Eastern Africa, west of Somalia


Geographic coordinates:

8 00 N, 38 00 E


Map references:




total: 1,104,300 sq km

country comparison to the world: 27

land: 1 million sq km

water: 104,300 sq km


Area - comparative

slightly less than twice the size of Texas


Land boundaries:

total: 5,328 km

border countries: Djibouti 349 km, Eritrea 912 km, Kenya 861 km, Somalia 1,600 km, Sudan 1,606 km



0 km (landlocked)


Maritime claims:

none (landlocked)




Current Weather

tropical monsoon with wide topographic-induced variation  


high plateau with central mountain range divided by Great Rift Valley


Elevation extremes:

lowest point: Danakil Depression -125 m

highest point: Ras Dejen 4,533 m


Natural resources

small reserves of gold, platinum, copper, potash, natural gas, hydropower


Land use

arable land: 10.01%

permanent crops: 0.65%

other: 89.34% (2005)


Irrigated land

2,900 sq km (2003) Total renewable water resources:

110 cu km (1987)


Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):

total: 5.56 cu km/yr (6%/0%/94%)

per capita: 72 cu m/yr (2002)


Natural hazards

geologically active Great Rift Valley susceptible to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions; frequent droughts

volcanism: Ethiopia experiences volcanic activity in the Great Rift Valley; Erta Ale (elev. 613 m, 2,011 ft), which has caused frequent lava flows in recent years, is the country's most active volcano; Dabbahu became active in 2005, causing evacuations; other historically active volcanoes include Alayta, Dalaffilla, Dallol, Dama Ali, Fentale, Kone, Manda Hararo, and Manda-Inakir


Environment - current issues: deforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification; water shortages in some areas from water-intensive farming and poor management


Environment - international agreements

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection

signed, but not ratified: Environmental Modification, Law of the Sea


Geography - note:

landlocked - entire coastline along the Red Sea was lost with the de jure independence of Eritrea on 24 May 1993; the Blue Nile, the chief headstream of the Nile by water volume, rises in T'ana Hayk (Lake Tana) in northwest Ethiopia; three major crops are believed to have originated in Ethiopia: coffee, grain sorghum, and castor bean

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