Country Listing

Ethiopia Table of Contents



Ethiopia's major category of import items was consumer goods, which accounted for about one-third of the value of imports during the period EFY l984/85 to EFY 1988/89. Capital goods, primarily machinery and transportation equipment, accounted for another 39 percent, with fuel, semifinished goods, and durable consumer goods accounting for the other third of the value of imports. A major structural change in Ethiopia's imports was the relative increase in the importation of food items. During the three years ending in EFY l986/87, cereals and other food items accounted for 22 percent of the total value of imports; in l974 cereal and food items had accounted for only 4.6 percent. As a result, the share of nondurable consumer items jumped from l6.8 percent in l974 to 34.2 percent in l985. It dropped to 24.9 percent in EFY l986/87.

Imports provided the capital and intermediate goods upon which industry depended. Imports also satisfied most of the country's demand for nonfood consumer goods, such as automobiles, radios, televisions, pharmaceuticals, and textiles. In the five years ending in EFY l986/87, the relative share of the value of transportation and transportation equipment increased, reflecting the country's increasing demand for trucks and other heavy road vehicles needed to transport food to areas affected by drought and famine.

Most of Ethiopia's imports came from Western countries. Italy, the United States, West Germany, and Japan, in order of importance, accounted for 45 percent of total imports in l987. The Soviet Union accounted for l6 percent of the value of imports in l987. By contrast, Ethiopia's exports to the Soviet Union amounted to only 5 percent of total exports in 1987. The relatively high proportion of imports from the Soviet Union was largely because of oil; in l987 Ethiopia received virtually all its crude petroleum from the Soviet Union. In l987 the United States remained Ethiopia's major trading partner despite cool relationships between the two countries; the United States ranked first in buying Ethiopia's exports and third in satisfying Ethiopia's import needs.

Data as of 1991