Young Pioneer Tours

Is Eritrea the North Korea of Africa?

Is Eritrea the North Korea of Africa? No, it is not! It is very much its own country doing its own thing. We personally do not like people saying this!

Why is Eritrea a country?

Unknown to many people, Ethiopia was pretty much the only country in Africa not to be colonized; bar a brief period of Italian rule. Italy colonized Eritrea which was part of Ethiopia. This is still evident in the architecture, but mostly by the food. So there is more history between Eritrea and Italy than there is with any East Asian nation. Sorry, Eritrea is not the North Korea of Africa here!

The United Kingdom administered Eritrea after World War II. Ethiopia wanted to reincorporate Eritrea, which was granted to them. Initially it was supposed to be a federation, with Eritrea having a lot of autonomy. This autonomy was short lived. What was to follow was a 30-year fight for independence, initially against the regime of Haile Sellesse, with the hated regime of the Derg following after.

Eritrea gets independence

In 1993 Eritrea gained independence after a UN sponsored referendum passed pretty much unanimously. Peace was not to follow and there would be an on/off war with Ethiopia for the next 25 years. Thankfully, there is now a tacit peace between the two nations, with it being possible to travel between the neighbors.

What is the government system of Eritrea?

Eritrea has been governed by the Eritrean People’s Liberation Frong (EPLF) under its political wing–the Peoples Front for Democracy and Justice. Despite initially planning elections, these have been officially postponed due to the ongoing war with Ethiopia. This is one reason why people say Eritrea is the North Korea of Africa. These one-party socialist states do have some similarities.

Eritrean parade with the national flag
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The People’s Front for Democracy and Justice is officially open to people of all political persuasions, but the country certainly aims to be a socialist state. The government owns most of the industry, but there is a lot of private enterprise flourishing. This passively mutes the “Eritrea is the North Korea of Africa” slur. In fact, there are some truly amazing private restaurants. The Italian legacy is ubiquitous in the food here! You will be eating pasta, pizza and gelatto quite a lot. They also make their own version of Ferna Branca, which is extremely good.

The Eritrean Visa

When it comes to getting a visa, Eritrea is the North Korea of Africa! Eritrean visas are hard to get and require a government invitation, like North Korea. Thankfully we can get you these visas!.

To truly understand the country, you need to  visit on one of our group, or independent tours.

You’ll get approved if you join us!
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