Oromia Region

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Oromia Region

Flag of Oromia Region
Official seal of Oromia Region
Map of Ethiopia showing Oromia Region
Map of Ethiopia showing Oromia Region
Official languageOromo
CapitalAddis Ababa[1][2][3]
 • PresidentShimelis Abdisa (Oromo Democratic Party)
 • Total286,612 km2 (110,662 sq mi)
Area rank1st
 • Total35,000,000[4]
Time zoneEAT
ISO 3166 codeET-OR
HDI (2017)0.448[5]
low · 8th

The Oromia Region (Oromo: Oromiyaa) is a regional state in Ethiopia and the homeland of the Oromo people. The capital city of the region of Oromia is Addis Ababa.[6][7][8] Currently the state consists of 21 administrative zones.[9][10]Towns in the region include Adama, Ambo, Asella, Badessa, Bale Robe, Bedele, Bishoftu, Begi, Bule Hora, Burayu, Chiro, Dembidolo, Fiche, Gimbi, Goba, Haramaya, Holeta, Jimma, Metu, Negele Arsi, Nekemte, Sebeta, Shashamane and Waliso, among many others. It is bordered by the Somali Region to the east; the Amhara Region, the Afar Region and the Benishangul-Gumuz Region to the north; Dire Dawa to the northeast; the South Sudanese state of Upper Nile, Gambela Region, Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples' Region and Sidama Region to the west; the Eastern Province of Kenya to the south; as well as Addis Ababa as an enclave surrounded by Special Zone in its center and the Harari Region as an enclave surrounded by East Hararghe in its east.

The 2011 census reported the population of Oromia as 35,000,000; this makes it the largest regional state in population. It is also the largest regional state covering 286,612 square kilometers.[11] Oromia is the world's forty-second most populous subnational entity, and the most populous subnational entity in all of Africa.


The Oromo remained independent until the last decade of the 19th century and early 20th century where century Oromos lost their sovereignty and were colonised during the last quarter of the 19th century by Abyssinia has led to Oromo conflict and Ethiopian civil war. Oppression was harsh under brutal the imperial rule of HaileSelassie, of the Amhara ethnic group. where Oromo language was banned and speakers were privately and publicly mocked and help Amhara culture and language dominated over culture of the Oromo people[12][13][14]Under Haile Selassie Regime Oromo was banned from education, and use in administration[15][16][17]The Amhara culture dominated throughout the eras of military and monarchic rule. Both the Haile Selassie and the Derg government relocated numerous Amharas into southern Ethiopia include present day of oromia region where they served in government administration, courts, church and even in school, where Oromo texts were eliminated and replaced by Amharic.[18][19][20] The Abyssinian elites perceived the Oromo identity and languages as opposing the expansion of Ethiopian national identity.[21] In 2019, the Irreecha festival was celebrated in Addis Ababa after 150 years of being banned.[22][23]The Arsi Oromo demonstrated fierce resistance against the Abyssinian conquest of 1881-6, when Menelik II conducted several unsuccessful invasion campaigns against their territory.[24] They put up stiff opposition against an enemy equipped with modern European firearms, until they were defeated in 1886.[24] In the 1940s the Arsi Oromo with the people of Bale province joined the Harari Kulub movement an affiliate of the Somali Youth League that peacefully opposed Amhara Christian domination of Hararghe. The Ethiopian government brutally suppressed the ethno-religious movement using violence.[25][26][27] During the 1970s the Arsi faced persecution by the Ethiopian government thus formed alliances with Somalia.[28]

In 1967, the imperial regime of Haile Selassie I outlawed the Mecha and Tulama Self-Help Association (MTSHA), an Oromo social movement, and conducted mass arrests and executions of its members. The group's leader, Colonel General Tadesse Birru, who was a prominent military officer, was among those arrested.[29] The actions by the regime sparked outrage among the Oromo community, ultimately leading to the formation of the Oromo Liberation Front in 1973.[30]

In the early 1990s, the Ethiopian Democratic People's Republic began to lose its control over Ethiopia. The OLF failed to maintain strong alliances with the other two rebel groups at the time; the Eritrean People's Liberation Front (EPLF) and the Tigrayan People's Liberation Front (TPLF).[31] In 1990, the TPLF created an umbrella organization for several rebel groups in Ethiopia, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF). The EPRDF's Oromo subordinate, the Oromo People's Democratic Organization (OPDO) was seen as an attempted replacement for the OLF.[32]

On 28 May 1991, the EPRDF seized power and established a transitional government. The EPRDF and the OLF pledged to work together in the new government; however, they were largely unable to cooperate, as the OLF saw the OPDO as an EPRDF ploy to limit their influence.[33][34] In 1992, the OLF announced that it was withdrawing from the transitional government because of "harassment and [the]assassinations of its members". In response, the EPRDF sent soldiers to destroy OLA camps.[32] Despite initial victories against the EPRDF, the OLF were eventually overwhelmed by the EPRDF's superior numbers and weaponry, forcing OLA soldiers to use guerrilla warfare instead of traditional tactics.[35] In the late 1990s, most of the OLF's leaders had escaped Ethiopia, and the land originally administered by the OLF had been seized by the Ethiopian government, now led by the EPRDF.[36]

Prior to the establishment of present-day Addis Ababa, the area was inhabited by various Oromo clans.[37]In 2000, the oromia's capital was moved from Addis Ababa to Adama[38] After sparking considerable controversy and protests among Oromo students, On June 10, 2005, the Oromo Peoples' Democratic Organization (OPDO), part of the ruling EPRDF coalition, officially announced plans to move the regional capital back to Addis Ababa.[39] Protest first sparked April 25 2014 against Addis Ababa Master Plan[40] then resumed on 12 September 2015 and continuing into 2016, protests broke out across Ethiopia and centered around the Oromia Region. Dozens of protesters were killed in the first days of the protests and internet service was cut in many parts of the region.[41]


Oromia includes the former Arsi Province along with portions of the former Bale, Hararghe, Illubabor, Kaffa, Shewa and Sidamo provinces.[citation needed] Oromia shares a boundary with almost every region of Ethiopia except for the Tigray Region. This boundary has been disputed with Oromia's neighbors in a number of cases, most notably between Oromia and the Somali Region. One attempt to resolve the dispute between the two regions was the October 2004 referendum held in about 420 kebeles in 12 districts across five zones of the Somali Region. According to the official results of the referendum, about 80% of the disputed areas have fallen under Oromia administration, though there were allegations of voting irregularities in many of them.[42] The results led over the following weeks to minorities in these kebeles being pressured to leave. In Oromiya, estimates based on figures given by local district and kebele authorities suggest that 21,520 people have been displaced in border districts, namely Mieso, Doba, and Erer in the West and East Hararghe Zones. Federal authorities believe that this number may be overstated by as much as 11,000. In Doba, the Ministry of Federal Affairs put the number of IDPs at 6,000. There are also more than 2,500 displaced persons in Mieso.[43] In addition, there were reports of people being displaced in the border area of Moyale and Borena zones due to this conflict.[44]

Oromia Cultural Center Addis Ababa


Based on the 2007 census conducted by the Central Statistical Agency of Ethiopia (CSA), Oromia Region has a total population of 13,993,933, consisting of 6,595,006 men and 6,398,927 women [these numbers are inconsistent with the historical population table below]; urban inhabitants number 3,370,040 or 11.3% of the population. With an estimated area of 353,006.81 square kilometers, this region has an estimated population density of 76.93 people per square kilometer. For the entire region 5,590,530 households were counted, which results in an average for the region of 4.8 persons to a household, with urban households having on average 3.8 and rural households 5.0 people. The projected population for 2017 was 32,815,995.[4]

In the previous census, conducted in 1994, the region's population was reported to be 17,088,136; urban inhabitants number 621,210 or 14% of the population.

According to the CSA, as of 2004, 32% of the population had access to safe drinking water, of whom 23.7% were rural inhabitants and 91.03% were urban.[45] Values for other reported common indicators of the standard of living for Oromia as of 2005 include the following: 19.9% of the inhabitants fall into the lowest wealth quintile; adult literacy for men is 61.5% and for women 29.5%; and the regional infant mortality rate is 76 infant deaths per 1,000 live births, which is about the same as the nationwide average of 77; at least half of these deaths occurred in the infants' first month of life.[46]

Historical population
1994 18,732,525—    
2007 26,993,933+44.1%
2015 33,692,000+24.8%

Ethnic groups[edit]

Ethnic group1994 Census2007 Census
other ethnic groups-%5%


Religion in entire region[edit]

Religion1994 Census2007 Census[48]
Orthodox Christians37%38.4%
Protestant Christians8.6%9.7%
other religious groups1.6%1%

Religion in urban areas[edit]

Religion1994 Census2019 Census[48]
Orthodox Christians50.8%48.2%
Protestant Christians8.6%9.7%
other religious groups1.5%


Oromo,is written with Latin characters known as Qubee. Oromo serves as one of the official working language of Ethiopia[49] and is also the working language of several of the states within the Ethiopian federal system including Oromia,[50] Harari and Dire Dawa regional states and of the Oromia Zone in the Amhara Region. It is a language of primary education in Oromia, Harari, Dire Dawa, Benishangul-Gumuz and Addis Ababa and of the Oromia Zone in the Amhara Region. It is used as an internet language for federal websites along with Tigrinya.[51][52]

more than 33.8% Oromo speakers in Ethiopia and considered is the most widely spoken language in Ethiopia.[50] It is also the most widely spoken Cushitic language and the fourth-most widely spoken language of Africa, after Arabic, Hausa and Swahili.[53] Forms of Oromo are spoken as a first language by more than 35 million Oromo people in Ethiopia and by an additional half-million in parts of northern and eastern Kenya.[54] It is also spoken by smaller numbers of emigrants in other African countries such as South Africa, Libya, Egypt and Sudan. Besides first language speakers, a number of members of other ethnicities who are in contact with the Oromo speak it as a second language. See, for example, Harari, Omotic-speaking Bambassi and the Nilo-Saharan-speaking Kwama in northwestern, eastern and south Oromia.[55]


The road to Lega Dembi gold mine.

Oromia is a major contributor to Ethiopia's main exports - gold, coffee, khat and cattle. Lega Dembi in Guji Zone, owned by Midroc has exported more than 5000 kilograms of gold[56] followed by Tulu Kapi gold deposit in West Welega Zone.[57] Awoday in East Hararghe Zone is the biggest market of khat exporting to Djibouti and Somalia.[58] Oromia has also abundant livestock than any regions in Ethiopia including camels. It is also the largest producer of cereals and coffee.

The CSA reported that, from 2004 to 2005, 115,083 tons of coffee were produced in Oromia, based on inspection records from the Ethiopian Coffee and Tea Authority. This represents 50.7% of the total production in Ethiopia. Farmers in the Region had an estimated total of 17,214,540 cattle (representing 44.4% of Ethiopia's total cattle), 6,905,370 sheep (39.6), 4,849,060 goats (37.4%), 959,710 horses (63.25%), 63,460 mules (43.1%), 278,440 asses (11.1%), 139,830 camels (30.6%), 11,637,070 poultry of all species (37.7%), and 2,513,790 beehives (57.73%).[59]

According to a March 2003 World Bank publication, the average rural household has 1.14 hectares of land compared to the national average of 1.01 hectares. 24% of the population work in non-farm related jobs compared to the national average of 25%.[60]

Educational institutions[edit]

  • Adama University
  • Oromia state University[61]
  • Oda Bultum University [62]
  • Haramaya University
  • Jimma University
  • Jimma Teachers College
  • Arsi University
  • Rift Valley University College
  • Ambo university
  • Madda Walabu University
  • Mattu University[63]
  • Wollega University
  • Dandii Boruu University College
  • Dambi Dollo University[64]
  • New Generation University College

List of presidents of Oromia Region[edit]

1992 to 1995Hassen AliOPDO
1995 to 24 July 2001Kuma DemeksaOPDO
July 2001 to October 2001Position vacant
28 October 2001 to 6 October 2005Junedin SadoOPDO
6 October 2005 to September 2010Abadula GemedaOPDO
September 2010 to 17 February 2014Alemayehu AtomsaOPDO
27 March 2014 to 23 October 2016Muktar KedirOPDO
23 October 2016 to 18 April 2019Lemma MegersaOPDO/ODP
18 April 2019 to presentShimelis AbdisaODP/PP

Administrative zones[edit]

The Oromia is subdivided into 21 administrative zones:[9][10]


  • Arsi
  • West Arsi
  • Bale
  • East Bale
  • Borena Yabelo


  • Guji=Nagele Guji
  • West Guji=Bule Hora


  • East Hararghe
  • West Hararghe


  • Buno Bedele
  • Illubabor
  • Jimma


  • East Shewa
  • North Shewa
  • South West Shewa
  • West Shewa
  • Oromia-Finfinne (special zone)


  • East Welega
  • Horo Gudru Welega
  • Kelem Welega
  • West Welega

See also[edit]

  • Black Gold, film
  • Ethiopian Ministry of Culture and Tourism
  • List of districts in the Oromia Region
  • Oromia Zone


  1. ^ ETHIOPIA IN BRIEF, n.d.
  2. ^ spelled Finfine in official web site of Oromia Supreme Court (http://www.oromiyaa.gov.et/web/supreme-court)
  3. ^ "FDRE States: Basic Information, Oromia". The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. Archived from the original on 17 June 2008. Retrieved 29 May 2008.
  4. ^ a b Population Projection of Ethiopia for All Regions At Wereda Level from 2014 – 2018. Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia Central Statistical Agency. Archived from the original on 6 June 2018. Retrieved 4 June 2018.
  5. ^ "Sub-national HDI - Area Database - Global Data Lab". hdi.globaldatalab.org. Retrieved 13 September 2018.
  6. ^ ETHIOPIA IN BRIEF, n.d.
  7. ^ spelled Finfine in official web site of Oromia Supreme Court (http://www.oromiyaa.gov.et/web/supreme-court)
  8. ^ "The State of Oromia". Archived from the original on 17 June 2008.
  9. ^ a b "Oromia zone". oromiyaa.gov.et.
  10. ^ a b "sirni hundeeffama Godina Baalee Bahaa". obnoromia.com (in Oromo).
  11. ^ Research on Covid-19 Responses and its Impact on Minority and Indigenous Communities in Ethiopia (PDF), September 2020
  12. ^ Oromo, retrieved 12 February 2015
  13. ^ oromo, March 2003
  14. ^ Facts about the Oromo of East Africa, 26 May 1995
  15. ^ Oromo children's books keep once-banned Ethiopian language alive, retrieved 14 February 2016
  16. ^ Language & Culture (PDF)
  17. ^ ETHIOPIANS: AMHARA AND OROMO, January 2017
  19. ^ Country Information Report ethiopia, 12 August 2020
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  21. ^ Bulcha, Mekuria (1997). "The Politics of Linguistic Homogenization in Ethiopia and the Conflict over the Status of 'Afaan Oromoo'". African Affairs. OUP. 96 (384): 325–352. doi:10.1093/oxfordjournals.afraf.a007852. JSTOR 723182. Retrieved 31 March 2021.
  22. ^ "In Pictures: Ethiopia's Oromos celebrate Irreecha festival". Aljazeera. 6 October 2019. Retrieved 21 October 2019.
  23. ^ Ethiopia's Oromos mark thanksgiving festival in Addis Ababa for the first time in 150 years, retrieved 8 October 2019
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  25. ^ Religious Freedom and Religious Pluralism in Africa: Prospects and Limitations. AFRICAN SUN MeDIA. 22 May 2016. p. 443. ISBN 9781928357032.
  26. ^ The Role of Civil Society in Africa's Quest for Democratization. Springer. 8 December 2016. p. 134. ISBN 9783319183831.
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  33. ^ 30 YEARS OF WAR AND FAMINE IN ETHIOPIA (PDF), September 1991
  34. ^ Ethiopia: Accountability past and present: Human rights in transition, 1 April 1995
  35. ^ Refugees, United Nations High Commissioner for. "Refworld | Chronology for Oromo in Ethiopia". Refworld.
  36. ^ "Genocide against the Oromo people of Ethiopia?". Archived from the original on 27 July 2011. Retrieved 3 June 2017.
  37. ^ Endalew Djirata Fayisa. "Foundation of Addis Ababa and the Emergence of Safars".
  38. ^ Mekonnen, Yohannes (n.d.), Ethiopia the Land Its People History and Culture, ISBN 9781482311174
  39. ^ "Chief Administrator of Oromia says decision to move capital city based on study". Walta Information Center. 11 June 2005. Archived from the original on 13 June 2005. Retrieved 25 February 2006.
  40. ^ Ethiopia: Brutal Crackdown on Protests, retrieved 5 May 2014
  41. ^ Such a Brutal Crackdown Killings and Arrests in Response to Ethiopia's Oromo Protests, 15 June 2016
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  43. ^ "Regional Overview: Oromia Region", Focus on Ethiopia (April 2005), p. 5 (accessed 11 February 2009)
  44. ^ "Regional Update: Oromiya", Focus on Ethiopia Archived 5 March 2009 at the Wayback Machine (May 2005), p. 5 (accessed 11 February 2009)
  45. ^ "Households by sources of drinking water, safe water sources" (PDF). CSA Selected Basic Welfare Indicators. Archived from the original (PDF) on 18 November 2008. Retrieved 28 January 2009.
  46. ^ Macro International Inc. Ethiopia Atlas of Key Demographic and Health Indicators, 2005 (PDF). Calverton: Macro International, 2008. 2008. pp. 2, 3, 10. Retrieved 28 January 2009.
  47. ^ Oromia Region population statistics
  48. ^ a b Census 2007 Tables: Oromia Region Archived 13 November 2011 at the Wayback Machine, Table 3.3.
  49. ^ Shaban, Abdurahman. "One to five: Ethiopia gets four new federal working languages". Africa News.
  50. ^ a b "The world factbook". cia.gov.
  51. ^ http://www.mcit.gov.et/. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  52. ^ "ቤት | FMOH". www.moh.gov.et.
  53. ^ "Children's books breathe new life into Oromo language". bbc.co.uk.
  54. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 25 August 2016. Retrieved 22 August 2016.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  55. ^ Ethnologue (19 February 1999). "Languages of Ethiopia". Ethnologue. Retrieved 10 August 2013.
  56. ^ "Ethiopian Gold Export Soars".
  57. ^ gold mining companies in ethiopia, n.d.
  58. ^ "Khat is big business in Ethiopia".
  59. ^ "CSA 2005 National Statistics – Tables D.4 – D.7" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 18 November 2008.
  60. ^ Klaus Deininger; et al. "Tenure Security and Land Related Investment, WP-2991". Archived from the original on 10 March 2007. Retrieved 23 March 2006.
  61. ^ Oromia state university website
  62. ^ Oda Bultum University Website
  63. ^ Mettu University website
  64. ^ Dambi Dollo University Website

External links[edit]

  • Map of Oromia Region at UN-OCHA (PDF file)
  • FDRE States: Basic Information – Oromia


  • Oromia Culture and Tourism Bureau
  • Oromia President office
  • Sheger Times
  • Oromia TV

Coordinates: 7°59′21″N 39°22′52″E / 7.9890616°N 39.3811798°E / 7.9890616; 39.3811798