The ancient Ethiopian monarchy maintained its freedom from colonial rule with the exception of a short-lived Italian occupation from 1936-41. In 1974, a military junta deposed Emperor Haile SELASSIE and established a socialist state. Torn by bloody coups, uprisings, wide-scale drought, and massive refugee problems, the regime was finally toppled in 1991 by a coalition of rebel forces, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front. A constitution was adopted in 1994, and Ethiopia's first multiparty elections were held in 1995.

Ethiopia’s economy has grown at a rate between 8% and 11% annually for more than a decade and the country is the fifth-fastest growing economies in the world. This growth has been driven by sustained progress in the agricultural and service sectors. Interestingly Ethiopia has the lowest level of income-inequality in Africa and one of the lowest in the world, with a Gini coefficient comparable to that of the Scandinavian countries. Yet despite progress toward eliminating extreme poverty, Ethiopia remains one of the poorest countries in the world, due both to rapid population growth and a low starting base.

Ethiopia has a significant cotton and garment industry and crafts continues to be a substantial opportunity for the less skilled part of the labour force.




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