The highest population reported in Ethiopia is around 86.8 million. The population was just 15 million in 1935. It has one of the fastest-growing populations in the world today at 3.2% per year. There is a growing trend toward urbanisation. This has increased the number of impoverished urban street children.
About 90 percent of the population earn a living from the land, mainly as subsistence farmers. Agriculture is the mainstay of the economy. Ethiopia exports coffee, oil seed, pulses, flowers, vegetables, sugar and animal feed. The livestock sector exports cattle and hides. The three top import sources to Ethiopia are China, Saudi Arabia and India. Ethiopia’s main export destinations are Germany, China and Somalia. The economy is weak and unstable and there is growing urban unemployment. Many struggling rural parents keep their children home from school to work on the land. DRE insists its sponsored children attend school to receive funding.
In Ethiopia, a federation of regional states is governed by two assemblies. The new Republic’s principle of ‘ethnic federalism’ has seen old provinces divided into 11 new regions which have autonomous councils and hold their own elections. The regions are demarcated along linguistic lines and large ethnic groups.
The elected Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi, died recently and a peaceful transition of power to his deputy, Hailemariam Desalegn, occurred. Zenawi had come to power in 1995 when the new Republic was formed after the defeat of the Soviet-backed Derg or socialist government.
Relations with Eritrea remain hostile over border demarcation, with Somalia involved as a battleground for the opposing sides. There is also a separatist movement in the Ogaden region.
HFCE is a non political organisation that has a mutually respectful and functional relationship with relevant Government Departments.
Land and Environment
Ethiopia is nearly twice the size of France, with elevations of 4000 m and some of the lowest points on Earth. The capital city, Addis Ababa sits at 2300 m. Civil wars and demographic pressure have exacted a toll. About 95 percent of original forest has been lost to agriculture and settlement. Deforestation has resulted in soil erosion, exacerbating drought and famine risk. This has resulted in food shortages that translate to more families seeking HFCE assistance.
- Ethiopia at a Glance
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