Proportion of literate adults: 49.1% (2015)
Major religions: Orth. Christianity approx. 43%, Islam approx. 34%
Urban population: approx. 20.4% (2017)
Life expectancy (female / male): 64.7 / 59.8 years (estimated 2016)
Gender Inequality Index: Rank 123 of 162 (2018)
Number of births: 4.99 / woman (estimated 2017)
Infant mortality: 51.1 / 1000 live births (estimated 2016)
Since the end of the military dictatorship at the beginning of the 1990’s, foreign influences on the everyday life of Ethiopian society have expanded and intensified considerably. After the fall of the Mengistu regime, many Ethiopians returned from all parts of the world who had lived in political exile, studied abroad or worked in the Gulf States. With their return, new experiences and ideas came to the young republic. Even today, the Ethiopian diaspora, which can be found on all continents, has a great influence on social development in Ethiopia.
The liberalization of trade, the development of the media, the Internet and tourism promote cultural exchange and have thus become important factors in the country’s social change. Development projects by bilateral and multilateral donors as well as by non-governmental organizations also make a significant contribution to change.
All of these factors have both fertilizing and conflicting effects.
Boys playing at Lake Langano
According to cellphoneexplorer, Ethiopia is a country located in Eastern Africa. Ethiopia is a very young society. More than 70 percent of the population are younger than 30 years old, and almost half are under 15 years old.
The falling birth rate means that Ethiopia is gradually moving closer to the demographic dividend that is conducive to economic growth . So far, however, the proportion of young economically dependent remains high, so the government has to devote a relatively large proportion of its resources to youth. Despite presentable growth forecasts, this is hampering the country’s economic strength.
Welcome to the market
Ethiopia is a multiethnic state with a large number of ethnicities and languages. The number of ethnic groups is given with at least 80, in some sources with up to 120. The linguistic diversity is just as pronounced. The ethnic groups are either very small, with only a few thousand people (e.g. Mursi) or very large with over 25 million (e.g. Oromo). According to the 2007 census, the Oromos with 34.5% and Amharas with 29.6% are the two largest ethnic groups, followed by Somalis with 6.2% and Tigrays with 6.1%. The other ethnic groups together make up a good 23% of the population.
One result of the centuries-long confrontation of the Ethiopian Empire with European powers is the identity-creating commonality of preserved independence, the victory against foreign colonizers. The battle of Adwa against the Italian invaders in 1896 is considered to be a key event in this context and the time when the modern Ethiopian state was founded. However, this unifying factor cannot hide the internal conflicts that have been part of the history of the Ethiopian state from the beginning.
The disintegration of traditional structures of rule is also fueling these conflicts. Traditionally influential councils of elders, clan leaders or other people respected within an ethnic group have lost their reputation and influence. Conflicts are therefore increasingly being carried out in an “uncoordinated” manner and traditional mechanisms of conflict resolution work less and less.
The government’s response to the ethnic conflicts raging in Ethiopia is ethnic federalism. It is intended to satisfy the desire for self-determination of the ethnic groups – for example in the form of native-language schooling of the children – through extensive autonomy of the federal states, which are divided according to ethnic aspects, and thus make them satisfied members of the Ethiopian nation. Critics complain, however, that the administrative structure, which is oriented towards ethnic borders, increases awareness of ethnic differences and thus intensifies existing conflicts. The retention of Amharic as the only official language is also controversial.
Conflicts over political freedoms, but also vital basic goods such as access to water and land, are ongoing challenges that are exacerbated by droughts, armed conflicts in the Horn of Africa and the associated refugee movements from neighboring countries.
The efforts of the government to integrate the members of the various ethnic groups into an Ethiopian nation comprising all ethnic groups and to enable them to participate appropriately in the political process have so far only been crowned with modest success. The Ethiopian Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Day, always celebrated on December 8th, is intended to celebrate the diversity of Ethiopians and at the same time strengthen the national feeling of belonging. He can thus be seen as the figurehead of the government’s “Unity in Diversity” campaign, but cannot hide the fact that ethnic affiliation also plays a major role in everyday political life Parties ethnically based associations (e.g. Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front, Oromo People’s Congress and many more) are.