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The Ministry of Trade is reporting that the number of people exporting flowers, livestock and agricultural products increased dramatically last year; from 546 to 9,396.
Importers also increase as well despite the difficulties they face from the lack of hard currency. There were 39,861 people importing raw material, clothing, electronics, cosmetics and drugs into the country, an increase from the 13,699 importers last year.
In both the import and export markets individual and private limited companies dominated the business.
More than 94 percent of import and export trading businesses are owned by men although there is a slight increase of female importers.
Many exporters obtain their products from rural areas, but their offices are located in Addis Ababa so they can have easy access to customs, trade offices, and transportation.
The export trade mainly relies on agricultural products like livestock. In addition to Ethiopians people from China, Turkey, the US, Denmark, Kenya, South Africa, Israel, Sweden, Norway, and Australia work in the export/import business.
Ethiopia’s exported goods and services represent 8.1% of the total Ethiopian economic output or Gross Domestic Product. Asian Countries took in 42.7% of Ethiopian exports while 29.1% were sold to European nations. Ethiopia shipped another 16.8% worth of goods to fellow African nations, with 8.5% of Ethiopia’s shipments going to customers in North America.
Coffee export accounts for approximately close to one third of the foreign exchange for the country. Apart from coffee, livestock is another major export sector for Ethiopia. In terms of world livestock production, Ethiopia holds the tenth position.
Floriculture is also expected to rise in the near future due to massive investment in the sector. Other main items of export are gold, leather products, khat and oil seeds.
Ethiopia’s main imports are: foodstuffs, textile, machinery and fuel. Ethiopia’s main trading partners are: China (18 percent of total imports), Saudi Arabia (13 percent), United States (9 percent), Russia and India.
Ethiopia’s trade imports include food, animals, machines, transport equipment, fuel, cereals, vehicles and textiles.
In the first seven months of the budget year the government projected export earnings of USD 2.48 billion but the actual achievement stood at USD 1.4 billion. A year ago that figure was USD 1.5 billion.
Ethiopia’s debt to GDP ratio stood at 56 percent last year.