Addis Ababa - Post Report Question and Answers
Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.
Security restrictions severely impact the ability to travel around the country to ?some of the popular cultural and natural wonders of Ethiopia. Also, around Addis Ababa, there are rising crime levels and anecdotally it seems that every week somebody has some sort of security encounter such as harassment, attempted thievery and pick-pocketing, and such. High unemployment and economic difficulties, inflation leads to many desperate young men roaming the streets. Recently (as of July 2023) it seems that almost the entire country is off limits beyond the city limits. We are currently unable to go to recreational areas, gardens, or the Kuriftu water park outside the city. In my opinion, the current 30% hardship pay at post does not account for those factors. Other posts in the region (for example, Djibouti, Kenya) have similar hardship pay but it's my understanding, much more relaxed security consideration. Given all this, and the security situation in Addis Ababa and Ethiopia, plus other factors not within the scope of this questionnaire, I cannot recommend this post at this time. I would rather serve in a more welcoming and productive post where the compensation and benefits are comparable or better. - Aug 2023
Absolutely. If you come here you’ll get a briefing. - Aug 2023
Not so bad. Just don't go out walking at night. - Aug 2022
Ethiopia definitely has risks and security concerns. Petty theft, car jacking, and harassment can all be common, however most people are very kind and hospitable. It is good to be aware that Ethiopia is in the middle of a conflict and at some points it is wise to avoid certain areas. I recommend connecting with locals and develop friendships with people who will help you to be aware of local tensions that may arise. - Jul 2022
Addis appears to be overrun by criminal elements. I never feel safe here. Never. - Jun 2021
I felt safe. - Feb 2021
Petty, opportunistic robberies are relatively common (such as pickpocketing or opening a car door and stealing a handbag). It is not safe to walk around the streets at night and places such as some park areas should only be visited in groups even in daytime. However there is vey little violent crime against foreigners and we do not have the security overlay of some other big African cities. Addis is very safe in comparison. - Aug 2020
Crime is a major concern at post. Political violence can often cause issues. - Mar 2020
Yes, lots and everywhere. Walking the streets alone and in a group isn't recommended. We have just been raised to a Critical Crime Threat post. Muggings, car theft, rock throwing, protests, assault, murder, etc. You name it we have it. Protests outside the city are frequent and violent. They follow political, religious and ethnic lines. Many church leaders and students have been killed in the past year due to political and religious tensions. The Ethiopia of two years ago is gone. So be wary of bidding on this post by a recommendation from someone who hasn't been here in the past few years. The country is undergoing major political transformation, and it has caused a lot of tension and violence. It will take time to settle. I've had several people say they are sad we are here now and that they hope we don't become a victim. Taxi drivers have told me to not walk the streets, saying I will be targeted. Even running in your neighborhood, no matter how quiet, is not worth the risk. Crime is rampant, they know where we are, and are always looking for ways to target expats. Home scams are frequent, people say they are with some government group to gain entry to your home to rob you. Terrorism while present and a threat, so far hasn't materialized within the city. Some incidents have occurred on the boarder with other countries. Lastly poverty is very high and the cost of living in Addis is outpacing salary increases. Locals are struggling to get by, another reason for the increase in crime. - Feb 2020
Yes. As in any giant crowded city, you need to be aware of your surroundings. I'm usually fine as a foreign woman walking in the city, but have had on occasion a person jump out at me or yell at me. It doesn't seem safe to be out alone at night whether you're a man or woman. Since we've moved here there have been many occasions of unrest in and outside of the city. There are protests. There are numerous reports of foreigners being attacked and/or being robbed. It's a challenging place to live. - Feb 2019
We felt Addis to be very safe. We never felt like we couldn't walk home at night. There's crime in every city, so also some in Addis, but it's mostly crime of opportunity. Addis is probably safer than most US or European cities. - Oct 2018
Yes. I have heard of pick-pocketing of money, phones, etc. in a variety of ways: hey will spit on you and as they wipe it off steal from you or they will distract you with flyers. I've heard of car mirrors being taken off the car while one sits at a traffic light, and some violent attacks but those are more rare. I've even heard of theft inside the mission, never leave anything out. - Aug 2018
There seem to be lots of pickpocketers, crimes of opportunity happens during day time and night times, especially after 9 pm. We learned that the following incidents happened to our friends while we were there, and we have heard of more. Just be aware of surroundings and do not walk alone after 9 pm.
1. Group of thieves or even children may surround a person and take your computer, iPhones, money, wallet when you walk alone.
2. Someone spills drink on you, and pretend to wipe off the liquid, but take what is in your pocket or purse.
3. Some may ask for direction, and take things from you.
4. Someone will point to your tire and when you stop and look at your tire, others will take your belonging.
5. I have heard of many who have been attacked from behind and arm lock your neck. While you lose consciousness, all your belongings are gone.
6. You do not lock your car door. When you stop, robbers will get in and take you to isolated place. Your belongings are taken.
- Jul 2018
There is some pickpocketing around town but I am not sure it is any more than in a major European city. - Jan 2018
Pickpockets are an issue when walking around, and have reportedly been getting more violent and aggressive. Otherwise Addis is a pretty safe city. Wear your seatbelt. - Sep 2017
Mehhhh...hard to say. As a woman, I never really feel 'nervous' or scared but I don't really do a lot of solo walking - mostly because the infrastructure doesn't support it and the vehicle pollution is a factor. We've gone hiking up Mount Entoto (near the embassy) and you get the usual interest from locals. I've done it by myself too during the day but in hindsight, probably not a good idea. Mostly, Ethiopians are not violent and frankly, I'm more afraid in DC and getting into it with someone because we have a gun culture. Here? Not at all. Rapes, murders...you don't hear about that really. It's mostly petty crime and pick pockets (throngs of kids that look innocent but are stealing from your pockets). If you have read the news lately, unfortunately, there is a percolating and growing civil unrest and many Ethiopians have been killed throughout the country. On the other hand, it's a huge post and with hundreds of kids/families. I think you just need to be aware, like anywhere else. - Aug 2016
Yes, there are. Standard big city concerns. So much poverty means constant harassment by beggars. Petty street crime is common. Current political unrest, while only recently acknowledged by DoS, has been standard since our arrival, almost a year ago. - Aug 2016
No. The city is very safe. There are some reports of petty crime (muggings), but they're rare and generally non-violent. - Feb 2016
We felt quite safe most of the time. There is petty crime and there have been problems late at night in the Bole area but nothing worse than any big city. Be smart, go in groups, etc. The big safety concern is driving. Roads are poorly maintained as are most of the vehicles. People tend to walk on the streets or cross without looking. And don't get me started on the livestock and dogs wandering around . . . - May 2014
Pick-pocketing occurs with frequency while walking in most public areas in Addis Ababa. Most petty crime can be avoided if you focus on good security practices. Residential break-ins are extremely rare and there is no such thing as carjackings here (yet). There was a spike of violent muggings during the dark hours last year, but this trend seems to have abated with law enforcement efforts. - Jan 2014
Mostly petty, non-violent crime like pickpocketing. However, a woman probably should not walk around at night alone. - Nov 2013
Other than pickpockets and aggressive panhandlers, no special concerns. - Jun 2012
Addis is actually quite safe. I walk across town routinely in daylight hours and apart from the usual begging and occasional hassle have not yet had a problem.(I am male, this seems to matter a bit.)Night time is a different story, though again, this is a much safer city than most. - Aug 2010
No, Addis is one of the safest cities I have visited in Africa. - Jun 2010
Not bad. - Mar 2008