Ethiopia at a glance

Ethiopia is investing in national programs to improve food security and expand access to education and health care. With more than 50 faculty members working in or with research interest in Ethiopia, Emory is contributing to the country’s transformation.


The official language of Ethiopia is Amharic, but there are more than 80 ethnic groups with 200 dialects. The three main languages are Amharic, Tigrigna, and Oromigna. English is also used extensively in academic and other business communications and is the most widely spoken foreign language in the country.


The entire country is located in the UTC+3 time zone and is eight hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time (seven hours ahead during Daylight Savings Time). Ethiopia adheres to the Julian calendar of 13 months, which consists of 12 months plus 5–6 days, depending on the lunar cycle. The Ethiopian calendar is seven years, four months, and 11 days behind the U.S. (Gregorian) calendar, putting the Ethiopian New Year in September.

Western dates are widely accepted in commercial and business operations, but be aware which calendars are being used when confirming business dates and appointments.


There are two seasons, with the dry season running from October through May and the wet season being from June to September.

Temperatures are determined by altitude, with highlands (including Addis Ababa) rarely exceeding 25º C (77º F). In the lowlands it can get considerably hotter at more than 40º C (104º F), while in the Danakil Depression temperatures can approach 50º C (122º F).


About 85 percent of the population earns their living in agricultural pursuits. As the backbone of the national economy, principal agricultural exports are coffee, teff grain, flowers, vegetables, sugar, and animal feed. Ethiopia has the largest domestic livestock population in Africa, and its cattle export is thriving.

More info

While this guide strives to present as much information as possible to enable the Emory community to better conduct research, service, and training programs in Ethiopia, it is not comprehensive.

For additional information regarding business, logistic, or infrastructure services in Ethiopia, contact Christine Rapalje, director of global services.

For collaboration and networking support in Ethiopia, contact Shelly Terrazas in the Global Health Institute.

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