Eritrea Military, Economy and Transportation

Eritrea Military, Economy and Transportation


Economy overview: With independence on May 24, 1993, Eritrea faced economic difficulties as a small and very poor country. The economy is largely based on subsistence agriculture, with 80% of the population employed in agriculture and animal husbandry. The small industrial sector consists mainly of light industrial enterprises with outdated technology. GDP is largely supplemented by remittances from workers abroad. The government receives income from customs duties and taxes, taxes on profits and sales. Road construction is the country’s top priority. In the longer term, Eritrea could benefit from offshore oil development, fishing and tourism. Eritrea’s economic future depends on its ability to address fundamental economic and social challenges, among which are the need to eradicate illiteracy, stimulate the creation of jobs, develop vocational education, attract foreign investment and improve the efficiency of the state apparatus. Eritrea’s agriculture has been severely damaged by war and drought over the past two years, and many tracts of land need to be cleared. Another major issue is the ports, which were Ethiopia’s main trading gates before the war but have hardly been used since. See to know more about Eritrea Business.
GDP: at purchasing power parity – $2.9 billion (2000 est.).
Real GDP growth rate: -1% (2000 est.).
GDP per capita: at purchasing power parity – $710 (2000 est.).
The composition of GDP by sectors of the economy: agriculture: 16%; industry: 27%; services: 57% (2000 est.).
Proportion of the population below the poverty line: no data available.
Percentage distribution of household income or consumption: for the poorest 10% of households: n/a; 10% of the wealthiest families: no data.
Inflation rate at consumer prices: 14% (2000 est.)
Labor force: n/a.
Employment structure: agriculture 80%, industry and trade 20%.
Unemployment rate: no data.
Budget: revenues: $283.9 million; expenditures: $351.6 million, including capital expenditures – NA (1997 est.).
Spheres of economy: food industry, production of beverages, clothing and textiles.
Growth in industrial production: no data available.
Electricity generation: 165 million kWh (1999).
Sources of electricity generation: fossil fuels: 100%; hydropower: 0%; nuclear fuel: 0%; others: 0% (1999). :ъШ1$” Electricity consumption: 153.5 million kWh (1999).
Electricity consumption: Electricity
export: 0 kWh (1999).
Electricity import: 0 kWh (1999).
Agricultural products: sorghum, lentils, vegetables, corn, cotton, tobacco, coffee, si-zal; livestock, goats; fish.
Exports: $26 million (FBO, 1999). Exports: Livestock, sorghum, textiles, foodstuffs, simple manufactured goods.
Export items: Export
partners: Sudan 27.2%, Ethiopia 26.5%, Japan 13.2%, UAE 7.3%, Italy 5.3% (1998).
Import: $560 million (S.I.F., 1999).
Imports: machinery, petroleum products, foodstuffs, manufactured goods.
Import partners: Italy 17.4%, UAE 16.2%, Germany 5.7%, UK 4.5%, Korea 4.4% (1998).
External debt: $281 million (2000 est.). Economic aid recipient: $77 million (1999)
Economic aid donor:
Currency: nakfa.
Currency code: ERN.
Exchange rate: ERN/USD – 9.5 (January 2000), 7.6 (January 1999), 7.2 (March 1998 est.).
Fiscal year: calendar year.


Telecommunications Telephone lines: 23,578 (2000).
Mobile cellular phones: no data available.
Telephone system: internal: totally unsatisfactory; most of the telephones are in Asmara; the government is waiting for foreign proposals to modernize the system; international: no data.
Broadcast stations: AM – 2, FM – 1, shortwave – 2 (2000).
Radio receivers: 345,000 (1997).
Television broadcast stations: 1 (2000).
Televisions: 1,000 (1997).
Internet country code: er
Internet service providers: 4 (2000).
Number of users: 500 (2000).


Transport Railways: total: 317 km; narrow gauge: 317 km (0.950 m gauge) (1999); note: links Acordat and Asmara with the port of Massawa; inactive since 1978, except for about 5 km of railroad tracks reopened in Massawa in 1994; reconstruction of the rest of the road and rolling stock is expected.
Roads: total: 3,850 km; coated: 810 km; unpaved: 3,040 km (2000).
Ports and harbors: Assab, Massawa.
Merchant navy: total: 5 ships (displacement 1,000 tons or more) with a total displacement of 16,069 gross register tons / 19,549 long tons of gross tonnage; ships of various types: bulk carriers – 1, cargo ships – 1, tankers for the transport of liquefied gas – 1, oil tankers – 1, ferries for the transport of loaded vehicles – 1 (2000 est.).
Airports: 20 (2000 est.).
Airports with paved runways: total: 2; over 3,047 m: 1; from 2438 to 3047 m: 1 (2000 est.).
Airports with unpaved runways: total: 18; over 3,047 m: 2; from 2438 to 3047 m:2; from 1,524 to 2,437 m: 5; from 914 to 1523 m:7; less than 914 m: 2 (2000 est.).

Armed forces

Branches of the Armed Forces: Army, Navy, Air Force.
Conscription age:
Total military manpower:
Eligible for service:
Number of persons reaching draft age each year:
Military spending in dollar terms: $160 million (2000 est.).
Military spending as part of GDP: 29.4% (2000 est.).

International Issues

International Issues International Disputes: Pursuant to the December 12, 2000 peace treaty ending the two-year war with Ethiopia, the UN will control a 25 km-wide temporary security zone in Eritrea until the Joint Boundary Commission finalizes its delimitation and demarcation.

Eritrea Military