- Climate- Ethiopia has three main climatic zones that include a cool zone stretching from the central parts of the Western and Eastern regions of the high plateau and the section around Harar. The best climate is in the highlands as the weather is highly predictable and stable, without major oscillations (Billi 68).
- Population – Ethiopia is among the top five highly populated countries in Africa and it boasts of demographic diversity.
- Language – the country is multilingual with tens of languages. Currently, the national language is Amharic. Most tribes use their languages, but the majority of the people can communicate using other local languages. Foreign languages used in Ethiopia include English and French. However, English is the most preferred language in the country.
- Religion –Christianity is believed to constitute more than half of the religious population with the majority subscribing to the Orthodox Church, which is common in the highlands (“Central Intelligence Agency” par. 6). The second most popular religion is Islam. Nevertheless, Ethiopians are tolerant of religious diversity.
- Food – Injera is the staple food that is made with beef, goat, lamb, fish, or boiled eggs and it can be eaten at breakfast, lunch, or dinner (Tefera 39). Others are potatoes, lettuce, beans, bananas, grapes, and milk among others. Nonetheless, Ethiopia enjoys a variety of international dishes that are served in most of its hotels.
- Eating habits – Ethiopians have a tradition of eating using their hands instead of a spoon or fork. This aspect does not translate into a lack of decorum; on the contrary, it is a tradition that brings people together since they like taking meals as a family or a group at a particular time. The elderly persons are supposed to start eating when food is served.
- Etiquette – Greetings amongst Ethiopians are characterized by politeness. Ethiopians prefer handshake that corresponds with direct eye conduct. It is customary to bow when greeting the aged. For foreigners, it is acceptable to wave and initiate a smile.
- Hospitality – Ethiopians are hospitable, they enjoy entertaining visitors, and an invitation to a home is highly honored. Punctuality is not a big issue, but unaccounted lateness is discouraged. Visitors should expect to be served lots of food since it is a sign of hospitality (Tijani and Getahun 14).
- Communication style – Ethiopians appear sensitive when communicating since they are still adapting to interacting with foreigners in business and still transitioning to new ways of doing things. As a tradition, they are humble, they expect that attribute in others, and they use soft tones since loud voices are seen as annoying. They like professionalism and integrity and they will avoid anything that will make them lose dignity.
- Manners – Ethiopians are down to earth and they do not value hierarchy. They demand respect for all. The eating habits, communication styles, and greetings, all demonstrate humility and patience.
- Transport – Ethiopia has an elaborate transport system with international flights connecting all parts of the world. Public transport is commonly used to ease traffic jams within and around the cities (Kushkush par. 11).
- The cost of living – the cost of living is relatively high since Ethiopia is a developing country and much of its revenue comes from the value-added tax and the pay-as-you-earn policy. For instance, monthly rent for mid-class housing ranges between US$ 406-1,480.
- Housing – Ethiopia is experiencing a housing shortage due to poor policies and most people have to settle for less than ideal residents in terms of location and arrangement. The housing of good standards are available but at prohibitive costs.
- Health – Currently, health conditions are satisfactory. Medical facilities offer reasonable services, but they are still limited and expensive because most machines are imported.
- Clothing – Ethiopia is very open in terms of dressing. Official wear includes business suits and sweaters since the climate very chilly is at times. Good quality clothing of all tastes is available but expensive.
- Social life – Social engagement is common among the residents due to limited entertainment zones in the city. Social relations are highly stratified across three classes, viz. the elites who occupy the upper cadre, the working middle class, and the lower class who are the majority (Epple 61).
- Leisure – During holidays and free time, people visit the many historical sites in the country like small highlands near Lake Tana, campsites, and suitable swimming around the river Awash (Munro-Hay 36). Playing tennis and mountain climbing are some of the common leisure games.
- How to interact – Formal and informal interaction starts in social places such as churches, businesses, and schools. As a rule, interactions are governed by respect and anyone can initiate talks.
- Crime – Within Addis Ababa, the situation is controlled to desirable levels, but within its suburbs, it is advisable to avoid traveling or walking past midnights.
- Water and sanitation – Residents within the cities enjoy a frequent supply of tapped water as well as a good drainage system. In the countryside, the water is a problem due to frequent drought spells and a lack of government projects to provide the same.
Billi, Paolo. Landscapes and Landforms of Ethiopia, London: Springer, 2015. Print.
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Central Intelligence Agency: The World FactBook: Ethiopia 2015. Web.
Epple, Susanne. Creating and Crossing Boundaries in Ethiopia: Dynamics of Social Categorization and Differentiation, London; LIT Verlag: 2014. Print.
Kushkush, Ismail. “Ethiopia, Long Mired in Poverty, Rides an Economic Boom.” The New York Times. 2015. Web.
Rosenfeld, Beth. Memory Bank: Focus Ethiopia. Washington, D.C: Corcoran College of Art + Design, 2010. Print.
Tefera, Goshu. Women’s Participation in Ensuring Food Security at Household Level: Evidence from Ebinat District, Amhara Region, Ethiopia, Saarbrücken: Lambert Academic Publishing, 2014. Print.
Tijani, Hakeem, and Solomon Getahun. Culture and Customs of Ethiopia, Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2014. Print.