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Eritrea

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Current government officials

Languages: Afar, Arabic, Tigre and Kunama, Tigrinya, other Cushitic languages

Ethnicity/race: ethnic Tigrinya 50%, Tigre and Kunama 40%, Afar 4%, Saho (Red Sea coast dwellers) 3%, other 3%

National Holiday: Independence Day, May 24

Religions: Islam, Eritrean Orthodox Christianity, Roman Catholic, Protestant

Literacy rate: 58.2% (2011 est.)

Economic summary: GDP/PPP (2011 est.): $3.978 billion; per capita $700 . Real growth rate: 8.2%. Inflation: 20%. Unemployment: 12.1%. Arable land: 5%. Agriculture: sorghum, lentils, vegetables, corn, cotton, tobacco, coffee, sisal; livestock, goats; fish. Labor force: 1.935 billion (2011); agriculture 80%, industry and services 20%. Industries: food processing, beverages, clothing and textiles, salt, cement, commercial ship repair. Natural resources: gold, potash, zinc, copper, salt, possibly oil and natural gas, fish. Exports: $383.5 million (2011 est.): livestock, sorghum, textiles, food, small manufactures (2000). Imports: $875.1 million (2011 est.): machinery, petroleum products, food, manufactured goods (2000). Major trading partners: Australia, France, Malaysia, Italy, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Germany, China, Brazil, U.S., Turkey (2006).

Communications: Telephones: main lines in use: 54,200 (2011); mobile cellular: 185,300 (2011) Radio broadcast stations: AM 2, FM 1, shortwave 2 (2000). Television broadcast stations: 1 (2000). Internet hosts: 870 (2011). Internet users: 200,000 (2011).

Transportation: Railways: total: 306 km (2011). Highways: total: 4,010 km; paved: 874 km; unpaved: 3,136 km (2011 est.). Ports and harbors: Assab, Massawa. Airports: 13 (2011).

International disputes: Eritrea and Ethiopia agreed to abide by 2002 Ethiopia-Eritrea Boundary Commission's (EEBC) delimitation decision, but despite international intervention, mutual animosities, accusations and armed posturing prevail, preventing demarcation; Ethiopia refuses to withdraw to the delimited boundary until technical errors made by the EEBC that ignored "human geography" are addressed, including the award of Badme, the focus of the 1998-2000 war; Eritrea insists that the EEBC decision be implemented immediately without modifications; since 2000, the UN Peacekeeping Mission to Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) monitors the 25km-wide Temporary Security Zone in Eritrea. It is extended for six months in 2007 despite Eritrean restrictions on its operations and reduced force of 17,000; Sudan accuses Eritrea of supporting Sudanese rebel groups; Eritrea protests Yemeni fishing around the Hanish Islands awarded to Eritrea by the ICJ in 1999.

Major sources and definitions


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