Decades of war have destroyed Eritrea’s economy and a large majority of the population lives in extremely difficult conditions. Agricultural production is not enough to cover the need for food even during good years; Regular drought means that there is a constant risk of starvation.
According to the UN, two out of three residents suffer from malnutrition, one of the highest numbers in the world. Many children are inhibited in the plant due to malnutrition. At the same time, Eritrea has made great strides: maternal mortality and mortality among children under five has declined sharply since independence in 1993.
- Countryaah Official Site: Official statistics for population in Eritrea, including population growth, density, and estimation in next 50 years.
Large investments in health care began after independence in the 1990s, but the development that started then stopped in some respects during the 2000s. Today, there is a shortage of both trained healthcare personnel as well as medicines and equipment. In 2009, for the first time, doctors graduated from an education in Eritrea.
The government’s resistance to interference from outside limits both the flow of aid and the world’s insight into what is happening in the country. The state, which has strong control over the economy, has set up a chain of stores that sell staples at subsidized prices.
Infectious diseases are common. The main causes of death, especially for infants, are diarrhea, tuberculosis and malaria. However, according to government data, the mortality rate in malaria has decreased significantly following investments in mosquito nets, better information and increased access to medicine. The HIV epidemic has also been successfully fought and the prevalence of HIV/AIDS is low for the region.
Gender discrimination is prohibited by law. Despite this, women have a lower position in society and poorer access to both the labor market and the judiciary. Rape is a criminal offense but is often reported to occur against women who do military service or civil service in various camps. Marital rape is only illegal if the couple is separated and do not intend to move back together. Female genital mutilation is also prohibited but is still practiced, especially in rural areas. State campaigns against female genital mutilation are being carried out and in the cities the intervention has decreased in scope.
Child prostitution, child pornography and sexual exploitation of children are criminal. Street children are rare. There is an 18-year limit for military service and for employment in the labor market. Childbirth is not prohibited and sex mutilation of girls occurs despite the ban.
Homosexuality is prohibited by law and can be punishable by up to three years in prison. It is described as difficult to live as a LGBT person in Eritrea and LGBT people are being persecuted.
FACTS – SOCIAL CONDITIONS
Infant Mortality: 31 per 1000 births (2018)
Percentage of HIV infected: 0.7 percent (2018)
Proportion of HIV infected among young women
0.3 percent (2018)
Proportion of HIV infected among young men: 0.2 percent (2018)
Proportion of population with access to clean water: 19.3 percent (2015)
Proportion of the population having access to toilets: 11.9 percent (2016)
Public expenditure on health care as a percentage of GDP: 3.3 percent (2015)
Public expenditure on health care per person: US $ 30 (2016)
Proportion of women in parliament: 22 percent (2018)
The football national team jumps off
Almost the entire Eritrean national football team disappears after participating in a tournament in Uganda. After a similar tournament in Tanzania in 2010, 13 national team players disappeared, many of whom eventually received political asylum in the United States.
Minister seeks asylum in Canada
Information Minister Ali Abdu, formerly close ally with President Isaias Afwerki, resigns and seeks asylum in Canada.
US faces sanctions on spy chief
The US faces personal sanctions against the head of the Eritrean Army intelligence service, Colonel Tewolde Habte Negash, who is held responsible for the government’s contacts with al-Shabaab. The sanctions mean that his potential accounts in the US are blocked and he is prohibited from doing business there. The UN Monitoring Group for Somalia and Eritrea reports that it has not found any evidence that Eritrea would have provided direct support to al-Shabaab in the past year. The group believes that this is due to both the pressures of the outside world and increased tension between the Eritrean government and the Islamist group’s leadership. On the other hand, the UN group believes it has evidence that Eritrea helped Ethiopian rebels enter their homeland via Somalia and sold weapons to Sudanese arms smugglers.
Ethiopia attacks rebels
Ethiopian troops attack a rebel base in southeastern Eritrea, about 15 kilometers from the border. This is the first time the Ethiopian military has crossed the border since the 1998-2000 war.