Backgrounder: Basic facts about Ethiopia

Updated: 2014-05-04 18:58


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BEIJING - Chinese Premier Li Keqiang left Beijing on Sunday for Ethiopia, the first leg of his four-country Africa tour.

The following are some basic facts about Ethiopia:

Located in Eastern Africa, Ethiopia is bordered by Djibouti and Somalia to the east, Sudan and South Sudan to the west, Kenya to the south and Eritrea to the north.

The landlocked country, with its capital in Addis Ababa, has a total area of 1,103,600 sq km. Its climate type is predominantly tropical monsoon but it varies greatly depending on topography.

Some 91 million people from more than 80 ethnic groups live in Ethiopia. Most of its people are followers of Islam and Ethiopian Orthodox.

Its national language is Amharic and English is commonly used. Other local languages include Oromo, Tigrinya, among others.

Ethiopia's poverty-stricken economy is based on agriculture, accounting for roughly half of its gross domestic product (GDP).

The country has rich water resource, but less than five percent of it has been effectively used. Ethiopia is abundant in minerals such as gold, platinum, nickel, copper, iron as well as coal, oil and natural gas.

The government has increased investment on agricultural production, and efforts have been made to shore up exports and attract foreign investments in recent years.

Since China and Ethiopia forged diplomatic ties on Nov. 24, 1970, the two countries have maintained good relations. In recent years, bilateral ties have kept a momentum for sound and sustained development, with exchanges of high-level visits, political mutual trust and cooperation in various fields markedly increased.

In 2013, trade between the two countries reached 2.18 billion U.S. dollars.