General Information

Capital(s): Addis Ababa
Population: 73,053,286 (2007)
Area: 1,127,127 Km²
Currency: 1 Ethiopian birr = 100 centes
Language(s): Amharic
Time Zone: GMT+3h00
ISO Code: ET
Dialing Code: +251


Ethiopia is an independent republic which lies in the north-east corner of Africa and forms part of the North East African Region. The capital city is Addis Ababa, headquarters of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU). Other major towns are Dire Dawa and Harar.

Since the secession of Eritrea in 1993, Ethiopia has been a landlocked state. The official language is Amharic but English, Arabic and Italian are used in commerce. The local currency is the Ethiopian birr. (US$ / Birr – current exchange rate).

The international time zone for Ethiopia is GMT +3 and the international dialling code is +251. There are international airports at Addis Ababa and Dire Diwa and the principal airlines which service these airports are Ethiopian Airlines and several international air carriers. As at January 1996 nationals of most countries require visas in order to visit Ethiopia.

Malaria, tuberculosis, hepatitis A, meningitis, typhoid fever, yellow fever (regional) and schistosomiasis may be contracted while travelling in Ethiopia. The risk of contraction is based on a number of factors including location, individual’s state of health, current immunisation status, and the local disease situation. All visitors require vaccination certificates against yellow fever.


The Ethiopian economy has grown stronger as the transition from a command to a market-based economy takes place. The former system of price controls has almost been discarded, the tax rates have decreased, and several private sector restrictions have been removed. This progress is, however, at risk if conflict with Eritrea prevails.

Progress has been made on the implementation of reforms. Valued Added Tax was introduced in the country in January 2003 and the import tariff regime has been reformed. The government is embarking on measures to increase the tax base and revenues gained from it. The financial sector is also improving, with flexible interest and exchange rates that are market-determined. The emphasis on national spending is being redirected from the defense sector to social sectors such as health, sanitation, education and poverty reduction.

The Ethiopian oil industry is a key sector in the economy of the country. Its full upstream potential has yet to be assessed. It has substantial energy resources with development potential. Natural gas and associated liquid reserves have been proven in the Calub area in commercially viable quantities.

The downstream oil industry accounts for a small amount of the country’s imports. The mining industry in Ethiopia is also a significant sector with development potential. Electricity is provided by the parastatal utility, Ethiopian Electric Light and Power Authority (EELPA).

Ethiopia belongs to the COMESA agreement. Member countries enjoy preferential trade terms. Ethiopia has similar agreements with a number of countries and the EU.

The country’s economy is based on agriculture, accounting for half of GDP, 60% of exports and 80% of total employment. The agricultural sector suffers from frequent droughts and poor cultivation practices. Coffee is staple to the Ethiopian economy with exports of some $156 million in 2002, but historically low prices have seen many farmers switching to qat to supplement income.

The country suffered a terrible drought in 2002 resulting in a sharp drop in cereal production and significant increases in food prices. The effects on the economy were severe and the country had to rely on food aid from international donors. The current levels of agricultural production are almost back to normal and food levels are satisfactory.

International Trade

Ethiopia’s main export commodities include cocoa beans and products, cut flowers, fruit, gold, gum incense, oil products, petroleum products and tea and coffee. Major import commodities include chemical products, consumer goods, food ingredients, edible oils and petroleum products.

All transactions in foreign exchange must be carried out through authorised dealers under the control of the National Bank. Payments abroad for imports require exchange licences, obtainable upon presentation of a valid importer’s licence, exchange licences are also granted in any convertible currency requested. All imports require a licence. There are no free trade zones in Ethiopia.

Ethiopia is a contracting party to the Harmonised Commodity Description and Coding System of tariff classification.

Ethopia’s main trading partners are Djibouti, Germany, Japan, Saudi Arabia, United States, UAE and Italy.

Memberships (13)

African Development Bank, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, International Finance Corporation, International Monetary Fund, African Union, The World Bank Group, United Nations, Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency, Economic Commission for Africa, Customs Co-operation Council

Event Venues (2)

ECA Conference Centre, Sheraton Addis

Facilities (16)

Adola, Alemaya University, Awash II, Awash III, Bahr Dar University, Finchaa Dam, Finchaa Power Station, Genale River, Gilgel, Kenticha, Koka dam, Koka Power Station, Lega Dembi, Melka Wakena, Tis Abay I, Tis Abay II

Travel Facilities

Accommodation (43): Awassa Wbishebele Hotel, Berhane Lewath Hotel, Bishangari Lodge, Union Hotel Apart, Addis Ababa Hilton, Airport Motel, Ararat Hotel, Atlas Hotel, Awassa Wabe Shebelle Hotel, Baro Hotel, Bekele Hotel, Central Venue Hotel, Crown Hotel, D’Afrique, Ethiopia Hotel
Attractions (52): Abajatta-Shalla Lakes National Park, Addis Ababa Mercato, Addis Ababa Museum, Alledeghi Wildlife Reserve, Asheton Maryam Monastry, Awash National Park, Awash Winery, Axum Museum, Babile Elephant Sanctuary, Bale Mountains National Park, Bath of Fasilidas, Blue Nile Falls, Blue Nile Source, Chew Bahr Wildlife Reserve, Debre Birhan Selassi Church
Restaurants (23): il Caminetto Restaurant, African Queen’s Restaurant, Aladdin Restaurant, Blue Tops Restaurant, Breezes Restaurant, Castelli Restaurant, China Bar And Restaurant, Dembel Dome Restaurant, Don Vito Restaurant, Family Restaurant, Gazebo Restaurant, Habesha Restaurant, Hamlet Steak House, Jacaranda Restaurant, Le Jardin Restaurant
Transport related (44): Aba Segud Airport, Addis Ababa Bole Airport, Alula Aba Airport, Arba Mintch, ASA – Assab, Asela Airport, Asmara Yohanes Iv, Asmara Yohanes Iv Airport, ASO – Asosa, Asosa Airport, Assab Port, Awareh Airport, Awasa Airport, Awassa Airport, AWH – Awareh

Shaun Bakamoso

Greetings. I'm Shaun Bakamoso, and I'm thrilled to be your guide through the dynamic world of business news in South Africa here at With a passion for staying informed and a keen interest in the ever-evolving landscape of business, I've dedicated myself to providing you with timely, insightful, and comprehensive coverage of the latest developments impacting the South African economy. / Instagram