Old country, young country

The sheer size alone is astonishing: the area of Switzerland would fit 27 times into the territory of Ethiopia. The landscape is breathtaking. The highlands of Ethiopia, the “Roof of Africa”, are cut through by spectacular canyons. The steepness and vastness of the country makes the construction of roads difficult. There are only gravel roads leading to some towns, and to many villages often only lead footpaths and donkey paths. The country's remoteness means that dozens of ethnic groups have lived side by side for centuries: There are 80 different languages in Ethiopia!

The economy is growing rapidly, sometimes at rates of eight to ten percent per year. But only if one knows the starting level can be understood why the country remains one of the poorest in the world: the gross domestic product per capita is less than $ 1,000 - and therefore only around one percent of the value in Switzerland.

Äthiopien ist rund 27 Mal grösser als die Schweiz. Der Distrikt Fogera ist fast so gross wie der Kanton Zürich

Why is Africa's economy still lagging so behind? Education is crucial. In Switzerland, the state invests 22,700 francs in each student per year, according to the Federal Statistical Office. In Ethiopia, according to the US development cooperation agency USAID, the comparable figure is around 68 francs - just 0.3 percent of the funds used in Switzerland.

This means that the coming generation in Africa, actually the continent of the future, is falling behind given its very young population. In Ethiopia, four out of ten inhabitants are children and young people up to the age of 14. Almost two thirds of the population are under 24 years old - in Switzerland the proportion of this age group is only a quarter. It is a question of justice to help Ethiopia's young people gain prospects in life.

Country and People

Facts and Figures

Cradle of humanity, country of origin of coffee, rich culture and many poor families: Ethiopia has 116 million inhabitants, making it the most populous country in Africa after Nigeria. The economy is growing, child mortality is falling, and people's life expectancy is increasing. But many Ethiopians continue to live under inhumane conditions. In addition, environmental destruction, rapid population growth, increasing urbanization, globalization, climate change and technical progress have led to living conditions changing rapidly and often worsening. Many people flee from the countryside to the city out of need - and find new misery there.

Economic performance

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The gross domestic product is 800 CHF per inhabitant - in Switzerland it is around 80,000 CHF

Geographical location

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Landlocked country in the Horn of Africa. The lack of access to the sea is a hindrance to the economy.


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52% of people over 15 can read and write. Girls in particular have to drop out of school because of poverty.


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116 million people. Three quarters of the residents live in rural areas.


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Ethiopian Orthodox Christians 43.8%, Muslims 31.3%, Protestants 22.8%, Catholics 0.7%, traditional religions 0.6%, other religions 0.8%


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Three out of four people work in agriculture (in Switzerland it is three percent).


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92% of families cook on open fires with wood, straw and cow dung


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Daily wages for helpers in agriculture: One to two CHF

Nutritional situation

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Four out of ten children are too small for their age - a sign of malnutrition.

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