Ethiopia is a highly populous nation in the east of Africa, with around 98 million inhabitants. This makes it the second most inhabited country in Africa and the world’s most populated landlocked country. Addis Ababa is the capital city, and the area of the country is 1,100,000 square km.
The populace is comprised of an eclectic mix of over 80 ethnic groups. Chief among these are the Oromo, at 34.4% according to the 2007 census, while the Amhara are in second place at 27%. The country is a linguistic melting pot with 90 distinct living languages, the most prominent being Oromiffa, Somali, Amharic, and Tigrinya, with English also being well spoken. Christianity is the dominant religion, although a third of the population is Muslim.
Ethiopia has a rich history and is widely recognized as the birthplace of modern man 200,000 years ago. It was the second country to officially adopt Christianity as its state religion in the 4th century. In more recent times, Ethiopia’s highly popular leader Haile Selassie abolished slavery in the country in 1942.
Ethiopia enjoys a monsoon climate typical to Equatorial countries but remains cooler than its neighbors at points of high elevation, such as the cities of Gondar and Axum. Addis Ababa, located in the foothills of Mount Entoto, has mild and pleasant weather all year round. Temperatures don’t vary much between places, but the amount of rainfall varies from the dry season from October to February, the light rainy season of March to May, to the heavy rainy season of June to September. Ethiopia is very sunny, averaging seven hours of sunshine a day, and an average temperature in Addis Ababa of 16°C.
Foreigners who plan to visit or move to Ethiopia need a visa to enter, excepting Kenya and Djibouti. You should obtain a visa from an Ethiopian Embassy or Consulate before travel. A tourist visa for three months can be issued on arrival for visitors from most countries except Eritrea. For business visas, you should include a letter to the Ethiopian Embassy explaining the purpose of your trip. To reside in Ethiopia for more than 90 days, you have to apply for a residence card as well as a work permit at the Ministry of Immigration and the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (MOLSA) respectively within 30 days of your arrival. Note that you are not allowed to take up work until your work permit has been granted!