Investment Opportunities


Agriculture is the main stay of Ethiopia¡¯s economy providing employment to eighty- five percent of the population. The sector contributes about forty-five per cent of the GDP and sixty-three per cent of total exports with coffee alone accounting 39.4 per cent of the total export in 2001/2002. Furthermore, agriculture plays a crucial role in providing raw material inputs for the industry.

Endowed with wide ranging agro-ecological zones and diversified resources, Ethiopia grows all types of cereals, fiber crops, oil seeds, coffee, tea, fruits and vegetables. The potentially irrigable land is estimated at 10 million hectares.

Ethiopia has the largest livestock resources in Africa. Fishery and forestry resources are also significant.

Considerable opportunities exist for new private investment in the production and processing of the above agricultural crops and resources. The following areas in particular have been identified to offer plenty of opportunities to private investors.

Food Crops

The food crops grown include teff, wheat, maize, beans, peas, lentils, soyabeans, chickpeas etc. In 1999/2000, Ethiopia produced 11.4 million tons of these food crops on about 8.9 million hectares of land. This is far short of the country¡¯s demand for these crops. Great opportunities, therefore, exist for commercial production and processing of these food crops. Some pulses can also be produced or processed for the export market.

Oil crops such as rapeseed, linseed, groundnuts, sunflower, niger seed and cottonseed serve as raw material inputs for the edible oil industry. Some oilseeds, including sesame, are import and export crops. Favorable agro-climatic conditions also exist in the southwestern parts of the country for introducing coconut for the production and processing of palm oil and ghee. Besides, Ethiopia has a huge potential for producing and processing of maize. It is widely grown in various agro-ecological zones. The total annual average production is 2.5 million metric tones in an area of about 1.4million hectares.

As part of the government¡¯s initiative to efficiently tap the available potential, detailed project profiles have already been prepared for processing of coffee and corn.

Beverage crops

Coffee is Ethiopia¡¯s gift to the world. The country is Africa¡¯s leading producer of Coffee Arabica. Coffee remains the single most important cash crop.

The volume of coffee export was just over 110 thousand tons in 2001/2002. The potential for private production and processing of coffee is significant.

Tea is also another potential for production, processing and export. Ethiopia¡¯s tea is of an excellent *uality. The total tea export for the year 2001/02 was 153 tons. The favorable agro-climatic conditions in the country offer excellent opportunities for production and processing of tea for both export and domestic consumption.


Cotton provides significant opportunities for export. A portion of the existing textile industry demand of lint cotton is met from domestic production, the remaining being met through imports. In addition, there are good prospects for exporting lint. Opportunities for production and processing of cotton in Ethiopia are significant.


Ethiopia’s agro-climatic conditions make it suitable for the production of a broad range of fruits and vegetables, including citrus, banana, mango, papaya, avocado, guava, grapes, cabbages cauliflower, okra, egg plant, tomato, celery, cucumbers pepper, onion, asparagus, water melon, carrots, green beans and cut flowers. Cut flower and vegetable production are fast growing export business; in 2001/02-production year over 29,000 tons of fruits and vegetables and 10 tons of flowers were exported. The agro-processing of fruits and vegetables can be vertically integrated with production. There are already some integrated agro-industrial processing plants run by a state enterprise. The horticulture sub-sector in general holds great potential for private investment.


The large livestock resources which include 35 million cattle, 11.4 million sheep and 9.6 million goats, as a contributor to the national economy, leave much to be desired. Traditional methods of animal husbandry render current output per unit of domestic breed of livestock too low. Therefore, investment opportunities are potentially attractive for modern commercial livestock breeding, production and processing of meat, milk and eggs.

Investment opportunities of significant potential are also available in ostrich, civet cat and crocodile farming.


Opportunities exist for fresh water fish production and processing using artificial ponds. In addition, the country¡¯s fresh water bodies have a potential of an estimated annual fish production of 30,000-40,000 tons, of which less than ten per cent is presently being exploited.

Forestry and Apiculture

An estimated 2.5 million hectares of natural forest presently remains in 58 designated National Forest Priority Areas (NFPA). Of these, thirteen are managed under integrated forest management system, with about 80,000 hectares of industrial forest having been established for limited sustainable exploitation. Investors are welcome to invest in integrated commercial production of structural timber, pulp-wood, match wood or even fuel wood. Production of rubber and natural gum also offers exciting opportunities for private investment.

With some 3.3 million beehives, Ethiopia is the leading honey and bee wax producing and exporting nation in Africa. This offers excellent propects for private investment in apiculture.

Investment in the provision of agricultural support services such as pest and disease control, technical consultancy, agricultural machinery, cold storage, transport and marketing services offer considerable scope.


Manufacturing, now at an early stage of development, and currently accounting for about seven per cent of GDP and 5.3% of employment, covers about 145 state owned and 643 private manufacturing industries of all sizes. These industries are mainly engaged in the production of food products and beverages, tobacco products, textiles, wearing apparel, tanning and dressing of leather, footwear, luggage and handbags, manufacturing of wood and products of wood, manufacturing of rubber and plastic products, manufacturing of chemicals and chemical products, manufacturing of other non-metallic mineral products, manufacturing of basic iron and steel, manufacturing of fabricated metal products, assembling of motor vehicles, trailers and semi trailers. Major manufacturing opportunities offering attractive potential benefits to prospective investors exist in the food and beverage, leather and electronic, building materials and non-metallic mineral and metallic industrial sub-sectors. These investment opportunities include:

Food and Beverage

Processing and preserving of meat products; integrated production and processing of dairy products; manufacture of sugar, brewery, winery, soft drinks, processing and bottling of mineral water, etc.


Spinning, weaving and finishing of textile fabrics and production of garments.

Glass and ceramics:

Tableware and sanitary ware, sheet glass and manufacturing containers.

Tannery, Leather Goods and Articles:

Tanning up to finishing; manufacture of luggage items, handbags, saddlery and harness items, foot-ware, garment and integrated tanning and leather goods.

Chemicals, and Chemical Products:

Manufacture of basic chemicals based on local raw materials, including PVC granules from ethyl alcohol, formal-dehyde from methanol, manufacture of caustic soda and chlorine-based chemicals, carbon black; activated carbon; precipitated calcium carbonate and ball-point ink.

Drugs and Pharmaceuticals:

Manufacturing of pharmaceutical, medicinal, chemical and botanical products in the form of tablets, capsules, syrups and injectables.

Paper and Paper Products:

Pulp from indigenous raw materials, paper and paper products.

Building Materials:

Manufacture of cement, lime, gypsum, marble, granite, limestone, ceramics, roofing tiles, corrugated sheets, tubes, pipes and fittings.

Electrical and Electronic Products:

Manufacture of office, accounting and computing machinery; manufacture of electric motors, generators, transformers, capacitors, resistors, switch gears, electrical fittings and integrated circuit boards; manufacture of radio, television, VCRs, printers, floppy disc drives, communication and other e*uipment and apparatus for the domestic export market.


Manufacture of basic iron and steel, operation of blast furnaces steel converters, rolling and finishing mills, recycling of metal waste and scrap. Manufacture of basic precious and non-ferrous metal; mechanical working, heat treatment, pleating of ferrous and non-ferrous metals.

Structural Products:

Manufacture of structural metal products, reservoirs and steam generators.

Machinery and E*uipment:

Assembly and manufacture of agricultural machinery and e*uipment, industrial, transport and mining machinery and parts, construction machinery, machine tools and accessories, miscellaneous light engineering products, components and parts.


Ethiopia offers excellent opportunities for mineral prospecting and development. According to the Ministry of Mines and Energy, Ethiopia’s green stone belts offer one of the finest areas for gold mineralization any where in the world,¡± and already more than 500 metric tons of gold deposits have been identified by Government exploration efforts. Additional gold reserves are expected to be identified in at least seven regions of the country. In addition to gold, Ethiopia is a country blessed with good deposits of tantalum, platinum, nickel, potash and soda ash. Included in the construction and industrial minerals are marble, granite, limestone, clay, gypsum, gemstone, iron ore, coal, copper, silica, diatomite, bentonite, etc. With regard to fossil energy resources, there are significant opportunities for oil and natural gas in the four major sedimentary basins, namely the Ogaden, the Gambella, the Blue Nile and the Southern Rift Valley. The details of the mineral resources have been published by the Ministry of Mines in a two volume prospectus.(For the information, please contact Mineral Operations Department, fax:251-1-463454/251-1-463364).


Tourists and writers who have been to Ethiopia wonder why Ethiopia’s tourism potential is still so little known. According to December 12, 2002 edition of our world, ¡°Those who have discovered Ethiopia would probably like to keep the secret to themselves.¡± In any case, the message is staring to filter through. Tourism in Ethiopia is growing slowly but surely.

The country has a lot to offer to tourists. Visitors will find landscapes comparable to its neighboring countries, Kenya or Tanzania, and awe-inspiring historical sites and monuments similar to its other neighbors, Egypt.

The highlands of Ethiopia have an attractive landscape, scenery and wild life. In the African Rift Valley system, a wide variety of wildlife and numerous bird species, both endemic and common, are found and a substantial volume of traffic is directed to this area. The magnificent Tis Issat Falls on the Blue Nile (Abay) river, the endemic wildlife in Semien Mountains, the Sof Omar Cave in the South East are some of the interesting sites. The rock-hewn churches at Lalibela, the ancient buildings of Yeha and the obelisks at Axum, the medieval palaces at Gondar and the monasteries of Lake Tana, Debre Damo and Debre Libanos are the main tourist attractions.

Given its unique cultural heritage, magnificent scenery, pleasant climate, rich flora and fauna, important archeological sites, friendly and hospitable people and the recent growth in the inflow of tourists, Ethiopia’s potential puts it among the leading tourist destinations in Africa. Tourism infrastructure, which is still inade*uate, should be developed in order to cope with the growing traffic. There are, therefore, great opportunities for private investment in hotels, lodges and international restaurants.


The Ethiopian Government recognizes that the delivery of infrastructure services, transport (road, rail and air), telecommunications and postal services, energy and water have a long way to go before they meet the demand of investors. It is, therefore, making heavy investment in infrastructure development through on-going power, telecommunications and road sector development programs to relieve supply constraints and improve quality of services. Besides, it is widening the opportunities for private sector participation in infrastructure business of service delivery.

The Government is planning to assign forty per cent of road maintenance works to the private sector contractors in the short term and increase the level to hundred per cent in 10 years. The power sector program has a plan to increase power generation capacity from 327MW to 663MW by 2004/05. The private sector has a role to play by involving in:

* generation, transmission and distribution of off-grid rural electricity and generation of power to supply to the grid, and

* supply energy from mini-hydro and other renewable sources such as solar, wind, etc.

In consideration of the huge investment required to develop telecommunications and the importance of Information Communication Technology (ICT) for economic development, the Government is considering viable options in the short-to medium-term. The short-and medium-term alternatives include finding a strategic partner in the operation and development of telecommunication infrastructure.


Opportunities exist for private investment in the following services:

* exporting the country¡¯s various products by way of undertaking market promotion, *uality improvement or packaging;

* construction, comprising first grade contracting and rental of construction
machinery as well as real estate development.

* Social services, such as health, education and sports facilities;

* Other projects in these sectors are to be identified by potential investors.
Privatization program

The Ethiopian Government launched privatization of state owned enterprises in early 1995. Accordingly, the Ethiopian Privatization Agency (EPA) was established to implement the privatization program in the same year.

The Government has laid ground to privatize most of the state owned enterprises to the private sector. Accordingly, EPA has received a stock of 113 state owned enterprises from the government to be privatized in the years ahead. As indicated in EPA¡¯s work schedule, out of these enterprises, a total of 43 state-owned enterprises are in the pipeline for privatization in 2003. Most of these enterprises fall under manufacturing, construction, agriculture and agro-industry, hotels, transport, trade, and mining sectors.

There is a strong commitment from the Government side to fully privatize state enterprises in the coming few years.

Detailed information on the process of privatization can be obtained from the Ethiopian Privatization Agency. Interested private investors, both domestic and foreign, may contact the Ethiopian Privatization Agency through:
Tele: 251-1-152716,