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Eritrea (2007)

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Eritrea 2007 year

Administrative divisions 6 regions (zobatat, singular - zoba); Anseba, Debub (Southern), Debubawi K'eyih Bahri (Southern Red Sea), Gash Barka, Ma'akel (Central), Semenawi Keyih Bahri (Northern Red Sea)
Age structure 0-14 years: 43.5% (male 1,073,404/female 1,060,674)

15-64 years: 52.9% (male 1,286,613/female 1,310,294)

65 years and over: 3.6% (male 85,052/female 90,548) (2007 est.)
Agriculture - products sorghum, lentils, vegetables, corn, cotton, tobacco, sisal; livestock, goats; fish
Airports 18 (2007)
Airports - with paved runways total: 4

over 3,047 m: 2

2,438 to 3,047 m: 2 (2007)
Airports - with unpaved runways total: 14

over 3,047 m: 1

2,438 to 3,047 m: 1

1,524 to 2,437 m: 6

914 to 1,523 m: 4

under 914 m: 2 (2007)
Area total: 121,320 sq km

land: 121,320 sq km

water: 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 in December 2000. Eritrea currently hosts a UN peacekeeping operation that is monitoring a 25 km-wide Temporary Security Zone on the border with Ethiopia. An international commission, organized to resolve the border dispute, posted its findings in 2002. However, both parties have been unable to reach agreement on implementing the decision. In November 2006, the international commission informed Eritrea and Ethiopia they had one year to demarcate the border or the border demarcation would be based on coordinates.
Birth rate 33.97 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Budget revenues: $234.6 million

expenditures: $424.7 million (2006 est.)
Capital name: Asmara (Asmera)

geographic coordinates: 15 20 N, 38 56 E

time difference: UTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Climate hot, dry desert strip along Red Sea coast; cooler and wetter in the central highlands (up to 61 cm of rainfall annually, heaviest June to September); semiarid in western hills and lowlands
Coastline 2,234 km (mainland on Red Sea 1,151 km, islands in Red Sea 1,083 km)
Constitution a 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: Eritrea

local long form: Hagere Ertra

local short form: Ertra

former: Eritrea Autonomous Region in Ethiopia
Death rate 9.36 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Debt - external $311 million (2000 est.)
Diplomatic representation from the US chief of mission: Ambassador Ronald MCMULLEN

embassy: 179 Ala Street, Asmara

mailing address: P. O. Box 211, Asmara

telephone: [291] (1) 120004

FAX: [291] (1) 127584
Diplomatic representation in the US chief of mission: Ambassador GHIRMAI Ghebremariam

chancery: 1708 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20009

telephone: [1] (202) 319-1991

FAX: [1] (202) 319-1304

consulate(s) general: Oakland (California)
Disputes - international Eritrea and Ethiopia agreed to abide by 2002 Ethiopia-Eritrea Boundary Commission's (EEBC) delimitation decision but, neither party responded to the revised line detailed in the November 2006 EEBC Demarcation Statement; UN Peacekeeping Mission to Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE), which has monitored the 25-km-wide Temporary Security Zone in Eritrea since 2000, is extended for six months in 2007 despite Eritrean restrictions on its operations and reduced force of 17,000; Sudan accuses Eritrea of supporting eastern Sudanese rebel groups
Economic aid - recipient $355.2 million (2005)
Economy - overview Since independence from Ethiopia in 1993, Eritrea has faced the economic problems of a small, desperately poor country, accentuated by the recent implementation of restrictive economic policies. Eritrea has a command economy under the control of the sole political party, the People's Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ). Like the economies of many African nations, the economy is largely based on subsistence agriculture, with 80% of the population involved in farming and herding. The Ethiopian-Eritrea war in 1998-2000 severely hurt Eritrea's economy. GDP growth fell to zero in 1999 and to -12.1% in 2000. The May 2000 Ethiopian offensive into northern Eritrea caused some $600 million in property damage and loss, including losses of $225 million in livestock and 55,000 homes. The attack prevented planting of crops in Eritrea's most productive region, causing food production to drop by 62%. Even during the war, Eritrea developed its transportation infrastructure, asphalting new roads, improving its ports, and repairing war-damaged roads and bridges. Since the war ended, the government has maintained a firm grip on the economy, expanding the use of the military and party-owned businesses to complete Eritrea's development agenda. In January 2005, the government essentially banned all imports. The government strictly controls the use of foreign currency, limiting access and availability. Few private enterprises remain in Eritrea. Eritrea's economy is heavily dependent on taxes paid by members of the diaspora. Erratic rainfall and the delayed demobilization of agriculturalists from the military continue to interfere with agricultural production, and Eritrea's recent harvests have not been able to meet the food needs of the country. Eritrea's economic future depends upon its ability to master social problems such as illiteracy, unemployment, and low skills, and more importantly, on the government's willingness to support a true market economy.
Electricity - consumption 228 million kWh (2005)
Electricity - exports 0 kWh (2005)
Electricity - imports 0 kWh (2005)
Electricity - production 274 million kWh (2005)
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, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Ethnic groups Tigrinya 50%, Tigre and Kunama 40%, Afar 4%, Saho (Red Sea coast dwellers) 3%, other 3%
Exchange rates nakfa (ERN) per US dollar - 15.4 (2006), 14.5 (2005), 13.788 (2004), 13.878 (2003), 13.958 (2002)

note: the official exchange rate is 15 nakfa to the dollar
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)

cabinet: State Council is the collective executive authority; members appointed by the president

elections: president elected by the National Assembly for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); the most recent and only election held 8 June 1993 (next election date uncertain as the National Assembly did not hold a presidential election in December 2001 as anticipated)

election results: ISAIAS Afworki elected president; percent of National Assembly vote - ISAIAS Afworki 95%, other 5%
Exports 0 kWh (2005)
Exports $16 million f.o.b. (2006 est.)
Exports NA bbl/day
Exports - commodities livestock, sorghum, textiles, food, small manufactures (2000)
Exports - partners Italy 26.7%, France 13.8%, Australia 8.2%, Sudan 7.9%, US 7.8%, China 6.2%, Saudi Arabia 5.5%, Jordan 5.2% (2006)
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 - composition by sector agriculture: 21.9%

industry: 22.6%

services: 55.5% (2006 est.)
GDP - real growth rate 2% (2005 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
Heliports 1 (2007)
Household income or consumption by percentage share lowest 10%: NA%

highest 10%: NA%
Imports 0 kWh (2005)
Imports $571 million f.o.b. (2006 est.)
Imports NA bbl/day
Imports - commodities machinery, petroleum products, food, manufactured goods
Imports - partners Italy 15.8%, Saudi Arabia 15.7%, China 15.6%, Netherlands 6.7%, Turkey 6.2%, Germany 5.3% (2006)
Independence 24 May 1993 (from Ethiopia)
Industrial production growth rate NA%
Industries food processing, beverages, clothing and textiles, light manufacturing, salt, cement
Infant mortality rate total: 45.24 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 51.05 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 39.25 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices) 15% (2006 est.)
International organization participation ACP, AfDB, AU, COMESA, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt (signatory), IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS (observer), IGAD, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, ISO (correspondent), ITU, ITUC, MIGA, NAM, OPCW, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO
Irrigated land 210 sq km (2003)
Judicial branch High Court - regional, subregional, and village courts; also have military and special courts
Labor force NA
Labor force - by occupation agriculture: 80%

industry and services: 20% (2004 est.)
Land boundaries total: 1,626 km

border countries: Djibouti 109 km, Ethiopia 912 km, Sudan 605 km
Land use arable land: 4.78%

permanent crops: 0.03%

other: 95.19% (2005)
Languages Afar, Arabic, Tigre and Kunama, Tigrinya, other Cushitic languages
Legal system primary basis is the Ethiopian legal code of 1957, with revisions; new civil, commercial, and penal codes have not yet been promulgated; government also issues unilateral proclamations setting laws and policies; also relies on customary and post-independence-enacted laws and, for civil cases involving Muslims, Islamic law; does not accept compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Legislative branch unicameral National Assembly (150 seats; members elected by direct popular vote to serve five-year terms)

elections: 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 countrywide elections to a National Assembly were held; although only 75 of 150 members of the Transitional National Assembly were elected, the constitution stipulates that once past the transition stage, all members of the National Assembly will be elected by secret ballot of all eligible voters; National Assembly elections scheduled for December 2001 were postponed indefinitely
Life expectancy at birth total population: 59.55 years

male: 57.88 years

female: 61.28 years (2007 est.)
Literacy definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 58.6%

male: 69.9%

female: 47.6% (2003 est.)
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 (1000 GRT or over) 12,529 GRT/15,023 DWT

by type: cargo 2, liquefied gas 1, petroleum tanker 1, roll on/roll off 1 (2007)
Military branches Army, Navy, Air Force
Military expenditures - percent of GDP 6.3% (2006 est.)
National holiday Independence Day, 24 May (1993)
Nationality noun: Eritrean(s)

adjective: Eritrean
Natural hazards frequent droughts; locust swarms
Natural resources gold, potash, zinc, copper, salt, possibly oil and natural gas, fish
Net migration rate 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Political parties and leaders People's Front for Democracy and Justice or PFDJ [ISAIAS Afworki] (the only party recognized by the government); note - a National Assembly committee drafted a law on political parties in January 2001, but the full National Assembly has not yet debated or voted on it
Political pressure groups and leaders Eritrean Islamic Jihad or EIJ (also including Eritrean Islamic Jihad Movement or EIJM (also known as the Abu Sihel Movement)); Eritrean Islamic Salvation or EIS (also known as the Arafa Movement); Eritrean Liberation Front or ELF [ABDULLAH Muhammed]; Eritrean National Alliance or ENA (a coalition including EIJ, EIS, ELF, and a number of ELF factions) [HERUY Tedla Biru]; Eritrean Public Forum or EPF [ARADOM Iyob]; Eritrean Democratic Party (EDP) [HAGOS, Mesfin]
Population 4,906,585 (July 2007 est.)
Population below poverty line 50% (2004 est.)
Population growth rate 2.461% (2007 est.)
Radio broadcast stations AM 2, FM NA, shortwave 2 (2000)
Railways total: 306 km

narrow gauge: 306 km 0.950-m gauge (2006)
Religions Muslim, Coptic Christian, Roman Catholic, Protestant
Sex ratio at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female

under 15 years: 1.012 male(s)/female

15-64 years: 0.982 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.939 male(s)/female

total population: 0.993 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Suffrage 18 years of age; universal
Telephone system general assessment: inadequate

domestic: inadequate; most telephones are in Asmara; government is seeking international tenders to improve the system (2002)

international: country code - 291; note - international connections exist
Telephones - main lines in use 37,700 (2006)
Telephones - mobile cellular 62,000 (2006)
Television broadcast stations 2 (2006)
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 4.96 children born/woman (2007 est.)
Unemployment rate NA%
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