Natural resources, energy and environment
Eritrea has many natural resources, but its
extraction is limited. The country is rich in gold and
other valuable minerals. Off the Red Sea coast, there is
assumed to be plenty of oil and natural gas. The energy
needs are mainly covered by wood and other natural
materials. The electricity grid is poorly developed;
electricity is mainly produced by imported oil.
The extraction of gold, copper and other metals has
occurred far back in history, but war and political
instability have kept operations largely down for
decades. Now the mining industry has come back to life.
Only in the area around Asmara there are at least 15
known gold mines. In addition, there are assets of
copper, iron, zinc, pot ash, barite, feldspar and
Major exports by Eritrea with a full list of the top products exported by the country. Includes trade value in U.S. dollars and the percentage for each product category.
By law, the Eritrean state is entitled to up to 40
percent of the mining revenue. In 2011, the Canadian
mining company Nevsun became one of a number of foreign
companies with commercial production of gold and copper.
In 2014, a Chinese company initiated gold mining, and a
Canadian company mines pot ash in a mining quarry in
Households account for more than 80 percent of
energy consumption. They mainly use firewood and animal
waste. Oil and oil products are imported. Electricity is
mainly produced in oil-fired thermal power plants. In
2009, a wind turbine was inaugurated, which is reported
to provide the city of Assab with some electricity.
Investments in solar energy have also been made mainly
in the lowlands in the west. However, the electricity
shortage is still large and around 40 percent of
households lack electricity.
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Serious environmental problems exist as a result of a
number of related phenomena: rapid forest felling,
desertification, overgrazing and soil erosion. Large
land areas are difficult to use because of the many land
mines that remain after the war.
FACTS - ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT
Energy use per person
159 kilo oil equivalents (2011)
Electricity consumption per person
60 kWh, kWh (2011)
Carbon dioxide emissions in total
697,000 tonnes (2014)
Carbon dioxide emissions per inhabitant
0.1 ton (2011)
The share of energy from renewable sources
79.8 percent (2015)
Banknotes are replaced
The central bank announces that all banknotes of the Eritrean currency nakfa
should be exchanged. The measure is said to aim, among other things, to stop the
thriving black market, where a US dollar gives three to four times more nakfa
than at the official rate. In connection with the change to new banknotes, those
who exchange foreign currency must be able to prove that they have obtained it
Football players jump off
Ten footballers refuse to return home after a World Cup qualifying match in
Botswana, where they are granted asylum after a few weeks.
New free trade agreement
Eritrea and 25 other countries agree on a new free trade agreement, the
Tripartite Free Trade Area, which covers large parts of Africa from Egypt in the
north to South Africa in the south. However, before the agreement can come into
force, negotiations are required and the agreement is approved by the
parliaments of the countries.
The UN criticizes the government
The UN Commission investigating conditions in Eritrea states that the
government may be guilty of crimes against humanity due to the death toll at the
border by residents trying to leave the country. The Commission notes that
hundreds of thousands of people have fled Eritrea since 2002, including many
high-ranking government and military officials. The government dismisses the UN
report as "gement slander".
"Serious violations of human rights"
The UN Commission, which is investigating the situation in Eritrea, says that
the government is using the permanent crisis in relations with Ethiopia as a
sweeping reason for the merciless oppression of the opposition and constant
grave human rights violations. In a preliminary report, President of the
Tri-Commission Commission Michael Smith describes how the government applies
extrajudicial executions, abductions and isolation of arrested persons to
frighten the population into silence. UN investigators have not been allowed to
visit Eritrea but based their report on interviews with over 500 Eritrean
Journalists free after six years in custody
Six journalists are released after being jailed for six years without
prosecution or sentence, Reporters Without Borders states . The journalists
worked for the state Radio Bana and were part of a group of around 50 employees
who were arrested at the same time in February 2009. All have now been released.