Eritrea Basic Information

By | July 21, 2022
Basic data
Capital Asmara
Population 6 million
Language Tigrayan, Arabic, English
Religion Copts, Christians, Muslims
State system Presidential Republic
Head of State Isaias Afwerki
Head of government Isaias Afwerki
Currency name Eritrean Nakfa (ERN)

Eritrea Basic Information

Time shift +2 hours
Nominal GDP (billion USD) 2.2
Economic growth (%) 1.3
Inflation (%) 3.7
Unemployment (%) ON

So a basic summary for a general idea of ​​the country: who has executive power and a brief description of the state establishment, legislation (briefly), the economy and opportunities for Czech companies, or problems when entering the market, if any. If the specific business culture can be described in a maximum of two sentences. Add a view into the future.

This summary territorial information is processed for the country that is so-called accredited. The information is provided in a basic scope.

Basic information about the territory


  • System of governance and political tendencies in the country
  • Foreign policy of the country
  • Population

The system of governance and political tendencies in the country

Official State Name:

  • Czech: State of Eritrea
  • Tigrean: Hagara Ertra
  • English: State of Eritrea
  • The name comes from the ancient designation of the Red Sea (Erythra Thalassa or Mare Erythraeum).

Eritrea has been one of the poorest countries in the world since its inception. The war for independence (until 1991), the war with Ethiopia (1998–2000) and the chronic catastrophic drought had an effect on the very poor state of the economy. The isolationist policy of the ruling authoritarian regime and above all the complete closure of the Ethiopian market for Eritrean products (before the conflict it absorbed 70% of all exports) also have negative effects on the country’s economy. Check cancermatters to learn more about Eritrea political system.

In July 2018, President Afwerki signed a peace declaration with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, agreeing to officially end the 20-year war, reopen the borders and restore trade, transport and telecommunications links between the two countries. The conflict with Ethiopia linked to accusations of financing al-Shabab armed groups in Somalia excluded Eritrea from the international community and led to UN sanctions (arms embargo, travel ban, asset freeze). These sanctions were lifted in November 2018. The peace deal has raised hopes high in the region, as evidenced by the various infrastructure investments announced since then. However, the unilateral decision to close the border with Ethiopia in April 2019, along with the regime’s reluctance to abide by the peace agreement and implement reforms, is raising uncertainty among potential investors.  Check prozipcodes for Eritrea defense and foreign policy.

Foreign policy of the country


Population: 6 million

An estimated one million Eritreans live outside the borders of Eritrea (many of them go to refugee camps in neighboring countries or for work, especially to the Gulf). Tens of thousands of Eritreans seeking asylum are in EU territory, especially in Sweden.

Average annual increase in the population and its demographic composition:

  • Average annual population growth: 0.93%
  • Demographic composition: women 50.1%, men 49.9%
  • Age structure: 0-14 years 39.5%, 15-64 years 56.5%, 65 and over 4.0%

Nationality composition

Nine ethnic groups. The most numerous are the Tigrins (55%, Tigrinya) and the Tigreans (30%, Tigre), who speak related languages. An important group are the Afars (300,000 in Eritrea, they also live in Ethiopia and Djibouti), as well as the ethnic groups Saho (4%), Kunama (2%), the Arabic-speaking Rashaida tribe (2%), Bilen (2%) and others (Beni, Amar, Nera, about 5%).

Religious composition

About half the population professes Christianity; the vast majority of them belong to the Eritrean Orthodox Church, the rest are Catholics and Protestants. The other half of the population professes Islam. There are a minimum of animists. Religious disputes have not occurred for a long time, recently attacks against Christians are beginning to appear.

2. Economy


  • Basic data
  • Public finances and the state budget
  • Banking system
  • Tax System

Basic data

Table from MOP + additionally balance of payments, indebtedness/GDP.

Pointer 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
GDP growth (%) 5.4 3.0 -4.1 1.3 2.9
GDP/population (USD/PPP) 1.8 1.8 1.8 1.8 1.8
Inflation (%) -14.4 -16.4 3.2 3.7 5.2
Unemployment (%) 6.4 6.3 7.4 ON ON
Export of goods (billion USD) 1.0 1.2 0.8 0.9 0.9
Import of goods (billion USD) 1.1 1.2 1.0 1.0 1.1
Trade Balance (Billion USD) -0.1 0.0 -0.1 -0.2 -0.2
Industrial production (% change) ON ON ON ON ON
Population (millions) 3.5 3.5 3.6 3.6 3.7
Competitiveness ON ON ON ON ON
OECD export risk 7/7 7/7 7/7 7/7 ON

Source: EIU, OECD, WEF

Public finance and state budget

Public finance
State budget balance (% of GDP) -5.0
Public debt (% of GDP) 179.6
Current account balance (billion USD) -0.2

Banking system

Central Bank (Bank of Eritrea): Governor Kibreab Woldemariam

Commercial (state) banks:

  • Eritrean Investment and Development Bank
  • Commercial Bank of Eritrea
  • Housing and Commercial Bank of Eritrea

State (so far monopoly) insurance company:

  • National Insurance Corporation of Eritrea (NICE)