Eritrea 2000Eritrea

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Eritrea - Introduction 2000
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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 border war with Ethiopia that erupted in 1998 remains unresolved.

Eritrea - Geography 2000
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Location: Eastern Africa bordering the Red Sea between Djibouti and Sudan

Geographic coordinates: 15 00 N 39 00 E

Map referenceAfrica

Comparative: slightly larger than Pennsylvania

Land boundaries

Coastline: 2,234 km total; mainland on Red Sea 1151 km islands in Red Sea 1083 km

Maritime claims: NA

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

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


Natural resources: gold potash zinc copper salt possibly oil and natural gas fish
Land use

Land use

Irrigated land: 280 km² (1993 est.)

Major rivers

Major watersheds area km²

Total water withdrawal

Total renewable water resources

Natural hazards: frequent droughts and locust storms

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

Eritrea - People 2000
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Population: 4,135,933 (July 2000 est.)
Growth rate: 3.86% (2000 est.)
Below poverty line: NA%


Ethnic groups: ethnic Tigrinya 50% Tigre and Kunama 40% Afar 4% Saho (Red Sea coast dwellers) 3%

Languages: Afar Amharic Arabic Tigre and Kunama Tigrinya other Cushitic languages

Religions: Muslim Coptic Christian Roman Catholic Protestant

Demographic profile
Age structure

Age structure

Dependency ratios

Median age

Population growth rate: 3.86% (2000 est.)

Birth rate: 42.71 births/1000 population (2000 est.)

Death rate: 12.3 deaths/1000 population (2000 est.)

Net migration rate: 8.22 migrant(s)/1000 population (2000 est.)

Population distribution


Major urban areas

Current issues: deforestation; desertification; soil erosion; overgrazing; loss of infrastructure from civil warfare

Air pollutants

Sex ratio

Mothers mean age at first birth

Maternal mortality ratio

Infant mortality rate: 76.66 deaths/1000 live births (2000 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

Total fertility rate: 5.93 children born/woman (2000 est.)

Contraceptive prevalence rate

Drinking water source

Current health expenditure

Physicians density

Hospital bed density

Sanitation facility access


Major infectious diseases

Obesity adult prevalence rate

Alcohol consumption

Tobacco use

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

Education expenditures


School life expectancy primary to tertiary education

Youth unemployment

Eritrea - Government 2000
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Country name

Government type: transitional government

Capital: Asmara (formerly Asmera)

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

Dependent areas

Independence: 23-25 April 1993 referendum was held with vote for independence as the outcome; 24 May 1993 (from Ethiopia; formerly the Eritrea Autonomous Region)

National holiday: National Day (independence from Ethiopia) 24 May (1993)

Constitution: the transitional constitution decreed on 19 May 1993 was replaced by a new constitution adopted on 23 May 1997 but not yet implemented

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

International law organization participation


Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

Legislative branch: unicameral National Assembly (150 seats; term limits not established)

Judicial branch: Supreme Court; 10 provincial courts; 29 district courts

Political parties and leaders: People's Front for Democracy and Justice or PFDJ the only party recognized by the government [ISAIAS Afworki PETROS Solomon]


Diplomatic representation

Flag descriptionflag of Eritrea: 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

National symbols

National anthem

National heritage

Eritrea - Economy 2000
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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. The most immediate threat to the economy however is the possible expansion of the border conflict with Ethiopia which broke out in May 1998. The hostilities have drained away substantial resources vital to Eritrea's economic development.

Real gdp purchasing power parity

Real gdp growth rate: 3% (1999 est.)

Real gdp per capita ppp

Gross national saving
Gdp composition by sector of origin

Gdp composition by end use

Gdp composition by sector of origin

Agriculture products: sorghum lentils vegetables corn cotton tobacco coffee sisal; livestock goats; fish

Industries: food processing beverages clothing and textiles

Industrial production growth rate: NA%

Labor force: NA
By occupation agriculture: 80%
By occupation industry and commerce: 20%
Labor force

Unemployment rate: NA%

Youth unemployment

Population below poverty line: NA%

Gini index

Household income or consumption by percentage share

Distribution of family income gini index


Public debt

Taxes and other revenues


Fiscal year: calendar year

Current account balance

Inflation rate consumer prices: 9% (1998 est.)

Central bank discount rate

Commercial bank prime lending rate

Stock of narrow money

Stock of broad money

Stock of domestic credit

Market value of publicly traded shares

Current account balance

Exports: $26 million (f.o.b. 1999)
Commodities: livestock sorghum textiles food small manufactures
Partners: Sudan 27.2% Ethiopia 26.5% Japan 13.2% UAE 7.3% Italy 5.3% (1998)

Imports: $560 million (c.i.f. 1999)
Commodities: machinery petroleum products food manufactured goods
Partners: Italy 17.4% UAE 16.2% Germany 5.7% UK 4.5% Korea 4.4% (1998)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

Debt external: $281 million (2000 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment at home

Stock of direct foreign investment abroad

Exchange rates: nakfa per US dollar = 9.5 (January 2000) 7.6 (January 1999) 7.2 (March 1998 est.)

Eritrea - Energy 2000
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Electricity access

Electricity production: 177.6 million kWh (1997 est.)

Electricity consumption: 153.5 million kWh (1999)

Electricity exports: 0 kWh NA kWh (1999)

Electricity imports: 0 kWh NA kWh (1999)

Electricity installed generating capacity

Electricity transmission distribution losses

Electricity generation sources


Refined petroleum

Natural gas

Carbon dioxide emissions

Energy consumption per capita

Eritrea - Communication 2000
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Telephones fixed lines

Telephones mobile cellular: NA

Telephone system
General assessment: NA
Domestic: very inadequate; most telephones are in Asmara; government is seeking international tenders to improve the system
International: NA

Broadcast media

Internet country code: .er

Internet users: 500 (2000)

Broadband fixed subscriptions

Eritrea - Military 2000
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Military expenditures
Dollar figure: $160 million (2000 est.)
Percent of gdp: 29.4% (2000 est.)

Military and security forces

Military service age and obligation

Terrorist groups

Eritrea - Transportation 2000
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National air transport system

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

Airports: 20 (2000 est.)
With paved runways total: 2
With paved runways over 3047 m: 1
With paved runways 2438 to 3047 m: 1 (2000 est.)
With unpaved runways total: 18
With unpaved runways over 3047 m: 2
With unpaved runways 2438 to 3047 m: 2
With unpaved runways 15-24 to 2437 m: 5
With unpaved runways 914 to 1523 m: 7
With unpaved runways under 914 m: 2 (2000 est.)

Airports with paved runways
Total: 2
Over 3047 m: 1
2438 to 3047 m: 1 (2000 est.)

Airports with unpaved runways
Total: 18
Over 3047 m: 2
2438 to 3047 m: 2
15-24 to 2437 m: 5
914 to 1523 m: 7
Under 914 m: 2 (2000 est.)



Total: 317 km
Narrow gauge: 317 km 0.950-m gauge (1999)
Note: 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


Waterways: none

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.)

Ports and terminals

Eritrea - Transnational issues 2000
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Disputes international

Refugees and internally displaced persons

Illicit drugs


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