Facts to assist you when travelling to Ethiopia



  • The Ethiopian population currently stands at 123.7 million (2020).


Capital and Largest City

  • The capital of Ethiopia is Addis Ababa, and it is also the country’s largest city.


Official Language(s)

  • Ethiopia has a number of official native language, most of which are spoken by a small number of the population. The most spoken languages are Oromo and Amharic. Some Ethiopians may also speak English, but it is not an official language.



  • The official currency of this country is the Ethiopian Birr.


Office Hours

  • According to the Ethiopian Labour proclamation the normal hours of work shall not exceed eight hours (8) a day or forty-eighth (48) hours a week.



  • The work week in Ethiopia runs from Monday to Friday, while weekends are on Saturdays and Sundays


Time Zone

  • UTC+3


Calling Code

  • +251



  • Tipping in Ethiopia is no compulsory, nor is it included in the bill. Rather, tipping is dependent on your interest. There is no specific standard or formula for it, it is depended on your means and level of satisfaction. Most travellers, however, are known to give generous cash tips.



  • Ethiopia houses a multitude of African and international Embassies.



  • The ruling party in Ethiopia is the Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF)



  • The Climate of Ethiopia is extraordinarily diverse and ranges from equatorial rainforest with high rainfall and humidity in the south and southwest, to Afromontane regions on the summits of Semien and Bale Mountains to desert region in northeast, east and southeast Ethiopia. Ethiopian seasons are classified into three: the driest season is called Bega and lasts from October to January. The Belg season lasts from February to May, and the rainy season, called Kiremt, lasts from June to September.



  • Transport in Ethiopia is managed and regulated by the Ministry of Transport and Communications. The transport industry has received an influx of funds in recent years to promote the development of the country’s infrastructure and economy.



  • Ethiopia is Africa’s second most populous country and has one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. The economy of Ethiopia is a mixed and transition economy with a large public sector. The government of Ethiopia is in the process of moving toward a market economy. The country’s main industries are agriculture, forestry, fishing, textiles, and minerals.



  • It is considered polite to refer to people by their titles until they have indicated that they are comfortable with being addressed on a first name basis. If you are a guest, be careful not to compliment something (especially children) more than once, or continue to admire it once you have acknowledged it. This may make Ethiopians uncomfortable as they will become wary that the evil eye will be jealous of it. It is also customary to show respect to elders by kissing their hands in some rural areas. However, this may not always be expected in cities.



  • A common and simple greet that would be understood in most places in the country is ‘’Salam,’’ which is the traditional Arabic greeting. Ethiopians consider greeting to be very important. You are expected to acknowledge people even if you do not speak the same language.



  • The Birr is the unit of currency in Ethiopia, and it is subdivided into 100 Santim.



  • Ethiopia is said to have an average level of safety. There are no serious threats awaiting and therefore it is a fairly safe country in Africa for you to travel to. However, public transport is generally not safe, and citizens are at risk of unpredictable natural disasters. There are also risks of petty crimes all over the country, so visitors are advised to be vigilant of their surroundings at all times.



  • The culture of Ethiopia is structured along ethnolinguistic lines. Music forms a huge part of Ethiopian culture, and the different ethnicities each have a type of music and musical instruments that is special and unique to them.



  • Ethiopia has some lovely modern shops and shopping centres that resemble the ones in Western countries. However, to truly experience the culture of the country and its people, you might want to visit one of the many vibrant markets. Ethiopia also has a number of safe and reliable online stores.


To read more exciting blogs, please click on the link below:

Written by Saudika Hendricks

Edited by Eloise Williams

In Africa, there is an alarming third wave as the vaccine rollout is hampered. In recent light of the vaccine rollout in all parts of the world, third world countries vaccine rollout seems to be stagnant, experts fearing that it may take decades to vaccinate their respective countries.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) regional office has reported that the third wave of Covid-19 cases is spreading faster in Africa. On Thursday, 17 June 2021, WHO regional director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti warned, “With a rapid increase in the number of cases and increasing reports of severe disease, the latest wave threatens to be the worst to date in Africa,”

According to the regional office, for five consecutive weeks, Africa has seen an increase in Covid-19 cases, signaling the beginning of the third wave in Africa. “As of 20 June—day 48 into the new wave—Africa had recorded around 474 000 new cases—a 21% increase compared with the first 48 days of the second wave.” As reported by WHO, the pandemic is resurging in 12 African countries and at the current rate of infections, the ongoing surge is set to surpass the previous one by early July.

18 African countries have already used over 80% of their COVAX vaccine supplies, 29 have administered over 50% of their suppliers, and eight have exhausted their vaccine supply. It is important to be aware that just over 1% of Africa’s population has been fully vaccinated. Globally, 2.7 billion doses have been administered, with just under 1.5% having been administered in Africa.

Dr Moeti is urging the international community to help Africa deal with the Covid-19 vaccine supply as the surge threatens to impair not only Africa’s economy but society.



Ethiopia is combating deforestation – leading a campaign to plant 6 billion trees across the state this year. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is leading this campaign, which also forms part of his Green Legacy project to promote eco-tourism and action against climate change effects. The launch of the third cycle of the Green Legacy programme was held on May 18 by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. The main message conveyed at the launch by PM Abiy’s was that “Ethiopia is putting the environment at the centre of its development process.”

The new cycle of the Green Legacy is set to begin in May and expected to be furthered until September 2021. This cycle will begin with regions with high rainfalls, whereas preparatory measure will have to be taken in arid areas where rainfall is scarce.

It is the third consecutive year that Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has continued his efforts in urging Ethiopians to plant billions of trees. In 2017, as part of the African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative, Ethiopia joined more than 20 other African nations in pledging to restore 100 million hectares of land. In 2019, Ethiopia planted more than 353 million trees in 12 hours on Monday, which officials believe is a world record.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s has long emphasised the importance of continuity and completing the campaign he has initiated. PM Ahmed’s goal of the Green Legacy campaign was to plant 20 billion trees by the end of next year [2022]. This year, the Ethiopian government plans to send 1 billion seedlings to neighbouring countries to support reforestation efforts in the Horn of Africa, a region known for its arid climate.

Addis Ababa plans to start with regions with high rainfall. In arid areas where rainfall is scarce or irregular, preparatory measures are being taken to ensure the development of young trees. The Ethiopian government also plans to send one billion trees to neighbouring countries to support reforestation efforts in the Horn of Africa, a region known for its arid climate.




Lynn Mackenzie, our Immigration Lead, recently had the privilege of interviewing Lidya Aynalem Eshete, from Relocate Pro, about Ethiopia’s immigration landscape.

To listen to Lynn and Lidya’s conversation about immigration in the current context, click here to view the recording, or view it below.


Lidya’s bio

Lidya Aynalem Eshete is the Founder and General Manager of Relocate Pro. Before this, she worked in numerous managerial positions, across a variety of companies. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Merchandising Management from Michigan State University in Michigan, USA, and a Masters in General Business Administration from Unity University in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

We would like to say a huge thank you to Lidya for her insights. We hope you enjoy the recording.

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email info@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2].