Map Eritrea
Maps copyright Hammond World Atlas Corp.

Flag of Eritrea


Background: The UN awarded Eritrea to Ethiopia in 1952 as part of a federation. Ethiopia's annexation of Eritrea as a province 10 years later sparked a 30-year struggle for independence that ended in 1991 with Eritrean rebels defeating governmental forces; independence was overwhelmingly approved in a 1993 referendum. A two-and-a-half-year border war with Ethiopia that erupted in 1998 ended under UN auspices in December 2000. Eritrea hosted a UN peacekeeping operation that monitored a 25 km-wide Temporary Security Zone (TSZ) on the border with Ethiopia. Eritrea's denial of fuel to the mission caused the UN to withdraw the mission and terminate its mandate 31 July 2008. An international commission, organized to resolve the border dispute, posted its findings in 2002. However, both parties have been unable to reach agreement on implementing the decision. On 30 November 2007, the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission remotely demarcated the border by coordinates and dissolved itself, leaving Ethiopia still occupying several tracts of disputed territory, including the town of Badme. Eritrea accepted the EEBC's "virtual demarcation" decision and called on Ethiopia to remove its troops from the TSZ that it states is Eritrean territory. Ethiopia has not accepted the virtual demarcation decision. In 2009 the UN imposed sanctions on Eritrea after accusing it of backing anti-Ethiopian Islamist insurgents in Somalia.
Location: Eastern Africa, bordering the Red Sea, between Djibouti and Sudan
Area land: 101,000 sq km
Area water: 16,600 sq km
Coastline: 2,234 km (mainland on Red Sea 1,151 km, islands in Red Sea 1,083 km)
Country name conventional long form: State of Eritrea
Country name conventional short form: Eritrea
Country name former: Eritrea Autonomous Region in Ethiopia
Population: 5,939,484 (July 2011 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 42.1% (male 1,256,384/female 1,244,569); 15-64 years: 54.3% (male 1,580,535/female 1,641,911); 65 years and over: 3.6% (male 96,627/female 119,458) (2011 est.);
Population growth rate: 2.472% (2011 est.)
Birth rate: 32.8 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)
Death rate: 8.08 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)
Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female; under 15 years: 1.01 male(s)/female; 15-64 years: 0.96 male(s)/female; 65 years and over: 0.82 male(s)/female; total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2011 est.);
Infant mortality rate: total: 41.33 deaths/1,000 live births; male: 46.77 deaths/1,000 live births; female: 35.72 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.);
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 62.52 years; male: 60.4 years; female: 64.69 years (2011 est.);
Total fertility rate: 4.48 children born/woman (2011 est.);
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 0.8% (2009 est.);
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: 25,000 (2009 est.);
HIV/AIDS - deaths: 1,700 (2009 est.);
Nationality: noun: Eritrean(s); adjective: Eritrean;
Ethnic groups: nine recognized ethnic groups: Tigrinya 55%, Tigre 30%, Saho 4%, Kunama 2%, Rashaida 2%, Bilen 2%, other (Afar, Beni Amir, Nera) 5% (2010 est.);
Religions: Muslim, Coptic Christian, Roman Catholic, Protestant;
Languages: Tigrinya (official), Arabic (official), English (official), Tigre, Kunama, Afar, other Cushitic languages;
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write; total population: 58.6%; male: 69.9%; female: 47.6% (2003 est.);
GDP (purchasing power parity): $4.178 billion (2010 est.); $4.017 billion (2009 est.); $3.877 billion (2008 est.);

note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP (official exchange rate): $2.254 billion (2010 est.);
GDP - real growth rate: 4% (2010 est.); 3.6% (2009 est.); 2% (2008 est.);
GDP - per capita (PPP): $700 (2010 est.); $700 (2009 est.); $700 (2008 est.);
note: data are in 2010 US dollars

GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 11.8%; industry: 20.4%; services: 67.7% (2010 est.);
Population below poverty line: 50% (2004 est.);
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: NA%; highest 10%: NA%;
Labor force: 1.935 million NA (2007);
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 80%; industry and services: 20% (2004 est.);
Unemployment rate: NA%;
Budget: revenues: $463.4 million; expenditures: $920.1 million (2010 est.);
Industries: food processing, beverages, clothing and textiles, light manufacturing, salt, cement ;
Industrial production growth rate: 8% (2010 est.);
Electricity - production: 271 million kWh (2007 est.);
Electricity - consumption: 228 million kWh (2007 est.);
Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2008 est.);
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2008 est.);

Statistics: CIA World Factbook.



(Ministry of Information's Online Publication), Asmara

Eritrea in the News

Exiled Eritrean Editor Milkias Mihreteab

Meron Tesfa Michael interviews exiled Eritrean editor Milkias Mihreteab.

Troubled Truce

The proverbial ink on the December peace agreement between Eritrea and Ethiopia was hardly dry before reports of problems between the long-standing antagonists surfaced.