Gambela Region

Gambela Region

Infobox Regions of Ethiopia
native_name = ትግራይ ክልል
Gambela Kilil
conventional_long_name = the Gambella Region
common_name = The Gambela Region

demonym = Gambellan

map_caption = Map of Ethiopia highlighting the Gambela reigon
capital = Gambela
official_languages = Amharic
regional_languages/dialects = none

Gambela is one of the nine ethnic divisions ("kililoch") of Ethiopia. Previously known as Region 12, its capital is Gambela. Lying between the Baro and Akobo Rivers, the western part of Gambela includes the Baro salient.

Located in Gambela is Gambela National Park, which covers approximately 5061 square kilometers or 19.6% of the Region's territory.


Based on figures from the Central Statistical Agency of Ethiopia (CSA) published in 2005, Gambela has an estimated total population of 247,000, consisting of 125,999 men and 121,001 women. Approximately 200,000 or 81% of the population are estimated to be rural inhabitants, while 47,000 or 19% are urban. With an estimated area of 25,802.01 square kilometers, this region has an estimated density of 9.57 people per square kilometer. [ [ CSA 2005 National Statistics] , Tables B.3 and B.4.]

These estimates are based on the 1994 census, in which the region's population was reported to be 181,862, of whom 92,090 were men and 88,960 women. 84.9% of the population (153,438) lived in rural areas.

The main ethnicities of the region are the Nuer (40%), the Anuak (27%), Amhara (8%), Oromo (6%), Mezhenger (5.8%), Kefficho (4.1%), Mocha (2%), Tigrean (1.6%) and other ethnic groups predominantly from southern Ethiopia 5.5%. Amharic is the working language of the region. 44% of the region's population are Protestant, 24.1% Orthodox Christian, 10.3% practice traditional religions, 5.1% Muslim, 3.2% Catholic, and others constitute 12.7%.

Gambela is the historic home of the indigenous Anuak. In recent years there has been significant violence between the Anuak and more recently arrived Ethiopians, who are generally referred to as "Highlanders".


The CSA reported that for 2004-2005 3,734 tons of coffee were produced in Gambela, based on inspection records from the Ethiopian Coffee and Tea authority. This represents 1.64% of the total production in Ethiopia. The CSA could not provide livestock estimates for Gambela. [CSA 2005 National Statistics, Table D.2.] In a 26 May 2000 report, the FAO observed that at the time Trypanosomiasis was a major problem in cattle for this Region. [ [ "Special Report FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission to Ethiopia"] , section 4.5. (Accessed 21 June 2006)] There was an epidemic of this disease in the area during 1970. [ [ "Local History in Ethiopia"] (pdf) The Nordic Africa Institute website (accessed 29 January 2008)]

Gambela is believed to have major oil resources. In June 2003, the Ethiopian government signed an agreement with Petronas of Malaysia for the joint exploration and development of oil resources in Gambella region. Petronas then awarded a contract for seismic data acquisition to China’s Zhongyuan Petroleum Exploration Bureau (ZPEB) October of that year. [ [ "Seismic Survey Project in Ethiopia Put into Operation"] (ZPEB press release)]

The Water and Mines Resources Development Bureau of Gambela announced that it was initiating a program that would drill 13 new manually-operated wells, 54 new deep water wells, and develop four springs. This would provide access to drinking water for 26,000 inhabitants, increasing coverage for the state to 42 percent from the existing 27 percent, at a cost of 6 million Birr. [ [ " Bureau launches 71 water projects in Gambella State"] (Walta Information Center)]

Presidents of the Executive Committee

*Okello Ouman 1992 - 1997
*Okello Gnigelo (GPDF) August 1997 - 2003
*Okello Akway 2003 - 2004
*Keat Tuach Bithow (acting) January 2004 - 2005
*Umed Ubong (GPDM) 29 September 2005 - Present

(This list is based on information from [] .)


Like other Regions in Ethiopia, Gambela is subdivided into administrative zones (and one special woreda, which is not in a zone). However, these zones have not been given proper names.

* Administrative Zone 1
* Administrative Zone 2
* Administrative Zone 3
* Administrative Zone 4

Woredas in the Gambela Region

This is a list of the 8 woredas, or districts, in the Gambela Region of Ethiopia, compiled from material on the CSA website. [The DPPA map of the Gambela Region shows a different set of woredas for Zone 2 CSA list, or on the UN-OCHA


*Godere special woreda


External links

* [ FDRE States: Basic Information - Gambella]
* [ "Violence in Gambella: An Overview"] on the site of Oxfam America.
* [ Map of Gambela Region at UN-OCHA] (PDF file)
* [ Map of the Gambela Region at the Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Agency (DPPA) of Ethiopia] (PDF file)

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