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Ethiopia Country Report

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Risk Level

Low
Moderate
Elevated
High
Very High
Severe
Extreme

Overview

Executive Summary

Following Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn's resignation on 15 February, the appointment of an Oromo parliamentarian as prime minister is likely. Political allies of late prime minister Meles Zenawi are being sidelined in favour of a rival coalition that is pursuing economic policies aimed at securing the government's domestic legitimacy, which is challenged by protests in Oromia and Amhara. Consequently, state-directed conglomerates face an onerous operating environment, while foreign participation is encouraged through new public-private partnerships for infrastructure and renewable energy. An improvement in export performance gradually replenishes hard currency reserves. However, payment delays are likely in agriculture and telecommunications. Despite the state of emergencydeclared on 16 February, anti-government protests will likely continue, targeting vehicles, road cargo, and less secure foreign-owned commercial sites.

Last update: March 27, 2018

Operational Outlook

An anti-corruption investigation launched in August 2017 targeted low-level government officials. Leadership changes within the Tigrayan People's Liberation Front, and likely appointment of an ethnic-Oromo prime minister in March 2018, indicate investigations will probably now target state-directed conglomerates. This especially includes those deemed to have underperformed or benefited from preferential access to foreign exchange and loan provisions. Probable targets include the Metal and Engineering Corporation (especially agribusiness) and subsidiaries of the Endowment Fund for the Rehabilitation of Tigray. A more conciliatory approach is being taken in labour disputes, especially at industrial parks.

Last update: March 27, 2018

Terrorism

High

Emerging anti-government militants pose localised small arms attack risks, particularly against security forces and road cargo, in the Amhara and Oromia regiond. Commercial assets affiliated with the ruling EPRDF and firms considered sympathetic, including Chinese exploration companies, are at risk in the Somali region. Ethiopia's involvement in Somalia likely makes it an aspirational target, but a low priority, for Al-Shabaab, which largely lacks the capacity to carry out attacks inside Ethiopia. Such attacks would, however, be most likely in the Somali region and Addis Ababa, although the large security presence in the latter further decreases the likelihood there.

Last update: March 27, 2018

War Risks

Very high

Escalation to full-scale inter-state or civil war is unlikely. Ethiopia's border dispute with Eritrea makes limited ground incursions or bombardments into Eritrea moderately likely. War with Egypt is unlikely despite Nile water disputes over Ethiopia's planned Grand Renaissance Dam. Anti-government militant groups are present in neighbouring countries, and to a limited extent inside Ethiopia, but their threats are mitigated by the efficacy of the Ethiopian military. The military remains loyal to the government and dominated by TPLF supporters in its senior ranks, despite growing disunity. The ONLF and the OLF pose limited attack risks against small and isolated commercial assets in the Somali and Oromia regions.

Last update: March 27, 2018

Social Stability

Very high

As the new state of emergency has not featured mass arrests, recurring cycles of violent protests and riots remain likely in Oromia (particularly Addis Ababa's periphery, Shewa zones, Arsi zone, and Somali region borderlands) and Amhara (particularly Gondar zones and Bahir Dar) regions. These will include arson attacks on road cargo and smaller foreign-owned commercial projects, while larger investments continue receiving augmented state protection. Protests in Addis Ababa will likely be peaceful, although police will probably violently disperse demonstrators. Food and diesel price inflation, reduced access to vital services in the capital, and Addis Ababa expansion attempts are protest triggers.

Last update: March 27, 2018

Health Risk

Severe

Vaccinations required to enter the country

Proof of vaccination against yellow fever is required if traveling from a country with risk of yellow fever transmission and over one year of age.

Routine Vaccinations

Hepatitis A: A vaccine is available for anyone over one year of age. The vaccine may not be effective for certain people, e.g. those born before 1945 and who lived as a child in a developing country and/or have a past history of jaundice (icterus). These people can instead get a shot of immune globulin (IG) to boost their immunity against the disease.

Hepatitis B: A vaccine is available for children at least two months old.

Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio: A booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).

Yellow Fever: A vaccine is available for children over the age of one year.

Other Vaccinations

Typhoid Fever: If your travels take you to regions with poor sanitary conditions (for children two years old and up).

Rabies: For prolonged stays in an isolated region (for children from when they can walk).

Meningococcal Meningitis: For prolonged stays, or in case your travels will put you in close contact with a local population affected by an epidemic of the disease (for children over the age of two years).

Malaria: Recommended preventive medication - mefloquine (sometimes marketed as Lariam) or doxycycline (sometimes marketed as Vibramycin).

For Children: All standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.

Last update: November 26, 2013

Natural Risks

High

The country is affected by extreme climates; both the rainy season which frequently causes flooding, and periods of drought have devastating consequences. Some 7.7 million people are struggling with famine in Ethiopia amid a severe and deadly drought.

Furthermore, Ethiopia is situated in a seismic zone.

Last update: February 13, 2018

Transportation

Elevated

The transportation infrastructure in the country is largely obsolete, insufficient, and degraded. During the rainy season (June to September), a number of roads are not navigable. The danger on highways is worsened by a general lack of adherence to traffic laws, the poor condition of many of the vehicles, and the lack of health facilities. The absence of street lighting and traffic lights makes traveling at night inadvisable. Instigators of traffic accidents are liable to face a fine or prison sentence. Following an accident, one should remain at the site and call the police. In cases of injury to a third party, one is expected to take the victim directly to hospital. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the mortality rate in Ethiopia is one of the highest in the world.

Outside of major cities, travel by road should be undertaken by day in an all-terrain vehicle (4x4), with a driver and preferably in convoy. One should also travel supplied with extra water and fuel. It is advisable to ensure that your vehicle is equipped with replacement parts (spare tire, cables, etc.) as well as telecommunications devices. Individuals should always carry a means of identification (e.g. passport and visa). During travel in the capital, it is advisable to communicate travel arrangements to a trusted confidant.     

Intercity travel via road can prove perilous. Official and unofficial roadblocks are frequent. Furthermore it is recommended to remain vigilant when traveling in isolated regions; cases of armed theft, carjacking, and the presence of bandits have been reported across the country.   

Public transport should be avoided. Taxis may be used provided that they have been ordered via telephone prior to being taken; taxis should not be hailed in the street. There is a railroad between Dire Daouna and Djibouti that has recently been constructed, however it is not advisable to use the rail system. 

The safest means of transport within the country is plane. Ethiopian Airlines provides flights connecting all major cities.

Last update: February 13, 2018

Practical Information

Climate

The west and east of the country experience persistently high temperatures during the summer months. Only the central plateau has a more temperate climate (mild temperatures during the day, cool at night). The rainy season begins in mid-June and lasts until mid-September. Lighter rain is common in March and April.

Useful Numbers

Country Code: +251
Police: 1 110 055
Ambulance: 1 613 622

Electricity

Voltage: 220 V ~ 50 Hz

Outlets:

Last update: December 6, 2013