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Eritrea (2001)

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Eritrea 2001 year

Administrative divisions 8 provinces (singular - awraja); Akale Guzay, Barka, Denkel, Hamasen, Sahil, Semhar, Senhit, Seraye

in May 1995 the National Assembly adopted a resolution stating that the administrative structure of Eritrea, which had been established by former colonial powers, would consist of only six provinces when the new constitution, then being drafted, became effective in 1997; the new provinces, the names of which had not been recommended by the US Board on Geographic Names for recognition by the US Government, pending acceptable definition of the boundaries, were: Anseba, Debub, Debubawi Keyih Bahri, Gash-Barka, Maakel, and Semanawi Keyih Bahri; more recently, it has been reported that these provinces have been redesignated regions and renamed Southern Red Sea, Northern Red Sea, Anseba, Gash-Barka, Southern, and Central
Age structure 0-14 years:
42.85% (male 922,691; female 918,916)

15-64 years:
53.87% (male 1,147,927; female 1,167,705)

65 years and over:
3.28% (male 71,232; female 69,798) (2001 est.)
Agriculture - products sorghum, lentils, vegetables, corn, cotton, tobacco, coffee, sisal; livestock, goats; fish
Airports 20 (2000 est.)
Airports - with paved runways total:

over 3,047 m:

2,438 to 3,047 m:
1 (2000 est.)
Airports - with unpaved runways total:

over 3,047 m:

2,438 to 3,047 m:

1,524 to 2,437 m:

914 to 1,523 m:

under 914 m:
2 (2000 est.)
Area total:
121,320 sq km

121,320 sq km

0 sq km
Area - comparative slightly larger than Pennsylvania
Background Eritrea was awarded to Ethiopia in 1952 as part of a federation. Ethiopia's annexation of Eritrea as a province 10 years later sparked a 30-year struggle for independence that ended in 1991 with Eritrean rebels defeating governmental forces; independence was overwhelmingly approved in a 1993 referendum. A two and a half year border war with Ethiopia that erupted in 1998 ended under UN auspices on 12 December 2000.
Birth rate 42.52 births/1,000 population (2001 est.)
Budget revenues:
$283.9 million

$351.6 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (1997 est.)
Capital Asmara (formerly Asmera)
Climate hot, dry desert strip along Red Sea coast; cooler and wetter in the central highlands (up to 61 cm of rainfall annually); semiarid in western hills and lowlands; rainfall heaviest during June-September except in coastal desert
Coastline 2,234 km total; mainland on Red Sea 1,151 km, islands in Red Sea 1,083 km
Constitution the transitional constitution, decreed on 19 May 1993, was replaced by a new constitution adopted on 23 May 1997, but not yet implemented
Country name conventional long form:
State of Eritrea

conventional short form:

local long form:
Hagere Ertra

local short form:

Eritrea Autonomous Region in Ethiopia
Currency nakfa (ERN)
Death rate 12.07 deaths/1,000 population (2001 est.)
Debt - external $281 million (2000 est.)
Diplomatic representation from the US chief of mission:
Ambassador William D. CLARKE

Franklin D. Roosevelt Street, Asmara

mailing address:
P. O. Box 211, Asmara

[291] (1) 120004

[291] (1) 127584
Diplomatic representation in the US chief of mission:
Ambassador GIRMA Asmerom

1708 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20009

[1] (202) 319-1991

[1] (202) 319-1304
Disputes - international as a result of the 12 December 2000 peace agreement ending a two-year war with Ethiopia, the UN will administer a 25-km wide temporary security zone within Eritrea until a joint boundary commission delimits and demarcates a final boundary
Economic aid - recipient $77 million (1999)
Economy - overview With independence from Ethiopia on 24 May 1993, Eritrea faced the economic problems of a small, desperately poor country. The economy is largely based on subsistence agriculture, with 80% of the population involved in farming and herding. The small industrial sector consists mainly of light industries with outmoded technologies. Domestic output (GDP) is substantially augmented by worker remittances from abroad. Government revenues come from custom duties and taxes on income and sales. Road construction is a top domestic priority. In the long term, Eritrea may benefit from the development of offshore oil, offshore fishing, and tourism. Eritrea's economic future depends on its ability to master fundamental social and economic problems, e.g., by reducing illiteracy, promoting job creation, expanding technical training, attracting foreign investment, and streamlining the bureaucracy. Eritrea's agriculture over the last two years was severely weakened by war and drought, and many farmlands must wait to be demined. Another major difficulty is the ports, which prior to the war were Ethiopia's preferred outlets but since have seen trade dry up.
Electricity - consumption 153.5 million kWh (1999)
Electricity - exports 0 kWh NA kWh (1999)
Electricity - imports 0 kWh NA kWh (1999)
Electricity - production 165 million kWh (1999)
Electricity - production by source fossil fuel:



0% (1999)
Elevation extremes lowest point:
near Kulul within the Denakil depression -75 m

highest point:
Soira 3,018 m
Environment - current issues deforestation; desertification; soil erosion; overgrazing; loss of infrastructure from civil warfare
Environment - international agreements party to:
Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species

signed, but not ratified:
none of the selected agreements
Ethnic groups ethnic Tigrinya 50%, Tigre and Kunama 40%, Afar 4%, Saho (Red Sea coast dwellers) 3%
Exchange rates nakfa per US dollar = 9.5 (January 2000), 7.6 (January 1999), 7.2 (March 1998 est.)
Executive branch chief of state:
President ISAIAS Afworki (since 8 June 1993); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government and is head of the State Council and National Assembly

head of government:
President ISAIAS Afworki (since 8 June 1993); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government and is head of the State Council and National Assembly

State Council is the collective executive authority

president elected by the National Assembly; election last held 8 June 1993 (next tentatively scheduled for December 2001)

election results:
ISAIAS Afworki elected president; percent of National Assembly vote - ISAIAS Afworki 95%
Exports 0 kWh NA kWh (1999)
Exports $26 million (f.o.b., 1999)
Exports - commodities livestock, sorghum, textiles, food, small manufactures
Exports - partners Sudan 27.2%, Ethiopia 26.5%, Japan 13.2%, UAE 7.3%, Italy 5.3% (1998)
Fiscal year calendar year
Flag description red isosceles triangle (based on the hoist side) dividing the flag into two right triangles; the upper triangle is green, the lower one is blue; a gold wreath encircling a gold olive branch is centered on the hoist side of the red triangle
GDP purchasing power parity - $2.9 billion (2000 est.)
GDP - composition by sector agriculture:


57% (2000 est.)
GDP - per capita purchasing power parity - $710 (2000 est.)
GDP - real growth rate -1% (2000 est.)
Geographic coordinates 15 00 N, 39 00 E
Geography - note strategic geopolitical position along world's busiest shipping lanes; Eritrea retained the entire coastline of Ethiopia along the Red Sea upon de jure independence from Ethiopia on 24 May 1993
Highways total:
3,850 km

810 km

3,040 km (2000)
Household income or consumption by percentage share lowest 10%:

highest 10%:
Imports 0 kWh NA kWh (1999)
Imports $560 million (c.i.f., 1999)
Imports - commodities machinery, petroleum products, food, manufactured goods
Imports - partners Italy 17.4%, UAE 16.2%, Germany 5.7%, UK 4.5%, Korea 4.4% (1998)
Independence 24 May 1993 (from Ethiopia)
Industrial production growth rate NA%
Industries food processing, beverages, clothing and textiles
Infant mortality rate 75.14 deaths/1,000 live births (2001 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices) 14% (2000 est.)
International organization participation ACP, AfDB, CCC, ECA, FAO, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IGAD, ILO, IMF, IMO, Intelsat (nonsignatory user), Interpol, IOC, ITU, NAM, OAU, OPCW, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO
Internet Service Providers (ISPs) 4 (2000)
Irrigated land 280 sq km (1993 est.)
Judicial branch Supreme Court; 10 provincial courts; 29 district courts
Labor force NA
Labor force - by occupation agriculture 80%, industry and services 20%
Land boundaries total:
1,630 km

border countries:
Djibouti 113 km, Ethiopia 912 km, Sudan 605 km
Land use arable land:

permanent crops:

permanent pastures:

forests and woodland:

32% (1998 est.)
Languages Afar, Amharic, Arabic, Tigre and Kunama, Tigrinya, other Cushitic languages
Legal system operates on the basis of transitional laws that incorporate pre-independence statutes of the Eritrean People's Liberation Front, revised Ethiopian laws, customary laws, and post independence enacted laws
Legislative branch unicameral National Assembly (150 seats; term limits not established)

in May 1997, following the adoption of the new constitution, 75 members of the PFDJ Central Committee (the old Central Committee of the EPLF), 60 members of the 527-member Constituent Assembly which had been established in 1997 to discuss and ratify the new constitution, and 15 representatives of Eritreans living abroad were formed into a Transitional National Assembly to serve as the country's legislative body until country-wide elections to a National Assembly are held; only 75 members will be elected to the National Assembly - the other 75 will be members of the Central Committee of the PFDJ; parliamentary elections are now scheduled for NA December 2001
Life expectancy at birth total population:
56.18 years

53.73 years

58.71 years (2001 est.)
Literacy definition:

total population:


Location Eastern Africa, bordering the Red Sea, between Djibouti and Sudan
Map references Africa
Maritime claims territorial sea:
12 NM
Merchant marine total:
5 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 16,069 GRT/19,549 DWT

ships by type:
bulk 1, cargo 1, liquefied gas 1, petroleum tanker 1, roll on/roll off 1 (2000 est.)
Military branches Army, Navy, Air Force
Military expenditures - dollar figure $160 million (2000 est.)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP 29.4% (2000 est.)
National holiday Independence Day, 24 May (1993)
Nationality noun:

Natural hazards frequent droughts; locust swarms
Natural resources gold, potash, zinc, copper, salt, possibly oil and natural gas, fish
Net migration rate 7.91 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2001 est.)

according to the UNHCR, about 150,000 Eritrean refugees in Sudan have registered for voluntary repatriation, following the restoration of diplomatic relations between Eritrea and Sudan in January 2000
Political parties and leaders People's Front for Democracy and Justice or PFDJ, the only party recognized by the government [ISAIAS Afworki, PETROS Solomon]; note - the National Assembly has appointed a committee to draft a law on political parties
Political pressure groups and leaders Eritrean Islamic Jihad or EIJ; Eritrean Liberation Front or ELF [ABDULLAH Muhammed]; Eritrean Liberation Front-Revolutionary Council or ELF-RC [Ahmed NASSER]; Eritrean Liberation Front-United Organization or ELF-UO [Mohammed Said NAWD]
Population 4,298,269 (July 2001 est.)
Population below poverty line NA%
Population growth rate 3.84% (2001 est.)
Ports and harbors Assab (Aseb), Massawa (Mits'iwa)
Radio broadcast stations AM 2, FM 1, shortwave 2 (2000)
Radios 345,000 (1997)
Railways total:
317 km

narrow gauge:
317 km 0.950-m gauge (1999)

links Ak'ordat and Asmara with the port of Massawa; nonoperational since 1978 except for about a 5 km stretch that was reopened in Massawa in 1994; rehabilitation of the remainder and of the rolling stock is under way
Religions Muslim, Coptic Christian, Roman Catholic, Protestant
Sex ratio at birth:
1.03 male(s)/female

under 15 years:
1 male(s)/female

15-64 years:
0.98 male(s)/female

65 years and over:
1.02 male(s)/female

total population:
0.99 male(s)/female (2001 est.)
Suffrage 18 years of age; universal
Telephone system general assessment:

very inadequate; most telephones are in Asmara; government is seeking international tenders to improve the system

Telephones - main lines in use 23,578 (2000)
Telephones - mobile cellular NA
Television broadcast stations 1 (2000)
Terrain dominated by extension of Ethiopian north-south trending highlands, descending on the east to a coastal desert plain, on the northwest to hilly terrain and on the southwest to flat-to-rolling plains
Total fertility rate 5.87 children born/woman (2001 est.)
Unemployment rate NA%
Waterways none
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