General Information

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Full Name of the Country: Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (FDRE)

Ethiopia, Land of Origins is home to over 80 different peoples and nationalities. The Federation is composed of Nine Regional States: Afar, Amhara, Oromia, Tigray, Somali, Benishangul-Gumuz, Gambella, Harari and Southern Nations, Nationalities and People (SNNPR) Regional States; and two Chartered Cities - Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa.


Ethiopia is a multi-party federal democracy with legislative authority resting with the government headed by an executive prime minister and the elected House of Representatives (547 members) and the House of Federation (112 members). The Prime Minister is chosen by the party in power following multi-party democratic national and federal state elections which are held every five years. Parties can be registered at either the national or the federal state level. The President is elected by the members of the House of People's Representatives.

  • President: Mulatu Teshome (Dr.)
  • Prime Minister: Abiy Ahmed (Dr.)
  • Speaker of the House of People's Representatives: Keria Ibrahim


  • Speaker of the House of Federation: Yalew Abate

Location and Boundaries

Ethiopia is located in the centre of the Horn of Africa. It shares borders with the Sudan and South Sudan to the west; Eritrea to the north and north-east; Djibouti and Somaliland to the east; Somalia and Kenya to the south.

It covers an area of 1.14 million square Kilometers (944,000 square miles)

Capital City: Addis Ababa

One of the two chartered cities in the Federation is the seat of the Federal Government, the House of Representatives and the House of Federation, as well as country's center of commerce and industry. And it is also the capital of the Oromia Regional State. It is the largest city in the country. It lies on the central plateau at an altitude of 2300-2400 meters, and with an average temperature of around 160C.

Addis Ababa, founded in 1887, is host to the African Union (AU) and to the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA). Besides several other international organizations have their head quarters and offices are in Addis.


Although Ethiopia lies within 15 degrees North of the Equator, overall the country enjoys moderate temperatures and a pleasant climate, with average temperature rarely exceeding 200C (680F), owing to the moderating influence of high altitude. The more sparsely populated lowlands tend to have sub–tropical and tropical climates; and parts of the Afar regional State in the east of the country which lie below sea level are considered to be the hottest place on earth with temperatures regularly reaching 500C (1200F) or more. 

At approximately 850 mm (34 inches), the average annual rainfall for the whole country is considered to be moderate by global standards. In most of the highland areas, rainfall occurs in two distinct seasons: the "small rains" (belg) during February and March and the "big rains" (kremt) from June to September. In the south east lowlands the rainy seasons are from March to May, the longer season (tsedey), and the short rainy season from October to December (bega).


The current population estimate is 94, 352,000 (as of July 1, 2017) which makes Ethiopia second populous country in Africa next to Nigeria.


Ethiopia is a multi-ethnic state with a great variety of languages spoken in the country, of which there are 83 with 200 dialects. Amharic is the working language of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.


Major religions in the country are Christianity and Islam.


Ethiopian Air lines is the first airline in Africa to operate Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner. There are international airports at Addis Ababa (Bole International Airport), Dire Dawa, Bahr Dar, Gondar, Lalibela, Axum, Arba Minch, Mekelle and Hawassa. The national carrier, From its hub at Addis Ababa, Ethiopian Airlines, has an excellent international reputation and currently serves 100 international destinations to the United States of America, Europe, Canada, Africa, Asia and Middle East have been launched, as the airline goes about bringing the world closer to Africa.

Internationally, Ethiopian flies to a number of major cities in Europe including Frankfurt, London, Paris, Rome, Brussels and Stockholm; to Bangkok, Beijing, New Delhi, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, and Mumbai across Asia; to numerous destinations in the Middle East; to Washington D.C, Los Angeles, Newark and Toronto in North America.

As well as the Airline flies to 22 local flight destinations such as Addis Ababa, Arba Minch, Assosa, Axum, Bahar Dar, Bale Robe, Dire Dawa, Gambella, Gonder, Gode, Hawassa, Humera, Jijiga, Jimma, Kabri Dar, Kombolcha, Lalibela, Mekele, Semera, Shire, Shilavo and Jinka.

Ethiopian Airlines’ domestic route network is spread all over the country bringing provincial and administrative cities within easy reach of the capital and the region’s commercial centers. In addition, there is a daily "Historic Route Service" for tourists to the country’s world famous ancient historic sites of Axum, Bahr Dar, Gondar and Lalibela which showcase obelisks and rock-hewn churches.

Special tour programs are designed to allow visitors to choose the activities and locations that interest them most, ensuring that everyone makes the most of the time they spend there.

The main entry points by road are at Moyale (from Kenya), Humera and Metema (from Sudan), Dewele (from Djibouti). All have full customs and immigration checks.

Telephone, fax and Internet access is available in Addis Ababa, other cities and towns.

Bole International Airport

The New Bole International Airport is situated 8 kilometers from the centre of the city (a 15 minute drive under normal conditions). Paid parking, luggage carts and uniformed porters are available at the airport terminal.

Taxis are readily available. The National Tour Operator (NTO) has yellow Mercedes sedans which can be ordered at their airport desk. The rates for these taxis are fixed and receipts will be given if requested. Privately-owned blue cabs and yellow cabs are also in abundance, but do not have fixed rates; establishing their fare is advisable before getting into the vehicle.


The national carrier Ethiopian Airlines ranks among the oldest and most respected airlines in Africa. It also offers the continent’s most extensive flight network, with international routings connecting Addis Ababa to more than 90 cities outside Ethiopia, as well as 20 domestic destinations. For a complete list of international and domestic offices and call centres, see

European destinations serviced by Ethiopian Airlines include London, Brussels, Dublin, Frankfurt, Madrid, Milan, Paris, Rome, Stockholm and Vienna. It also operates flights to three North American cities, namely Los Angeles, Toronto and Washington DC, as well as Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. The national carrier also operates flights between Addis Ababa and several destinations in the Middle East and Asia, including Bahrain, Bangkok, Beijing, Beirut, Dubai, Doha, Delhi, Demmam, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Hong Kong, Jeddah, Kuala Lumpur, Kuwait, Manila, Mumbai, Muscat, Sana’a, Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore, Tel Aviv and Tokyo.

Ethiopian Airlines operates the most extensive international network servicing Africa and the Indian Ocean Islands. Cities flown to include Abidjan, Abuja, Accra, Bamako, Bangui, Berbera, Blantyre, Brazzaville, Bujumbura, Cairo, Cape Town, Cotonou, Dakar, Dar es Salaam, Djibouti, Douala, Entebbe, Enugu, Gaborone, Goma, Harare, Hargeisa, Johannesburg, Juba, Kano, Khartoum, Kigali, Kilimanjaro (between Moshi and Arusha), Kinshasa, Lagos, Libreville, Lilongwe, Lome, Luanda, Lubumbashi, Lusaka, Malabo, Malakal, Maputo, Mombasa, N’Djamena, Nairobi, Ndola, Niamey, Ouagadougou, Pointe-Noire, Seychelles and Zanzibar.

Other airlines that fly to Addis Ababa include Air China (, Egyptair (, Emirates (, Fly Dubai (, Gulf Air (, Kenya Airways (, Lufthansa (, Saudi Airlines (, Sudan Airways (, Turkish Airlines ( and Yemenia ( In addition, KLM ( operates a code share with Kenya Airways, and South African Airways ( code shares with Ethiopian Airlines.


All international flights arrive and depart from Bole International Airport on the outskirts of central Addis Ababa.


Calendar and time

Ethiopia uses its own calendar which divides the year into 12 months of 30 days each, with the remaining five (or six days in a leap year) constituting a short 13th month of 'Pagumen’.  The Ethiopian New Year commences on the 11th or 12th of September in the Gregorian calendar.

There is a 7 or 8 year difference from the Gregorian calendar, seven years from September to January 1, and eight years from January 1 until September 10/11. The current Ethiopian year is 2010, running from September 11, 2017 to September 10, 2018. ‘Enkutatash’ is the first day of the New Year in Ethiopia. It occurs on Meskerem 1 on the Ethiopian calendar, which is 11 September (or, during a leap year, 12 September) according to the Gregorian calendar. 

Ethiopia is in the GMT +3 time zones. Business hours vary according to the nature of the business. Normally government offices and most other office hours are from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm and 1:30 pm to 5:30 pm from Monday through Thursday. Working hours on Friday are 8:30 am to 11:30am and 1:30pm to 5:30pm.

Ethiopians also use a 12-hour clock, with one cycle of 1 to 12 running from dawn (6 am) to dusk (6 pm) and the other cycle from dusk to dawn. The start of the day is dawn, rather than midnight. Thus, 7:00 AM in East Africa Time (EAT) corresponds to 1:00 daylight in local Ethiopian time; 12:00 noon EAT is 6:00 daylight hours; and 6:00 pm EAT is 12:00 local time.

Health/Vaccination Requirements

All visitors (including infants) are required to possess a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate if you have recently travelled to a country where it is present. Vaccination against cholera is also required for any person who has visited or been in transit through a cholera-infected area within six days prior to arrival to Ethiopia. Malaria is endemic in areas of Ethiopia below 2000 meters and both Chloroquine–resistant and Falciparum strains are present.


In general between seasons clothes are appropriate. At higher altitudes, woolen clothes or a coat are needed in the evenings. Travelers are advised to take rain coat or other rainwear, particularly when visiting the country during the period from February to October. It is usually possible to have clothes laundered at or near hotels within a short period of time (frequently services are offered 24 hours a day).


Addis Ababa has hotels that cater for all pockets, from the luxurious Sheraton, Elilly International, Radisson Blu, Inter Continental, Capital and Hilton hotels to the tourist-class hotels such as the Ghion, the Ethiopia and the Wabi Shebelle. All tourist resorts offer a choice of modern hotels.

Currency and Currency Regulations

The local currency is the Ethiopian birr (ETB), made up of 100 cents. Notes are issued in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 50, and 100 birr. There are six different coins:  1, 5, 10, 25, and 50 cents, and 1 birr.

Foreign currency exchange rate as of 31st January 2018:

  • 1 USD = 27.2516 ETB
  • 1 GBP = 34.7125 ETB
  • 1 Euro = 31.8598 ETB
  • 1 CHF (Swiss franc) – 26.4082 ETB

There is no limit to the amount of foreign currency that can be imported into Ethiopia, but it must be declared on arrival, using a currency declaration form. Foreign currency may be changed only at authorized banks and hotels .The currency declaration form will be required by Customs on departure. Visitors may change back any excess birr into foreign currency at the air port before departure, but they are expected to produce receipts for all exchange transactions.

Credit cards, ATM, Mobile & Internet Banking

These can be used in some of the larger hotels in Addis Ababa, and major credit cards can be used for flights by Ethiopian Airlines.  A number of banks and hotels have ATM machines available and Visa cards can be used at some banks. The US dollar is the best foreign currency to bring into Ethiopia and it can be exchanged at banks and foreign exchange bureaus.

Availability of Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) is available in most cities and towns. With ATM card, you can bank 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. Mobile and Internet Banking services are also available.

Banking Hours

Banking hours are usually from Monday through Saturday 8:00 am to 5:30 pm including lunch time. Closed on Sundays and national holidays.

Shopping Hours

Shops are mostly open Monday to Saturday 8:00 am - 2:00 pm.


Excursions within Ethiopia, whether for a day or for a month, may be organized for you by any of the Travel Agencies or by the National Tour Operation.



Drivers require a valid International Driving License, which can be obtained by exchanging your own local license at the Transport and Communications office on Haile Gebreselassie Road in Addis Ababa. Visitors can recover their original driving licenses a day or so prior to departure. Those with their own vehicles require a permit from the Ministry of Transport and Communication. Driving is on the right hand side of the road.