Ethiopia - The largest economy in East and Central Africa

Economic data

  • One of the fastest growing economies in the world
  • Largest economy in East and Central Africa
  • 6 to 10% economic growth between 2004 and 2018
  • Forecast of real GDP growth of 7.5% in 2017 and 2018 (IMF)
  • Registering robust GDP growth of 6 to 10% between 2004 and 2017 (IMF)
  • Real GDP growth is likely to be around 7.5% in 2017-18, driven by public investment in road and power networks, which benefit both industry and agriculture. Long-term  growth potential is enhanced by untapped reserves of coal, gold, oil and gas. FDI is set to continue growing, through investments in agriculture and manufacturing 


  • 102 million (World Bank for 2016)
  • 27th largest country in the world
  • 2nd most populous nation in Africa and the 12th most populous country in the world
  • Most populous landlocked country in the world
  • Ethiopia is a multilingual nation
  • Some of the oldest evidence for anatomically modern humans has been found in Ethiopia, which is widely considered the region from which Homo sapiens first set out for the Middle East and points beyond 


  • Ethiopia wants to achieve middle-income status by 2025
  • Ethiopia is a land of natural contrasts, with its vast fertile West, jungles, and numerous rivers, the world‘s hottest settlement of Dallol in its north, Africa‘s largest continuous mountain. ranges and the largest cave in Africa at Sof Omar
  • Ethiopia has the most UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Africa
  • Ethiopia‘s ancient Ge‘ez script, also known as Ethiopic, is one of the oldest alphabets still in use in the world
  • A slight majority of the population adheres to Christianity (mainly the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church and Pentay), while around a third follows Islam (primarily the Sunni denomination) 

General opportunities

  • Rain-fed agriculture (accounting for almost 50% of GDP) remains Ethiopia’s main source of employment and export earnings
  • Ethiopia is one of the founding members of the UN, the Group of 24 (G-24), the Non-Aligned Movement, G-77 and the Organisation of African Unity, with Addis Ababa serving as the headquarters of the African Union, the Pan African Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the UNECA, African Aviation Training HQ, the African Standby Force and much of global NGOs focused on Africa 

Opportunities in the agrofood industry

  • Ethiopia is the origin of the coffee bean. With an annual production exceeding 380,000 t,  the country is the largest coffee producer in Africa and the 5th largest in the world
  • Ten sugar cane factories are at the planning stage. Once they start their production, Ethiopia should develop into one of the ten biggest exporters of sugar cane in the world
Source: GTAI