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Liben Zone

Gobolka Liibaan
Map of Liben Zone
Map of Liben Zone
Country Ethiopia
Region Somali
Zone Liben
Time zone UTC+3 (EAT)

Liben (Somali: [Liibaan] error: {{lang}}: text has italic markup (help)) is one of the nine Zones of the Somali Region of Ethiopia. Liben is bordered on the south by Kenya, on the west by the Oromia Region, on the northeast by Afder, and on the southeast by Somalia. Towns in Liben include Softu and Dolo.

The Liben Zone has numerous social and economic ties with Somalia and the adjacent Somali populated North Eastern Province of Kenya. The two largest clans in this Zone, the Garre and the Degodia are both "trans-national", having clansmen living across international boundaries. For example, camels are raised in the Liban Zone, exported to Arabia through ports in southern Somalia, most importantly Mogadishu. On the other hand, cattle and small ruminants are taken across the border and traded in livestock markets located in Kenya, the most important of these being Mandera and the Kenya side of Moyale, although Doolow on the Somali side is also a locally important livestock market.[1]


Based on figures from the Central Statistical Agency in 2005, Liben has an estimated total population of 793,761, of whom 417,012 were males and 374,749 were females; 66,864 or 11.3% of its population are urban dwellers. Information is not available for the area of this zone, so its population density cannot be calculated.[2]

The 1997 national census reported a total population for this Zone of 476,881 in 72,010 households, of whom 260,589 were men and 216,292 were women; 44,819 or 9.1% of its population were urban dwellers. The largest ethnic group reported in Liben was the Somali (99.04%); a slightly smaller share spoke Somali (97.78%). Only 12,085 or 7.72% were literate.[3]

According to a May 24, 2004 World Bank memorandum, 3% of the inhabitants of Liben have access to electricity, this Zone has a road density of 12.6 kilometers per 1000 square kilometers. 28.2% of the population is in non-farm related jobs, compared to the national average of 25% and an average of 28% for pastoral Regions. 23% of all eligible children are enrolled in primary school, and none in secondary schools.[4] 100% of the zone is exposed to malaria, and none to Tsetse fly. The memorandum gave this zone a drought risk rating of 571.[5]



  1. Socio-economic conditions of the population in Liben zone, Ethiopian Somali National Regional State UNDP Emergencies Unit for Ethiopia report, February 1996 (accessed 26 December 2008)
  2. CSA 2005 National Statistics, Table B.3. Rural population numbers are believed to be underreported in this Region.
  3. 1994 Population and Housing Census of Ethiopia: Results for Somali Region, Vol. 1 Tables 2.1, 2.2, 2.13 (accessed 12 January 2009). The results of the 1994 census in the Somali Region were not satisfactory, so the census was repeated in 1997.
  4. Comparative national and regional figures comes from the World Bank publication, Klaus Deininger et al. "Tenure Security and Land Related Investment", WP-2991 (accessed 23 March 2006) This publication defines Benishangul-Gumaz, Afar and Somali as "pastoral Regions".
  5. World Bank, Four Ethiopias: A Regional Characterization (accessed 23 March 2006).
  6. Created before October, 1999 from kebeles taken from Liben and Moyale woredas. "Drought and Floods: Stress Livelihoods and Food Security in the Ethiopian Somali Region" UNDP Emergencies Unit for Ethiopia report, November 1999 (accessed 28 December 2008)

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