One of the nine ethnic regions of the country. It was established in 1994 after the overthrow of the military regime of the Derg and the coming to power of the EPRDF (The Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front). It is located in the eastern part of Ethiopia, bordering Eritrea and Djibouti. The autonomous status was ensured by the 1994 Constitution.
Along with three other regions (Gambela, Benishangul-Gumuz and Somalia) is recognized as the least socially-economically developed region, which accounts for the largest number of federal grants and subsidies.
Until the beginning of the reign of Derg, the titular ethnic group of the autonomy - Afar - lived under the leadership of the Sultan and retained a high degree of autonomy from the central Ethiopian government later. In 1975, the Sultan was forced to flee the persecution, and Afar began to struggle against the regime.
Afars are different from the dominant ethnic groups of Ethiopia (Amhara, Tigrayans) by language and religion. The Afar language is linked to the Cushitic branch of the Afrasian languages (while the languages of the Amhara and Tigrayans are linked to the Semitic languages). The Afars are Sunni Muslims. In the population of the region, Afars account for more than 90%.
Despite the participation of the Afar National Democratic Party in the ruling alliance of EPRDF, separatist sentiments are strong in the region. Afar Revolutionary Democratic Unity Front (ARDUF) fights against the central government, aiming at the reunification of the two parts of the once one region, which was divided between Eritrea and Ethiopia.