Sidama Region

Sidaama National Regional State is located in the south-central part of Ethiopia. Relatively, the Sidaama region is bordered with Oromia region in the north, northeast, east, southeast, southwest, northwest, and with Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples Region in the central south (Gedeo Zone) and west (Wolayitta Zone). It shares an administrative boundary line of about 86% with the Oromia region and 14% with the SNNP region. The total area of the region is estimated to be 6806.231/6981.8 square kilometers. Geographically speaking, the Sidaama region extends roughly from 6014’54’’ to 7015’10’’ North latitudes and 37010’05’’ to 39015’01’’ East longitudes.

The Sidaama region is naturally known for different physical features which are the results of the geological episodes of the tertiary period and the subsequent geomorphic processes. Topologically, the region is characterized by flat to moderately steep sloping land with different landforms such as mountains, plateau, rugged hills, valleys, ridges, rivers, and lakes. The altitudinal range of the region is the lowest about 1,148 meters above sea level at the shoreline of Lake Abaya in the south western part of the region and the highest about 3,368 meters above sea level at Mt. Garamba in the north of Yayye Town, capital of Harbagona district. Furthermore, the region is rich in varied soil types and three agroecological zones; consisting of 12.5% Kolla, 67.9% Woyna-Dega, and 19.5% Dega, with enormous biodiversity.


The region is surprisingly blessed with abundant water resources due to its mountainous topography and temperate latitude. And also the nature and orientation of the geographic features impacted the regional boundary of Sidaama touches 3 out of 9 major drainage pattern systems of Ethiopia (Rift Valley Lakes, Ganale-Dawa, and Wabeshebele drainage basins). As a result, the streams in the region flow in the direction of these three drainage basins. Among these basins, the Wabeshebele basin touches a small part of the northeastern Guguma-Wotara watershed in Sidaama. The major rivers that flow from the Sidaama region are Loggita, Geambeelto, Gidaawo, Bo’noora, Galaana, Koolla, Bogga, Worqa, Kado, Jigeessa, Ereerte, and Malgaancho.


On the other hand, three major rivers such as Gannaale, Hamile, and Darra flow between Sidaama and neighboring regions. Similarly, the Bilaatte river serves as the pivotal point that connects Sidaama, Oromia, and SNNP Regional  States, which flows between Sidaama and SNNP regions about 48 kilometers; and then it leaves a common path and flows within Lokka Abaya district of Sidaama region for about 11 kilometers until it discharges into Lake Abaya.


In addition to rivers, the portions of two major Rift Valley Lakes are found in the Sidaama National Regional State. These are Lake Abaya and Lake Hawaasa. Lake Abaya is the Largest Rift Valley Lake which is partly found in the Sidaama region. Lake Hawaasa is topologically located in a closed sub-basin inflowing only by a single Daka River. 


With regards to the modes of transport, the Sidaama region has two modes of transport: Road and Air transport. In the region, about 11 district centers are connected by asphalt roads and the rest of the district centers are connected by gravel roads with nearby administrative units. The longest asphalt road in the region is the African Trans International Highway Line, which links Addis Ababa with Nairobi (the capital of Kenya). This international highway crosses the Sidaama region into two starting from Bridge of Daaka River that links Hawaasa city with Bishan Guracha town and stretches about 90 kilometers ending at Bridge of Darra River that connects Dilla town with Machisho Municipal town Darra woreda.

On the other hand, Hawaasa Airport is one of the Air Transport systems in Ethiopia found in the Sidaama region. Recently, this Air P is providing fast transportation service between Sidaama (Hawaasa) and Addis Ababa. So, increasing connectedness of the African Trans 4 international highway line to Sidaama land and Airline to/from Hawaasa has made the Sidaama region one of the functional strategic locations in the country.

Agriculture is the most predominant economic sector in the region followed by trade (service and products) and industry (including manufacturing and tourism industries). The capital of the region, Hawaasa, is recognized to be a center of tourism and industry in south-central Ethiopia. Most commercial, industrial, and urban agricultural activities are major economic activities in Hawaasa city and other urban centers. On the other hand, agricultural economic activities such as cultivation and livestock production are economic resources that are largely practiced in the rural parts of the region. Lokka Abaya is the leading wereda (district) by livestock production.

In the Sidaama region, crop production is widely used for household consumption and commercial purposes. Crop types that are mainly used by the people of the Sidaama region for household consumption as food are weese/Enset, cereals, pulses, tubers, vegetables, and fruits. Weese is the major staple and highly drought-resistant food crop in the region and it grows in all agro-ecological zones of Sidaama. In addition to household consumption-oriented crop production, the majority of the people in the region are known for market-oriented crop cultivation such as coffee, khat, tobacco, cotton, and sugarcane. Coffee is the major cash crop and main income-generating agricultural activity for rural people in the region. It is also the leading export crop in the region. As a result of this, Sidaama is the region of many producers and suppliers of washed and unwashed coffee to the central market in the country. Furthermore, coffee in the region has a special socio-cultural networking value. Amazingly, the people of the Sidaama region hold coffee ceremonies to deal with issues at the household level as well as at communal levels. Today, the coffee ceremony has become a popular activity for tourists in Sidaama particular and other regions in general.

On the other hand, the Sidaama region has several hot and cold springs, mines and precious minerals, forests, and other natural resources. Some of the available but not fully studied mines and mineral resources in the region are rock aggregates/rhyolites, hot springs, sand, diatomite, basalt, and gold. Specifically, gold and other minerals are found in  Bansa, Chabbe, and Hookko districts of the region. Generally, the Sidaama National  Regional  State is rich in minerals of enormous economic benefits and prospects.