Back

Country Reports

Ethiopia Country Report

Content provided by
IHS Markit Logo

Risk Level

Low
Moderate
Elevated
High
Very High
Severe
Extreme

Overview

Executive Summary

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed was almost unanimously reappointed as the ruling coalition's chairperson on 5 October. An alliance between his Oromo Democratic Party and the Amhara Democratic Party (ADP) is unlikely to break down ahead of the 2020 legislative elections, despite grassroots competition. Changes to the cabinet on 16 October will advance the privatisation of state-owned enterprises. ADP-affiliated businesses face fewer constraints in accessing scarce foreign currency, but the shortage is unlikely to improve overall as exports fell and the fiscal balance widened in the third quarter of 2017/18. Separately, localised mob violence between rival groups in the Oromia and the Southern Nations region will probably increase, but commercial assets are largely unaffected. Progress towardsEritrea and Ethiopia normalising relations decreases war risks.

Last update: October 20, 2018

Operational Outlook

New cabinet appointments on 19 April indicate a more credible commitment to improving budgetary oversight and reducing demands for facilitation fees during tax assessments. State-directed conglomerates in receipt of non-performing loans from the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (especially in agriculture and mining) are probable targets in an anti-corruption investigation, resulting in asset freezes and seizures. By late 2018, strikes ('stay-at-home') will likely reoccur in Oromia and Amhara regions if anti-government protests there resume (disrupting public transport, ground cargo, and retail businesses), most likely if the new prime minister fails to meet protesters' demands.

Last update: June 26, 2018

Terrorism

High

The risk of small-arms attacks by anti-government militants, particularly against security forces and road cargo, has declined alongside decreased civil unrest in the Amhara and Oromia regions. 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. However, such attacks would be most likely in the Somali region and Addis Ababa, although the large security presence in the capital further decreases the likelihood there.

Last update: September 4, 2018

War Risks

War risks with Eritrea have been significantly decreased by Eritrea’s reciprocation of Ethiopia’s more conciliatory approach and likely Ethiopian troop withdrawals during 2018. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s consolidation of control over the security services, facilitated by backing from TPLF chairman Debretsion Gebremichael, will likely allow him to continue ethnically diversifying the top ranks, without escalation to civil war. Widespread defections from the Liyu paramilitary police to armed bandit groups would likely rejuvenate insurgency in the Somali region and borderlands, increasing localised civil war risks. War with Egypt is unlikely, despite Nile water disputes over Ethiopia’s planned Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.

Last update: October 18, 2018

Social Stability

Very high

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's agenda will likely continue to mitigate violent protest risks in Oromia and Amhara regions by meeting protesters' key demands, including prisoner releases, talks with opposition parties, and allowing peaceful demonstrations. However, significant new violence between ethnic Oromos and Somalis (particularly involving the Somali region's Liyu police) would likely spark new demonstrations. Renewed and widespread anti-government protests would likely include arson attacks on road cargo and smaller foreign-owned commercial projects. Any protests in Addis Ababa will likely be peaceful but violently dispersed by police.

Last update: September 4, 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

Very 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