Geography of Ethiopia and the Horn

The course Geography of Ethiopia had been offered to all freshman students of Ethiopian Universities until 2005. However, it was interrupted with the curricula revision that ended up making the duration of study for a University degree for most disciplines to be three years. This trend continued for more than a decade and a half. In response to the changing national and global dynamism, the Ministry of Science and Higher Education (MoSHE) had conducted assessment for a curriculum revision. The assessment included gathering evidence from international experiences and domestic practices in proposing courses for the freshman program. The results of the assessment revealed that the Ethiopian Education curriculum had not properly addressed national unity among graduates, critical thinking, important non cognitive skills, employability skills, communication skills, global outlook, and digital literacy to cite few. One of the recommendations of the curriculum revision team was that the curricula /program need to have components that highlight the necessities of Ethiopian Geography,  society, cultures as well as the dynamic interrelationship of people and natural environments over time. As a result, to fill the existing gaps, common courses such as the Geography of Ethiopia and the Horn and others were identified to be offered for all first year students of higher education institutions.

The Geography of Ethiopia and the Horn is, therefore, intended to familiarize students with the basic geographic concepts particularly in relation to Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa. It is also meant to provide students a sense of place and time (geographic literacy) that are pivotal in producing knowledgeable and competent citizens who are able to comprehend and analyse spatial problems and contribute to their solutions. To be geographically illiterate is to deny oneself not only the ability to comprehend spatial problems but also the opportunity to contribute meaningfully to the development of policies for dealing with them. As such, the course provides an opportunity for the reader to understand the implications of the location, shape and size of Ethiopia, as well as the country’s physical and human resources diversity and abundance on its socioeconomic development.

The course consists of four parts.

  1. The first part provides a brief description on the location, shape and size of Ethiopia as well as basic skills of reading maps
  2. Part two introduces the physical background and natural resource endowment of Ethiopia and the Horn which includes its geology and mineral resources, topography, climate, drainage and water resources, soil, fauna and flora.
  3. The third part of the course focuses on the demographic characteristics of the country and its implications on economic development.
  4. The fourth component of the course offers treatment of the various economic activities of Ethiopia and the Horn which include agriculture, manufacturing and the service sectors. Moreover, Ethiopia in a globalizing world is treated in the perspectives of the pros and cons of globalization on its natural resources, population and socioeconomic conditions.
  •  This teaching material is compiled to meet the urgent needs of freshman students of Ethiopian Universities, who take the course “Geography of Ethiopia and the Horn (GeES 101)”. It is our fervent belief that the material could also be an important reference for the course instructors as well. Nonetheless, readers of this material are requested to be considerate of the urgency of the material preparation, paucity of data for the very dynamic geography components, as well as the problems of changing boundaries and sizes of the spatial units. At times, reference was made to former administrative units. To the level best possible, however, attempt was made to include the most recent data on the diverse geographic attributes to produce a viable document. We would also like to acknowledge that much more remains to be done in terms of editing and using the most up-to-date data.

The writes are grateful to the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies of Addis Ababa University for providing the basic reference that was substantially used in the write-up of this material. We would like to thank the Ministry of Science and Higher Education for bringing back the Geography of Ethiopia as a freshman course with the intention of nurturing citizens who are zealous and enthusiastic to their country’s natural and cultural geographic endowments; and for facilitating the development of the material.

1. Dr. Teferi Mekonnen, Addis Ababa University
2. Mr. Nigatu Gebremedhin, Wolkite University
3. Dr. Alem-meta Assefa, Wollo University
4. Dr. Binyam Moreda, Hawassa University

Please Note –

The specific purpose of this web work is to provide important material to the students.
The material is partial, Students can get a full copy of the study material from University Library.

The original Study material is condensed to make it suitable for web publication.  Chapter-wise reduction is done by the following instructors working in the Department of Geography, Adigrat University. 

Chapter 01 – Ato Araya,  <arayakiros2004@gmail.com>,
Chapter 02 – Ato Goteom, <goiteom92@gmail.com>,
Chapter 03 – Ato Habtom, <habtomhk@gmail.com>,
Chapter 04 – Dr. Zubair, <zubairul@gmail.com>,
Chapter 05 – Ato Giday, <giday21gd@gmail.com>
Chapter 06 -Dr. Arshad, <arshadamin08@gmail.com>
Chapter 07 – Ato Tsegay, <tsegayhaile2002@gmail.com>,
Chapter 08 – Ato Tadesse, <tadesset30@gmail.com>,

Please contact for any valid correction, Updating or improvement.

Course title: The Geography of Ethiopia and the Horn
Course code: GeES1011

COURSE OBJECTIVE
Upon completion of this course the students will be able to:
• Describe the location, shape and size of Ethiopia and explain their implications on the physical environment, socioeconomic and political aspects.
• Elaborate the major geological events; the resultant landforms and mineral resources of Ethiopia and the Horn.
• Identify the major drainage systems and water resources of Ethiopia and their implications for regional development and integration.
• Develop an understanding of the climate of Ethiopia, its dynamics and implications on the livelihoods of its inhabitants.
• Examine the spatio-temporal distribution and abundance of natural vegetation, wildlife and Soil resources of Ethiopia.
• Discuss the demographic attributes and dynamics as well as the ethnic diversity of Ethiopia.
• Explicate the major types of economic activities in Ethiopia; discern their spatiotemporal distributions and their contributions to the overall development of the country.
• Evaluate the effects of globalization on the socioeconomic development of Ethiopian and the Horn.

COURSE CONTENT
CHAPTER ONE – INTRODUCTION
1.1. Geography: Definition, Scope and Themes.
1.2. Location, Shape and Size of Ethiopia and the Horn
1.3. Basic Skills of Map Reading
CHAPTER TWO – THE GEOLOGY OF ETHIOPIA AND THE HORN
2.1 Introduction
2.2. Origin of the Universe: The Big Bang Theory
2.3. The Theory of Continental Drift
2.4. The Geologic Processes: Endogenic and Exogenic Forces
2.5 The Geological Time Scale and Age Dating Techniques
2.6. Geological Processes and the Resulting Landforms of Ethiopia and the Horn
2.7. Rock and Mineral Resources of Ethiopia
CHAPTER THREE 3 – THE TOPOGRAPHY OF ETHIOPIA AND THE HORN
3.1. Introduction
3.2. The Physiographic Divisions of Ethiopia
3.3. The Impacts of Relief on Biophysical and Socioeconomic Conditions
CHAPTER FOUR – DRAINAGE SYSTEMS AND WATER RESOURCE OF ETHIOPIA AND THE HORN.
4.1. Introduction
4.2. Major Drainage System of Ethiopia
4.3. Water Resources: Rivers: Lakes and Sub-Surface Water
4.4. Water Resources Potentials and Development in Ethiopia
CHAPTER FIVE – THE CLIMATE OF ETHIOPIA AND THE HORN
5.1. Introduction.
5.2. Elements and Controls of Weather and Climate.
5.3. Spatiotemporal Patterns and Distribution of Temperature and Rainfall in Ethiopia
5.4. Climate Change/Global Warming: Causes, Consequences and Response Mechanisms.
CHAPTER SIX – SOILS, NATURAL VEG AND WILDLIFE RESOURCES OF ETHIOPIA & THE HORN
6.1. Introduction
6.2. Ethiopian Soils: Types, Degradation and Conservation
6.3. Natural Vegetation of Ethiopia .
6.4. Wild Life/wild animals in Ethiopia
CHAPTER SEVEN – POPULATION OF ETHIOPIA AND THE HORN
7.1 Introduction
7.2. Population Data: Uses and Sources.
7.3. Population Dynamics: Fertility, Mortality and Migration
7.4. Population Distribution in Ethiopia
7.5. Socio-cultural Aspects of Ethiopian Population: Education, Health and Languages.
7.6. Settlement Types and Patterns
CHAPTER EIGHT – ECONOMIC ACTIVITIES IN ETHIOPIA.
8.1. Introduction
8.2. Mining Activity in Ethiopia
8.3. Forestry
8.4. Fishery
8.5. Agriculture in Ethiopia
8.6. Manufacturing Industry in Ethiopia
8.7. The Service Sector in Ethiopia

RECOMMENDED MODE OF ASSESSMENT
Mid Exam——————40%, Final Exam——————60%, Total ————————100%

TEXTS AND SUPPORTING MATERIALS
• Department of Geography/ADU/Adigrat (2019). http://www.thehaider.com/ethiopia/.
• Addis Ababa University (2001). Introductory Geography of Ethiopia, Teaching Text, Department of Geography.
• Engdawork Assefa(2015). Characterization and classification of major agricultural soils in CASCEP intervention weredas in the central highlands of Oromia Region, Ethiopia, Addis Ababa University
• Ministry of Agriculture/MOA/ (1998). Agro-ecological zones of Ethiopia: Natural Resources Management and Regulatory Department, Addis Ababa
• Robert, E.G, James, F.P & L. MichaelT.(2007). Essentials of Physical Geography. Thomson Higher Education, Belmont, 8th edition.
• Waugh, D. (1990). Geography: An Integrated Approach. Nelson: London.

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