COUNTRYAAH, Eritrea is one of Africa's and the
world's poorest countries. At the end of the Civil War in
1991, more than 85 percent of the population depended on
foreign aid. Agriculture is the country's most dominant
industry and main industry for 80 percent of the population.
The most important agricultural areas are in the highlands,
where teas, maize, wheat, sorghum and millet are the most
important crops. Recurring dry periods and years of growth
have posed serious problems for the very agricultural
dependent country. In order to alleviate the catastrophic
consequences of the recurring dry periods, the government,
with international assistance, has built water reservoirs
and ponds. Terraced areas have also been terraced to reduce
the effects of widespread soil erosion. The country has for
a long time been dependent on international food aid.
The country is considered to have rich natural resources,
such as significant mineral resources (gold, copper, silver
and nickel) and oil deposits, but production is still very
small. In 2011, a Canadian mining company began mining gold
in the Bisha mine about 150 km west of Asmera. The long Red
Sea coast provides good conditions for a thriving fishing
industry, but so far the country has not been able to
exploit this potential. However, the state has announced
major investments in the fishing industry in the future.
Eritrea has a relatively well-developed light industry,
including the food, textile and leather industries and the
production of building materials. But the industry is in
great decline, and recurring downtime means that it has been
able to utilize only about 1/3 of its capacity. The
country's most important export products are minerals,
mainly gold, livestock. sorghum, textiles and leather goods.
Imports consist mainly of machinery, crude oil and food.
For information on GDP and other business statistics, see