Conflict has forced more than one million people to flee their homes

Ethiopia plans to indefinitely postpone its national census because of the large number of people left homeless by conflict in parts of the country, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s office has said in a statement.

People currently living in camps needed to return to their homes, before the census – which was due to have started on 7 April – could be conducted, it added.

Parliament – which has the final say – would be asked to approve the indefinite postponement.

The census had been postponed twice before – in 2017 and 2018, according to the state-linked Fana Broadcasting Corporate news site.

More than one million people have fled their homes because of largely ethnic-driven conflict in Ethiopia.

The census is vital to determine the country’s population, and would influence the allocation of budgets for each region – a contentious issue that tends to spark political tensions.

Ethiopia last carried out a census in 2007. Its population is estimated to be 102.5 million, making it the most populous African state after Nigeria.

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