Eritrea is an East African country. Located in the
so-called Horn of Africa, it has an area of 121 320 km2. It
is bathed, in the northeast and east, by the Red Sea for
more than 1000 km, and is bordered by Sudan, in the
northwest, Djibouti, in the southeast, and Ethiopia, in
the south. The main cities are Asmara, the capital, with
407,500 inhabitants (2004), Assab (57,600 inhabitants),
Keren (38,700 inhabitants), Massawa (31,700 inhabitants)
and Mendefera (18,800 inhabitants).
conditions vary due to large differences in altitude. In
the coastal zone of the Red Sea, the climate is hot
desert, while in the higher zones the precipitation is
higher and the temperature more moderate.
Eritrea's economy is based on pastoralism and
subsistence agriculture. The crops used are potatoes,
sorghum and vegetables. The existing industry is limited
to food products, textiles and furs. In the 1970s and
1980s, the country was devastated by drought, famine and
war. Eritrea's main trading partners are Ethiopia, Saudi
Arabia, Sudan and Italy.
Environmental indicator: the value of carbon dioxide
emissions, per capita, (metric tons, 1999) is 0.1.
The population is 4,786,994 inhabitants (2006), which
corresponds to a population density of 37.6 inhab./km2. The
birth and death rates are respectively 34.33% and
9.6%. Average life expectancy is 59.03 years. The value
of the Human Development Index (HDI) is 0.446 and the
value of the Gender-adjusted Development Index (IDG) is
0.434 (2001). It is estimated that, in 2025, the
population will be 8 350 000 inhabitants. Half the
population is Muslim and the other half is
Christian. The various ethnic groups are divided into
three different linguistic groups: Tigrigna, Tigréen and
The region was controlled by Italy between 1890 and
1941. It was then administered by the British for eleven
years, until the United Nations decided that it should
federate with Ethiopia. It entered into civil war, from
1962, when Ethiopia took it under its control. In 1993
he separated from Ethiopia, subsequently living in a
transitional regime in which the president governs with
a legislative assembly, assisted by the State Council.