Industrial Development in Eritrea in Post-Liberation Era: A Study

9 Pages Posted: 6 Aug 2016

See all articles by Venkata Madhusudan Rao Datrika

Venkata Madhusudan Rao Datrika

Rayalaseema University, Students

Shankar Chatterjee

National Institute of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj

Date Written: August 4, 2016


Eritrea, a young nation (1991 independence), is located in the extreme North East of Africa. Its north east side is surrounded by beautiful Red Sea (1000 Km coastal line). In the absence of population census, actual data on population are not available. Different estimations have been made by different organizations like Government of Eritrea and World Bank etc. According to World Bank’s publication of “World Development Indicators” 2005, the population of Eritrea was 4 million in 2003 with a surface area of 118,000 square kilometers. Density of population is comparatively low as it is only 43 persons per square kilometers. Per capita income is also low 190 US D in 2003. Eritrea got its’ independence in 1991. In fact it was a colony of Italy from 1887 to 1941, subsequently ruled by British and Ethiopia. The country consists of six regions (provinces), locally known as Zoba. Capital of Eritrea is Asmara. Its currency is known as Nakfa, which in US Dollar value is equal to 15 Nakfa. (1 US $ = 15 Nakfa approx.).

Modern manufacturing establishments in Eritrea began with the advent of Italian colonialism. Before the Italian rule (1887) the traditional mode of production was the mainstay of the Economy in Eritrea. The majority of the people were dependent on pastoralism and caravan and other forms of petty trade. They (Italians) established a number of manufacturing units in between 1887 and 1930. During Second World War British occupied Eritrea in April 1941.

Industrial firms started operation within five months. The end of British rule in Eritrea was followed by ten years of federal rule under Ethiopia (1952-1962). During this period manufacturing units established by the British and Italian continued to function. Ethiopia annexed Eritrea in 1962. They “followed policies that were hostile to Eritrea’s economic growth”. According to Business Licensing Office (BPO) of Eritrea, total number of licensed industrial manufacturing establishments was 2241 in 2004. Out of these, 276 were medium and large scale establishments.

The medium and large scale establishments are not only helping Eritrea to increase gross domestic product (GDP) but also providing employment. To get an idea about the conditions of workers a study was conducted in only tea packaging industry in Eritrea. The findings of the study are presented in this article.

Keywords: Eritrea (North East Africa), post liberation era, Industrial development

Suggested Citation

Datrika, Venkata Madhusudan Rao and Chatterjee, Shankar, Industrial Development in Eritrea in Post-Liberation Era: A Study (August 4, 2016). Available at SSRN: or

Venkata Madhusudan Rao Datrika (Contact Author)

Rayalaseema University, Students ( email )

Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh 518002

Shankar Chatterjee

National Institute of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj ( email )

Andhra Pradesh
Hyderabad, 500030

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