ETHIOPIA

Official Name: Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
Capital: Addis Ababa
Population: 94.1 million
Area: 1,127,127 sq km
Currency: Birr

Ethiopia is a landlocked country situated in the horn of Africa and also Africa's diplomatic capital. Ethiopia is the oldest independent country in Africa.

Africa's second-most populous nation with an estimated population of around 85 million. English is a widely spoken language. Ethiopia is known as the diplomatic centre of Africa, the head quarters of African Union located in Addis Ababa. Ethiopia is part of United Nations since 1942. The headquarters of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) is also in Addis Ababa.

Bordering Ethiopia is Sudan to the west, Djibouti and Eritrea to the north,Somalia to the east,and Kenya to the south. At 435,071 square miles, Ethiopia is the world's 27th largest country.

Ethiopia has one of the fastest growing economies in the world, according to The Economist. The country has also recorded an "impressive growth" during the past few years, according to a new IMF review. Ethiopia has showed a fast growing annual GDP and it was the fastest growing non-oil dependent African nation in 2007 and 2008.

Ethiopia's poverty-stricken economy is based on agriculture, accounting for almost half of GDP, 60% of exports and 80% of total employment. Principial crops include coffee, pulses (e.g. beans) oilseed, cereals, potatoes, sugarcane and vegetables.Three major crops are believed to have originated in Ethiopia: coffee, grain sorghum, and castor bean. Coffee is critical to the Ethiopian economy with exports of some $350 million in 2006. Ethiopia is Africa's second biggest maize producer.

Ethiopia's livestock population is believed to be the largest in Africa. There are also newly growing areas such as horticulture and floriculture. Country's inflation rate is down from 65% to 32% after the government took a series of strong financial and administrative to stabilize the market and to cut short soaring prices. It is expected to go down further.

Ethiopian government reduced customs tariff significantly in the framework of creating economic liberalization. The maximum tariff came down from 230% to 35% and the minimum is 5%. The average tariff is down from 41.6% to 17.5%. Ethiopia also has several agreements that grant dutyfree access to many countries, including European countries and the USA.

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