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Mehakelegnaw (or "The central [Zone]") is a Zone in the Ethiopian Region of Tigray. Mehakelegnaw is bordered on the east by Misraqawi (Eastern), on the south by Debubawi (Southern), on the west by Mirabawi (Western) and on the north by Eritrea. Towns and cities in Mehakelegnaw include Axum and Adwa, as well as the historically significant village of Yeha and the ancient monastery of Debre Damo.


Based on figures from the Central Statistical Agency in 2005, this zone has an estimated total population of 1,283,388, of whom 630,140 are men and 653,248 are women; 307,324 or 23.9% of its population are urban dwellers. With an estimated area of 10,353.50 square kilometers, Mehakelegnaw has an estimated population density of 123.96 people per square kilometer.[1]

The 1994 national census reported a total population for the Mehakelegnaw Zone of 943,850, of whom 464,633 were men and 479,217 women; 91,058 or 9.6% of its population were urban dwellers. The Zone is predominantly Tigrayan, at 99.6% of the population, while 0.11% were Agaw, 0.096% Amhara, and all other ethnic groups 0.12%. Tigrinya was spoken as a first language by 99.67% of the inhabitants. 98.41% of the population said they were Orthodox Christians, and 1.55% were Muslim. Concerning education in the Zone, 9.64% of the population were considered literate; 10.62% of children aged 7-12 were in primary school, while a negligible number of the children aged 13-14 were in junior secondary school, and 0.14% of children aged 15-18 were in senior secondary school. Concerning sanitary conditions, about 25% of the urban and 5.6% of all houses had access to safe drinking water at the time of the census; about 2.5% of the urban and 6% of the total had toilet facilities.[2]

According to a May 24, 2004 World Bank memorandum, 13% of the inhabitants of Mehakelegnaw have access to electricity, this zone has a road density of 29.0 kilometers per 1000 square kilometers, the average rural household has 0.8 hectare of land (compared to the national average of 1.01 hectare of land and a regional average of 0.51)[3] and the equivalent of 0.8 heads of livestock. 17% of the population is in non-farm related jobs, compared to the national average of 25% and a regional average of 28%. 74% of all eligible children are enrolled in primary school, and 28% in secondary schools. 78% of the zone is exposed to malaria, and none to Tsetse fly. The memorandum gave this zone a drought risk rating of 616.[4]


  1. CSA 2005 National Statistics, Table B.3
  2. The 1994 Population and Housing Census of Ethiopia: Tigray Region, vol. 1, part 1: Tables 2.1, 2.11, 2.14
  3. Comparative national and regional figures comes from another World Bank publication, Klaus Deininger et al. "Tenure Security and Land Related Investment", WP-2991 (accessed 23 March 2006).
  4. World Bank, Four Ethiopias: A Regional Characterization (accessed 23 March 2006).

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fr:Mehakelegnaw (zone) he:טיגראי המרכזית