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close this bookInformation Technology in Selected Countries (UNU, 1994, 148 pages)
close this folder2: Information technology in Ethiopia
View the document(introductory text...)
View the document1. Introduction
View the document2. Historical perspective
View the document3. Government policy and the role of key institutions
View the document4. Telecommunication infrastructure
View the document5. IT applications in the service sector
View the document6. Education and training in IT
View the documentAppendix: Computer courses
View the documentReferences

1. Introduction

This report presents some highlights of the application of information technology (IT) in Ethiopia and attempts to show the overall situation. However, it may be worth noting that, on the basis of the present activities and the 10-year perspective plan, it is very likely that the situation will change dramatically in the next two to five years.


Ethiopia has a total land area of 1,251,282 km2, comprising a central highland mass surrounded by low land. It is the seventh-largest country in Africa. The country extends from latitude 3°N to 18°N and longitude 33°E to 48°E, with approximately equal east-west and north-south dimensions.

With a population of 46 million, Ethiopia is one of the most populous of the least developed countries in Africa. The age distribution shows that the country's population is predominantly young, with 46.6 per cent of the population under 15 years of age and 69 per cent under 30 years of age.

Early Ethiopian civilization indicates a number of achievements in the application of science and technology. The remnants of impressive architectural works of pre-Christian and Christian times are evidence of the progress made in civil engineering and architectural works.

A detailed historical overview of science and technology in Ethiopia has been given in the document entitled "Assessment of the current situation and problems of S&T in Ethiopia" presented to the conference on the National Science and Technology Policy of Ethiopia.1

Mention should also be made that Ethiopia has its own script, "Amharic," which is an official language of communication in government organizations and schools. Innovative development of IT in the country takes this fact into consideration.

Report Outline

In section 2 the historical development of IT is reviewed and data on suppliers presented. Section 3 deals with the role of key institutions in the promotion of IT in Ethiopia. Section 4 concentrates on the telecommunications infrastructure. The application of IT in some of the major organizations in the service sector is discussed in section 5. Finally, the current situation with regard to education training in IT is presented in section 6.