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Ethiopia:
Geography

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Ethiopia Page


Background
Definition
Unique among African countries, the ancient Ethiopian monarchy maintained its freedom from colonial rule with the exception of the 1936-41 Italian occupation during World War II. In 1974, a military junta, the Derg, deposed Emperor Haile SELASSIE (who had ruled since 1930) and established a socialist state. Torn by bloody coups, uprisings, wide-scale drought, and massive refugee problems, the regime was finally toppled in 1991 by a coalition of rebel forces, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF). A constitution was adopted in 1994, and Ethiopia's first multiparty elections were held in 1995. A border war with Eritrea late in the 1990s ended with a peace treaty in December 2000. The Eritrea-Ethiopia Border Commission in November 2007 remotely demarcated the border by geographical coordinates, but final demarcation of the boundary on the ground is currently on hold because of Ethiopian objections to an international commission's finding requiring it to surrender territory considered sensitive to Ethiopia.
Location
Definition
Eastern Africa, west of Somalia
Geographic coordinates
Definition
8 00 N, 38 00 E
Map references
Definition
Africa
Area
Definition - World rank and map
total: 1,127,127 sq km
land: 1,119,683 sq km
water: 7,444 sq km
Area - comparative
Definition
slightly less than twice the size of Texas
Land boundaries
Definition
total: 5,328 km
border countries: Djibouti 349 km, Eritrea 912 km, Kenya 861 km, Somalia 1,600 km, Sudan 1,606 km
Coastline
Definition
0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claims
Definition
none (landlocked)
Climate
Definition
tropical monsoon with wide topographic-induced variation
Terrain
Definition
high plateau with central mountain range divided by Great Rift Valley
Elevation extremes
Definition
lowest point: Denakil Depression -125 m
highest point: Ras Dejen 4,533 m
Natural resources
Definition
small reserves of gold, platinum, copper, potash, natural gas, hydropower
Land use
Definition - World rank and map
arable land: 10.01%
permanent crops: 0.65%
other: 89.34% (2005)
Irrigated land
Definition
2,900 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources
Definition
110 cu km (1987)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)
Definition
total: 5.56 cu km/yr (6%/0%/94%)
per capita: 72 cu m/yr (2002)
Natural hazards
Definition
geologically active Great Rift Valley susceptible to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions; frequent droughts
Environment - current issues
Definition
deforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification; water shortages in some areas from water-intensive farming and poor management
Environment - international agreements
Definition
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection
signed, but not ratified: Environmental Modification, Law of the Sea
Geography - note
Definition
landlocked - entire coastline along the Red Sea was lost with the de jure independence of Eritrea on 24 May 1993; 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


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