About Ethiopia


Ethiopia is Africa's oldest independent country, which gives Ethiopians an additional reason to be proud of. Its scenery will leave you speechless, and its unique cultural heritage will evoke curiosity. Covering over 1.13 million km², this landlocked country is home to one of the oldest Christian churches, the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, and it is where the Blue Nile, one of the two major tributaries of the Nile, originates.

Ethiopia is the second largest African nation in terms of population, which stands at about 105 million. The largest ethnic and linguistic groups in Ethiopia are the Oromos, Amharas, and Tigrayans. Eighty-three different languages, and up to 200 different dialects, are spoken across the country, but Amharic is the official language of Ethiopia.

Whether you wish to visit the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, or trek alongside gelada monkeys, walia ibex, and Ethiopian wolves in the Unesco World Heritage-listed Simien Mountains National Park, you are bound to become enthralled by this country. Ethiopia doesn't just offer some of Africa's most beautiful ranges, but it also boasts timeless cities, such as Gondor, which is referred to as the 'Camelot of Africa'.

Ethiopia has a moist climate — the capital of Addis Ababa receives about double the annual rainfall of London, and most places receive over two-thirds of their annual allotment in a period of three to four months. Consequently, the best time to visit most parts of the country is during the dry season from October to March. Ethiopia’s peak tourist season runs from September to January, when festivals, such as Meskel and Timkat, attract many visitors. As the majority of its main sites of interest, including Addis Ababa, are set at elevated positions, it's always advisable to have some warm clothing to hand, as evenings can feel quite chilly.

Ethiopia has only ever been colonised for five years, which was by Mussolini's Italy. As a result, it served as a symbol of African independence throughout the colonial period, and was a founding member of the United Nations, which still offers many employment opportunities for expatriates. It is also a longstanding African base for many international organisations, which has attracted foreigners in their droves.

Meles Zenawi, who led the country from 1995 to 2012, was praised by many for his success in revitalising Ethiopia's economy, even though he was also heavily criticised for his not so democratic politics. The country has enjoyed annual economic growth of more than 7% from just after the turn of the century, making it one of the best performing economies in Sub-Saharan Africa. Its economic stability, despite the volatility of the region, has made it attractive to donors. Agriculture is the mainstay of the economy, and Ethiopia's highland area offers one of the largest fertile areas of land in East Africa. Around 80-85% of Ethiopians are engaged in agriculture — mainly in subsistence farming and livestock production, while coffee fetches the largest foreign exchange.

Ethiopia's rapid expansion in industries, as well as its production of international commodities is providing great opportunities for expatriates. There is also a demand for English language teachers who wish to experience a colourful culture and a temperate climate in Africa.