About Eritrea

The government of Eritrea continues to show its strong support to the development of mining as an important sector of its national economy.

Population 5.8 million (2010 estimate)
Capital Asmara
Currency Nakfa (Pegged to the USD)
Time Zone GMT + 3
Independence 1993
Politics Single party state. No corruption. UN arms embargo / sanctions have no impact on Bisha or Nevsun
Culture 50% Islamic, 50% Christian
Languages Tigrinya, Tigre, Arabic and English. English is rapidly becoming the language of business and education.

Geography

Eritrea is located in northeast Africa, between Sudan and Ethiopia. The country covers 121,000 km2 (47,000 miles2), about the size of New York state. Eritrea enjoys 1,150 km of Red Sea coastline, one of the world's busiest shipping lanes. Eritrea has major modern ports at Massawa and Assab with facilities for import and export of a wide range of products.

To read more on Eritrea's Geography, please see the 2011 Asmara Geocongress Journal here.

Infrastructure

Eritrea enjoys excellent infrastructure as related to the Bisha mine.

Port Large active port at Massawa on Red Sea; one of the world's busiest shipping lanes
Roads Paved road from Massawa through Asmara and then to within 50 km of site then flat hard pan to site
Power Onsite power generation; diesel trucked in from Massawa
Water Robust permitted groundwater sources
Air Service Regular commercial jet service from Frankfurt (Lufthansa), Cairo (Air Egypt), Qatar and other regional centers. Bisha site has government constructed airstrip.

Recent History

In 1900, Asmara became the capital of the Italian colony of Eritrea. In the late 1930s Italy invested heavily in Eritrea building infrastructure, factories and buildings; Asmara was called "Piccola Roma" (Little Rome). Today, many major buildings are of Italian origin, and shops still have Italian names (Bar Vittoria, Pasticceria Moderna, Casa del Formaggio, Ferramenta, etc.).

In 1941, British forces drove out the Italians and after World War II administered the territory under a UN mandate. In the year 1951, Eritrea was federated with Ethiopia as per UN resolution 390(A) that was adopted in December 1950. Ethiopia annexed Eritrea militarily in 1962.

Eritrea gained independence in 1993, after fighting for its freedom for over 30 years.

Economy

Eritrea is largely an agriculture based economy and one of the poorest nations in the world. The country's economy predominantly consists of:

Industry Food processing, beverages, clothing and textiles.
Agriculture Sorghum, lentils, vegetables, corn, livestock, fish.
Exports Livestock, sorghum, textiles, food, small manufactures.

People and Customs

The people are known for their friendly nature and are proud about their Eritrean heritage. Christian and Muslim are the prevalent religions, split relatively evenly across the society and in government.

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