This guide has been prepared by PricewaterhouseCoopers on behalf of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). It comes with a companion volume which is a more informal publication, prepared under the auspices of the Ethiopian Investment Authority, and which provides a listing of specific investment opportunities.
The purpose of this booklet is to provide a basis from which potential investors to Ethiopia may gain:
The guide focuses on Ethiopias emerging role as a location for investment and on the key issues likely to be faced by potential investors. It is intended only to give an initial flavour of the Ethiopian market and to encourage potential investors to take a closer look at investment opportunities in the country.
With a population of 60 million, growing at a rate of 3% pa, Ethiopia is the second most populous country in sub-Saharan Africa (after Nigeria). Ethiopia is one of the oldest nations in the world and its people have an ancient culture and deep-rooted values. The country has one of the lowest crime rates in Africa.
Although the gross national product (GNP) per capita of $1101 per head is low, it is growing, and Ethiopia ranks as the fifth-largest US export market in sub-Saharan Africa, after South Africa, Nigeria, Angola and Ghana. In 1997, the total GNP at current market prices was about $6.5 billion.
Economically, the agricultural sector, consisting mostly of small privately owned farms, accounts for about half of the countrys GDP, 80% of its exports, and 85% of total employment. Agri-processing, manufacturing and service industries are, however, all growing in importance.
Ethiopia also has potential as a base for exporters, with flows of goods both into the Middle East and into other parts of Africa increasing significantly in recent years.
Recent analysis by UNCTAD has shown that Africa as a whole has become a profitable region for foreign direct investment (FDI), delivering significantly higher returns on investment than other developing regions in the world for US corporations (see Table 1).
Table 1: Rates of Returna
on US FDI in Africab and
The levels of return on investment by Japanese multinational corporations have also been substantial, outstripping those on investments in Europe, South-East Asia and North America (see Table 2).
Despite this track record, Ethiopia as is the case with Africa generally has secured only modest levels of FDI compared to developing countries elsewhere in the world. The recent policy reforms and the introduction of a liberal investment code have opened the way for Ethiopia to attract substantially more foreign investment in the future. The key factors relevant to inward investment in Ethiopia are described in Table 3 below:
Table 3: Ethiopia at a Glance : Key Factors for Foreign Investors
"Ethiopia is a land of rich potential, not least of which is the high calibre of its human resources and its governments determination for the economy to flourish. Having opened our Addis Ababa office over forty years ago, we have many years experience in Ethiopia and well understand the need for sustained effort and a realistic long-term perspective in doing business there. We remain firmly committed to the country and believe that, given continued determination, Ethiopia will realise its goal of "Agricultural development-led Industrialisation". We look forward to contributing to the nations bright future."
There has been a major positive change over the past six or seven years in the governments attitude towards private investment in general and foreign investment in particular. The government recognises the vital role foreign investment can play in the national economic development process, especially by bringing capital, technology and know-how into the country and by strengthening linkages and promoting regional development. The Ethiopian Investment Authority (EIA) has been established to provide a one-stop shop to facilitate entry of foreign investors. In order to encourage, promote and expand foreign investment, the Ethiopian Government has also undertaken a wide range of economic reform programmes with two main agendas to shift from a command to a market economy and progressively to place the Ethiopian economy under the rigorous discipline of international competition.
Over the period 1992/93 to 1998/99 the EIA approved 163 foreign investment projects, of which 21 have become operational and 49 are under implementation. These have included the five-star Sheraton Addis Hotel, a major brewery investment by a French firm, British investments in shoe manufacturing and US investments in edible oils and bottling. The largest privatisation investment (some $172 million) to date, the Lega Dembi Gold Mine, was by a Saudi investor. The main business sectors in which Ethiopia is seeking foreign investment are:
The government is keen to develop and broaden this foreign investment base and the rest of this guide provides an overview of investment opportunities, current economic conditions and the steps required to make an investment in Ethiopia.