The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (FDRE) or shortly Ethiopia is a sovereign country in eastern Africa covering a total area of 1,104,300 sq km. The country shares borders with Djibouti (349 km to the east), Eritrea (912 km to the north), Kenya (861 km to the south), and Sudan (1606 km to the west). The Ethiopian time in 3 hours ahead of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) and is equally divided into day and night, each consisting of 12 hours from sunrise to sunset and vice-versa. Ethiopia exhibits a population of 90,873,739 (2011 estimate) according to CSA projection. The capital city, Addis Ababa, has been dubbed the capital of Africa as it is the seat of major Intergovernmental and international organizations including the AU and ECA. Ethiopia is also a member of COMESA and IGAD.
The country has recently been identified as the latest destination of investors as its diverse business activities are taking a quantum leap forward affecting the socio-economy of the region. Although agriculture accounting for 50% of the GDP remains being the main economic arm, the last 10 years have seen a proliferation of the service and industrial sector accounting for 39% and 11% respectively. Agriculture accounts for 60% of exports and 80% of the total employment. According to 2010 estimates, Ethiopia has a GDP purchasing power parity of 86.12 USD and a GDP per capita income of USD 1200. Ethiopia also has one of the highest GDP growth rates in Africa over the past five years. Major trading partners of Ethiopia are Germany, Saudi Arabia, China, Netherlands, Switzerland, Italy, India, Japan and Sudan.
Amharic is the language of the federal government whereas regions use respective regional language and Amharic as well. Businesses mostly use Amharic and English as official business languages. The local currency called the “Ethiopian Birr” is made up of 100 cents. Subject to change, 1 USD is currently equivalent to around 18.5 birr in the local banks. Credit cards, Visa, MasterCard, Access, American Express and Diners Club are not widely accepted except in a few establishments in the cities. Cash and travelers cheques are recommended.