The Afar

afar-mapAfar State in North East Ethiopia, covering 96,707 square kilometers, hosts a 1.5 million of Afar people, 78 per cent of which is involved in nomadic pastoralism. Many of these pastoralists’ communities are deeply mired in poverty and the recent nationwide economic growth of approximately 10 per cent left Afar State largely untouched. Statistics released by the Demographic Health Survey show that 67 per cent of the Afar finds itself in the lowest wealth quintile. The widespread poverty is also illustrated by a high illiteracy rate (84 per cent against 59 per cent nationwide), the lowest vaccination rates in the country (38 per cent with no vaccination against 24 per cent national), while AIDS prevalence is higher than the national average (2.8 per cent against 1.4 per cent national). The low level of education also reduces possibilities for employment in other sectors.