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the Benishangul-Gumuz Region
Et benishangul.svg
Flag of the Benishangul-Gumuz Region
Map of Ethiopia highlighting the Benishangul-Gumuz Region in red
Capital Asosa
Area 50.248 km²
Population 523.000
Population density 10,4 inhabits km² (2005)
ISO 3166-2 ET-BE

Benishangul-Gumuz, (Amharic:ቤንሻንጉል-ጉምዝ) also known as Benshangul/Gumaz, is one of the nine ethnic divisions (kililoch) of Ethiopia. Previously known as Region 6, the region's capital is Asosa. Following the adoption of the 1995 constitution, the Region was created from the westernmost portion of the Gojjam province (the part north of the Abay River), and the northwestern portion of the Welega Province (the part south of the Abay).

Due to its lack of transportation and communications infrastructure, this region faces major challenges to economic development. The Abay divides Benishangul-Gumuz, and there is no bridge crossing this major river in the region. To travel between the regional capital of Assosa and the capital of the Metekel Zone, one must pass through Walega and Gojjam in the neighboring regions of Oromia and Amhara, incurring a travel distance of 1,250 kilometers, versuses 180 had a bridge existed over the Abay. Conditions for travel within zones varies, but is often poor and subject to disruption by the rainy season.[1] On 28 July 2009, the Regional Rural Roads Authority reported that over the previous year almost 600 of the 800 kilometers of local all-weather roads had been upgraded at a cost of 11.5 million Birr, and an additional 447 kilometers of roads constructed.[2]



Based on the 2007 Census conducted by the Central Statistical Agency of Ethiopia (CSA), the Benishangul-Gumuz Region has a total population of 670,847, consisting of 340,378 men and 330,469 women; urban inhabitants number 97,965 or 14.6% of the population. With an estimated area of 49,289.46 square kilometers, this Region has an estimated density of 13.6 people per square kilometer. For the entire region 985,654 households were counted, which results in an average for the Region of 4.5 persons to a household, with urban households having on average 3.6 and rural households 4.7 people. The ethnic groups include the Berta (25.9%), Gumuz (21.11%), Amhara (21.25%), Oromo (13.32%), Shinasha (7.59%) and Mao (1.9%). Concerning religion, 45.4% of the population were Muslim. 33% were Orthodox Christians, 13.5% were Protestant, and 7.1% practiced traditional beliefs.[3]

In the previous census, conducted in 1994, the Region's population was reported to be 460,459 of which 233,013 were men and 227,446 were women. Rural population was 424,432, while the urban population was 36,027. The five largest ethnic groups in Benishangul-Gumuz were the Berta (27%), Gumuz (23%), Amhara (22%), Oromo (13%) and Shinasha (7%). Berta is spoken in the Sherkole woreda, Gumuz is spoken along the western boundary of Guba and Dangur woredas and in the Sirba Abbay woreda, and the Shinasha are a displaced people of Kaffa scattered across Welega and Gojjam. The Berta, Gumuz and Shinasha tend to have more in common with the people of neighbouring Sudan than with other Ethiopian peoples, while the Amhara and Tigrayans, who are known as Habesha (or "highlanders") are recent arrivals, who began to settle in the region during the Derg era.[4] According to the 1994 census 44.1% of inhabitants were Muslim, 34.8% Orthodox Christians, 13.1% followers of traditional religions and 5.8% Protestants.

According to the CSA, as of 2004, 27.23% of the total population had access to safe drinking water, of whom 22.35% were rural inhabitants and 58.53% were urban.[5] Values for other reported common indicators of the standard of living for Benishangul-Gumuz as of 2005 include the following: 19.1% of the inhabitants fall into the lowest wealth quintile; adult literacy for men is 47.4% and for women 23.2%; and the Regional infant mortality rate is 84 infant deaths per 1,000 live births, which is greater than the nationwide average of 77; at least half of these deaths occurred in the infants’ first month of life.[6]


The CSA of Ethiopia estimated in 2005 that farmers in Benishangul-Gumuz had a total of 307,820 head of cattle (representing 0.79% of Ethiopia's total cattle), 65,800 sheep (0.38%), 244,570 goats (1.88%), 1,770 mules (1.2%), 37,520 asses (1.5%), 732,270 poultry of all species (2.37%), and 166,130 beehives (3.82%).[7]

Over 60% of this Region is covered with forest, including bamboo, eucalyptus and rubber trees, incense and gum forests as well as the indengenous species. However, due to increased population which has led to the widespread destruction of the canopy, authorities announced a campaign on 8 June 2007 to plant 1.5 million seedlings over the next two months to replenish this resource.[8]

Presidents of the Executive Committee

  • Attom Mustapha (after 1991)
  • Abdu Mohammad Ali 1990s
  • Ateyb Ahmed 1990s - 1995
  • Yaregal Aysheshum (B-GPDUF) July 1995 - November 2008
  • Ahmed Nasir Ahmed (B-GPDUF) November 2008 - present

(This list is based on information from, John Young,[9] and the Ethiopian News Agency website[10])

See also


  1. ^ John Young ("Along Ethiopia's Western Frontier: Gambella and Benishangul in Transition", Journal of Modern African Studies, 37 (1999), p. 342
  2. ^ [ "State repairs 600-kms roads", Ethiopian News Agency 28 July 2009 (accessed 1 November 2009)
  3. ^ "Census 2007", first draft, Tables 1, 4, 5, 6.
  4. ^ According to an October 1996 situation report written by members of the United Nations Emergencies Unit for Ethiopia, a significant number of the Amhara settlers relocated from the former Wollo Province.
  5. ^ "Households by sources of drinking water, safe water sources" CSA Selected Basic Welfare Indicators (accessed 28 January 2009)
  6. ^ Macro International Inc. "2008. Ethiopia Atlas of Key Demographic and Health Indicators, 2005." (Calverton: Macro International, 2008), pp. 2, 3, 10 (accessed 28 January 2009)
  7. ^ "CSA 2005 National Statistics", Tables D.4 - D.7.
  8. ^ Ethiopia: Tackling environmental challenges with trees (IRIN)
  9. ^ "Along Ethiopia's Western Frontier", p. 334
  10. ^ "Benishangul Gumuz State Council appoints Ahmed Nasir as chief of state", Ethiopian News Agency, 4 November 2008

External links

Coordinates: 10°38′20″N 35°43′59″E / 10.6390138°N 35.7330322°E / 10.6390138; 35.7330322



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