Eritrea Energy and Environment Facts

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 marble.

  • COUNTRYAAH: 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 Danakilsänkan.

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.

  • Abbreviationfinder: A popular acronym site in the world covering abbreviation for each country. For example, ER stands for Eritrea. Visit itypeusa for more information about Eritrea.

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.


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 legally.


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 refugees.


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.

Eritrea Energy and Environment Facts

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