Advice to travelers
For the latest updated security advisory you need to check the French version link https://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/fr/conseils-aux-voyageurs/conseils-par-pays-destination/ethiopie/
Increasing ethnic tensions in many parts of the country should encourage travelers to exercise greater vigilance when traveling by land, especially in remote areas where communications and transport are uncertain. The instructions given by the local authorities must be respected and political gatherings avoided. A consultation of the embassy services is desirable in case of doubt. In any case, respect for basic rules of prudence, given the geographical, economic, health and political situation of Ethiopia, is essential.
RISKS INCURRED AND ASSOCIATED RECOMMENDATIONS
• Socio-political risks
Clashes between communities or during anti-government riots have caused several thousand deaths and the displacement of more than three million people since September 2017. Inter-ethnic tensions and violence are now affecting many parts of the country, particularly in the regions. Oromia and Somali, as well as at inter-regional borders, which often correspond to areas of contact between communities Episodes of violence, sporadic demonstrations and road blockages are possible everywhere in the country. It is recommended to inquire before considering any travel and to favor air travel.
• Road safety
The risk of a road accident is very high throughout the country due to the dilapidated fleet and infrastructure and the dangerous behavior of drivers and pedestrians. The accident mortality rate is accentuated by the lack of emergency resources and the poor quality of medical facilities. It is recommended to avoid public transport (mini-buses in particular) and to call in private drivers from recognized travel or rental agencies. Outside major cities, driving at night is absolutely forbidden.
The terrorist risk exists in Ethiopia, given the regional situation and the actions of the Al Shabaab terrorist movement in Somalia. It is important to be vigilant in public places and avoid gatherings.
Petty crime is developing significantly in the country’s major cities, especially in Addis Ababa since 2018, and is particularly targeted at foreigners (tourists and expatriates). In the capital, it is mainly theft by pickpockets but also violent attacks (stabbing, strangulation etc.), including the day, on the wooded hills of the north of the city (Yeka, Entoto), in the neighborhoods of Bole, Meskel Square or Piassa, and generally in places frequented by foreigners.
We need to be vigilant at the various hubs of Addis Ababa because of the presence of a large number of street children sometimes under the influence of narcotics, not to go to isolated places and to avoid all traveling alone at night. In case of theft or aggression, it is advisable to file a complaint immediately with the nearest police station and report the case to the consular section.
When traveling in the countryside, travelers may experience racketeering, blocking or stalling their vehicles, especially in remote areas. The presence of a driver or a local guide generally avoids this type of incident.
• Seismic risk
Ethiopia is located in a region of moderate to high seismic activity.
AREAS OF VIGILANCE
• Areas formally not recommended
1. Border strip with Eritrea (Tigray and Afar regions):
Despite the normalization of relations between the two countries, the border strip with Eritrea is still to be avoided. The area is largely mined. The land border is currently not open to foreign travelers.
2. Border with South Sudan:
The area, which is experiencing a massive influx of refugees, is dangerous because of the presence of armed groups involved in the South Sudanese conflict and a massive influx of refugees.
3. Border with Sudan:
The area is the place of armed incursions on both sides of the border, and trafficking, including human beings.
4. Border with Somalia and Kenya:
The area is particularly dangerous due to the risk of Al Shabaab elements penetrating, the presence of non-state armed elements and violence between Somali clans. The risk of kidnapping Westerners in this region must be considered permanent. Humanitarian personnel who are brought to work there are invited to make themselves known to the consulate in Addis Ababa and to register
• Areas not recommended except imperative reason
1. Depression of the Danakils (excluding Dallol):
The Danakils region is experiencing a particularly difficult climate (very high temperatures and high humidity) as well as recurrent tensions in the Afar community or between it and the authorities. There is a risk of armed attack and kidnapping.
2. Gambela Region:
This area remains unstable, including the town of Gambela, affected by the massive influx of South Sudanese refugees, incursions of armed elements, and a sharp rise in crime.
3. West Ogaden (Somali region):
This region is permanently insecure because of tensions between Somali clans and between Oromo and Somali communities. Access by foreigners is prohibited by the Ethiopian military and security services unless they have a permit issued by the Ethiopian authorities (check at checkpoints).
4. East of the Oromo region:
Since September 2017, violent and recurrent incidents between the Oromo and Somali communities have occurred in this area, which includes the districts of Hararghe West and East, including the road linking Mieso and Dire Dawa. The areas of Gedeo and Guji are the scene of interethnic violence between Oromos and Gedeos. Finally, Dire Dawa and Harar’s cities-regions regularly experience episodes of tensions and interethnic violence.
• Zones in enhanced vigilance
The general security conditions in Ethiopia allow:
• travel to Addis Ababa with vigilance regarding the increase in petty crime;
• to travel to the Amhara and Tigray regions (with the exception of the border area with Eritrea), learning about the local situation (interethnic tensions) before traveling, especially in the area west of Gondar and favoring long-haul flights as road traffic remains an important risk factor;
• to visit the Oromo region except for its eastern part by learning about the local situation (interethnic tensions) before the movements especially for the border area with the Benishangul-Gumuz region (East and West Welega), in favoring the airway for long distances because road traffic remains an important risk factor;
• to go to the region of the Nations, nationalities and peoples of the South except the Gedeo zone by learning about the local situation (interethnic tensions) before traveling, by favoring the air route for long distances because the road traffic remains an important risk factor;
• travel to Omo National Park and make trips to the Omo Valley area (travelers are welcome to seriously organize their stay and prefer air travel between Addis Abeba and Jinka).
Tourist sites on the border of Eritrea
It is possible to organize excursions to the cultural sites of the ruins of Yeha and the Debre Damo Monastery, close to the Eritrean border, by road from Aksum, Adigrat or Makale. It is highly recommended to use the services of a tour operator or a favorably known guide / driver. When visiting the Monastery of Debra Damo, located less than 5 km from the border, any excursion into the hills surrounding the monastery, especially on the north side, is formally discouraged. The accompaniment by a policeman or a soldier on the track leading from the main road to the monastery can be imposed.
Special case of Dallol and Erta Ale
It is possible to visit Dallol and Erta Ale strictly respecting the prescriptions of the local authorities: obligatory accompaniment by local security forces or soldiers in charge of securing the two sites, visit as part of an organized trip by experienced professionals.
Travelers must also report their itineraries to local authorities in Berhale and ensure that the travel agencies that support them have filed their roadmap with the Afar Tourism Office.
Before departure, and in the light of extreme weather conditions, it is also advisable to check with your doctor that his state of health allows for the excursion. It is not recommended for children under 15 and for the elderly or cardiac.
Even among agencies specialized in "extreme" travel, in France as in Ethiopia, the services offered are of uneven quality. In any case, it is not advisable to resort to agencies that approach tourists at Makale airport. Among the benchmarks that can serve as benchmarks for selecting agencies, it seems imperative to retain at least the following points:
travel with at least two vehicles in good condition and with spare mechanical parts;
have a satellite phone at your disposal, guaranteeing a secure connection to the departure base or the embassy (the Erta Ale area has no telephone coverage within 15 km);
sufficient food, water and fuel resources;
transport of a medical kit appropriate to the area (salt tablets, vitamins, anti-diarrhea ...);
a professional coaching of tourists involving a time of stay on the site limited to a few hours and secure visit routes.
• Be vigilant in public places, avoid gatherings and demonstrations, whatever their character.
• Avoid bus and municipal buses, as well as private minibus type taxis.
• Drive with the doors closed at all times of the day and night. When traveling at night, be dropped off in front of your home. Avoid being isolated or walking in unlighted places.
• Only visit hotels, restaurants and secure bars.
• Wild camping is not recommended throughout the country.
• In case of aggression, it is recommended to remain calm, not to resist and to have some money at hand to satisfy the aggressor.
Entry / Stay
FORMATION OF ENTRY AND EXIT FROM THE TERRITORY
• A visa is required to visit Ethiopia regardless of the reason for the visit. Visas can be obtained before going to the Ethiopian embassy in Paris or via the internet with the E-Visa procedure: https://www.evisa.gov.et/#/home or on arrival at Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa (payment in € / $ cash currency only).
• Travelers whose residence visa expires prior to their departure from Ethiopia must obtain an extension of this visa before it expires at the Immigration Department in Addis Ababa. This formality is not free: 100 $ for an additional month for a tourist visa, 160 $ for a business visa. In case of exceeding the validity of the visa, travelers are liable to a fine of $ 5 per day of overdue for a delay of between one and fifteen days, and $ 10 per day of overtime for a delay between fifteen and thirty days or even an additional fine decided by the Ethiopian judicial authorities before being allowed to leave Ethiopia. All these fines can only be paid in foreign currency.
• Border control between Ethiopia and Djibouti is carried out in two stages: the first control is conducted by the police at the borders, the second by the customs. It is mandatory to pass these two checkpoints, regardless of the direction of crossing the border. Failure to comply with this rule exposes travelers to serious difficulties with the security services of the country visited. It may result in the immobilisation of the vehicle and consequently the blocking of its owner at the border for an indefinite period, without neither the French embassy in Ethiopia nor the French embassy in Djibouti being able to assist the travelers who would contravene it. or who would not be able to submit all the required documents.
• The land border with Eritrea is currently not open to foreign travelers. The passage to Eritrea can only be done by air. The embassy of Eritrea in Ethiopia is not yet able to issue visas for Eritrea.
For more information, contact the Embassy of Ethiopia in Paris
• The Ethiopian authorities are also asking passengers traveling by car to Ethiopia from Metema border posts at the Sudanese border, from Moyale to the Kenyan border, from Galafi and Dewele to the Djibouti border, to present in addition to the Ethiopian visa. valid, the "logbook" of the vehicle, a letter of recommendation prepared by the Embassy of France in Addis Ababa.
CUSTOMS REGULATIONS / EXCHANGE CONTROL
All foreign travelers must declare foreign currency in their possession upon entry into Ethiopia if it equals or exceeds $ 3,000 (approximately € 2,200). A specific form must be completed for this purpose. No foreign traveler may leave Ethiopia with more than $ 3,000 (or the equivalent in euros) in his possession unless he is able to produce the documents that authorize him to do so. In addition, all travelers entering or leaving the country can only hold up to 200 Ethiopian Birr.
A stay abroad implies for any traveler to take certain health precautions. The section below mentions the essential indications. However, these indications do not exempt the traveler from a consultation before the departure to his doctor and / or to a hospital center specialized in the medicine of voyages (and this sufficiently long before the departure, to allow if necessary the reminders of vaccines).
• Hospitalization expenses and health expenses
In order to cope with hospitalization costs and sometimes very high health expenses abroad, it is highly recommended to have an assistance contract or insurance to cover all medical expenses (surgery, hospitalization ...) and medical repatriation, at the risk of not having access to care, including in the event of a vital emergency. These costs cannot be supported by the embassy or consulates general of France on the spot.
Medical facilities in Ethiopia have limited resources and the supply of care is generally of very poor quality. Outside the capital, medical facilities are scarce and ambulances do not exist. Serious medical cases require medical evacuation mainly to Kenya or France.
It is important to know and make known the references of his contract and the coordinates of his insurance to allow a faster intervention of the relief. For people traveling more than 3 months, it is recommended to check with the insurance company before departure from France the conditions selected.
• Recommendations for your Health
Consult your family doctor or an international vaccination center to make an assessment of your state of health, analyze health risks and have health recommendations, including the necessary or recommended vaccinations.
Pharmacies in Ethiopia have a random supply. Constitute your personal pharmacy accordingly and carry in your luggage the strictly necessary medicines; never consume drugs bought on the street (counterfeit).
Vaccination against yellow fever is recommended. It may be required at the entrance of the country for travelers from countries where it is endemic.
• Make sure you are up-to-date in your usual vaccinations but also related to the geographical areas visited:
• Update of diphtheria-tetanus-poliomyelitis (DTP) vaccination is recommended by including rubella-mumps-measles (MMR) in children. Anti-tuberculosis vaccination is also desirable.
• Other recommended vaccinations: Depending on local travel conditions, vaccination against typhoid fever and viral hepatitis A and B may be recommended.
• It is best to be vaccinated against bacterial meningitis A + C + Y + W135.
• Rabies vaccination may also be offered in some cases, particularly for young children and isolated travelers. Ask your doctor or an international vaccination center for advice.
Malaria is present in Ethiopia in some areas. There is no malaria in Addis Ababa, but there is a strong endemic below 1500 meters altitude. Malaria (or malaria) is a parasitic (potentially serious) disease transmitted by mosquito bites. Conventional mosquito protection measures are strongly recommended (see below). For medical treatment, you should contact your doctor or a hospital center specializing in travel medicine before you leave. Treatment should be continued after return to France for a variable period depending on the product used.
During your stay, and during the two months following your return, in case of fever, a medical opinion must be taken quickly to implement as soon as possible a possible antimalarial treatment.
• Chikungunya - Dengue
Transmission through mosquitoes infected with Chikungunya or Dengue is possible. The symptoms of the disease are similar to those of the flu. Individual prevention is therefore essentially based on the means of protection against mosquito bites (see below). In case of fever, a medical opinion must be taken quickly.
General prevention measures to protect against mosquitoes:
• Wear covering clothing, loose, light, light-colored and impregnated with insecticide-treated textile (effective two months and resistant to washing);
• Use cutaneous repellents
• Protect your home (mosquito nets, electric diffusers, coils, air conditioning, etc.);
• Destroy potential mosquito breeding sites (stagnant water containers such as saucers under flowerpots, gutters, tires, etc.).
Meningitis can occur at any time in Ethiopia, particularly in the south; you should avoid going there with young children. Meningococcal infection may be in the form of meningitis (fever with headache, vomiting) or sepsis with the appearance of skin spots (purpura). Upon suspicion, it is advisable to consult a doctor urgently to start antibiotic therapy as soon as possible. It is strongly recommended to consult a doctor prior to a trip, to make an assessment on the need for vaccination.
Ethiopia is affected by cholera. While the Somali region is mainly concerned, cases have also been reported in the rest of the country and in the capital.
Cholera is a bacterial digestive infection that is transmitted through ingestion of undercooked (eg seafood) or soiled foods (fruits and vegetables) and ingestion of contaminated water. People with signs of the condition (liquid diarrhea, vomiting, fever and general weakness) should consult a doctor urgently.
• Typhoid fever
Typhoid fever is a bacterial disease related to salmonella. The symptoms include a high fever and digestive disorders and require urgent medical consultation because serious complications are possible.
Ethiopia is a country of altitude (1800 m to 4500 m in the highlands). High altitude is not recommended for children under 7 years old; pregnant women; people with a history of heart, lung, neurological or renal disease.
Depending on your age and your physical and medical condition, it is advisable to obtain specialized medical advice before your departure.
In Addis Ababa, mainly, air pollution can reach levels that are bothersome for the health of the most fragile people. In case of heavy pollution, it is advisable to reduce all activities outside and to hydrate. as much as possible ; people suffering from respiratory diseases, asthma, heart problems, children, pregnant women and the elderly are then asked to keep the doors and windows of their homes closed and not to go out, except when necessary.
• Infection with the HIV - STI virus
With regard to sexually transmitted diseases, it is recommended to take all the usual precautions in this area and to avoid risky behavior.
In case of injection, require sterile equipment to be opened in front of you. Have blood transfusions only when absolutely necessary.
SOME SIMPLE RULES
• Avoid swimming in stagnant water (risk of parasitic infection);
• Avoid walking barefoot on sand and wet ground;
• Keep away from dead animals, animals and their excrement:
• Do not approach stray animals and dogs (risk of biting and rabies). Do not pet the animals you meet;
• Shake clothes, sheets and sleeping bag to avoid scorpion or snake stings;
Health risks related to the lack of basic rules of food hygiene are very important in Ethiopia and require constant vigilance.
Preserve digestive contaminations or contact:
• Wash your hands regularly with hydro-alcoholic washing solutions, especially before and after meals or bathroom use;
• Ensure the quality of food;
• Avoid the consumption of raw or undercooked food products (fish, meat, poultry, milk);
• Peel fruits or vegetables or wash them thoroughly (with clean water);
• Avoid raw vegetables, shellfish, warm dishes and cold buffets;
• Drink only encapsulated drinks or drinking water (filtration, boiling, or lack of disinfectant);
• Avoid ice cubes and ice cream, as well as the consumption of fresh fruit juice, raw vegetables and unpeeled fruits. Consume milk only pasteurized or boiled
Although Ethiopia accepts the principles and recognizes the right of each embassy to provide consular protection to its nationals, it is not part of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations of 1963. As a result, the Embassy of France is not systematically kept informed when a French national is arrested and detained.
• Infrastructure and Road Safety
According to WHO, Ethiopia is the country most affected by road traffic fatalities in the world (114 deaths per 10,000 vehicles). Several factors explain this situation: an increase in the number of vehicles, a very dilapidated car park, total absence of emergency equipment in the provinces, wearing of the optional safety belt, populations circulating along the roads, presence of animals without supervision and, in general, not very responsible behavior of certain drivers (use of the mobile phone, consumption of khat ...)
The following instructions must be observed:
• In case of rental of vehicles, it is advisable to make sure of the perfect state of the vehicle and that an insurance covering the material and bodily damages has been subscribed by the renter.
• In the case of an accident involving vehicles that do not cause bodily harm, the normal procedure is to bring police officers to make a report on the spot. In Addis Ababa, the following numbers should be called: +251 116 62 80 86 or +251 116 62 82 22.
• In the event of a bodily injury: the recommended behavior is to take the victim to the nearest hospital. If it is not possible to stop, it is advisable to go immediately to the nearest police station to report the accident, and to make themselves available and under the protection of the authorities. This practice is tolerated by the Ethiopian authorities, aware of the risks that a foreigner is likely to run. Failure to report the accident to the nearest police station is considered a hit and run.
Outside the capital, the poverty of the reliable interurban telephone network makes it difficult to call for help in the event of a road accident.
• Outside major cities, night driving is prohibited in all cases due to the presence of unlit vehicles and livestock.
During the rainy season, from June to September, some roads are impassable.
Major roads are served by bus networks.
• Railway network
The railway line between Dire Daoua and Djibouti has been reopened to passenger traffic after several years of interruption due to degradation of infrastructure and equipment. Caution advises against using this means of transportation.
• Air Network
The plane is the fastest way to get around the country. Ethiopian Airlines serves the main cities of the country.
All drugs are prohibited. The penalties are heavy, whether it is the consumption or the sale of narcotics. The offenses of consumption or possession (very small quantities) of marijuana, hashish and other similar substances are systematically punished. The Penal Code punishes both the manufacture and possession as well as the use and trafficking of narcotics. The manufacture and trade of these products results in imprisonment of 5 to 10 years and a fine of 100,000 to 200,000 birrs (15,000 €). Possession, transport and exchange for commercial purposes entail a penalty of at least 5 years and a fine of up to 100,000 birrs (€ 7,500). The personal use of narcotics and the supply of these products to a third person are punishable by 7 years imprisonment and a fine of 50,000 birrs (€ 3,750).
• The carrying of firearms is prohibited.
• Homosexuality and pornography are prohibited and punishable by sentences ranging from one to fifteen years in prison.
• Crafts and antiques
It is allowed to carry with you handcrafted souvenirs. However, the customs authorities sometimes seize tourist objects, especially religious, but also of other nature. It is advisable to ask for an invoice when buying souvenirs and keep it with you. To export an Ethiopian antique, you must be in possession of a special authorization. The leading antique dealers in Addis Ababa assist travelers to get it.
• Threatened species
In 1989, Ethiopia ratified the Washington Convention on the Protection of Endangered Species and applied it with the utmost rigor to its border posts and airports, including in an international transit zone. The penal code provides for a prison sentence of up to ten years and a fine of between 10 and 30,000 birrs.
Embassy of France in Ethiopia
District Kabana PO Box 1464 Addis Ababa
Tel: +251 11 140 00 00
Diplomatic and consular representations in France
Paris | Embassy of Ethiopia
Consular functions provided by the Embassy
35, avenue Charles Floquet 75007 Paris
Address: Kabana District - Addis Ababa
Tel: +251 111 40 00 00 (24h / 24h)
In the event of malfunctions affecting the Embassy’s fixed line, the following GSM numbers may be attached:
+251 935 99 85 35
+251 935 99 85 36
+251 935 99 85 37
Fax: +251 111 40 00 20
Consular correspondent at Dire Dawa, Serge Carron: +251 933 01 90 09 or +88 21 65 02 61 383
Consular correspondents in Chachemene, Alex and Sandrine Kint: +251 911 88 76 80/81 or
Foreign nationals wishing to come to Ethiopia as part of their business activities may apply for a visa of this type from the Ethiopian embassy in which their country of residence is located. For the French, this possibility is offered in Paris. In all cases, the applicant must submit an official invitation from a correspondent based in Ethiopia.
The visa office of the Embassy of Ethiopia in France consults the Directorate General of Immigration in Addis Ababa. This consultation can last for weeks, and the favorable outcome is rarely guaranteed. Obtaining this type of visa from Paris is difficult.
In addition, it is impossible to obtain such a visa on arrival (airport), while this approach is open for a tourist visa. Most applicants for a Business visa opt for a tourist visa, granted without difficulty. However, a tourist visa does not allow concluding the contract in Ethiopia, at the most it authorizes the initialization of discussions and preliminary negotiations.
In Ethiopia, the only telecom operator, Ethio-Telecom, belongs to the state.
The quality of service is very average, the after-sales service is poor, both for the wired network and for the mobile network.
The same goes for the wired Internet (ADSL): stability of the link very random. However, the 3G network is good in general, at least in the capital. The 4G exists since March 2015, only in Addis Ababa.
• Economic service
Economic Services at embassies are external services of the Treasury Department. Their missions are economic and financial analysis and monitoring, on a macroeconomic basis, the animation of bilateral economic, financial and commercial relations with the countries of their competence, public support for the international development of companies.
Economic Service of Addis Ababa - Ethiopia
Address: Embassy of France
PO Box 2000
Tel. : +251 11 140 00 00
Fax: +251 11 140 00 30
• Business France
Business France is the national agency serving the internationalization of the French economy. The Business France office in Addis Ababa is responsible for Ethiopia, Djibouti and Sudan.
National public operator at the service of the internationalization of the French economy, Business France values and promotes the attractiveness of the offer of France, its companies and territories.
Contact: Mr. Amilcar Cabral (Business France Manager for Ethiopia, Djibouti and Sudan)
Address: Embassy of France in Ethiopia, Kebena District, Addis Ababa
Tel: +251 (0) 140 00 38/39 / +251 (0) 944 345 110
The Foreign Trade Advisers of France (CCEF) form an active network of more than 4,000 members in 146 countries, serving the French presence in the world. They use their experience to advise public authorities, sponsor companies, train young people in international business and promote the attractiveness of France for international investments.
Section President: Ethiopia Section - Didier LESPINAS - Tel: +241 01 74 11 84
Website: National Committee of Foreign Trade Advisers of France.
The French Development Agency (AFD) is the agency that implements the development policy defined by the French government.
Addis Ababa Agency
Rue Guinea Conakry, ENAT Building
PO BOX 16978 - Addis Ababa - Ethiopia
Tel: +251 11 5 15 47 14 / +251 11 5 52 65 64
Fax: +251 11 5 50 28 98
Ethiopia is a member of the African Development Bank (AfDB), whose website is available at: https://www.afdb.org/en/.
The Ethiopian page is available at: https://www.afdb.org/en/countries/east-africa/ethiopia/ .
Office of the IMF Resident Representative in Ethiopia: http://www.imf.org/external/country/eth/rr/index.htm .
Ethiopia and the IMF: http://www.imf.org/external/country/ETH/index.htm .