Ethiopia Travel Fact Sheet

Street scene in Harar, .

Basic Info

Country Name

The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

What the People are Called


Ethnic Groups

  • 34.5% Oromo
  • 26.9% Amhara
  • 6.2% Somali
  • 6.1% Tigray
  • 4.0% Sidama
  • 2.5% Gurage
  • 2.3% Welayta
  • 1.7% Hadiya
  • 1.7% Afar
  • 1.5% Gamo
  • 1.3% Gedeo
  • 11.3% others

U.S. Embassy

Embassy of the United States of America – Addis Ababa Entoto Street P.O. Box 1014 Addis Ababa Tel: (251-11) 130-6000 Fax: (251-11) 124-24-35 Email:

Canadian Embassy

Street Address Embassy of Canada Old Airport Area, Nefas Silk Lafto Sub City Kebele 04, House No. 122 Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Postal Address Embassy of Canada PO Box 1130 Addis Ababa, Ethiopia



Time Zone

Time in Ethiopia is counted differently from in many Western countries. The Ethiopian day is reckoned as beginning at 6 AM as opposed to 12 AM, concurrently with sunrise throughout the year. To convert between the Ethiopian clock and Western clocks, one must add (or subtract) 6 hours to the Western time. For example, 2 AM local Addis Ababa time is called "8 at night" in Ethiopia, while 8 PM is called "2 in the evening".

EAT (UTC+3) - Summer (DST) not observed (UTC+3)

Phone/Internet Information

  • Calling code +251
  • ISO 3166 code ET
  • Internet TLD .et

Major Languages Spoken


According to Ethnologue, there are ninety individual languages spoken in Ethiopia. Most people in the country speak Afro-Asiatic languages of the Cushitic or Semitic branches. The former includes Oromiffa, spoken by the Oromo people, and Somali, spoken by the Somali people; the latter includes Amharic, spoken by the Amhara people, and Tigrinya, spoken by the Tigray-Tigrinya people. Together, these four groups make up about three-quarters of Ethiopia's population. Other Afro-Asiatic languages with a significant number of speakers include the Cushitic Sidamo, Afar, Hadiyya and Agaw languages, as well as the Semitic Gurage, Harari, Silt'e and Argobba tongues.

Additionally, Omotic languages are spoken by Omotic ethnic minority groups inhabiting the southern regions. Among these idioms are Aari, Bench, Dawro, Dime, Dizi, Gamo, Gofa, Maale, Hamer and Wolaytta.

Languages from the Nilo-Saharan phylum are also spoken by the nation's Nilotic ethnic minorities, who are concentrated in the southwestern parts of the country. These tongues include Nuer, Anuak, Nyangatom, Majang, Surma, Me'en and Mursi.

English is the most widely spoken foreign language and is the medium of instruction in secondary schools. Amharic was the language of primary school instruction, but has been replaced in many areas by regional languages such as Oromiffa, Somali or Tigrinya. While all languages enjoy equal state recognition in the 1995 Constitution of Ethiopia, Amharic is recognized as the official working language of the Federal Government. The various regions of Ethiopia are free to determine their own working languages,with Oromiffa, Somali and Tigrinya recognized as official working languages in their respective regions.

For more information on the Amharic language go here.


In terms of writing systems, Ethiopia's principal orthography is Ge'ez or Ethiopic. Employed as an abugida for several of the country's languages, it first came into usage in the 6th and 5th centuries BC as an abjad to transcribe the Semitic Ge'ez language. Ge'ez now serves as the liturgical language of the Ethiopian and Eritrean Orthodox Churches. Other writing systems have also been used over the years by different Ethiopian communities. The latter include Sheikh Bakri Sapalo's script for Oromo.

Major holidays

Jan 7 Ethiopian Christmas Day
Jan 11 The Prophet's Birthday
Jan 19 Epiphany
Mar 2 Adwa Victory Day
Mar 20 March equinox
Apr 14 Ethiopian Good Friday
Apr 20 Ethiopian Easter Sunday
May 1 International Labor Day
May 5 Freedom Day
May 28 Derg Downfall Day
Jun 21 June Solstice
Jul 28 Eid-al-Fitr
Sep 11 Ethiopian New Year
Sep 23 September equinox
Sep 27 Finding of the True Cross
Oct 4 Eid al-Adha
Dec 21 December Solstice

Source: Wikipedia Ethiopia Source: Ethiopian Holidays

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