Ethiopia – Country Profile

Ethiopia – Country Profile

General Information

Official Name Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
Capital Addis Ababa
Land Area 1,221,900 sq. km
Population 96.5 M
Currency 1 $CAD = 16.15 Ethiopian Birr
Language(s) Amharic, Orominya, Tigrinya, Afar, Somali and Others
Source: Economic Intelligence Unit, Oanda (Currency Conversion 10/02/2015)

Political Information

Form of State Federal Republic
Head of State President Mulatu Teshome
Elections Last: May 2010, Next: May 2015
Source: Economic Intelligence Unit

Economic Information

Ethiopia Canada
GDP $57 billion $1,668 billion
GDP per capita $1,787 $47,531
GDP annual growth rate 9.66% 2.01%
GDP – composition by sector Agriculture: 47%Industry: 10.8%Services: 42.2% Agriculture: 1.7%Industry: 28.4%Services: 69.9%
Inflation rate – average consumer prices 8.07% 0.96%
Main industries Food processing, beverages, textiles, leather, chemicals, metals processing, cement. Transportation equipment, chemicals, processed and unprocessed minerals, food products, wood and paper products, fish products, petroleum and natural gas.
Note: 2013 data in Canadian dollars ($CAD)
Source: IMF World Economic Outlook, World Bank Data, CIA World Factbook, Bank of Canada (Currency Conversion 10/02/2015.

Political and Economic Stability

Since 2010, the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Front (EPRDF), a coalition of five political parties under the leadership of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), has held 546 out of 547 seats in the House of People’s Representatives therefore there is no real parliamentary opposition.

The government of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi launched economic reforms aimed at stimulating economic growth and economic diversification. This reforms included a five-year Growth and Transportation Plan aimed at building roads and railways systems and several mega-dams to increase energy production and help with exports.

Ethiopia’s macroeconomic performance continues to be strong, this is due to the higher agricultural production, and public sector investments and foreign direct investments. Tight monetary policy has help to achieve the National Bank of Ethiopia inflation objectives. This allowed to keep inflation in the single digits.

Ethiopia’s economic growth has been the main driver for poverty reduction. In the year 2000 Ethiopia had one of the highest poverty rates in the world, poverty fell from 44 percent in 2000 to 33 percent in 2011. The rate of poverty reduction in Ethiopia since 2000 has been impressive in comparison to the other African countries. Only Uganda has had a higher poverty reduction in the same period.


The Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada (DFATD) recommends that Canadians exercise a high degree of caution when traveling in Ethiopia due to the volatile security situation. For detailed and up-to-date information on travel security, please refer to the DFATD Travel Report for Ethiopia.

Trade Information

Trade Partners & Direction 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 Average Yearly Growth
Ethiopia exports to the World $ 2,399 $ 2,584 $ 2,890 $ 2,667 $ 3,286 6%
Ethiopia exports to United States $ 105 $ 97 $ 116 $ 125 $ 164 9%
Ethiopia exports to Canada $ 15 $ 17 $ 18 $ 18 $ 25 10%
Canadian Exports to Ethiopia $ 178 $ 20 $ 124 $ 21 $ 137 -5%
Note: Data in millions of Canadian dollars ($CAD)
Source: Trade Data Online (Industry Canada), Trade Map (International Trade Centre), World Integrated Trade Solution (World Bank), United States Trade Representative
Excluding mineral products (HS2 Codes 26-27 and 71-80)
Source: International Trade Centre Trade Map
Excluding mineral products (HS2 Codes 26-27 and 71-80)
Source: Industry Canada Trade Data Online

Business Climate

The World Bank’s annual Doing Business report ranks economies from 1 to 189 (with 1 being the best) on their ease of doing business. In the 2014 report, Ethiopia ranked 132 overall and 168 for Trading Across Borders, which measures the ease with which a standardized shipment of goods can be imported or exported across its borders. The average time to ship goods out of Ethiopia is approximately 44 days, with a low average estimated cost of $CAD 2,962 per 20-foot container. To complete the export process, only eight forms of documentation are required: bank permit, bill of lading, certificate of origin, commercial invoice, customs export declaration, export permit, health and fumigation certificate, packing list.

Although there are many reputable exporters in Ethiopia, Canadian importers should be aware that corruption could be an issue when doing business in the country. Ethiopia ranked 111 out of 177 in Transparency International’s 2013 Corruption Perceptions Index where 1st place indicates least corrupt. Canadian companies are advised to exercise strict due diligence before working with a company from Ethiopia to ensure that it is a bona fide and reputable entity. It is suggested that Canadian importers commission a report by a credit information provider to verify the financial strength of the partner.

Sustainability Initiatives

In 1999 The Oromia Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union (OCFCU) was created, the cooperative includes 274 primary cooperatives representing 254,052 households. The aim of the organization is to help small scale coffer farmers to take advantage of the Fair Trade coffee market. The main focus OCFCU is to improve the farmer’s income by exporting their coffee directly, improve the social condition of farmers among others.

In June 2014 the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the Centre for Accelerated Woman’s Economic Empowerment (CAWEE) had an exhibition of leather products manufactured by a small production units owned by Ethiopian women. The goal of this project is to have inclusive economic growth and sustainable industrial development through the empowerment of women.

Trade Opportunities

Ethiopia’s economy is mostly based on coffee but the government is trying to implement initiatives for economic diversity to have a wider economic base. Ethiopia’s export to Canada has shown an average increased growth of 10% for the past five year (2009- 2014). In the year 2014 it represented $CAD 25M. Ethiopia has a wide range of export products that can be of interest to Canadian markets.

1. Coffee
Ethiopia’s coffee is the number one export to Canada representing 73% of the top ten products exported by Ethiopia. In the year 2014 this was equivalent to approximately CAD$17M. According to the Coffee Association of Canada coffee is the most commonly consumed beverage among adult Canadians with a 65% of preference. It is also an important economic sector with an estimated total value of CAD$5 Billion. It is a great opportunity for Canadians importers due to the large market that Canada offers. It is also considered the fastest growing value added food sector export.

2. Oil Seeds
Ethiopia is rank number one on the exports of oil seeds in Africa. Canada imported from Ethiopia in the year 2014 an approximate of CAD$3M. Among the oil seeds that Ethiopia produces are sesame seed, mustard seed, pumpkin seed, sunflower seeds, castor seed and ground nuts. According to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation Ethiopia is the largest producer of sesame seed in Africa and the fourth largest in the world. Ethiopia produces high quality sesame seeds which makes them suitable for a wide range of application, for example: oil, cooking, and many different uses.

3. Leather Products
Ethiopia’s leather products exports to Canada have steadily increased over the past five years. In the year 2014 this was equivalent to CAD$650,000. Although this seems not to be a big amount in exports to Canada in comparison with other products. It is still a good opportunity for Canadian Importers due to the efforts of the Ethiopian government to increase their leather exports. Leather is a versatile product and it has many uses for example it used in the assembly of footwear. Another product that Ethiopia manufactures is leather gloves that can range from gardening gloves to more stylish gloves for winter or the fashion industry.

4. Emerging Sector: Aerospace.
The aerospace service sector in Ethiopia is growing. In 2013 the government owned Ethiopian Airlines maintenance facility was accepted by Bombardier as a worldwide network of authorized service facility for commercial aircraft in the continent. The facility employs over 750 technicians, this agreement will allow the country to offer maintenance to other carries around Africa.

TFO Canada Export Offers

TFO Canada provides an information service for Canadian importers interested in sourcing products from developing and emerging economies such as Ethiopia. This includes practical advice on sourcing from developing country exporters, a customized news bulletin including new leads from Ethiopia as they come in, and a searchable database for sourcing new products and suppliers. The chart below provides a rough idea of the number of supplier profiles from Ethiopia, available online with contact information through TFO Canada’s searchable Supplier Database.

Industry Group No. of Suppliers in TFO Canada Database
Clothing(not including footwear) 2
Fashion Accessories 1
Food Products and Beverages(incl. seafood) 2
Footwear 1

Useful Links

Ministry of Finance and Economic Development
Ethiopian Pulses, Oilseeds & Spices Processors- Exporters Association
Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce & Sectorial Associations
Ministry of Trade

Links to Cited Documents

Bank of Canada – Daily Currency Convertor
Canadian Trade Commissioner Service – Country Info
CIA World Factbook
DFATD (Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade & Development) – Foreign Relations
DFATD (Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade & Development) – Travel Reports
EDC (Export Development Canada) – Country Profiles
Industry Canada – Trade Data Online
International Trade Centre – Trade Map
Transparency International – Corruption Perception Index
World Bank – Doing Business Report
World Bank – Open Data
Bank of Canada – Daily Currency Convertor
Canadian Trade Commissioner Service – Country Info
CIA World Factbook
DFATD (Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade & Development) – Foreign Relations
DFATD (Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade & Development) – Travel Reports
EDC (Export Development Canada) – Country Profiles