Country Listing

Ethiopia Table of Contents


Foreign Trade

Both the imperial and the Marxist governments tried to improve Ethiopia's balance of trade, the former by encouraging exports and the latter by curtailing imports. However, Ethiopia's foreign trade balance has basically been in deficit since l953, with the exception of l975, when a combination of unusually large receipts from sales of oilseeds and pulses resulted in a surplus. In general, foreign trade has grown faster than the national economy, particularly in the early l970s, but it has accounted for only a small percentage of the national economy. In EFY 1972/73, exports and imports accounted for l3 and l2 percent of GDP, respectively. By EFY 1988/89, exports had declined to 8 percent of GDP, and imports had jumped to 2l percent. Virtually all machinery and equipment had to be imported, as well as intermediate goods for agriculture and industry, including fertilizer and fuel. Increased cereal shipments accounted for the growth in imports. In the 1980s, Ethiopia faced several famines and droughts. Consequently, the country, which had been virtually self-sufficient in food supplies in the 1970s, became a net importer of food worth as much as 243 million birr annually during the period EFY l983/84 to EFY l987/88. The military government failed to correct the country's historical trade deficit, despite efforts to regulate exports and imports. Consequently, during the 1980s the trade picture worsened as imports grew rapidly and foreign aid slowed.

Data as of 1991