That dollar metric results from a 15.4% upturn compared to $2.67 billion 5 years earlier in 2018.
From 2021 to 2022, Ethiopia’s most recent export total represents a flatlining 0.9% gain from $3.1 billion.
Ethiopia’s 5 most valuable customers for buying its exported products are the United States of America, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Germany, and the Netherlands. Collectively, that subgroup of top importers accounted for 43.5% all money spent on Ethiopian exports in 2022.
Applying a continental lens, 40.7% of Ethiopia’s exports by value were delivered to Asian countries while 27.4% were sold to importers in Europe. Ethiopia shipped another 19.1% worth of goods to Africa, with another 11.5% went to North America.
Smaller percentages went to Oceania (1.1%) mostly Australia and New Zealand, then Latin America (0.1%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean.
Ethiopia’s Top 25 Trading Partners
Below is a list showcasing Ethiopia’s top trading partners, countries that imported the most Ethiopian shipments by dollar value during 2022. Also shown is each import country’s percentage of total Ethiopian exports.
- United States: US$334.5 million (10.8% of total Ethiopian exports)
- Saudi Arabia: $267.9 million (8.7%)
- Somalia: $264.8 million (8.6%)
- Germany: $257.9 million (8.4%)
- Netherlands: $216.9 million (7%)
- United Arab Emirates: $205.7 million (6.7%)
- Belgium: $138 million (4.5%)
- Japan: $133 million (4.3%)
- mainland China: $129.9 million (4.2%)
- South Korea: $119.8 million (3.9%)
- Israel: $99.1 million (3.2%)
- India: $90.3 million (2.9%)
- Djibouti: $86.8 million (2.8%)
- Italy: $76.8 million (2.5%)
- Sudan: $47.1 million (1.5%)
- United Kingdom: $46.8 million (1.5%)
- Singapore: $42.3 million (1.4%)
- Vietnam: $38.8 million (1.3%)
- France: $37.3 million (1.2%)
- Taiwan: $33.6 million (1.1%)
- Australia: $29.9 million (1%)
- Kenya: $29 million (0.9%)
- Jordan: $27.4 million (0.9%)
- Yemen: $27.3 million (0.9%)
- Türkiye: $25.3 million (0.8%)
By value, well over four-fifths (86.5%) of Ethiopian exports in 2022 were delivered to the above 25 trading partners.
The fastest-growing importers of products shipped from Ethiopia were Kenya (up 89.6% from 2021), mainland China (up 53.8%), South Korea (up 39.8%), Sudan (up 29.4%), and Taiwan (up 27.2%).
Seven top customers posted double-digit declines in their purchases of Ethiopian exports namely Vietnam (down -42.5%), Türkiye (down -38.7%), Somalia (down -26.6%), Djibouti (down -15.7%), Singapore (down -11.9%), Yemen (also down -11.9%), and India (down -10.7%).
Countries Causing Ethiopia’s Largest Trade Deficits
Overall Ethiopia incurred a -$13.5 billion trade deficit during 2022, expanding by 10% from the -$12.2 billion in red ink one year earlier in 2021.
As defined by Investopedia, a country whose total value of all imported goods is higher than its value of all exports is said to have a negative trade balance or deficit.
It would be unrealistic for any exporting nation to expect across-the-board positive trade balances with all its importing partners. Similarly, that export country doesn’t necessarily post a negative trade balance with each individual partner with which it exchanges exports and imports.
Ethiopia incurred the highest trade deficits with the following countries:
- mainland China: -US$4.8 billion (country-specific trade deficit in 2022)
- India: -$2.3 billion
- United States of America: -$767.9 million
- Türkiye: -$718.8 million
- Morocco: -$695.9 million
- Egypt: -$567.3 million
- Malaysia: -$488.7 million
- United Arab Emirates: -$358.8 million
- Kuwait: -$340.6 million
- Ukraine: -$303.4 million
Among Ethiopia’s trading partners that cause the greatest negative trade balances, Ethiopian deficits with Egypt (up 141.8%), Morocco (up 91.7%) and mainland China (up 22.2%) grew at the fastest pace from 2021 to 2022.
These cashflow deficiencies clearly indicate Ethiopia’s competitive disadvantages with the above countries, but also represent key opportunities for Ethiopia to develop country-specific strategies to strengthen its overall position in international trade.
Countries Generating Ethiopia’s Best Trade Surpluses
Based on Investopedia’s definition of net importer, a country whose total value of all imported goods is lower than its value of all exports is said to have a positive trade balance or surplus.
In 2022, Ethiopia incurred the highest trade surpluses with the following countries:
- Somalia: US$264.8 million (country-specific trade surplus in 2022
- Germany: $88.2 million
- Israel: $78.7 million
- Sudan: $39 million
- Singapore: $30.2 million
- Jordan: $24.3 million
- Yemen: $21.3 million
- Australia: $13.6 million
- Hong Kong: $12.9 million
- Madagascar: $4.1 million
Among Ethiopia’s trading partners that generate the greatest positive trade balances, Ethiopian surpluses with Singapore (up 401.1%), Australia (up 200.4%) and Madagascar (up 106.8%) grew at the fastest pace from 2021 to 2022.
These positive cashflow streams clearly indicate Ethiopia’s competitive advantages with the above countries, but also represent key opportunities for Ethiopia to develop country-specific strategies to optimize its overall position in international trade.
Companies Servicing Ethiopian Trading Partners
Given that Ethiopia is an emerging economy, it should come as no surprise that not one Ethiopian corporation appears on the Forbes Global 2000 list.
Wikipedia does document some Ethiopian export companies. Selected examples are shown below:
- Ambo Mineral Water (bottled mineral water)
- Ethio Telecom (mobile, fixed line, broadband services)
- Marathon Motors Engineering (automobiles)
- Yebbo Communication Network (software, websites)
- Yousran International (sesame seeds, spice seeds, edible oils)
According to global trade intelligence firm Zepol, the following companies are examples of Ethiopian exporters representing diverse industries:
- A Oil Seeds and Cereals Export (beans including kidney beans)
- Haicof Limited (coffee)
- Harar Brewery Share (malt beer)
- Max Export (polypropylene)
- Packtra (polyesters, lamps)
See also Ethiopia’s Top 10 Exports, Ethiopia’s Top 10 Imports, China’s Top Trading Partners and India’s Top Trading Partners
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Country Profiles. Accessed on May 31, 2023
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on May 31, 2023
Investopedia, Net Importer Definition. Accessed on May 31, 2023
Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on May 31, 2023
Zepol’s company summary highlights by country. Accessed on May 31, 2023