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  Eritrea  
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  Geography
  People
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Map of Eritrea

DefinitionDefinition Field ListingField Listing Rank OrderRank Order
   Introduction    Eritrea
Background:
Definition Field Listing
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. 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 but final demarcation is on hold due to Ethiopian objections.

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   Geography    Eritrea
Location:
Definition Field Listing
Eastern Africa, bordering the Red Sea, between Djibouti and Sudan
Geographic coordinates:
Definition Field Listing
15 00 N, 39 00 E
Map references:
Definition Field Listing
Africa
Area:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 121,320 sq km
land: 121,320 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area - comparative:
Definition Field Listing
slightly larger than Pennsylvania
Land boundaries:
Definition Field Listing
total: 1,626 km
border countries: Djibouti 109 km, Ethiopia 912 km, Sudan 605 km
Coastline:
Definition Field Listing
2,234 km total; mainland on Red Sea 1,151 km, islands in Red Sea 1,083 km
Maritime claims:
Definition Field Listing
territorial sea: 12 nm
Climate:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
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
Elevation extremes:
Definition Field Listing
lowest point: near Kulul within the Denakil depression -75 m
highest point: Soira 3,018 m
Natural resources:
Definition Field Listing
gold, potash, zinc, copper, salt, possibly oil and natural gas, fish
Land use:
Definition Field Listing
arable land: 4.95%
permanent crops: 0.03%
other: 95.02% (2001)
Irrigated land:
Definition Field Listing
220 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
Definition Field Listing
frequent droughts; locust swarms
Environment - current issues:
Definition Field Listing
deforestation; desertification; soil erosion; overgrazing; loss of infrastructure from civil warfare
Environment - international agreements:
Definition Field Listing
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note:
Definition Field Listing
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

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   People    Eritrea
Population:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
4,447,307 (July 2004 est.)
Age structure:
Definition Field Listing
0-14 years: 44.8% (male 998,404; female 993,349)
15-64 years: 51.9% (male 1,140,892; female 1,166,481)
65 years and over: 3.3% (male 72,776; female 75,405) (2004 est.)
Median age:
Definition Field Listing
total: 17.5 years
male: 17.3 years
female: 17.7 years (2004 est.)
Population growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
2.57% (2004 est.)
Birth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
39.03 births/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Death rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
13.36 deaths/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Net migration rate:
Definition Field Listing
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population
note: UNHCR began repatriating about 150,000 Eritrean refugees from Sudan in 2001 following the restoration of diplomatic relations between the two countries in 2000 (2004 est.)
Sex ratio:
Definition Field Listing
at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.97 male(s)/female
total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2004 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 75.59 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 83.03 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 67.94 deaths/1,000 live births (2004 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total population: 52.7 years
male: 51.32 years
female: 54.12 years (2004 est.)
Total fertility rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
5.67 children born/woman (2004 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
2.7% (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
60,000 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
6,300 (2003 est.)
Nationality:
Definition Field Listing
noun: Eritrean(s)
adjective: Eritrean
Ethnic groups:
Definition Field Listing
ethnic Tigrinya 50%, Tigre and Kunama 40%, Afar 4%, Saho (Red Sea coast dwellers) 3%, other 3%
Religions:
Definition Field Listing
Muslim, Coptic Christian, Roman Catholic, Protestant
Languages:
Definition Field Listing
Afar, Arabic, Tigre and Kunama, Tigrinya, other Cushitic languages
Literacy:
Definition Field Listing
definition: NA
total population: 58.6%
male: 69.9%
female: 47.6% (2003 est.)

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   Government    Eritrea
Country name:
Definition Field Listing
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
Government type:
Definition Field Listing
transitional government
note: following a successful referendum on independence for the Autonomous Region of Eritrea on 23-25 April 1993, a National Assembly, composed entirely of the People's Front for Democracy and Justice or PFDJ, was established as a transitional legislature; a Constitutional Commission was also established to draft a constitution; ISAIAS Afworki was elected president by the transitional legislature; the constitution, ratified in May 1997, did not enter into effect, pending parliamentary and presidential elections; parliamentary elections had been scheduled in December 2001, but were postponed indefinitely; currently the sole legal party is the People's Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ)
Capital:
Definition Field Listing
Asmara (formerly Asmera)
Administrative divisions:
Definition Field Listing
6 regions (regions, singular - region); Central, Anelba, Southern Red Sea, Northern Red Sea, Southern, Gash-Barka
Independence:
Definition Field Listing
24 May 1993 (from Ethiopia)
National holiday:
Definition Field Listing
Independence Day, 24 May (1993)
Constitution:
Definition Field Listing
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:
Definition Field Listing
primary basis is the Ethiopian legal code of 1957, with revisions; new civil, commercial, and penal codes have not yet been promulgated; also relies on customary and post-independence-enacted laws and, for civil cases involving Muslims, Sharia law
Suffrage:
Definition Field Listing
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
Definition Field Listing
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
cabinet: State Council is the collective executive authority; members appointed by the president
elections: president elected by the National Assembly; election last 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%
Legislative branch:
Definition Field Listing
unicameral National Assembly (150 seats; term limits not established)
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, that 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
Judicial branch:
Definition Field Listing
High Court - regional, subregional, and village courts; also have military and special courts
Political parties and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
People's Front for Democracy and Justice or PFDJ, the only party recognized by the government [ISAIAS Afworki]; 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:
Definition Field Listing
Eritrean Islamic Jihad or EIJ [leader NA] (also including Eritrean Islamic Jihad Movement or EIJM (also known as the Abu Sihel Movement) [leader NA]); Eritrean Islamic Salvation or EIS (also known as the Arafa Movement) [leader NA]; 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]
International organization participation:
Definition Field Listing
ACP, AfDB, AU, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt (signatory), ICFTU, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IGAD, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, ISO (subscriber), ITU, NAM, OPCW, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO
Diplomatic representation in the US:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador GIRMA Asmerom
chancery: 1708 New Hampshire Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20009
telephone: [1] (202) 319-1991
FAX: [1] (202) 319-1304
consulate(s) general: Oakland (California)
Diplomatic representation from the US:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador Donald J. McCONNELL
embassy: Franklin D. Roosevelt Street, Asmara
mailing address: P. O. Box 211, Asmara
telephone: [291] (1) 120004
FAX: [291] (1) 127584
Flag description:
Definition Field Listing
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

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   Economy    Eritrea
Economy - overview:
Definition Field Listing
Since independence from Ethiopia on 24 May 1993, Eritrea has faced the economic problems of a small, desperately poor country. 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. Erratic rainfall and the delayed demobilization of agriculturalists from the military kept cereal production well below normal, holding down growth in 2002. Eritrea's economic future depends upon its ability to master social problems such as illiteracy, unemployment, and low skills, and to open its economy to private enterprise so the diaspora's money and expertise can foster economic growth.
GDP:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
purchasing power parity - $3.3 billion (2002 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
2% (2002 est.)
GDP - per capita:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
purchasing power parity - $700 (2002 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 12.4%
industry: 25.3%
services: 62.4% (2003 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
51.7% of GDP (2003)
Population below poverty line:
Definition Field Listing
53% (1993/94)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
Definition Field Listing
lowest 10%: NA
highest 10%: NA
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
12.3% (2003)
Labor force:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA (1999)
Labor force - by occupation:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture 80%, industry and services 20%
Unemployment rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA (2003 est.)
Budget:
Definition Field Listing
revenues: $235.7 million
expenditures: $375 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (2003 est.)
Agriculture - products:
Definition Field Listing
sorghum, lentils, vegetables, corn, cotton, tobacco, coffee, sisal; livestock, goats; fish
Industries:
Definition Field Listing
food processing, beverages, clothing and textiles
Industrial production growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA
Electricity - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
220.5 million kWh (2001)
Electricity - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
205.1 million kWh (2001)
Electricity - exports:
Definition Field Listing
0 kWh NA kWh (2001)
Electricity - imports:
Definition Field Listing
0 kWh NA kWh (2001)
Oil - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
6,000 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA (2001)
Oil - imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA (2001)
Current account balance:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$-159 million (2003)
Exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$56 million f.o.b. (2003 est.)
Exports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
livestock, sorghum, textiles, food, small manufactures (2000)
Exports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
Malaysia 65.7%, Italy 10.5%, France 4.4%, Canada 12.7% (2003 est.)
Imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$600 million f.o.b. (2003 est.)
Imports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
machinery, petroleum products, food, manufactured goods (2000)
Imports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
US 42.3%, Italy 20.4%, Turkey 7.2%, Russia 5.7%, France 5.1% (2003 est.)
Reserves of foreign exchange & gold:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$28 million (2003)
Debt - external:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$311 million (2000 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
Definition Field Listing
$77 million (1999)
Currency:
Definition Field Listing
nakfa (ERN)
Currency code:
Definition Field Listing
ERN
Exchange rates:
Definition Field Listing
nakfa (ERN) per US dollar - NA (2003), 13.9582 (2002), 11.3095 (2001), 9.5 (2000), 7.6 (1999)
Fiscal year:
Definition Field Listing
calendar year

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   Communications    Eritrea
Telephones - main lines in use:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
38,100 (2003)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
NA
Telephone system:
Definition Field Listing
general assessment: inadequate
domestic: very inadequate; most telephones are in Asmara; government is seeking international tenders to improve the system (2002)
international: country code - 291; note - international connections exist
Radio broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
AM 2, FM NA, shortwave 2 (2000)
Television broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
1 (2000)
Internet country code:
Definition Field Listing
.er
Internet hosts:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1,047 (2004)
Internet users:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
9,500 (2003)

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   Transportation    Eritrea
Railways:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 306 km
narrow gauge: 306 km 0.950-m gauge
note: railway is being rebuilt; 117 km open (2003)
Highways:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 4,010 km
paved: 874 km
unpaved: 3,136 km (1999 est.)
Ports and harbors:
Definition Field Listing
Assab (Aseb), Massawa (Mits'iwa)
Merchant marine:
Definition Field Listing
total: 5 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 16,069 GRT/19,549 DWT
by type: bulk 1, cargo 1, liquefied gas 1, petroleum tanker 1, roll on/roll off 1
registered in other countries: 1 (2003 est.)
Airports:
Definition Field Listing
18 (2003 est.)
Airports - with paved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 5
over 3,047 m: 3
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2 (2003 est.)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 13
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 5
914 to 1,523 m: 4
under 914 m: 2 (2003 est.)

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   Military    Eritrea
Military branches:
Definition Field Listing
Army, Navy, Air Force
Military manpower - fit for military service:
Definition Field Listing
NA (2004)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$77.9 million (2003)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
11.8% (2003)

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   Transnational Issues    Eritrea
Disputes - international:
Definition Field Listing
Eritrea and Ethiopia agreed to abide by 2002 Ethiopia-Eritrea Border Commission's (EEBC) delimitation decision, but demarcation has been delayed, despite intense international intervention, by Ethiopian insistence that the decision ignored "human geography," made technical errors in the delimitation, and incorrectly awarded Badme, the focus of the 1998-2000 war, and other areas to Eritrea and Eritrea's insistence on not deviating from the commission's decision; UN Peacekeeping Mission to Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) continues to monitor a 25km-wide Temporary Security Zone in Eritrea until the demarcation; Sudan accuses Eritrea of supporting Sudanese rebel groups; Eritrea protests Yemeni fishing around the Hanish Islands awarded to Eritrea by the ICJ in 1999

Large portions of this information is from the US government open source publication "The World Factbook", other content copyright © Stratus-Pikpuk, Inc. You may use this information without permission for educational or other non-profit purposes if you refer to us as the source, contact us if you want to use this commercially.


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