Basketo is one of the 79 woredas of the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples' Region (SNNPR) of Ethiopia. Because Basketo is not part of any Zone in the SNNPR, it is considered a Special woreda, an administrative subdivision which is similar to an autonomous area. It is named after the Basketo people, whose homeland lies within its boundaries. Basketo is bordered on the south and west by the Debub (South) Omo Zone, and on the north by the Gamo Gofa Zone. The administrative center is Laska; other towns include Donti.
Rivers in this woreda include the Berso and the Zenti. Food crops include enset, sweet potatoes and yams, maize and horse beans, while coffee and the cardamom-like spice aframomum are significant cash crops. According to a 2004 report, Basketo had 27 kilometers of all-weather roads and 180 kilometers of dry-weather roads, for an average road density of 1803 kilometers per 1000 square kilometers.
Originally Basketo was part of the Semien (North) Omo Zone, and the 1994 national census counted its inhabitants as part of that Zone. However friction between the various ethnic groups in this Zone, which was often blamed on the Welayta for "ethnic chauvinism" and despite the efforts of the ruling party to emphasize the need to co-ordinate, consolidate, and unify the smaller ethnic units to achieve the "efficient use of scarce government resources", eventually led to the division of the Zone in 2000, and reorganizing Basketo as a special woreda.
Basketo was selected by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in 2004 as one of several woredas for voluntary resettlement for farmers from overpopulated areas, becoming the new home for a total of 7,000 heads of households and 28,000 total family members.
Based on the 2007 Census conducted by the Central Statistical Agency of Ethiopia (CSA), this woreda has a total population of 56,689, of whom 28,532 are men and 28,157 women. With an area of 411.09 square kilometers, Basketo has a population density of 137.90; 5,215 or 9.20% are urban inhabitants. A total of 13,424 households were counted in this woreda, which results in an average of 4.22 persons to a household, and 13,069 housing units.
The 1994 national census reported a total population for this woreda of 33,672 of whom 16,739 were men and 16,933 were women; 2,191 or 6.51% of its population were urban dwellers. The four largest ethnic groups reported in Basketo were the namesake Basketo people (90.75%), the Amhara (4.04%), the Aari (2.74%), and the Goffa (0.81%); all other ethnic groups made up 1.66% of the population. Basketo is spoken as a first language by 93.2%, 2.94% Amharic, and 2.46% speak Aari; the remaining 1.4% spoke all other primary languages reported.
- "Southern Nation, Nationalities and People’s Region, Ethiopia Livelihood Profiles: January 2006", USAID/FEWSNET, p. 27 (accessed 11 January 2011)
- "Detailed statistics on roads", SNNPR Bureau of Finance and Economic Development website (accessed 15 September 2009)
- Sarah Vaughan, "Ethnicity and Power in Ethiopia" (University of Edinburgh: Ph.D. Thesis, 2003), pp. 251 - 260
- "Resettlement 2004", Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Agency (DPPA) (accessed 26 November 2006)
- Census 2007 Tables: Southern Peoples, Nations and Nationalities Region, Tables 2.1, 2.4, 2.5, 3.1, 3.2 and 3.4.
- 1994 Population and Housing Census of Ethiopia: Results for Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples' Region, Vol. 1, part 1, Tables 2.1, 2.12, 2.15 (accessed 30 December 2008)