Major imports of Ethiopia
Major imports of Ethiopia. Ethiopia is one of the few African countries which do not have oil and mineral resources. Ethiopia trade is highly dependent on the export of agricultural productivity. Coffee is the prime export product for Ethiopia
Located in the Horn of Africa and officially named the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Ethiopia’s import purchases amounted to US$14.7 billion in 2017, up 34.1% since 2013 but down by -10.5% from 2016 to 2017.
Ethiopian imports represent a miniscule 0.1% of total global imports which totaled $16.054 trillion one year earlier in 2016.
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 5.4% a smaller percentage came from fellow African exporters with just 1.3% sent from Latin America (excluding Mexico) and the Caribbean.
Given Ethiopia’s population of 105.4 million people, its total $14.7 billion in 2017 imports translates to roughly $140 in yearly product demand from every person in the country.
Ethiopia’s Top 10 Imports
- Top 10
The following product groups represent the highest dollar value in Ethiopia’s import purchases during 2017. Also shown is the percentage share each product category represents in terms of overall imports into Ethiopia.
At the more detailed four-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, Ethiopia’s most valuable imported products are refined petroleum oils followed by trucks, medication mixes in dosage, palm oil, piston engines, cars then wheat.
- Machinery including computers: US$2.7 billion (18.1% of total imports)
- Vehicles: $1.4 billion (9.6%)
- Electrical machinery, equipment: $1.3 billion (8.8%)
- Mineral fuels including oil: $1.2 billion (8.4%)
- Iron, steel: $799.3 million (5.4%)
- Cereals: $639.9 million (4.4%)
- Plastics, plastic articles: $634.2 million (4.3%)
- Articles of iron or steel: $569.5 million (3.9%)
- Animal/vegetable fats, oils, waxes: $539.9 million (3.7%)
- Pharmaceuticals: $536.1 million (3.6%)
Ethiopia’s top 10 imports accounted for over two-thirds (70.3%) of the overall value of its product purchases from other countries.
Imported plastics including items made from plastic had the fastest-growing increase in value among the top 10 import categories, up 14.6% from 2016 to 2017.
In second place for improving import purchases were animal or vegetable fats, oils and waxes via a 5.4% gain. Trailing that was the machinery including computers category delivering the third-fastest gain up 1.1%.
Led by decreased purchases of wheat, cereals was the laggard among the top 10 Ethiopian imports incurring a -33.7% decline.
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.
In 2017, Ethiopian importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of machinery including computers:
- Piston engines: US$355.9 million (up 23% from 2016)
- Turbo-jets: $263.5 million (down -20.5%)
- Heavy machinery (bulldozers, excavators, road rollers): $182.9 million (up 16.6%)
- Computers, optical readers: $170.3 million (up 13%)
- Centrifuges, filters and purifiers: $85.9 million (down -24.7%)
- Taps, valves, similar appliances: $83.3 million (up 35%)
- Refrigerators, freezers: $82.9 million (up 38.7%)
- Sort/screen/washing machinery: $78.9 million (down -3.1%)
- Rubber/plastic article making machines: $72.1 million (up 43.4%)
- Miscellaneous engines, motors: $69.5 million (down -37.7%)
Among these import subcategories, Ethiopian purchases of rubber or plastic article making machines (up 43.4%), refrigerators or freezers (up 38.7%) and taps, valves or similar appliances (up 35%) grew at the fastest pace from 2016 to 2017.
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.
In 2017, Ethiopian importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of vehicles:
- Trucks: US$668.6 million (up 4.2% from 2016)
- Cars: $342.6 million (up 4.1%)
- Public-transport vehicles: $129.9 million (down -1.7%)
- Automobile parts/accessories: $69.8 million (down -11.4%)
- Special purpose vehicles: $55.5 million (down -0.8%)
- Trailers: $54.5 million (up 8.2%)
- Motorcycles: $48 million (up 6.9%)
- Tractors: $26.6 million (down -45.8%)
- Motorcycle parts/accessories: $3.1 million (up 10.7%)
- Bicycles, other non-motorized cycles: $2.5 million (down -16.5%)
Among these import subcategories, Ethiopian purchases of motorcycle parts or accessories (up 10.7%), trailers (up 8.2%) and motorcycles (up 6.9%) grew at the fastest pace from 2016 to 2017.
These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of vehicles-related imports among Ethiopian businesses and consumers.
In 2017, Ethiopian importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of electrical goods including consumer electronics:
- Electrical converters/power units: US$187.8 million (up 16.2% from 2016)
- Electrical/optical circuit boards, panels: $154.2 million (up 66.1%)
- Insulated wire/cable: $135.1 million (down -15.1%)
- Phone system devices: $132.8 million (down -41.1%)
- Electric generating sets, converters: $68.7 million (down -16.6%)
- TV receivers/monitors/projectors: $62.4 million (up 18.9%)
- Electric storage batteries: $49.3 million (down -2.3%)
- Lower-voltage switches, fuses: $48.1 million (down -15.1%)
- High-voltage switches, fuses: $44.5 million (up 19.6%)
- Printed circuits: $33.6 million (up 62%)
Among these import subcategories, Ethiopian purchases of electrical and optical circuit boards or panels (up 66.1%), printed circuits (up 62%) and high-voltage switches or fuses (up 19.6%) grew at the fastest pace from 2016 to 2017.
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.
In 2017, Ethiopian importers spent the most on the following 10 subcategories of mineral fuels-related products:
- Processed petroleum oils: US$1.1 billion (down -17.6% from 2016)
- Coal, solid fuels made from coal: $80.8 million (up 47.4%)
- Petroleum oil residues: $52 million (up 74.5%)
- Natural bitumen, asphalt, shale: $17.3 million (down -43.4%)
- Asphalt/petroleum bitumen mixes: $13.4 million (down -45.9%)
- Petroleum jelly, mineral waxes: $11.8 million (down -26.2%)
- Petroleum gases: $8.1 million (down -22.8%)
- Peat: $407,000 (up 435.5%)
- Coal tar oils (high temperature distillation): $360,000 (down -24.1%)
- Crude oil: $165,000 (up 8,150%)
Among these import subcategories, Ethiopian purchases of crude oil (up 8,150%), peat (up 435.5%) and petroleum oil residues (up 74.5%) grew at the fastest pace from 2016 to 2017.
These amounts and the percentage gains within parenthesis clearly show where the strongest demand lies for different types of mineral fuels-related imports among Ethiopian businesses and consumers.
See also Ethiopia’s Top 10 Exports, Ethiopia’s Top Trading Partners and Top African Export Countries
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on February 26, 2018
The World Factbook, Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on February 26, 2018
Trade Map, International Trade Centre, www.intracen.org/marketanalysis. Accessed on February 26, 2018