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Eritrea Economy Profile 2016

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Economy - overviewSince formal independence from Ethiopia in 1993, Eritrea has faced many economic problems, including lack of financial resources and chronic drought, which have been exacerbated by restrictive economic policies. Eritrea has a command economy under the control of the sole political party, the People's Front for Democracy and Justice. Like the economies of many African nations, a large share of the population - nearly 80% in Eritrea - is engaged in subsistence agriculture, but the sector only produces a small share of the country's total output.

Since the conclusion of the Ethiopia-Eritrea war in 2000, the government has expanded use of military and party-owned businesses to complete President ISAIAS's development agenda. The government has strictly controlled the use of foreign currency by limiting access and availability; new regulations in 2013 aimed at relaxing currency controls have had little economic effect. Few large private enterprises exist in Eritrea and most operate in conjunction with government partners, including a number of large international mining ventures, which began production in 2013. In late 2015, the government of Eritrea introduced a new currency, retaining the name nakfa, and restricted the amount of hard currency individuals could withdraw from banks per month. The changeover has resulted in exchange fluctuations and the scarcity of hard currency available in the market.

While reliable statistics on food security are difficult to obtain, erratic rainfall and the percentage of the labor force tied up in national service continue to interfere with agricultural production and economic development. Eritrea's harvests generally cannot meet the food needs of the country without supplemental grain purchases. Copper, potash, and gold production are likely to drive economic growth and government revenue over the next few years, but military spending will continue to compete with development and investment plans. Eritrea's economic future will depend on market reform, international sanctions, global food prices, and success at addressing social problems such as refugee emigration.
GDP (purchasing power parity)$8.713 billion (2015 est.)
$8.316 billion (2014 est.)
$7.921 billion (2013 est.)
note: data are in 2015 US dollars
GDP (official exchange rate)$4.666 billion (2015 est.)
GDP - real growth rate4.8% (2015 est.)
5% (2014 est.)
3.1% (2013 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$1,300 (2015 est.)
$1,300 (2014 est.)
$1,300 (2013 est.)
note: data are in 2015 US dollars; estimates for the size of the Eritrean population vary widely from 3 to 6 million
Gross national saving1.3% of GDP (2015 est.)
4% of GDP (2014 est.)
3.6% of GDP (2013 est.)
GDP - composition, by end usehousehold consumption: 76.9%
government consumption: 21.1%
investment in fixed capital: 13.6%
investment in inventories: -0.1%
exports of goods and services: 7.6%
imports of goods and services: -19.1% (2015 est.)
GDP - composition by sectoragriculture: 12.3%
industry: 29.4%
services: 58.3% (2015 est.)
Population below poverty line50% (2004 est.)
Labor force3.263 million (2015 est.)
Labor force - by occupationagriculture: 80%
industry and services: 20% (2004 est.)
Unemployment rate8.6% (2013 est.)
10% (2012 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage sharelowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Budgetrevenues: $1.443 billion
expenditures: $2.016 billion (2015 est.)
Taxes and other revenues33.9% of GDP (2015 est.)
Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)-13.4% of GDP (2015 est.)
Public debt122.6% of GDP (2015 est.)
125.3% of GDP (2014 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices)9% (2015 est.)
10% (2014 est.)
Commercial bank prime lending rateNA%
Stock of narrow money$2.516 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$2.129 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
Stock of broad money$5.523 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$4.494 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
Stock of domestic credit$4.974 billion (31 December 2015 est.)
$4.052 billion (31 December 2014 est.)
Agriculture - productssorghum, lentils, vegetables, corn, cotton, tobacco, sisal; livestock, goats; fish
Industriesfood processing, beverages, clothing and textiles, light manufacturing, salt, cement
Industrial production growth rate5% (2015 est.)
Current Account Balance-$102 million (2015 est.)
$23 million (2014 est.)
Exports$510.9 million (2015 est.)
$504.9 million (2014 est.)
Exports - commoditiesgold and other minerals, livestock, sorghum, textiles, food, small industry manufactures
Imports$1.157 billion (2015 est.)
$1.15 billion (2014 est.)
Imports - commoditiesmachinery, petroleum products, food, manufactured goods
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold$247.8 million (31 December 2015 est.)
$218.9 million (31 December 2014 est.)
Debt - external$955.6 million (31 December 2014 est.)
$945.2 million (31 December 2013 est.)
Exchange ratesnakfa (ERN) per US dollar -
15.38 (2015 est.)
15.375 (2014 est.)
15.375 (2013 est.)
15.375 (2012 est.)
15.375 (2011 est.)
Fiscal yearcalendar year

Source: CIA World Factbook
This page was last updated on October 8, 2016

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