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Ethiopia Facts

Political Climate
The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia has a federal parliamentary republic form of government.

Geography
Ethiopia is located in Eastern Africa, west of Somalia and is slightly less than twice the size of Texas. The border countries include Djibouti 342 km, Eritrea 1,033 km, Kenya 867 km, Somalia 1,640 km, South Sudan 1,299 km, and Sudan 744 km.

Landlocked – the entire coastline along the Red Sea was lost with the de jure independence of Eritrea on 24 May 1993; Ethiopia is, therefore, the most populous landlocked country in the world; the Blue Nile, the chief headstream of the Nile by water volume, rises in T'ana Hayk (Lake Tana) in northwest Ethiopia; three major crops are believed to have originated in Ethiopia: coffee, grain sorghum, and castor bean.

Capital ~ Addis Ababa

Languages
Oromo (official working language in the State of Oromiya) 33.8%, Amharic (official national language) 29.3%, Somali (official working language of the State of Sumale) 6.2%, Tigrigna (Tigrinya) (official working language of the State of Tigray) 5.9%, Sidamo 4%, Wolaytta 2.2%, Gurage 2%, Afar (official working language of the State of Afar) 1.7%, Hadiyya 1.7%, Gamo 1.5%, Gedeo 1.3%, Opuuo 1.2%, Kafa 1.1%, other 8.1%, English (major foreign language taught in schools), Arabic (2007 est.)

Currency, Banks & ATMs
The Ethiopian Birr is the national currency of Ethiopia. The National Bank of Ethiopia was established by imperial proclamation 207 of 27 July 1963, and began operation on 1 January 1964. The National Bank of Ethiopia took over note production in 1966 and currently issues 1, 5, 10, 10, and 100 Notes. Coins are in denominations of 50, 25, 10, 5 and 1 cents.

Availability of ATMs is limited to larger cities such as Addis Ababa, Bahir Dar, Gonder and Mekele. The ATMs accept international Visa cards but they don't work with Cirrus and Plus systems and also may not always accept MasterCard. Some ATMs in Addis Ababa dispense cash in both US dollar and birr.

Credit cards can be used in some places like hotels, airline offices or travel agencies in the capital Addis Ababa, but, with some exceptions, not outside of the city. Some banks will give you cash advance on a credit card. Most accepted cards are Visa and MasterCard and typically merchants add additional 3-5% to the bill when using them. American Express and Diners Club may also be accepted.

Traveler's checks can be cashed in banks, but are difficult to exchange outside of Addis Ababa. Best rates are offered for checks in US dollars or pounds sterling.

Usual banking hours are 8:00am to 3:00pm, Monday - Thursday, Fri 8:00am to 11:00pm and 1:30pm to 3:00pm on Fridays and 8:30am to 11:00am on Saturdays.


Time
TimeUTC+3 (8 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

People & Population
Population: 99,465,819

The country's population is highly diverse, containing over 80 different ethnic groups. Most people in Ethiopia speak Afro-Asiatic languages, mainly of the Semitic or Cushitic branches. The latter include the Oromo, Amhara, Tigray and Somali, which together make up three-quarters of the population. Nilo-Saharan-speaking Nilotic ethnic minorities also inhabit the southern regions of the country, particularly in areas bordering South Sudan. Among these are the Mursi and Anuak.


Entry Requirements
For US citizens a passport valid at least six months beyond extended stay. Visas should be acquired prior to arrival as they are not available at border crossings. For U.S. Citizens flying in to Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, a traveler's visa can be obtained.

All travelers over one (1) year of age coming from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission are required to show proof of vaccination (International Certificate of Vaccination, known also as a yellow card.)


Health
HealthThe CDC recommends that all travelers to Ethiopia be fully vaccinated against polio. In addition, adults who have been fully vaccinated should receive a single lifetime booster dose of polio vaccine. As of May 5, 2014, people of all ages staying in Ethiopia for longer than 4 weeks may be required to show proof of polio vaccination when departing Ethiopia. Polio vaccine must be received between 4 weeks and 12 months before the date of departure from Ethiopia and should be officially documented on a yellow vaccination card (International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis). Travelers should talk to their doctor about making sure they are properly prepared for any requirements they may face exiting Ethiopia.

Malaria is prevalent in Ethiopia outside of the highland areas excluding Addis Ababa. Extremely high malaria transmission occurs throughout the year below 2,000 m (6,600 ft). Altitudes between 2,000 m and 2,500 m are subject to infrequent epidemics. Travelers who become ill with a fever or flu-like illness while traveling in a malaria-risk area and up to one year after returning home should seek prompt medical attention and report their travel history and anti-malarial medication taken.


Communications
CommunicationsThe international country code is 251; open-wire to Sudan and Djibouti; microwave radio relay to Kenya and Djibouti; satellite earth stations - 3 Intelsat (1 Atlantic Ocean and 2 Pacific Ocean) (2011). However, there is an inadequate telephone system with the Ethio Telecom maintaining a monopoly over telecommunication services; open-wire, microwave radio relay; radio communication in the HF, VHF, and UHF frequencies; 2 domestic satellites provide the national trunk service

Electricity
In Ethiopia, the standard voltage is 220 V.; the standard frequency is 50 Hz.; the power sockets that are used are of type C / E / F / L. (Converter required)

Other Info
https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/country/ethiopia.html