Location within Ethiopia

Coordinates: 8°54′N 39°55′E / 8.900°N 39.917°E / 8.900; 39.917
Country Ethiopia
Region Oromia
Zone Misraq (East) Shewa
Elevation 947 m (3,107 ft)
Population (2005)
  Total 21,348
Time zone EAT (UTC+3)

Metehara is a town in central Ethiopia. Located in the Misraq Shewa Zone of the Oromia Region, it has a latitude and longitude of 08°54′N 39°55′E / 8.900°N 39.917°E / 8.900; 39.917Coordinates: 08°54′N 39°55′E / 8.900°N 39.917°E / 8.900; 39.917 with an elevation of 947 meters above sea level.

Access to Metehara includes a station on the Addis Ababa–Djibouti Railway. There is a Tuesday livestock market.[1] Notable local landmarks include Metehara Mikael Bet church, Mount Fentale to the north and Lake Basaka to the south of the town.


Visitors to the area in the first decades of the 20th century frequently described the area a volcanic no-man's land between the Afar, Karayu Oromo and Amhara settlers.[2] On the eve of the Italian invasion, a German named Neitzel had been granted a concession to cultivate cotton and coffee.[3] Despite that, few people lived in the area until the arrival of the Dutch corporation Handelsvereeningung Amsterdam (HVA), which established a factory to process sugar at Metehara, after it had been expelled from Indonesia in 1954.[4]

In 1970, the Karayu staged an armed demonstration in Metehara which destroyed fences and buildings at the HVA plantation. The Derg announced 3 February 1975 that the sugar plantation, including the Dutch investments, would be fully nationalized.[2]

During the 2002 drought, a Karayu leader was killed in Metehara, which increased tensions between the Karayu and Afar peoples. As a result the Afar, who traded at the Tuesday market, did not go to the market during that drought.[5]


Based on figures from the Central Statistical Agency in 2005, Metehara has an estimated total population of 21,348 of whom 10,763 were men and 10,585 were women.[6] The 1994 national census reported this town had a total population of 11,934 of whom 5,837 were males and 6,097 were females. It is the largest town in Fentale woreda.


  1. "Afar and Kereyu pastoralists in and around Awash National Park struggle with deteriorating livelihood conditions" UN-Emergencies Unit for Ethiopia, July 2002, p. 8 (accessed 14 January 2009)
  2. 1 2 "Local History in Ethiopia" (pdf) The Nordic Africa Institute website (accessed 3 January 2008)
  3. Richard Pankhurst, Economic History of Ethiopia (Addis Ababa: Haile Selassie I University, 1968), p. 209
  4. Bahru Zewde (2001). A History of Modern Ethiopia (second ed.). Oxford: James Currey. p. 198. ISBN 0-85255-786-8.
  5. "Afar: insecurity and delayed rains threaten livestock and people" UN-Emergencies Unit for Ethiopia, July 2002, p. 4
  6. CSA 2005 National Statistics, Table B.4
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