Regions of Ethiopia

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Regional states and chartered cities of Ethiopia
Regions of Ethiopia EN.svg
LocationFederal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
  • 1992
Number11 regions, 2 chartered cities (as of 2021)
  • Region government

Ethiopia is a federation subdivided into ethno-linguistically based regional states (Amharic: plural: ክልሎች kililoch; singular: ክልል kilil; Oromo: singular: Naannoo; plural: Naannolee) and chartered cities (Amharic: plural: አስተዳደር አካባቢዎች astedader akababiwoch; singular: አስተዳደር አካባቢ 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.[1]

The regions are each governed by a regional council whose members are directly elected to represent woredas (districts). 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.[2]

There are eleven 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.[3]

The word "kilil" more specifically means "reservation" or "protected area".[4] 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.[5]

List of regions and city administrations[edit]

The eleven regions and two city administrations
Flag Name Population[6] Area (km2)[7] Capital Map
Flag of Addis Ababa.svg Addis Ababa (city) 3,384,569 527 Addis Ababa Addis Ababa in Ethiopia (special marker).svg
Flag of the Afar Region.svg Afar Region 1,152,300 72,051 Semera Afar in Ethiopia.svg
Flag of the Amhara Region.svg Amhara Region 21,134,988[8][9] 154,709 Bahir Dar Amhara in Ethiopia.svg
Flag of the Benishangul-Gumuz Region.svg Benishangul-Gumuz Region 1,127,001 50,699 Asosa Benishangul-Gumuz in Ethiopia.svg
Flag of Dire Dawa.png Dire Dawa (city) 493,000 1,559 Dire Dawa Dire Dawa in Ethiopia (special marker).svg
Flag of the Gambella Region.svg Gambela Region 435,999 29,783 Gambela Gambela in Ethiopia.svg
Harari Flag.svg Harari Region 246,000[9] 334 Harar Harari in Ethiopia (special marker).svg
Flag of the Oromia Region.svg Oromia Region 35,467,001[9] 284,538 Addis Ababa[10] Oromia in Ethiopia.svg
Flag of Sidama.svg Sidama Region ~4,200,000 ~12,000 Hawassa Sidama Region in Ethiopia.svg
Flag of the Somali Region (1994-2008, 2018-).svg Somali Region 11,748,998[9] 279,252[11] Jijiga Somali Region Map.svg
Flag of South West Ethiopia.svg South West Ethiopia Peoples' Region ~2,300,000 ~39,400 Bonga South West Region in Ethiopia.svg
Flag of the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples' Region.svg Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples' Region ~9,126,000 ~54,400 Hawassa Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People's Region in Ethiopia.svg
Flag of the Tigray Region.svg Tigray Region 7,070,260[9] 50,079[a] Mek'ele Tigray in Ethiopia.svg

~ — Approximation

New regions[edit]

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.[13] The Sidama Region was created in June 2020.[14]

The South West Ethiopia Region was created on 23 November 2021 following a successful referendum earlier that year. The new region was split off from the SNNPR and consisted of Keffa, Sheka, Bench Sheko, Dawro, and West Omo Zones, along with Konta special district.[15]

See also[edit]


  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,[7] rendering the 2011 report internally inconsistent. The figure of 50,079 km2 in the 2006 statistics report[12] is supported by the Google Maps area calculator.


  1. ^ Mulatu Wubneh (2017). "Ethnic Identity Politics and the Restructuring of Administrative Units in Ethiopia". International Journal of Ethiopian Studies. 11 (1 & 2): 105–138. JSTOR 26586251 – via JSTOR.
  2. ^ Yilmaz, Serdar; Venugopal, Varsha (2008). Local Government Discretion and Accountability in Ethiopia (PDF). Working Paper 08-38. International Studies Program, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University. pp. 4–5. Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 October 2013. Retrieved 22 June 2013.
  3. ^ 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. S2CID 155079488.
  4. ^ "ክልል". SelamSoft. Retrieved 10 May 2021.
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ "Ethiopia". City Population.
  7. ^ a b "2011 National Statistics" (PDF). Central Statistical Agency. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-09-23. Retrieved 2014-12-10.
  8. ^ Central Statistical Agency of Ethiopia. "Recent Survey Releases". Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. Archived from the original on 31 May 2022.
  9. ^ a b c d e Population Projection of Ethiopia for All Regions At Wereda Level from 2014 – 2017 (PDF) (Report). Addis Ababa: Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia Central Statistical Agency. August 2013. Archived from the original on 24 May 2022. Retrieved 4 June 2018. Link to report PDF
  10. ^ "Oromia Regional State". Ethiopian Government Portal. 2020. Retrieved 6 May 2020.
  11. ^ Estimate from Britannica Book of the Year. Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc. 2014. p. 594. ISBN 978-1-62513-171-3 – via Google Books.
  12. ^ "National Statistics: Section-B Population" (PDF). Central Statistical Agency. 2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 February 2007.
  13. ^ "The Sidama have voted for their own state. So what next?". 4 December 2019.
  14. ^ Abdu, Brook (20 June 2020). "Sidama embarks on statehood". The Reporter. Retrieved 22 November 2020.
  15. ^ "South West Ethiopia Peoples Region Officially Established". MSN Africa. Addis Ababa. Ethiopian News Agency (ENA). 23 November 2021. Retrieved 28 November 2021.

External links[edit]