topics  :

  • Living in Addis Ababa;
  • Practical information;
  • domestic staff;
  • security instructions.

ADDIS ABABA / Everyday has seen its population increase by half since the revolution of 1991. Founded in 1887 alone, it was nearly abandoned due to the combustion of wood shortage but was saved by the introduction in the region of eucalyptus from Australia. This is a huge city, sprawling, with almost non-existent street names, with the exception of the main shopping street, Churchill Avenue. Daily life in Addis Ababa is nice. You’ll get the knowledge easily and the Francophone community is very open. It is a city of great extent and is currently in a phase of major projects of infrastructure, where many buildings are emerging. She hosts the African Commission, which earned us some disappointments at the circulation during the African Union conventions and visited by many presidents. There is no center of town but rather neighborhoods or districts. To locate you and direct you, you will learn quickly. Most expatriates housed in homes that generally have little gardens. The trend is the new home with one or two floors, spacious but not necessarily good and forget the beautiful finishes. Check the water pressure and consider investing in a water pump if you do not fall in agreement with the owner! You will also have the choice with more villas with gardens. They are old and have a history. But even with these, you will have some nice surprises. We never get bored in the renovation of houses, there is plenty to do … As for the palace, difficult to find one here! Rents have increased enormously in the last 2 years and negotiations are becoming increasingly difficult. Signing a lease is mandatory for the tranquility of 2 parts and rents are payable every 6 or 12 months in local currency most often. It is a city where one feels safe even in recent times, due to the increase of life, the crimes tend to escalate. There are risks especially Mercato / Picasa and minibusses. We must still keep in mind a few safety rules and do not forget to make reference to the consulate to the embassy of France (FYI, Police Center phone number is 991). Every day, the Ethiopians are warm, gracious and pleasant to live. The smile and the Ethiopian beauty are legendary!

The house staff 

At first, you hesitate to take both home staff but as you will appreciate fully. Ethiopian enjoy working for Western as working conditions, in general, there are far better and higher salaries. The houses are equipped with a guard (choice to use a security service company, have alternating with 2 guards for a 24 or a day/night, or living permanently with you). Some expatriates are a cook and a maid or a person who agrees to do anything if you are not a family. You can also hire a nanny for your baby. Ethiopians love children and contact is easy. To avoid conflicts, make a written contract, made sign wage received. When you officially declare your staff, it will have social rights especially in case of job loss or accident but they will pay taxes to the state (10%). Include them in wages. A driver will be useful to guide you in the cities, translated in Shops or on the steps where we talk qu’amharique not protect you flights at Mercato and you will avoid trips school/home. Your staff will always seek to serve you and make you happy. Wages are increasing (due to the cost of living). Currently, wages are just over 1000ETB, more depending on the amount of work, experience, and professionalism. I suggest you offer the person a month trial before increasing wages. If you give your personal leave, the law requires you to pay severance.

The cost of living

It is evident when comparing to Europe, that life is cheap. Now, considering the life of Ethiopians and scale of national value, it is increasing. Ethiopians are struggling at the end of month and wages are also increasing. In Shops, prices are not indicated and vary depending on the customer, unlike supermarkets. The currency is Birr ETB is written and is pegged to the dollar. You will find many banks and exchange offices. There is a parallel exchange market also … takes about a good week for money transfers (France-Addis).

Over time, the supermarkets are increasingly well supplied. We manage to get by here and there that we want. Its many words of mouth work to pass the good tips. There are stock shortages that can last several months. The current policy is to promote local production and to charge high prices on imported products. The meat is cheap: there are mainly beef, mutton, chicken but also duck, pork, and sometimes other poultry; the rabbit control ‘Selam farm’. It was also fresh fish river like the Nile perch, trout and frozen fish from Djibouti, UAE and other neighboring countries. Vegetables or fruits are on sale at every street corner. You are going to love the strawberries after December and if you like jam, you’ll be able to fill pots. Vegetables are somewhat varied but tasty. Of course, purely French products like cheese or dairy desserts maybe, but rarely. Some imitation temptations but they are not the points … The gardens grow rapidly, plan your seeds even if we find here …

Electricity and water

Lately we know about water supply problems, ‘5 days without water’, it can happen! Your jerry cans must always be filled and if we troubleshoot each other. If the cut begins to last, you can request a delivery of water to fill your tank (called ‘tanker’) by calling your district office, paid service but cheap. The water is not potable so for consumption, you buy bottles or water fountains with their bobonne For the kitchen, 2 possibilities: those who consume water from the city for me as the typical use in the kitchen, coffee, rinsing vegetables, or those that use drinking water. You choose! Your bill will be higher or lower end of the month.

Electricity is also experiencing frequent power cuts especially during major droughts that are explained by the lack of water in dams and the delight of generator vendors !!! But the grid needs to improve in the near future. The current is 220 volts (50 Hz) and there are adapters as desired. Allow extension cords and power strips/extension because here the quality is poor and, from personal experience, a risk of burning your floor!

Invoices are to pay monthly in the center of your area, check with your landlord and the date of payment thereof as invoices and dates are in Amharic. Keep your last bill, it will serve you as a reference for the following month. Attention in case of nonpayment, they cut your water and the next day without electricity warn you (ditto for the fixed phone). Generally, if you entrust this task to your guardian or your driver, you will not surprise.

Note that province, water, and electricity are virtually non-existent except in major cities. Many homes in Addis are not equipped with lack of financial resources or infrastructure.


Here, the mobile phone has become widespread. There is a wide choice of devices, but if you want a more sophisticated, it will be quite expensive. Of course, you have the new home market or that the opportunity (with a chance to regain that which you have stolen). But first of all, you have to buy a SIM card. You will find it in all telecommunications shops and then you buy into all of the city Shops tele paid cards to charge your phone credit. With either: 25birr, 50birr or 100birr. Attention importing a new device or telephone equipment is taxed at customs and must first request the authorization to import phone or fax to the management of telecommunications … The fixed phone first 011 and mobile by 0911, 0912, 0913, followed by your personal number.

  • The ‘thuraya’ satellite phone is also allowed.
  • The international code is 251. You can also ask a fixed line at home if it does not exist.
  • Monthly bill to pay at your district telecommunication center. (Do not wait for your bill, no shipping!)

What a joy to rediscover the local connection and forget the facilities of ADSL. I promise you that when you come back to Europe, you will fully appreciate the fast ADSL even not … It is also here but little used because the price is too high for the quality offered. Often the connection is difficult, sometimes impossible especially during major conventions of the African Union or important political visits for security reasons. Patience….
Many cafes offer their services, it is always waiting to be serviced on your own line. Inquire and subscribe to the Internet TV service company in building telecommunications to Churchill Road.
Since 2009, it is now possible to buy a modem card or USB key that allows a wireless connection with a much higher throughput, better quality too. The recharge cards are available in a telecommunications center and commercial center. Since 2010, there is the 3G quite expensive but so appreciated!

The post office 

The central station is located on Churchill Road, with branches in various districts. The addresses correspond to PO boxes. In a letter, take about ten days and, for packages, plan between three weeks and one month. DHL, FEDEX, UPS are also present in Addis Ababa. Attention to any electronic item, you will have a customs tax payable. The packages are neither open nor gutted. The service is fairly reliable.
Few postcard choice.


Ethiopian television uses the PAL system. The French Alliance rents videocassettes (and DVDs) in the French standard SECAM and video stores in town (DVD in English and sometimes French). It is found on site TV sets, even extra-flat screens, and DVD players.
Opportunity to take a follow DSTV subscription for TV5 Monde and Canal Horizon. Purchase the decoder and dish on site. Arab Sat allows free incoming TV5, CNN and Arabic chains, or Indian channels and BBC and subscription to Multichoice Ethiopia for Canal Horizons and chains. Good reception.


To receive broadcasts of Radio France International, and other francophone radio stations (Belgium, Switzerland, etc.) and English (Voice of America, BBC), it is necessary to have a shortwave receiver with all bands from 13 m or better a satellite reception station (eg Satellite Receiver World Space Polytron 2600 birr in Sabit, Bole road: 5 free channels including RFI). It is possible to receive RFI via the demodulator (parable), and via the Internet (when the connection is correct …)


It is the only country with a Ge’ez alphabet. If we except the newspapers published in English, all the newspapers published in Amharic (except an Oromo and Arabic). Ethiopian journalists rarely speak another national language Amharic.

Radio and television, even in a situation of government monopoly, have a strong influence on the population. Radio Fana, one of the few private stations in the country, serves as a propaganda tool Revolutionary Democratic Front Ethiopian peoples. There are some other private stations, but they are all linked to political parties. You should know that under section 19 of the federal law on the press and audiovisual activities in the audiovisual sector in Ethiopia are strictly reserved for Ethiopian citizens and banned political parties and religious organizations. Your turn to judge!


The National Museum (Ethiopian National Museum) houses, among others, the famous Lucy skeleton, one of the oldest men in the world; The Ethnological Museum has an impressive collection of crosses, triptychs, and religious paintings; See also the National Library of Ethiopia, Africa Hall (headquarters of the Economic Commission of the United Nations for Africa), the headquarters of the African Union (beautiful stained glass decorated building), the seat of Parliament and its tower the clock, the Imperial palace of Menelik II and the university located in the former imperial palace of Haile Selassie; The Mercato in Addis Ababa, one of the largest open markets in Africa, vast grouping of stands where you can find everything from vegetables to the gold jewelry. Beware of pickpockets, the snatching, and insecurity; The Coptic Christian Cathedral of St. George (1896), Holy Trinity Cathedral (many famous Ethiopian graves), the Cathedral of Medhane Alem (Saviour of the World), the Anwar mosque.

Examples of activities  :

  • Spend an evening at the Theatre Hager Fikir, the oldest theater in Ethiopia.
  • Make a course at the Golf Club of Addis Ababa.
  • Go to the zoo of the city, near the university.
  • Make a picnic and enjoy nature at Bihire Tsige Park.
  • Go for a hike of discovery from St. Mary’s Church (one of the first churches in the city) to the Entoto Mountains.

You can come with your pet without problems. Knowing the administrative procedures in Europe, Ethiopia only asks for a certificate of good health (in English), rabies vaccines to date, and the presentation of health booklet or passport. Regarding food, butchers sell meat scraps (and often outdated careful because of a lot of fat), boxes and cakes on sale also in supermarkets. Since last April, we find the same pedigree !!! Allow the flea and anti-tick for the animal because it is a deadly disease called tick fever similar to malaria. The fragile animal lives only three days and most robust 5. Symptoms are the loss of appetite, fatigue and more enthusiasm, blood in the urine. Call quickly to the veterinarian who has everything needed if caught in time. Many veterinarians are afraid of dogs !!


“Ferenji” here is some information to guide you on your next visit to Ethiopia, and if you are new among us “welcome”. Do not be surprised when one calls you by “ferenji, ferenji” is the expression to name us, the foreigners.

The climate in Ethiopia

In Addis Ababa, we speak of 13 months of sunshine. Indeed, the climate is pleasant throughout the year except during the rainy season begins in June and lasts until early October. At that time, temperatures are cool and humid (around 15 degrees during the day), and the days are long and rainy. Otherwise, temperatures range from 20 ° to 25 ° more or less. Although it bears his waistcoat or his pole from 17h and the nights are cold enough. In general, in Addis Ababa and in the region, there are three seasons: from October to February dry season from March to May rains of low intensity, and from June to September rainy season. The landscape is green in the rainy season and beige-brown during the dry season. During the rainy season, water flows through the city, the gutters are filled and sometimes impassable tracks cars. A saying has it that “every day, we know the four seasons: winter morning, around 10 am spring, the summer between noon and 15 pm, fall a little later.”
Amharic, the Ethiopian language

Amharic is the official language. In Addis Ababa, the local population speaks Amharic but against the province, each region uses its dialect. For example, in northern Ethiopia, the Tigrinya, but it is the Oromo in the south. If you go visit some regions it is better to provide a guide or driver to communicate in case of problems. English is the administrative language with Amharic, but especially those of business. People with a university education are expressed perfectly in English. English is also practiced in urban centers, hotels, and tourist resorts. However in the street, the Ethiopian population gibberish very limited English. Often in shops street, only Amharic is spoken. Arabic and Italian are widely spoken and French, known employees of the way Ethiopia / Djibouti iron. Many Ethiopians are speaking through the teaching of French at the French Alliance and the Ethio-French school of politics that the obligation to integrate 70% of Ethiopian small classes.

Time and date

Ethiopia lives to the rhythm of the Julian calendar and has 13 months. While in Europe, we are in 2009, the Ethiopians are in 2001. We had the chance to experience the second millennium of the passage on 11 September 2008. The clock is also different. When it is 15 hours for Europeans, it is 9:00 for Ethiopians. The first Ethiopian hour is at 7 am for us, afternoon matches 6h 18h for them and the night is equal to 12 for them. And start again … So if you need to schedule an appointment, be sure it is the same schedule that you … Time Zone GMT 3

A tourist visa is required to enter Ethiopia. If a representative of Ethiopia (consulate or embassy) is present in your home country, you must get your visa there. If this is not the case, the Immigration Service will deliver you one when you arrive in the country waiting for your resident visa. The tourist visa is valid for 3 months and can be single or multiple entries; residence permit is issued for 2 years.

Opportunity to take your visa at the airport before proceeding to immigration, payable in Euros or Dollars.

Religion is very present in the life of every day during religious processions, the crowd blocking the road. Often, people cross themselves before the prayer places, drivers have religious icons in their car and driving regularly sign in the morning before starting. Nearly half of the population is Orthodox or Coptic Christian religion. It is Christianity that predominates in the north. As for Islam, it is practiced by about 40% of the population, mainly in remote areas of South and East regions. Some 10% of Ethiopians are animists, especially among some semi-nomadic tribes of the south and southwest of the country. As things stand, some 20,000 Ethiopian Falashas, Ethiopian black Jews, who have been waiting years for permission to fly to Israel. Christians and Muslims live together and respect each worship. Lately, there has been some tension, which quickly subsided. Religious cults are numerous. Some monasteries are closed to women. Follow the rules: You cover the head and shoulders for women, remove your shoes. Orthodox churches are magnificent!
Catering and food

in Addis Ababa, you will have a wide choice of Italian restaurants, Greek, Indian, Korean, Lebanese, French etc. Good food and nice atmosphere. The price range is wide.

Outside the capital, the food is the local type. The Tips (grilled meat), shiro (pea dish based on chickpea), the wat ( a stew of meat, chicken or vegetables), Kitfo (steak tartare), the kekel (boiled meat), Tibs Shivro Misir (cooked lentils) are examples of dishes to discover. These foods, very spicy, are tasted with injera, a pancake made with flour called teff. Wednesday and Friday are days of so-called “fasting”, which means that much of the Ethiopian eat vegetarian. Before Christmas and Easter, a long period of fasting is followed by the Orthodox. For coffee lovers, do not miss to enjoy a coffee prepared according to Ethiopian tradition. Drinks: Coffee of the province of Kaffa, Talla (beer), Kaitaka (grain alcohol), tej (alcohol from fermented honey), local wines that I recommend them to you except for your curiosity … (Dukam, Axumite, and Gouder for red Crystals for whites). Alcohol is sold everywhere but expensive. Honey is delicious and very fragrant. There is liquid honey, solid, white or even in the rough. Ethiopian use honey for fermentation as mead (tej). Ethiopian cuisine does not have to sweet dishes or desserts, it can be raised.

some festivals

  • On 19 January, the Christians of Ethiopia celebrate Christ’s baptism during Timkat. During this festival which takes place over three days, the priests out of all the churches “tabots” wooden altars in the image of the Ark of the Covenant, and carry them ceremoniously to the sacred water. Large masses are organized, followed by banquets that extend late into the night. Enkutatash, the Ethiopian New Year, which is also the feast of St. John, was held on September 11. Bonfires, songs, and dances are featured at this spring festival where children dance in the streets and distribute flowers and miniature paintings.
  • On September 27, another Christian holiday, Maskal, commemorates the discovery of the True Cross on which Christ was crucified. Village squares are found adorned with bouquets of daisies that can ignite at night.
  •  7 January: Orthodox Christmas, According to the Christian Orthodox calendar, Christmas is celebrated on January 7th. AGENDA (FESTIVALS, HOLIDAYS)
  • Timkat (Coptic Epiphany with processions, dances, and festivities).
  • March 2: Commemoration of the Battle of Adowa in May: Day of the Patriots (5); National Day (28).
  • Coptic and Ethiopian New Year on September 11 and 12
  • Meskel (festival celebrating the discovery of the true cross of Christ, 27).
  • December: Sheep Festival (20).

It is true that finding competent and reliable staff is not as obvious despite the many offers we receive. Recruiting is difficult because if a person gets along with your friend, it will not necessarily be the case with you. Do not hesitate to show you require and very specific about what you expect from the person at recruitment because you will live permanently with them, much more than your husband !!! And then, it’s a matter of trust that the As will be established but watch from experience remain vigilant nonetheless. The “mamité” will take care of your home, your guardian of your security, your driver to drive your children to school or activities … We are happy to have them but also they need to work! From the beginning, get agreement on public holidays (you take the Christian or Muslim holidays and national days or all), overtime, wage and specify that they may have to go little services daily.

For example, my home, there is no overtime or evening hours. However, if necessary absence, if I am prevented before, I manage to leave them free but when I have needed them like babysitting, for example, I warn before mamité which will be available that time. Depending on the diversity of my demands, I add a month-end bonus salary. But cons, if I did not need them, they are free. My driver is working fairly afternoon though if I need him every Saturday he meets present. In case of power failure, I refer my “mamité” that turns around at home. You see, we can arrange only must be clear from the start with your staff. Others will set a fixed schedule and pay overtime. See for yourself …

  • During the month of trial, be firm or you’ll be annoyed afterward. If out of work on your part, Ethiopian law provides for severance payments. I advise you during a separation with your staff to pay quickly with a receipt of an account and that the departure is immediate, it does buy a lot of trouble … Believe in my experience!
  • 45 day trial period, without compensation in case of work stoppage;
  • If the person worked less than a year, the compensation of Wages equal basis according to the number of months with you; (example: you separate a person paid 1000 birr which worked 6 months to your services, it will touch 500 severance birr);
  • If the person has worked for one year, one month’s salary in addition to compensation; A year and a month’s salary in addition and 1/3 of final salary in proportion to the years spent with you. But
  • if this is the person who abandons his job, then the break will be without compensation unless he has worked more than 5 years to your services.
In accordance with Law No. 377/2003 of 26 February 2004, at the time of leaving office, the employee shall have completed at least the corresponding time in the trial period is 45 days. The severance pay function will be proportional to the acquired seniority. The calculation procedures are set below: For the first year of service, a month of the last basic salary is paid. For each additional year is added a third of the last basic salary. For fractions of a year, the calculation is made in proportion to the time worked. The total compensation shall not exceed the amount corresponding to the last basic salary multiplied by 12.

And I confirm that we have not at all the same logic as the Ethiopian so check before any commitment that you are of agreement on wages, working conditions and that there is a moral guarantor (i.e your employee a third person who is morally committed and takes all responsibilities to his deeds!)


In this section, the purpose of these alerts is not to scare you but only to inform you and help you avoid some pitfalls of which we were victims.

Upon arrival, be sure to register early with the Consulate of the Embassy of France to report your presence on Ethiopian territory, to be supported at security measure or major accident. Learn to know your responsibility of the head of islets (person in charge of a district and in direct contact with the Embassy of the measures and safety warnings) and the gathering place for a collective repatriation.

Posts Consul of France France- Embassy of Ethiopia

Safety Information on Addis official sent by the Embassy of France to its nationals on site, dated February 12, 2009:

In light of the recent attacks have been victims of recent foreign nationals, in general, the increase in crime in Addis Ababa, Embassy of France wishes to convey the following message to the French passing through or resident in Ethiopia. If urban crime in the Ethiopian capital remains contained, however, observed in recent weeks an increase of isolated criminal acts (theft with torn off, sometimes with knives, pickpocketing) at the premises of Addis Ababa frequented by expatriates. It is therefore recommended to drive with the doors closed at all times of day and night. Furthermore, during night shifts, it should be dropped off in front of his home, to avoid staying isolated and walk-in unlit places. In case of aggression, it is recommended to remain calm, not to oppose resistance and carry around some handy money to satisfy the aggressor. The Embassy can be reached round the clock at Sincerely, Consul of France.

Subscribe to the consular register of French abroad 

1. Each year, several French residing in Ethiopia have failed to renew their registration with the consular section. But the French foreign management software automatically writes off citizens whose registration has lapsed for more than three months. This software performs even at the same time automatically radiation for alleged electoral lists from the constituency. It is therefore desirable that each of you checks his consular card. In case the deadline is exceeded, immediately contact the Home Service of French open daily from 08: 30 am to 12 noon 30. The license renewal applications and re-registration on the electoral roll can also be made by email to Ms. Paola AGM: This renewal allows to maintain the embassy security files, to check the composition of the family, addresses, numbers phone, computer addresses, workplaces. If necessary, the consular section may ask you missing documents. Indeed, with the introduction of biometrics, applications for National Identity Card or passport must be accompanied by a birth certificate, missing part of many records. In case of an urgent request, you may well be blocked in Addis Ababa some time. The first document attached remind you the conditions of entry in the register of the French.

2. Registration on the electoral lists in Ethiopia and France I remind you that registration on electoral lists in Ethiopia or in France must be before 31 December 2009. The second document attached your attention to the exercise of voting rights abroad. I invite you, therefore, to check your voter status and registration on the electoral list of Addis Ababa before next December 31 with your consular identification number (Numic) by logging on the website following
https: //

3. elections 2010 regional elections will take place in March 2010. If you want to participate, you must be registered on an electoral list of a joint France. Your registration on consular electoral list Addis Ababa will not let you. How to register and vote: – Complete a registration form CERFA No. 12669 * 01 ( – Accompany since you are living abroad, a certificate of registration in the register of french outside France (ask at the consular section) – Add the necessary evidence to prove that the municipality on the list for which you want to be registered (e) is either: – your place of birth – the municipality of your last domicile in France – the town where you last resided in France (over six months) – the town on the electoral list of whom was born, is registered or was listed one of your ancestors – the town on the electoral list which is registered with a parent in the fourth degree These parts must arrive in the town chosen by 31 December 2009. – Establish before the elections in March 2010 a proxy ( to request the consular section)

Our team remains at your disposal. Sincerely, Consul of France