Ethiopia Trade, Exports and Imports


Ethiopia is one of the few African countries which do not have oil and mineral resources. Ethiopia trade is highly dependent on the export of agricultural productivity. Coffee is the prime export product for Ethiopia. However, recurring drought, political instability and involvement in Eritrean war (1998-2000) has hampered coffee production.


Ethiopia Trade: Exports

Coffee export accounts for approximately 65% of the foreign exchange for the country. As per the 2005 estimates, coffee production engages almost 25% of the working population and contributes 10% to the national production data. In 2007, Ethiopia signed an export partnership deal with Starbucks, the world's largest coffeehouse chain.


Apart from coffee, livestock is another major export sector for Ethiopia. In terms of world livestock production, Ethiopia holds the tenth position.  A major portion of the livestock production is exported to neighboring countries. Other main items of export are gold, leather products, khat and oil seeds. The country’s leather industry has witnessed tremendous growth since 2005, which is mostly due to large scale private investment. The country is exporting raw leather as well as luxury leather-made products. Floriculture is also expected to rise in the near future due to massive investment in the sector. If the growth in floriculture sustains, Ethiopia can become one of the largest exporter of flowers and plants in the world.  As per 2009, Germany is the prime export partner of Ethiopia. It accounts for more than 11% of the total export volume. Other major partners are Saudi Arabia, Netherlands, US, Switzerland and Italy.

Ethiopia Trade: Imports

In the year 2009, Ethiopia's import volume grossed over US $6 billion. Ethiopia trade imports include food, animals, machinery, transport equipments, fuel, cereals, vehicles and textiles. China is the largest import partner for Ethiopia. It accounts for over 16% of the total import volumes, based on 2009 statistics. Saudi Arabia, India, Italy and Japan also have significant share in Ethiopia imports.  Owing to heavy import of petroleum products, Ethiopia does not enjoy favorable balance of trade. With the liberalization of trade practices, the country looks poised to achieve higher levels of export.