Basic Facts

Area - 125,000 sq. km. (over 48,000 square miles

Population - 3.5 million

Capital - Asmara (population of about 400,000)

Provinces and Their Capitals
Akele Guzai - Adi Qayeh Asmara - Asmara Barka - Agordat Denkalia - Asseb Gash Setit - Barentu Hamasien Sahel - Nakfa Semhar - Massawa Senhit - Keren Seraye - Mendefera

Religions - Eritreans are equally divided between Christians and Moslems with some animists.

Nationalities and Languages

Afar - Afar
Hadareb - To Bedawi Kunama - Kunama
Nara - Nara
Rashaida - Arabic Saho - Saho Tigre - Tigre Tigrinya - Tigrinya There is no official language
The working languages are Arabic and Tigrinya.

Way of Life - 80% rural, of which about 35-40% are pastoralists or agro- pastoralists.

Resources - Eritrea has many resources. The climate is diverse and a variety of crops can be grown. Agricultural products include millet, sorghum, taff, wheat, barley, flax. cotton, coffee, papaya, citrus fruits, banana, mangoes, beans and lentils, potatoes, various vegetables, and fish and dairy products. Livestock includes sheep. goats, cattle and camels. Potentially profitable deposits of gold, copper, potash, iron ore and other minerals also exist.

During the Italian and British periods, significant light industrial development took place. Some of these industries were dismantled by the British and many more by the Ethiopians. Much was also destroyed by the Ethiopians during the war. At the same time, some new development took place in the liberated areas under Eritrean People's Liberation Front (EPLF) control. Manufactured products include processed food, dairy, and alcoholic products, leather goods, chemicals, cement and other construction materials, salt, paper, and matches.

Finally, the Eritrean people themselves are Eritrea's most important resource. Depending on their own resources, efforts, and abilities, they are working hard to realize their hopes of a better future. They are the key to developing the country's other resources.

GDP per Capita* - US $75-150

Government - Formed in the late 1 800s by colonialism like most other African countries, Eritrea has been under Italian, British and - Ethiopian rule. In May 1991 'after thirty years of armed struggle for their right to self- determination, the EPLF defeated the Ethiopian military forces in the country and established a provisional government. In April 1993, 99.8% of Eritrean voters chose independence in an internationally monitored referendum. The next month a new government was created with a four year mandate to draft a democratic constitution which guarantees the basic rights of all citizens and political pluralism, and to establish an elected government.

Flag - Green, red and blue with a gold olive wreath
Emblem - Camel encircled by an olive wreath.
Currency - Birr (5 birr - US $1.00)
Major Holidays National: New Year - January 1 Independence Day - May 24 Martyrs Day - June 20 Start of the Armed Struggle - Septmber- 1

 Timket - variable January
 Eid el-Fitr - variable (spring)
 Fasika (Easter) - variable (spring)
 Eid el-Adha - variable (summer)
 Eid Milad el-Nabi - variable (fall)
 Meskel - variable (September)

Infant Mortality Rate* - 135 per 1,000 births

Life Expectancy* - 46 years

Adult Literacy Rate* - 20%

Population per Doctor* - 48.000

Population per Nurse* - 1,750

For more information, contact:
Research and Information Section
Embassy of Eritrea
910 17th Street NW, Suite 400
Washington DC 20006
Tel: (202) 429 1991
Fax: (202) 429 9004 |