The State of Oromia sprawls over the largest part of the country and at present consists of 12 administrative zones and 180 woredas. Of the 12 zones, Bale and Borena account for 45.7% of the State's total area but only about 14% of the state's population. The Council of the State of Oromia is the highest body of its administration.
The capital city of the State of Oromiya is Finfine (Addis Ababa)
The State of Oromia borders Afar, Amhara and the State of Benshangul/Gumuz in the north, Kenya in the south, The State of Somali in the east, the Republic of the Sudan and the state of Benishangul/gumuz in the west, the State of Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples' and the state of Gambella in the south.
Based on the political map (1994 Population and Housing Census Commission, CSA), the estimated area of the State of Oromia is about 353,690 Km2, and accounts for almost 32% of the country.
According to the 1994 census result the total population was 18,732,525 of which 9,371,228 were males and 9,361,297 females. The rural residents of the State accounts for 89.5% of the total.
The religious composition of the population of the State indicated that 44.3% were Muslims, 41.3% Orthodox Christians, 8.6% Protestants, and 4.2% followers of traditional religions. The remaining 1.6% constitute other religious groups. In urban Oromia Orthodox Christians constitute 67.8% of the population, followed by Muslims 24.0% and Protestants 7%.
According to the 1994 census result, the major ethnic groups within the State include 85% Oromo, 9.1% Amhara and 1.3% Gurage (some of Sebatbet Guragie, Sodo Gurage and Siltie). The remaining 4.6% constitute other ethnic groups.
Oromifa (Oromigna), presently inscribed with Latin characters, is the official language. It consitutes 83.5% of the spoken language. Other major languages are Amharic 11%, Guragigna (Sebatbet, Sodogna, Siltigna and Hadiyigna together), 0.98%, Gedeogna 0.98% and Tigrigna 0.25%.
MAJOR ECONOMIC ACTIVITIES
Over 90% of the people of Oromia live in the rural area, and agriculture has remained the source of livelihood for the overwhelming majority of the people. The main agricultural crops include maize, teff, wheat, barley, peas, bean and various types of oil seeds. Coffee is the main cash crop in the region. Oromia accounts for 51.2% of the crop production, 45.1% of the area under temporary crops and 44% of the total livestock population of Ethiopia.
TOPOGRAPHY AND CLIMATE
Oromia is a region of great physiographic diversity. Its landscape includes high and rugged mountain ranges, undulating plateaus, panoramic gorges and deep incised river valleys, and rolling plains. Rising from less than 500 meters above sea level to high ranges that culminate into Mt. Batu (4607 m)- the highest peak of the region. Oromia is endowed with varied relief features which in turn accentuate varied and amiable climatic condition and other rich natural resource bases.
Oromia is a remnant part of the high and extensive Afro-Arabian plateau formed from continued uplift, rifting and subsequent volcanic piles. High relief of over 1500m is dominant. The climatic types prevailing in the region may be grouped into 3 major categories: the dry climate, tropical rainy climate and temperate rainy climate. The dry climate is characterized by poor sparse vegetation with annual mean temperature of 27°Cto 39°C, and mean annual rainfall of less than 450 mm. The hot semi-arid climate mean annual temperature varies between 18°Cand 27°C. It has a mean annual rainfall of 410-820 mm with noticeable variability from year to year. Highlands of Oromiya experience temperate climate of moderate temperature, (mean temperature of the coolest month is less than 180c) and ample precipitation (1200-2000mm).
RIVERS AND LAKES
Awash, Wabe-Shebele, Genale, Gibe, Baro, Dedessa and Guder are major rivers in the region. River Awash, which is the longest river inside Ethiopia is a source of great agro-industrial and hydroelectric power.
The crater lakes Green lake (true to its name), Bishoftu, Kuriftu, Bishoftu-Gudo, Hora-Kilole, Horsa Arsedi, and the rift-valley lakes Ziway, Abiyata, Shala, and Langano are found in this region. They have immense potential for recreation and fishery development.
There are around 800 bird species and more than 100 wild animals in the region. Endemic wild animals such as the mountain Nyala, the Semien Red Fox and Menelik Bushbuck inhabit the Bale mountains national park.
The Awash National Park, the oldest and most developed game reserve of its kind in Ethiopia, consists mostly of the east African plain games except Giraffe and Buffalo. It is home to the Oryx, Kudu, Caracal, Aardavark, Colobus Monkey, Green Monkeys, Baboons, Leopard, Klipspringer, Hippo, Seemering's Gazelle, Grevy's Zebra and Cheetah.
The Awash National Park is also a natural sanctuary of numerous bird-species, some of which include Limburger, Wattle Crane, Angur Buzzard, Verreaux Eagle and long eared owls. Water Fowls, Shore Birds and the colorful Ruddy Shelled Duck as well as the endemic Blue-winged Goose are common in the marshy areas of the park.
The explored mineral deposits of the region include: gold, platinum, nickel, iron-ore, soda ash, diatomite, limestone, feldspar, silica sand, dolomite, kaolin, granite and other non-metallic construction materials.
Gold mines at Adola and Laga Dambi (Borena zone) Nejo and Birbir river Valley (Wollega), and platinum at Yubdo (Wellega) are being exploited. Mining activities that are already underway include:gold (Borena and West Wellega), soda ash in the Rift Valley, limestone, gypsum and clay soil (Muger), tantalum (at Kenticha) ornamental and construction minerals (in Hararghe and Wellega) and ceramic in Borena.
Oromia has high potential for hydropower development. Untouched energy in geothermal, natural coal, and solar are found in the region. At present, the greatest percentage of the hydroelectric power of Ethiopia comes form Koka, Fincha, Melka-Wakena and Sor power stations of the region.
The total installed capacity of Integrated Circial System hydro electricity generating stations in the region amounts to 367,120 kW of which 360,200 (98.1%) and 6920 (1.9%) are hydro and thermal respectively. On the other hand, the total installed capacity of self contained system (SCS) in 1993/94 is 12,759 kw of which 5,510 (43.2%) and 7,249 (56.8%) are hydro and thermal respectively. Gilgel Gibe another hydroelectric power source is under construction. Generally, most of the rivers in the state have immense hydroelectric power potential.
TOURISM AND HERITAGE
Besides the large and endemic varieties of fauna and bird species of the Awash and the Bale Mountains National Park, the Rift-Valley lakes of the region are places where sports, sunbathing and bird watching tours could be accomplished.
The hot springs in Walliso and Sodere (about 114 km south west and east of the capital respectively) are popular attraction sites for their medicinal and recreational value.
The Sof-Omar caves in central Bale, with their galleries of polished white cone and chamber of columns are the incredible natural phenomena of great interest and beauty. The palace of Aba Jifar in Jimma is another historical attraction. Moreover, topographical spectacles of the region add up to make Oromiya a perfect tourist destination.
There are more than 761 investment projects in the region. These projects have a capital of 3.4 billion Birr and will provide employment opportunity for above 51,728 employees. With its vast and varied natural resources the region has ample opportunity for investment.