// World Watch List


  • Leader: Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn
  • Population: 104.3 million (65.7 million Christians)
  • Main Religion: Christianity (mainly Orthodox), Muslim
  • Government: Federal republic
  • World Watch List Rank: 22
  • Source of Persecution: Islamic extremism/ Denominational elitism

Although Ethiopia is a Christian majority country, complex religious and ethnic tensions combined with political and civil unrest mean that pressure on Christians is very high.

In areas such as Afar and the Somali regions, where ethnicity and Islam are interconnected, Christians face discrimination and even violence from their families and communities. The government is becoming more authoritarian and has brought in laws restricting the areas religious institutions can engage in. Sadly, fanatical elements of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church also attempt to undermine other denominations.

Read more about persecution in Ethiopia

Please Pray 

  • For greater freedom for the church, and that it will be able to build positive relationships with the government
  • For unity within the church - that they would work together to expand God's kingdom.
  • Ethiopia saw massive protests and violence in 2015 and 2016 and has been under a state of emergency since October 2016. Pray for greater stability and freedom for Ethiopia's people.


How we help

Through local partners and churches, Open Doors has been active in Ethiopia since the late 1980s. Our work is focused around equipping Christians for the work of ministry, as well as helping Christians to deal with the emotional and physical results of persecution. This includes:

  • Preparing believers for persecution and offering relief in certain cases
  • Livelihood support
  • Cross-cultural evangelism training and support
  • Management training for church leaders
  • Theological and discipleship training.