Acting Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn since 2012.
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Ethiopia features some of the highest and most stunning places on the African continent, such as the jaggedly carved Simien Mountains, and some of the lowest, such as the sulphur fumaroles and lunar-like landscape of the Danakil Depression. It is also one of Africa's greatest cultural destinations, with no fewer than eight UNESCO World Heritage sites, including the mystical rock-hewn churches of Lalibela.
Ethiopia is the only country in Africa never to have been fully colonised (with the exception of a five-year occupation by Mussolini's Italy) and so retains a unique culture, has its own script and language (Amharic) and maintains a strong sense of national identity. Years of totalitarian abuse at the hands of the Derg socialist military regime (1974-1991), drought, famine and continuing border disputes with Eritrea have taken their toll, but Ethiopia survives as an ancient and fascinating destination.