ETC Activities

Ongoing conflict, desert locust invasion, recurrent climatic shocks such as floods and droughts, and socioeconomic impact of COVID-19 are the key drivers of humanitarian needs in Ethiopia. Amid the political transition, armed conflict and community violence remains a critical concern across Ethiopia, from Benishangul Gumuz, to Oromia, to Tigray. Heightened competition over resources due to pressures from climatic shocks, COVID-19 containment measures, and desert locust infestation in certain areas, create further inter-communal tension, violence, and displacement. Of an estimated 2.7 million people currently internally displaced in Ethiopia, 1 million of which occurred in 2020, approximately 68 per cent were displaced by conflict, underlining the rapidly evolving protection crisis in Ethiopia.

The conflict crisis in the Tigray region of Ethiopia—which erupted in November 2020—has left over half the population in need of humanitarian assistance. In February 2021, the ICT Emergency Cell (IOM, OCHA, UNDSS, UNHCR, UNICEF and WFP) was launched to coordinate and address gaps in IT and communications services in the humanitarian response to the crisis. See the 'Ethiopia: Tigray region' page below for more information on the Interagency Emergency ICT Sector response. 

ICT Profile

Country background
Country name
Capital city
Addis Ababa
Name of national disaster management agency

National Disaster Risk Management Commission (NDRMC)

Name of telecommunications ministry

Ministry of Communication and Information Technology

Name of telecommunications regulator

Ethiopian Communications Authority (ECA)


112 million

Source: World Bank 2019

Country narrative

Despite the challenges in deploying ICTs in this large, landlocked and mainly rural nation, the Government of Ethiopia has invested considerably in telecommunications services, infrastructure, service expansion projects and last mile access in recent years. 

Government-owned Ethio Telecom is the sole provider of telecommunication services in the country. For many years, this has stifled innovation, restricted network expansion and limited the scope of services on offer. However, in June 2019 the government approved legislation which will open the market to competition and provide much needed foreign investment. Two licenses are to be offered to two international operators, with a deadline set for early 2021. At the same time, the government aims to part-privatise Ethio Telecom, with a 45% stake in the company to be made available. This should be a catalyst for steady growth in all sectors in coming years.

The GSM mobile network was launched in 1999. Ethio Telecom deployed 3G services in January 2009 and LTE in Addis Ababa in March 2015. Ethio Telecom has placed the expansion of LTE services as a cornerstone of its investment program to 2022 in preparation for competition in the mobile market.


Ethiopian Birr (ETB)


6.9 (high risk)

Source: INFORM Risk Index 2021






Voltage: 220V 50Hz; Plug: Two Pin (Round)




Ethiopia has a standard gauge railway network, the National Railway Network of Ethiopia, consisting of up to 5,000 km of railways. The railway network's primary purpose is to connect landlocked Ethiopia to the world market by ensuring access to one or several sea ports for trade and for transporting most imports and exports. The primary port for Ethiopia is the Port of Djibouti in Djibouti. More than 95% of Ethiopia's trade passes through Djibouti. 

Ethiopia has one of the highest rates of traffic fatalities per vehicle in the world. The roads are poorly maintained and marked.

The three main airports in Ethiopia are Addis Ababa Bole International Airport, Aba Tenna Dejazmach Yilma International Airport in Dire Dawa, and Alula Aba Nega Airport in Mekelle, Tigray region.

Key ICT statistics
Fixed-telephone subscriptions per 100 inhabitants


Source: ITU ICTeye 2019

Mobile-cellular subscriptions per 100 inhabitants


Source: ITU ICTeye 2019

Fixed (wired)-broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants


Source: ITU ICTeye 2019

Mobile-broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants


Source: ITU ICTeye 2019

GSMA mobile connectivity index score
3G coverage % of population