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Dominated by extension of Ethiopian north-south trending highlands, descending on the east to a coastal desert plain, on the northwest to hilly terrain and on the southwest to flat-to-rolling plains


Hot, dry desert strip along Red Sea coast; cooler and wetter in the central highlands (up to 61 cm of rainfall annually, heaviest June to September); semiarid in western hills and lowlands


Nationality: Eritrean(s)
Population: 6,380,803 (July 2014 est.)
Languages: Tigrinya (official), Arabic (official), English (official), Tigre, Kunama, Afar, other Cushitic languages


Muslim, Coptic Christian, Roman Catholic, Protestant


Since formal independence from Ethiopia in 1993, Eritrea has faced many economic problems, including lack of resources and chronic drought, which have been exacerbated by restrictive economic policies. Eritrea has a command economy under the control of the sole political party, the People's Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ). Like the economies of many African nations, a large share of the population - nearly 80% - is engaged in subsistence agriculture.

Living Conditions

Eritrea is one of the world's poorest countries. In the 1990s, per capita income (average amount of money earned per person, per year) was estimated at between $70 and $150. This is compared to $330 for most of Africa south of the Sahara desert. During the civil war about 200,000 Eritreans were killed. Places where people work—factories, mines, and plantations—were destroyed, and roads, railroads, and port structures (referred to as infrastructure) were torn apart.


Transitional government

US Military Presence/Support






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