Arba Minch (Amharic: አርባ ምንጭ, “forty springs”) is a city and separate woreda in southern Ethiopia; the first common name for this city was Ganta Garo. Located in the Gamo Gofa Zone of the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples Region about 500 kilometers south of Addis Ababa, at an elevation of 1285 meters above sea level. It is the largest town in Gamo Gofa Zone and the second town in SNNPR next to Awassa. It is surrounded by Arba Minch Zuria woreda and the most resourceful zone in southern region including two largest Lakes in Ethiopia (Chamo and Abaya), more than 40 springs, National Nech sar park, crocodile market, several fruits including banana, apple, mango, avocado, etc.
Arba Minch received its name for the abundant local springs which produce a groundwater forest. Located at the base of the western side of the Great Rift Valley, Arba Minch consists of the uptown administrative centre of Shecha and 4 kilometers away the downtown commercial and residential areas of Sikela, which are connected by a paved road. On the eastern side of Sikela is the gate to Nechisar National Park, which covers the isthmus between Lake Abaya to the north and Lake Chamo to the south.Buses and taxis connect the uptown and downtown parts; both parts have schools. Kulfo River flows through the town, and drains into Lake Chamo.
Arba Minch is known as a source for fruit, including mango, banana, orange, apple, guava and pineapple, and is also known for its fish farms. Indicating its richness of fish a local singer named Abile Chedo sang the song “Nu Dere Gamo Gofa Oycha Arbaminche muziri kalsi yedes Abaya-Chamo mole”. It is the home of Arba Minch University and the Southwest Synod of the Mekane Yesus Church. The town also is served by Arba Minch Airport, (ICAO code HAAM, IATA AMH).
Arba Minch was founded in the early 1960s by then Fitawrari Aemeroselasie Abebe and the city succeeded Chencha as the provincial capital of Gamo Gofa. The oral tradition has it that Fitawrari Aemiro Selassie Abebe had to fight with prominent figures of Chencha (Aba Gaga) to move the capital from Chencha to Arbaminch. One of the reasons for Aemiroselassie Abebe to move the provincial centre from Chencha to Arbaminch was for travelers from Gidole to Chencha to take a break after a long, hot crossing of the arid Rift Valley.nRoads were built linking the new town to Soddo and making Arba Minch only a day’s journey by road to the capital, Addis Ababa. A telephone line connecting the town to the capital, costing E$ 250,000, was turned up on 15 July 1967.
The Norwegian Lutheran Mission opened a station at Arba Minch in 1970, which included a trade school; the school’s operation was later taken over by the Mekane Yesus Church. At the beginning of the Ethiopian Revolution public demonstrations occurred in the town, and four people were killed in clashes with the police on 28 March 1974. Following the revolution privately held plantations were made into state farms.
The 193 million birr Arba Minch Textile Mill was opened on 6 May 1992 in the presence of Ethiopian Prime Minister Tamirat Layne. The mill would produce polyester mixed with cotton grey fabrics. According to the SNNPR’s Bureau of Finance and Economic Development, as of 2003 other amenities in Arba Minch include postal service, 24-hour electrical service, a bank and a hospital. May 2010, the Ethiopian Roads Authority awarded a contract worth 563 million E$ to the construction firm of Brehane Hagos to build a road 60 kilometers in length from this town to Belta. The United States military operated a facility at Arba Minch from 2011 until September 2015. The facility served as the base for several General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicles.