Population. – According to surveys carried out by means of samples, the Ethiopian population in 1968 must have amounted to about 22,078,274 residents of rural areas and about 4,000,000 residents in urban centers, with a total total of about 26,000,000; an annual increase indicates the figure of 2.2%, which, in 1971, would have brought the total population to about 28 million; but these are very presumptive figures. The average population density is calculated at 22 residents per km 2, with local variations, eg. 6.6 per km 2 in Bale (South-West Ethiopia) and then 67.9% in Scioa (a region in the center, also politically, of the country, where the capital, Addìs Abebà is based), data also to be referred to 1972.
According to babyinger, a phenomenon connected with the development of industrial regions and with the greater commercial activity of the most important inhabited centers is the accentuation of the urbanization of the poorest population coming from the countryside, which flows where hopes of better subsistence are looming. From 1942 to 1972, a period of 30 years, therefore, some centers increased from 2000% to 4000%, others from 1500% to 2000%, etc. For the capital, Addis Abebà, this increase can be calculated from. 300% to 900% (population in 1938, about 90,000; in 1966, about 644,000; in 1970, about 800,000). The phenomenon had begun to manifest itself during the Italian occupation; after the 1940-41 war, he recovered intensively.
Internal population displacements, partly considerable, were caused by natural disasters, droughts and consequent famines, which repeatedly hit some regions, with tragic consequences of mortality, and mainly the Wallò and the Tigrài (years 1958-59, 1965-66, 1973-74).
Economic conditions. – Many factors still oppose the development of the country. First of all that of terrestrial communications. Despite the establishment, in 1951, of an Imperial Highway Authority (IHA), operating with loans from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the Public Roads Office of the USA, as well as with contributions from the Ethiopian government, in 1972 there was only a percentage of 1 km of road for all seasons on every 170 km 2, not to mention that of the total 8000 km of these roads only one third is asphalted, while some parts, even important ones, are in a bad state of maintenance; it is therefore calculated that 58% of the Ethiopian surface, 01/2 of the population, is more than 30 km away from any communication road, be it inter-seasonal or only seasonal (“track”). On the other hand, the geographic conformation of the country, with its great differences in height and the large central mountain mass, and the typical climatic conditions strongly affect the construction and maintenance costs. Very recent (1974) the opening of the Awàš-Tendahò road, 303 km long, which connects the port of Assàb, on the Red Sea, with south-eastern and south-western Ethiopia: of vital commercial and geographical importance.
The same deficiency should be noted for energy sources. Ethiopia is potentially rich in hydroelectric energy sources, but this wealth has yet to be put to use, even if electricity production has significantly increased in the last twenty years. For Ethiopia (here distinct from Eritrea), from about 33 million kWh in 1955/56 it has risen, especially after the construction of the Qoqà dam (on the middle course of the Awàš river) in 1959-60, to about 229 million kWh in 1966-67, largely consisting of hydroelectricity, which in the total production of the same period (1966-67) represented 71.4% (kWh 210,256,000 out of a total kWh 294,493,000, the remainder being represented by electricity of thermal origin); of this total, then, about 64.3% was produced in the Addìs Abebà area, on 22, About 3% in Eritrea (with the exception of the port of Assàb, fueled by the internal production of Ethiopia) and the remaining 13.4% in other parts of the country. The greatest current exploitation is that of the waters of the Awàš river, which in 1966-67 produced 90% of the hydroelectric energy of the whole country, supplying not only the capital Addìs Abebà, but also urban centers further east, namely Haràr and Dirrè Dawà, and to the West (Addìs Alèm). Despite this, present hydroelectric power generation is considered to constitute less than half of 1% of Ethiopia’s total potential. which in 1966-67 produced 90% of the hydroelectric energy of the whole country, supplying not only the capital Addìs Abebà, but also urban centers further east, namely Haràr and Dirrè Dawà, and to the west (Addìs Alèm). Despite this, present hydroelectric power generation is considered to constitute less than half of 1% of Ethiopia’s total potential. which in 1966-67 produced 90% of the hydroelectric energy of the whole country, supplying not only the capital Addìs Abebà, but also urban centers further east, namely Haràr and Dirrè Dawà, and to the west (Addìs Alèm). Despite this, present hydroelectric power generation is considered to constitute less than half of 1% of Ethiopia’s total potential.
Still other factors are added to the negative picture mentioned above: the organization of land ownership, linked to a traditional subsistence economy, based on the exploitation of dependent agricultural work by the owners (holders of 70% of the land), and therefore the lack of of a rational and advanced agriculture; the low per capita income of the residents (one of the lowest in all of Africa), meaning the absence of a dynamic economic structure; finally, the lack of raw materials. All causes which in turn explain the low industrial investment in the country and the very slow economic progress, when compared to the productive potential of the country itself and the progress of other African nations.
Apart from the province of Eritrea, however, especially after 1960 there was a development process in the agricultural and industrial fields.