Regions of Ethiopia

Last updated
Regions and chartered cities of Ethiopia
  • Also known as:
  • States
Regions of Ethiopia EN.svg
Category Federation
Location Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
  • 1992
Number10 regions, 2 chartered cities (as of 2020)
  • Region government
The regions and chartered cities of Ethiopia, their flags, capitals, and largest cities Ethiopian Region Map with Capitals and Flags.png
The regions and chartered cities of Ethiopia, their flags, capitals, and largest cities

Ethiopia is a federation subdivided into ethno-linguistically based regional states (Oromiffa: plural: Naannolee; singular: Naannoo); Amharic: plural: ክልሎች kililoch; singular: ክልል kilil) and chartered cities (plural: astedader akababiwach; singular: astedader akabibi). This system of administrative regions replaced the provinces of Ethiopia in 1992 under the Transitional Government of Ethiopia and was formalised in 1995 when the current Constitution of Ethiopia came into force.


The regions are each governed by a regional council whose members are directly elected to represent districts (woreda). Each council has a president, who is elected by the council. Each region also has an executive committee, whose members are selected by the president from among the councilors and approved by the council. Each region has a sector bureau, which implements the council mandate and reports to the executive committee. [1]

There are ten regional states and two chartered cities, the latter being the country's capital Addis Ababa, and Dire Dawa, which was chartered in 2004. Being based on ethnicity and language, rather than physical geography or history, the regions vary enormously in area and population; the most notable example is the Harari Region, which has a smaller area and population than either of the chartered cities. When they were established in 1992, there were more regions, but five regions were merged to form the multi-ethnic Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples' Region later in 1992, following the first elections of regional councils on 21 June 1992. [2]

The word "kilil" more specifically means "reservation" or "protected area". [3] The ethnic basis of the regions and choice of the word "kilil" has drawn fierce criticism from those in opposition to the ruling party who have drawn comparisons to the bantustans of apartheid South Africa. [4]

List of regions and city administrations

The ten regions and two city administrations
FlagNamePopulation [5] Area (km2) [6] Capital
Flag of Addis Ababa.svg Addis Ababa (city)3,273,000527 Addis Ababa
Flag of the Afar Region.svg Afar Region 1,723,00072,053 Semera
Flag of the Amhara Region.svg Amhara Region 20,401,000154,709 Bahir Dar
Flag of the Benishangul-Gumuz Region.svg Benishangul-Gumuz Region 1,005,00050,699 Asosa
Flag of Dire Dawa.png Dire Dawa (city)440,0001,559 Dire Dawa
Flag of the Gambella Region.svg Gambela Region 409,00029,783 Gambela
Et harrar.png Harari Region 232,000334 Harar
Flag of the Oromia Region.svg Oromia Region 33,692,000284,538 Finfinne [7]
Flag of Sidama.svg Sidama Region 3,200,00012,000 Hawassa
Somali State original flag.jpg Somali Region 5,453,000279,252 (est.) [8] Jijiga
Flag of the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples' Region.svg Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples' Region 11,426,00093,800 Hawassa
Flag of the Tigray Region.svg Tigray Region 5,056,00050,079 [lower-alpha 1] Mek'ele

Proposed regions

In November 2019, a referendum was held in the Sidama Zone of the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples' Region, in which voters supported a proposal for Sidama Zone to become a region in its own right. [10] The Sidama Region was created in June 2020. [11]

See also


  1. The 2011 National Statistics gave an area of 41,410 km2 for Tigray, but the sum of the figures it gave for the Tigray zones was substantially different, [6] rendering the 2011 report internally inconsistent. The figure of 50,079 km2 in the 2006 statistics report [9] is supported by the Google Maps area calculator.

Related Research Articles

Demographics of Ethiopia

The demographics of Ethiopia encompass the demographic features of inhabitants in Ethiopia, including ethnicity, languages, population density, education level, health, economic status, religious affiliations and other aspects of the population.

Somali Region Regional state in eastern Ethiopia

The Somali Region, also known as Soomaali Galbeed is a regional state in eastern Ethiopia. Its territory is the largest after Oromia Region. The regional state borders the Ethiopian states of Afar and Oromia and the chartered city Dire Dawa to the west, as well as Djibouti and Somalia to north the east and south; and Kenya to the southwest.

Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples Region Regional state in southernmost Ethiopia

Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples' Region is a multinational regional state of Ethiopia. It was formed from the merger of five kililoch, called Regions 7 to 11, following the regional council elections on 21 June 1992. Its government is based in Awasa.

Harari region Region of Ethiopia

Harari, officially Harari People's National Regional State, is one of the ten ethnically-based regional states (kililoch) of Ethiopia, covering the homeland of the Harari people. Formerly named Region 13, its capital is Harar. It has the smallest land area and population of the Ethiopian regional states. Harari and Oromo are the two official languages of the regional authorities.

Begemder Historic province in northwestern Ethiopia

Begemder was an Amhara province in the northwestern part of Ethiopia.

Hawassa Capital of the Sidama and the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples Region

Hawassa is a city in Ethiopia, on the shores of Lake Awassa in the Great Rift Valley. It is 273 km (170 mi) south of Addis Ababa via Bishoftu, 130 km (81 mi) east of Sodo, and 75 km (47 mi) north of Dilla. The town serves as the capital of the Sidama Region and the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples' Region. It lies on the Trans-African Highway 4 Cairo-Cape Town and has a latitude and longitude of 7°3′N38°28′E and an elevation of 1,708 meters (5,604 ft) above sea level. Its name comes from a Sidamic word meaning "wide body of water".

The Sidama are an ethnic group traditionally inhabiting the Sidama Region, formerly part of the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples Region (SNNPR), in Ethiopia. On 23 November 2019, the Sidama Zone became the 10th regional state in Ethiopia after a zone-wide referendum. They speak the Sidamo language, which is a language of the Cushitic branch of the Afroasiatic language family. Despite their large numbers, the Sidama lacked a separate ethnic regional state until continuous protests resulted in the proposal being voted on in a November 2019 referendum.

Tigray Province Former province in northern Ethiopia

Tigray Province is an historical province of northern Ethiopia that exists in the present day Tigray Region. It encompassed most of the territories of Tigrinya-speakers in Ethiopia; Tigray province was separated from the northern Tigrinya speaking territories by the River Mereb, now serving as the state border to Eritrea.

Miirabawi Zone Zone in Tigray Region, Ethiopia

Mi'irabawi is the westernmost Zone of the Tigray Region in Ethiopia. It is subdivided into three woredas (districts); from north to south they are Kafta Humera, Wolqayt and Tsegede. Major towns and cities include Humera. Mi'irabawi is bordered on the east by the Semien Mi'irabawi Zone, the south by the Amhara Region, the west by Sudan and on the north by Eritrea.

Debubawi Zone Zone in Tigray Region, Ethiopia

Debubawi is one of the Zones in the Ethiopian Region of Tigray. Debubawi is bordered on the south and west by the Amhara Region, on the north by Debub Misraqawi (Southeastern) Zone, and on the east by the Afar Region. Towns and cities in Debubawi include Maychew, Korem, Alamata. Debub Misraqawi (Southeastern) Zone was separated from Debubawi Zone.

Sidama region Region of Ethiopia

The Sidama region is one of the regional states (kililoch) of Ethiopia. It was formed on 18 June 2020 from the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples' Region (SNNPR) and transformation of the Sidama Zone after a 98.52% vote in favour of increased autonomy in the 2019 Sidama Referendum. Sidama is the name of both Sidama People and Sidama land. Sidama is bordered on the south by the Oromia region, on the West by the Bilate River, which separates it from Wolayita zone, and on the north and east by the Oromia region. Towns in Sidama include Awasa, the capital of Sidama and SNNPRS, Yirgalem, Wondogenet, Chuko, Hula, Bona, Bursa, Bensa, and Aleta Wendo. Sidama has a population of around 3.2 million in 2017 who speak the Cushitic languages Sidama.

Subdivisions of Ethiopia

Ethiopia is administratively divided into regional states and chartered cities, zones, woreda (districts) and kebele (wards).

Welkait District in northwestern Ethiopia

Welkait' is a woreda in the Amhara regional state in northwestern Ethiopia. Located in the Gonder-Amhara region for centuries after a brief interlude (1989-2020) of annexation by Tigray People Liberation Front where it was under the Western Tigray in and currently restored to its historically legitimate place- Gonder-Amhara. This woreda is bordered to the north by Humera and to the south by [[Tsegede]. These were similarly the other two woredas that were forcefully annexed to Mi'irabawi Zone of Tigray by the now terrorist group TPLF Ethiopia designates tplf as terror groups who were in power for the last 27 years.It is bordered on the east by the North West Zone; the woredas of Tahtay Adiyabo and Asgede Tsimbla lie to the north-east, on the other side of the Tekezé River, and Tselemti is to the east. The administrative center of Welkait is Addi Remets; other towns in the woreda include Mai'gaba and Awura.

Districts of Ethiopia Third-level administrative divisions of Ethiopia

Districts in Ethiopia are commonly known as woreda and are the third-level of the administrative division of Ethiopia - after zones and the regional states.

Transitional Government of Ethiopia A period of Ethiopia between 1991–1995

The Transitional Government of Ethiopia (TGE) was an era established immediately after the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) and the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) seized power from the Marxist-Leninist People's Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (PDRE) in 1991. During the transitional period, Meles Zenawi served as the president of the TGE while Tamrat Layne was prime minister. Among other major shifts in the country's political institutions, it was under the authority of the TGE that the realignment of provincial boundaries on the basis of ethnolinguistic identity occurred. The TGE was in power until 1995, when it transitioned into the reconstituted Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia that remains today.

Prosperity Party Ethiopian political party founded in 2019

The Prosperity Party is a political party in Ethiopia established on December 1, 2019 as a successor to the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) by incumbent Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. The merger into a countrywide party is part of Abiy's general policy of distancing the country's politics from ethnic federalism, and it will thus run for the first time in the 2021 general election.

Transitional Government of Tigray is a caretaker administration that was formally declared by the House of Federation of Ethiopia on 7 November 2020, in the context of a conflict between the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), in power in the Tigray Regional State and the federal government of Ethiopia. In late November 2020, the administration, headed by Mulu Nega, planned public consultation and participation in choosing new leaders at the regional and zonal level and preservation of woreda and kebele administrations.

Ethnic discrimination in Ethiopia during and since the Haile Selassie epoch has been described using terms including "racial discrimination", "ethnification", "ethnic identification, ethnic hatred, ethnicization", and "ethnic profiling". During the Haile Selassie period, Amhara elites perceived the southern minority languages as an obstacle to the development of an Ethiopian national identity. Ethnic discrimination occurred during the Haile Selassie and Mengistu Haile Mariam epochs against Afars, Tigrayans, Eritreans, Somalis and Oromos. Ethnic federalism was implemented by Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) leader Meles Zenawi and discrimination against Amharas, Oromos and other ethnic groups continued during TPLF rule. Liberalisation of the media after Abiy Ahmed became prime minister in 2018 led to strengthening of media diversity and strengthening of ethnically focussed hate speech. Ethnic profiling targeting Tigrayans occurred during the Tigray War that started in November 2020.

Much of the ongoing civil conflicts within Ethiopia dates back decades. However, following the dissolution of the ethnic federalist, dominant party political coalition, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, there was an increase in tension within the country with newly resurgent regional and ethnically based factions.


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  2. Lyons, Terrence (1996). "Closing the Transition: The May 1995 Elections in Ethiopia". Journal of Modern African Studies. 34 (1): 135. doi:10.1017/S0022278X00055233. JSTOR   161741.
  3. "ክልል". SelamSoft. Retrieved 10 May 2021.
  4. Demaret, Luc (29 October 2002). "'They knew I would rather die than give up the fight': Interview with Taye Woldesmiate (Ethiopia)". International Labour Organization. Archived from the original on 25 July 2008. Retrieved 15 July 2012. 'Since 1993, the education system has been substantially decentralised, with responsibility passing to the provincial authorities.' ... as Taye Woldesmiate went on to point out, the government 'decided to use education policy to promote its own political agenda, meaning its ethnic policy to divide the country'. At the time, teachers denounced this shift. 'The regime created apartheid-type Bantustan states called "killils", or homelands. Citizens are confined within their "killils" never to seek education or jobs outside their homeland', they said.
  5. "Ethiopia". City Population.
  6. "2011 National Statistics" (PDF). Central Statistical Agency. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-09-23. Retrieved 2014-12-10.
  7. "Oromia Regional State". Ethiopian Government Portal. 2020. Retrieved 6 May 2020.
  8. Britannica Book of the Year. Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc. 2014. p. 594. ISBN   978-1-62513-171-3 via Google Books.
  9. "National Statistics: Section-B Population" (PDF). Central Statistical Agency. 2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 February 2007.
  11. Abdu, Brook (20 June 2020). "Sidama embarks on statehood". The Reporter . Retrieved 22 November 2020.