typhoid, trachoma, conjunctivitis, and sexually transmitted diseases. Also see
figures 7 and 8 for a further look at health speculations.

Education & Welfare: Education in Ethiopia is not compulsory by law, but
public education is free from the primary to the college level. The schooling
consists of 12 years divided into six years of primary school, two years of
middle school and four years of secondary school. The literacy rate is
extremely low at approx. 4.9% of the total population. Literacy has been
steadily increasing though in the past few years. Ethiopia has been awarded the
literacy price from UNESCO from it's success. Further aspects of education can
be seen in figure 9. In Ethiopia there are no official welfare programs
available. Existing public programs are run by voluntary religious groups only.
Due to this lack of support, this is one reason for vast cases of starvation.

Quality of Life: The Quality of life in Ethiopia is horrible. There is a major
shortage of food, and very few jobs. Due to poor vegetation and soil, food
growth is a minimal. All work is usually backbreaking slave labour, and the
main priorities of an Ethiopian is survival.


Development: Ethiopia is a developing country. Its level of development is
extremely poor and slow, and isn't getting much better.

Economy: Ethiopia continues to face difficult economic problems as one of the
poorest and least developed countries in Africa. Its Economy is based chiefly
on agriculture and weather plays a major factor in success rates. Development
is slow and doesn't look very promising. Manufacturing suffers from under
investment, shortages of raw material and poor management.

Standard of Living: The GNP of Ethiopia is 114 per capita, being extremely low,
and intolerable for any form of adequate survival. The level of living in turn
is substantially low. Urban Areas tend to be slightly better than rural, but
not by much.GNP insights can be seen in depth on figure 10.

Industries: The primary Industry of Ethiopia is Agriculture, employing roughly
85% of the country's workers. The rest of the working population is broken down
to 10% in service industries, and the final 5% in manufacturing. The products
produced in the service industries and the manufacturing industries can be seen
in figure 11 and 12.

Industrial Location: There are approximately 8 main natural resources and 1 raw
material found in abundance in Ethiopia. This is shown in figure 12 and 13. Two
thirds of the power is provided through hydroelectricity, making Ethiopia one of
the least dependent on outside sources of energy in Africa. Ethiopia has two
narrow-gauge railways, two seaports, and National highways that connect major
population centers in the central plateau and Eritrea. This is only a small
portion of Ethiopia's transportation systems. Most of the country is made up of
unpaved or uncrossable roads, making transportation slow and inefficient. The
ratio of people to automobiles is 811:1. The labour involved is monotonous and
backbreaking. The people are paid pennies for days work, and are usually
situated in inadequate working facilities. There are very few markets to
purchase clothing etc.. Ethiopia's capital is very low, and they do receive
foreign aid and tariffs.

Industrial Problems: Ethiopia suffers a great deal, with environmental
problems. Areas that have been strip mined, grazed etc., have been left with no
clean up what so ever. In doing so the appearance of the area is very poor.
Pollution caused by heavy machinery is very low, because there isn't any, but
scrap and soot levels are high.There are no forms of pollution control, and no
pollution or dumping laws are enforced.

Agriculture: The agricultural industry is extremely important to Ethiopia. It
makes up 85% of the jobs given to the people. Only 10% of the land area is
currently under cultivation, and it accounts for 47% of the GDP even though
drought, poor cultivation, and many other factors effect productivity. The main
types of crops grown are shown in figure 14. Most methods of farming are done
naturally, and traditional, by the sun and rain, or as there ancestors before.
Pesticides, Fertilizers, and Herbicides are too expensive, and are used, if at
all, in small amounts making them almost useless. Most crops are planted
manually, due to the lack of money. Tools are handmaid, and ox are used for
plowing fields. Only Latifundia can afford efficient forms of harvesting, with
expensive materials, and machinery. There is no land distribution to any of the
people. Most lands are obtained through inheritance, from family members that
have owned it for generations. Education levels for agricultural techniques are
very low. All knowledge in farming is typically learned by ancestors, or by
"winging it". There is very little irrigation.

POLITICAL: Form of Government: Ethiopia is said to be a transitional
government, but is also known as a republic country. There current leader is
Meles Zenawi. It is a very unstable country that has had its share of civil
wars, there last leader was practically driven out of parliament. Elections
don't really exist. The people of Ethiopia are very limited with there rights
and freedoms. Ethiopia has been classified as a not-free country. There is a
very low value on human rights.

Internal Conflicts: Ethiopia has had many civil revolts. This can be seen in
the Ethiopian History line, figure 15. Many Ethiopians try to migrate to better
there standards of living, in hope of a brighter future. Most of the population
is extremely poor, with the odd family being better off. Most Ethiopians are
considered lower class citizens, that receive little respect if any.

Trade: Ethiopia has about 7 main imports and 5 major exports, that can be seen
in figure 16. The balance of trade is roughly -$617 000 000. The money they
receive for there exports is minimal. Exporting partners are: US, Germany,
Djivouti, Japan, Yemen, France, and Italy. There major importers are: USSR,
Italy, Germany, Japan, UK, US, and France. The stability of there currency is
unstable, and not very promising.

International Co-operation: Ethiopia gives no aid to other countries, because
it needs aid itself. They receive foreign aid, from the US, Canada and other
countries. Food donations from the food bank, farmers, small organizations
with excess' of food, and other charity organizations donate a portion of items
each year. Many programs are also run where families "adopt" a child. If done
a donation of money is sent to the country to give a poor child blankets,
clothes, and possibly a toy. Other organizations include the UN, IRRA, and FAO.

International Conflict: Ethiopia neighbours Sudan, Somalia, and Kenya.
Currently there are no border problems, but attempts of migration are always
present. Other border problems can be seen in the history line of Ethiopia on
figure 15.

Future: All in all the future of Ethiopia is very poor. Due to little or no
family planning the birth rate is still high. The inability to produce enough
food for its vastly growing population, still creates mass starvation. The
government does not seem to be planning any propositions of future hope, making
chances of improvement almost inevitable.


Colombo, John Robert, ed. 1996 Canadian Global Almanac. Toronto: Macmillian
Canada 1996.

"Ethiopia Famine."Ethiopia: Case Study. Internet. http://rs6.loc.gov/et_00_
00.html. 1996

"Ethiopia." Information Finder. Vers.2.6. Computer Software. World Book,
Inc., 1996

Kurian, George Thomas, ed. Encyclopedia of the Third World. New York: Facts
on File, 1992

Wright, Hohn W., ed. 1996 Universal Almanac, Kansas City: 1995 Universal Press


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