Ethiopia: Top ten importers of Ethiopian goods

(HornTrade) – Sudan is the second highest African importer of Ethiopian products says the country’s export performance report for 2009/2010 has indicated.

Despite long–running conflict and political unrest, Somalia –another neighbour of Ethiopia – is leading importer of on the continent.

Over the 2009/2010 financial year, Somalia imported goods worth $172 million, while Sudan follows, buying $115 million of mainly agricultural products from Ethiopia.

The new report released by Access Capital, a local firm engaged in research and various investment activities in the country revealed that the destination of Ethiopia’s exports has seen a ‘rapid shift’, with some long-standing markets being replaced by unexpected new destinations.

Accordingly, Switzerland has now tops the list replacing China, which was the leading importer of Ethiopian goods past few years.

“In terms of overall ranking, Switzerland is now at the top of the list having bought 224 million US dollars of goods from Ethiopia compared to the 215 million US dollars bought by China and the 196 million US dollars bought by Germany,” the report released this week noted.

“Each of these top three destinations for Ethiopia’s exports take up roughly 10 percent of the country’s total exports.” It said adding “The unexpected ranking of Switzerland reflects the purchase of gold by Swiss banks and is in line with a common worldwide pattern of trade in gold between commercial and/or central banks.”

The report stated that Ethiopian products, are increasingly being sold to African rather than Europe:

It is also striking that countries with very low per capita incomes and highly unsettled dysfunctional domestic political environments like Sudan and Somalia are now larger markets for Ethiopia’s exports than some of the world’s richest and most stable countries.

Thus, without neglecting long-standing historical trade links, Ethiopia’s exporters would be well-served by paying equal attention to increasingly important neighbouring and regional markets in the developing world.

The 4th, 7th, and 10th largest export markets for Ethiopia are now other African countries: Somalia, Sudan, and South Africa, with each buying 172 million UD dollars, 115 million US dollars, and 74 million US dollars in Ethiopian products respectively.

Ethiopia’s annual exports reached a record $2 billion, a growth of 38 percent from the year before.

The country recently devalued its currency, the Birr, 4.8 percent against the dollar to encourage exports. The move was hailed by local exporters who said it will help them be competitive in global markets.

In terms of exports by country of destination, the big surprise—and one with a clear policy message—is the significant role that “South-South” trade linkages can play for Ethiopia’s export prospects.

The Netherlands, UAE, and the United States are respectively listed in 5th, 8th and 9th in the top 10 destinations of Ethiopian exports the report said.

The growing role of “South-South” trade is also evident in the fact that the 6th and 8th largest markets for Ethiopian exports are now Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates respectively. Indeed, somewhat to our surprise, we find that Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, UAE are each individually now bigger export markets for Ethiopia than is the United States or Italy or Great Britain or Japan.

Beyond coffee, country’s main export, sales of pulses, cut flowers, the narcotic leaf khat, and other products has seen a rise this year according to state ministry of trade.

Ethiopian exports Sudan include different agricultural products in return or oil imports. In June Ethiopia said that it has imported 1.8 million metric tons of oil from Sudan and via Djibouti at a cost of 16.4 billion Birr (around $1 billion).

Last year, Ethiopia earned 235 million birr (just over $14 million) from agricultural products it exported to Sudan.


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