Housing and supply
According to aceinland, Ethiopia is a country located in Eastern Africa. Ethiopians and foreigners alike usually live in single-story, detached houses. Residential buildings with several apartments, i.e. multi-storey apartment buildings, have been increasingly being built in Addis Ababa and other cities for several years. The rental prices are very different and depend on the location, equipment, quality and the demand for houses in a certain area. Overall, prices have been rising rapidly for several years. Nevertheless, Addis Ababa is one of the cheapest cities in the region for foreigners. Rents are usually to be paid in the national currency, but advertisements are increasingly showing rental prices in US dollars. Traditionally, there are no residential areas or closed settlements in Addis Ababa or in other cities that are reserved for foreigners or wealthy sections of the population. Only in the last few years have some so-called “gated communities”, fenced villa districts with their own security personnel, been created in Addis Ababa and its suburbs.
New residential area in a suburb of Addis Ababa
Urban infrastructure such as water supply, sanitary facilities and electricity, but also telephone and garbage disposal are usually given, but in rural areas they are the exception.
One of the big new shopping malls in Addis Ababa with western-style Christmas decorations
In almost all cities, consumer goods and durable consumer goods are now available. In Addis Ababa, the range of goods is very extensive.
Fabric shops in the Mercato, the largest covered market in Africa © Maria Scurrell
The Ethiopian (and Eritrean) cuisine is very different from the cuisines of other African countries. The sourdough flatbread Injera, which is made from teff, a gluten-free grain from the Horn of Africa, is characteristic. Sauces made from or with vegetables, meat, legumes and many different spices are served on the injera. At the same time, the flatbread serves as a eating tool with which the sauces are picked up and eaten.
Many dishes are prepared with a spice mixture called Berberé (consisting of ground chili peppers, ginger, allspice and other spices) and are therefore very hot.
Since both the Ethiopian Orthodox Church and Islam prohibit the consumption of pork, traditional Ethiopian cuisine only includes poultry, sheep, beef and fish.
Another characteristic of Ethiopian cuisine is the variety of vegetarian and vegan dishes. This is due to the fact that the Ethiopian Orthodox Church orders its believers to abstain from animal products (except fish) every Wednesday and Friday as well as on a number of public holidays.
The exact composition of meals varies from region to region and season, but it also depends very much on the financial resources of the households. The consumption of meat and expensive vegetables is reserved for the better-off.
Traditional drinks include Tej, a mead similar to mead, Telba, which is made from flaxseed, and Tela, a homemade, unfiltered beer. There are several large breweries in Ethiopia, and various wines are made in the country and enjoyed with pleasure.
Coffee is an important part of Ethiopian food culture and hospitality. This is expressed not least in the typical Ethiopian coffee ceremony.
During the coffee ceremony, the still green coffee beans are roasted in front of the guests
Money and money transfer
The Ethiopian currency is the birr, which is divided into 100 santim. There are coins in circulation to the value of 1, 5, 10, 25 and 50 Santim, 1 Birr and banknotes of 1, 5, 10, 50 and 100 Birr. Due to the short lifespan and the comparatively high production costs, the 1-birr note has been gradually replaced by a new 1-birr coin since 2010. In September 2020, the government announced that the 5-birr note would also be gradually replaced by a coin; the previous banknotes with a value of 10, 50 and 100 birr will be replaced by new ones that are more difficult to forge. There will also be a new 200 birr banknote. This currency reform serves to combat corruption and is intended to counteract the hoarding of large amounts of cash outside the banking system.
You can easily change money at banks in cities. Money can also be changed at the airport immediately after arrival. However, the best exchange rate is not to be expected here.
There are private and state banks in all parts of the country where you can easily open an account as the holder of a residence permit. It is not possible to open an account with a tourist visa.
There are now a few ATMs in Addis Ababa. Credit cards are only accepted in some hotels and shops, mostly in Addis Ababa, cash withdrawals can be made by credit card at Dashen Bank’s ATMs. Some Ethiopian banks have been offering credit cards to their customers since 2006.
Money can easily be transferred from Germany to Ethiopia.
The maximum limit for the import and export of cash in local currency is 200 Ethiopian Birr per person. The import of foreign currency cash must be reported for a value of over US $ 3,000 per person.