Ethiopia’s Top 10 Imports

Ethiopia’s top 10 imports Ethiopian flag

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Located on the Horn of Africa and officially named the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Ethiopia’s imports amounted to an estimated US$9.6 billion in 2018, down -34.6% since 2014 mostly weighted down by a -34.5% reduction from 2017 to 2018.

Ethiopian imports represent a miniscule 0.05% of total global imports which totaled $19.690 trillion.

From a continental perspective, two-thirds (66.9%) of Ethiopia’s total imports by value in 2017 were purchased from Asian countries. European trade partners supplied 17% of import purchases by Ethiopia while 8.7% worth of goods originated from North America. At 6%, a smaller percentage came from fellow African exporters with just 1.3% sent from Latin America (excluding Mexico) but including the Caribbean.

Given Ethiopia’s population of 108.4 million people, its total $9.6 billion in 2018 imports translates to roughly $90 in yearly product demand from every person in the northeast African country.

Ethiopia’s Top 10 Imports

Top 10

The following product groups represent the highest dollar value in Ethiopia’s import purchases during 2018. Also shown is the percentage share each product category represents in terms of overall imports into Ethiopia.

  1. Aircraft, spacecraft: US$1.9 billion (19.8% of total imports)
  2. Machinery including computers: $1.6 billion (16.7%)
  3. Electrical machinery, equipment: $811.7 million (8.4%)
  4. Iron, steel: $452.1 million (4.7%)
  5. Vehicles: $451.9 million (4.7%)
  6. Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $423.9 million (4.4%)
  7. Pharmaceuticals: $407.7 million (4.2%)
  8. Plastics, plastic articles: $341.5 million (3.6%)
  9. Articles of iron or steel: $237.3 million (2.5%)
  10. Cereals: $221.2 million (2.3%)

Ethiopia’s top 10 imports accounted for over two-thirds (71.3%) of the overall value of its product purchases from other countries.

Two product categories expanded in cost from 2017 to 2018, namely aircraft and spacecraft (up 476.1%) and unknitted and non-crocheted clothing or accessories (up 99.5%).

Leading the decliners were vehicles (down -67.9%), cereals (down -65.4%) and articles made from iron or steel (down -58.3%).

Please note that the results listed above are at the 2-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level. Information presented under other virtual folder tabs is at the more granular 4-digit level.

At the more detailed four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, Ethiopia’s most valuable imported products are turbo-jets, medication mixes in dosage, phone system devices including smartphones, unknitted and non-crocheted men’s suits and trousers, wheat, refined petroleum oils, iron or non-alloy steel bars, cars then aircraft parts.

Aircraft

In 2018, Ethiopian importers spent the most on the following subcategories of aircraft and spacecraft.

  1. Aircraft, spacecraft: US$665 million (up 217.4% from 2017)
  2. Aircraft parts: $144.8 million (up 31%)
  3. Aircraft launch gear, ground fly trainer: $7.2 million (down -27%)
  4. Parachutes, accessories: $137,000 (down -77.2%)

Among these import subcategories, only Ethiopian purchases of aircraft and spacecraft (up 217.4%) and aircraft parts (up 31%) grew from 2017 to 2018.

These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of aircraft-related imports among Ethiopian businesses and consumers.

Machinery

In 2018, Ethiopian importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of machinery including computers.

  1. Turbo-jets: US$419.9 million (up 59.4% from 2017)
  2. Industrial preparation machinery: $108.6 million (up 7%)
  3. Centrifuges, filters and purifiers: $88.9 million (up 3.4%)
  4. Temperature-change machines: $78 million (up 79.6%)
  5. Computers, optical readers: $62.3 million (down -63.4%)
  6. Liquid pumps and elevators: $59.9 million (up 5.5%)
  7. Dishwashing, clean/dry/fill machines: $49.5 million (up 34.7%)
  8. Miscellaneous machinery: $44 million (down -16%)
  9. Rubber/plastic article making machines: $43.5 million (down -39.7%)
  10. Sort/screen/washing machinery: $41.2 million (down -47.8%)

Among these import subcategories, Ethiopian purchases of temperature-change machines (up 79.6%), turbo-jets (up 59.4%) then dishwashing, cleaning, drying or filling machines (up 34.7%) grew at the fastest pace from 2017 to 2018.

These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of machinery-related imports among Ethiopian businesses and consumers.

Electronics

In 2018, Ethiopian importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of electrical goods including consumer electronics.

  1. Phone system devices including smartphones: US$195.3 million (up 47% from 2017)
  2. Electrical/optical circuit boards, panels: $88.7 million (down -42.5%)
  3. Electrical converters/power units: $80.8 million (down -57%)
  4. Electric generating sets, converters: $69.7 million (up 1.5%)
  5. Insulated wire/cable: $60.7 million (down -55%)
  6. TV receivers/monitors/projectors: $42 million (down -32.7%)
  7. TV/radio/radar device parts: $20.8 million (up 15.9%)
  8. High-voltage switches, fuses: $20.6 million (down -53.7%)
  9. Lower-voltage switches, fuses: $18.5 million (down -61.6%)
  10. Electric storage batteries: $18 million (down -63.5%)

Among these import subcategories, Ethiopian purchases of phone system devices including smartphones (up 47%), TV, radio and radar device parts (up 15.9%) then electric generating sets and converters (up 1.5%) grew from 2017 to 2018.

These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of electronics-related imports among Ethiopian businesses and consumers.

Iron

In 2018, Ethiopian importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of iron and steel products.

  1. Iron or non-alloy steel bars, rods: US$150.7 million (down -18% from 2017)
  2. Flat-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products (plated/coated): $96.9 million (down -42.3%)
  3. Cold-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products: $50.9 million (down -54.1%)
  4. Iron or non-alloy steel products (semi-finished): $46.4 million (down -69.6%)
  5. Iron ferroalloys: $27.5 million (up 1814.1%)
  6. Alloy steel bars, rods: $20.1 million (up 516.5%)
  7. Hot-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products: $16.3 million (down -83.4%)
  8. Coiled iron or non-alloy steel bars, rods: $12.3 million (up 20.1%)
  9. Iron or non-alloy steel wire: $11 million (down -35.4%)
  10. Iron or non-alloy steel angles, shapes, sections: $6.1 million (down -74.5%)

Among these import subcategories, Ethiopian purchases of iron ferroalloys (up 1,814%), alloy steel bars and rods (up 516.5%) then coiled iron or non-alloy steel bars and rods (up 20.1%) grew from 2017 to 2018.

These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of iron and steel-related imports among Ethiopian businesses and consumers.



 
See also Ethiopia’s Top 10 Exports and Top African Export Countries

Research Sources:
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Country Profiles. Accessed on September 11, 2019

International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Databases (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on September 11, 2019

International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on September 11, 2019