Leather Sector

Key Reasons for Investing

  • Among Ethiopia's abundant resources is a large cattle population whose skins and hides are the basis for some of the world's best leather.
  • Since 1992, over 40 international investors have established leather and leather product companies in Ethiopia supplying to some of the most important international brands such as Guess and Clavin Klein.
  • Average Ethiopian salaries in leather factories are only US$35 per month, which is about ten times as low as those of Chinese workers.
  • Exports of leather, which were practically non-existent in 2003, were worth US$23 million in 2012.
  • Italy's total imports from Ethiopia rose by 82% over the course of 6 years, from US$21.7 million in 2005 to US$39.4 million in 2011; while China's rose 120% in the same period, from US$12.5 million in 2005 to US$27.5 million in 2011. The United Kingdom and India rank third and fourth, respectively, as destinations for Ethiopian processed leather.

Investment Opportunities

  • Tanning of hides and skins up to finished level;
  • Manufacturing of luggage (such as handbags), saddle and harness items, footwear, and garments; and
  • Integrated tanning and manufacturing activities.


One of the largest shoe exporters in China – Huajian – set up a factory in Ethiopia in 2011, as part of a plan to invest US$2 billion over 10 years in developing manufacturing clusters focused on shoemaking for export. The company produces shoes for brands such as Guess and Calvin Klein, and hopes to see its exports from Ethiopia reach US$4 billion within ten years.

Textile And Garments Sector

Key Reasons for Investing

  • Abundant available workforce at very competitive costs: wages in Ethiopia are a fifth of China's and half of Vietnam's.
  • Quality and productivity: Ethiopian workers produce as many polo shirts of the same quality per day as workers in Vietnam when using similar technology.
  • A privileged geographic location: Ethiopia is located at the center of the world with easy access to international value chains, and has access to a state-of-the-art container port (Djibouti).
  • Potential to develop a competitive cotton or textiles industry due to good climatic and soil conditions together with cheap hydro-energy (textile factories pay between US$0.78 and US$0.002 per KW).
  • Duty-free access to the European Union (EU) and US markets through the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).
  • Strong export performance: the Ethiopian garment and apparel industry has grown an average of 51% over the last 6 years, with the UK accounting for 10% of Ethiopia's textile and garment exports, with other countries in Europe taking 50% and the US taking 40%.
  • Over 65 textile investment projects from international investors have been licensed in Ethiopia since 1992, with retailers such as H&M and Primark already sourcing clothing from Ethiopia.

Investment Opportunities

  • Spinning, weaving and finishing of textile fabrics.
  • Production of garments; the manufacturing of knitted and crocheted fabrics, carpets, and sportswear, among others.


  • Tesco PLC and the British arm of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. are also buying clothing from Ethiopian manufacturing plants.
  • H&M established its office in Addis Ababa in 2012, and has been buying clothing from a number of Ethiopian manufacturers since then.
  • Ayka Addis, the Ethiopian subsidiary of the Turkish textile giant Ayka Textile, inaugurated in 2010 its factory at a cost of US$140 million at Alemgena, 20km west of Addis Ababa, creating jobs for more than 10,000 people. Ayka Addis has the capacity to export textile products worth US$100 million a year per annum.

Horticulture Sector

Key Reasons for Investing

  • Ideal conditions for growing a wide array of fruits, vegetables, flowers and spices given the existence of diverse agro-climatic zones, long growing seasons, and availability of water for irrigation, including 122 billion cubic meters of surface water and 2.6 billion cubic meters of ground water.
  • Exponential growth: Although only a decade old, horticulture is the fifth foreign revenue earner for Ethiopia, generating US$245 million in 2013/2014 compared to US$28.5 million in 2004/2005.
  • Large available workforce: The industry creates over 180 thousand jobs, out of which 85% are for women – a section of the population that has been historically under-employed.
  • Abundant land availability: Total land area available for horticulture is about 12,552 hectares, with only 11% of this land being developed for horticulture.
  • International demand: Currently, over 130 international investors are operating in Ethiopia's horticulture sector, exporting to the Netherlands, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Norway, Belgium, UAE, France, Japan Italy and the United States, among others.

Investment Opportunities

Fruits and Vegetables

  • Mango, banana, papaya, avocado, citrus, grape, and pineapple are the most common tropical and sub-tropical fruits cultivated.
  • Pear and plum are emerging as temperate fruits.
  • The vegetables grown in Ethiopia include, among others, green beans, snow peas, broccoli, okra, asparagus, cherry tomatoes, green chili, potatoes, cabbages cauliflower, eggplant and cucumber, pepper, onion, and asparagus.
  • Much of the land available for growing fruits and vegetables is suitable for organic certification.


  • Ethiopia is the 4th largest non-EU exporter to the EU cut-flower market and the 2nd largest flower exporter from Africa (after Kenya), exporting to the Netherlands, France, Germany, Italy, Canada, Norway, Sweden, UK, the Middle East, and other EU countries.
  • Floriculture has contributed to USD 212.56 million, or 80% of the total foreign revenue earning of the sector.
  • Roses are the most widely produced variety of flowers. Other types of flowers currently in production include gypsophilia, hypericum, limonium, chrysanthemum, carnations, static and pot plants.

Herbs and Spices

  • The major spices cultivated in Ethiopia are ginger, hot pepper, fenugreek, turmeric, coriander, cumin, cardamom, and black pepper.
  • Close to 122,700 hectares are being used for spice farming, with spice production reaching 244,000 tons per year.
  • Potential areas for the cultivation of spices are Amhara and Oromiya regions; Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples' Region; and Gambella regions.
  • The total potential for low land spice farming is estimated to be 200,000 hectares.


  • Herburg Roses, a Dutch owned grower, recognized back in 2006 the opportunity to expand their business by relocating to Ethiopia. At that time, floriculture was in the very early stages of development in Ethiopia, but the conditions for growing roses were perfect, with year-round warmth and great light, and a large and enthusiastic workforce. Initially the business took on 18 hectares on the prestigious Sher Project in Ethiopia, and over the years has expanded to 40 hectares with more planned for the future. Herburg Roses has recently become Fairtrade certified and is exporting 22 types of flowers to the European market.
  • Esmeralda Farms bought close to 150 hectares and started its flower growing activity in Ethiopia in early 2014. The company plans to grow summer flowers and some roses. Esmeralda farms headquarters are based in Miami, Florida. It has a 265 hectares flower producing area in Ecuador and is active throughout Latin America, in Peru, Colombia, Costa Rica, and Mexico. The move to Africa is due to the increasing production costs in Ecuador.
  • With global demand for tropical juices on the rise, in 2009 africaJUICE Tibila Share Company, a joint venture between africaJUICE BV of the Netherlands and the Ethiopian government, took operational control of Tibila Farm in Ethiopia's Upper Awash Valley and started producing passion fruit, mangoes, papayas, and other tropical fruits. In addition to rehabilitating and expanding the newly acquired farm, africaJUICE has built a new fruit-processing facility with state-of-the-art processing, sterilization, and packaging equipment.The processed juice is exported through the port in neighboring Djibouti to markets in Europe and the Middle East. The company directly employs 2,400 people.

Industrial Parks Development

Extensive development of industrial parks

  • World-class sustainable eco-parks ready for 'plug & play'
  • Dedicated for specific sectors such as textile & apparel, leather & leather products, pharmaceuticals, agro-processing etc.
  • Strong government support & investment policy led by Ethiopian Investment Board (EIB) chaired by the Prime Minister
  • Located along key economic corridors & connected to ports
  • Surrounded by Infrastructures such as airports, railways stations, dry ports, universities etc.

Incentives applicable to industrial parks


  • Exempted from income tax up to 8 - 10 years
  • Exempted from duties & other taxes on imports of machinery, construction materials, spare parts, raw materials & vehicles
  • One-stop-shop for government services
  • Land lease term: 60-80 years at zero charge for factories & residential quarters


  • Exempted from income tax up to 15 years (outside Addis Ababa)
  • Exempted from duties & & vehicles
  • Provision of essential infrastructure , including dedicated power substations
  • Land lease term: 60-80 years at zero charge with sub-lease rights

Upcoming industrial parks

Hawassa Industrial Park- Flagship Park

  • Eco- Industrial Park (ZLD) expected to be operational by July 2016
  • Cluster: Specialized in textile & garment
  • Land area:
  • 1 st phase: >300,000 m 2 factory buildings, business district, residential quarters etc
  • Fully occupied by international & domestic manufacturers

Dire Dawa Industrial Park

  • Proximity to port of Djibouti: 300 km
  • Labor: 600,000 people in & around city
  • Cluster: Multiple sectors including heavy industries
  • Land area: 10 million m 2
  • 1 st phase: 1 million m 2

Adama Industrial Park

  • Proximity to port of Djibouti: 674km
  • Labor: 500,000 people in & around city
  • Cluster: Equipment manufacturing, textile
  • Land area: 10 million m 2
  • 1 st phase: 2 million m 2

Mekelle Industrial Park

  • Proximity to Port of Djibouti: 600km
  • Labor: 1 million people in & around city
  • Cluster: T extile & garment, footwear & leather products
  • Land area: 10 million m 2
  • 1 st phase: 1 million m 2

Kombolcha Industrial Park

  • Proximity to port of Djibouti: 480km
  • Labor: 1 million people in & around city
  • Cluster: Textile & garment, footwear & leather products
  • Land area: 10 million m 2

Kilinto Industrial Park

  • Proximity to port of Djibouti: 700km
  • Proximity to Addis Ababa: 6km (access to high skill labour)
  • Cluster: Agro-processing, pharmaceuticals
  • Land Area: 3 million m 2


Ethiopia has a number of private Industrial Zones, namely:

  • Eastern Industrial Zone: Dukem
  • Ayka Addis
  • Hujian Industrial Zone
  • George Shoe

Other Areas Of Opportunities


  • Agro-Processing Industry
  • Sugar & Related Industry
  • Chemical Industry
  • Pharmaceuticals Industry
  • Metal & Engineering Industry
  • Ceramic Products
  • Electronics & Electrical Product


  • Cotton Plantation
  • Palm Tree Plantation
  • Rubber Tree Plantation
  • Tea & Coffee Plantation


  • Grade One Construction Contracting
  • Information & Communications Technology
  • Four- and Above Star Designated Hotels, Motels, Lodges & Restaurants
  • Specialized Hospitals
  • Technical & Vocational Training Centers
  • Power Generation

About Us

The Ethiopian Egyptian Business Council (EEBC) is a non-profit, member-based... Read More

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