Ethiopia’s export to neighbors improves, import shrinks

Ethiopia’s export to its neighbors (Somalia, Sudan and Djibouti) has increased over the past two years, while import declines.

Trade with Somalia increased over the past two years making Somalia the top African nation importing Ethiopian products, the data obtained from Revenue and Customs Authority shows.

Ethiopia has exported 98 million USD to Somalia during Ethiopia’s fiscal year ended June 30, 2009 (from July 2008 to June 2009) increasing it from around 16 million USD four years ago.

Over 16 African countries to which Ethiopia exports its agricultural products, Somalia started taking the lead two years ago, buying products worth 73 million USD from its East African neighbor.

Next to Somalia, the Sudan and Djibouti imported products worth 57 and 54 million USD, respectively in one year (from July 2007 to June 2008). In the following fiscal year (July 2008 to June 2009), Ethiopia’s export to the Sudan has increased to 70 million USD, while the previous year export to Djibouti dropped to 45 million USD.

Out of the total export of Ethiopia, Africa as a continent has a share of around 17 percent during the last Ethiopian fiscal year (July 2008 to June 2009). Europe is the top destination importing close to 42 percent of the total export of the country followed by Asia, which imported 37 percent.

On the import side Ethiopia imported worth 85 million USD products from Sudan, mainly oil and less than one million USD from Djibouti and Somalia in the same fiscal year. During the same period, the import bill from Kenya has also declined to 26 million USD from 49 million USD three years back.

During the fiscal year ended June 30, 2009, Ethiopia exported agricultural products and minerals worth a total of 1.48 billion USD out of which 329 million USD of product was to African countries.

Taking into consideration the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) with its 19 member states including Ethiopia and a total export bill of 82 billion USD, Ethiopia still has a long way to go to seize the opportunity.

In 2007 Ethiopia’s intra-COMESA export was at 125 million USD, while the intra-COMESA import of the country stands at 214 million USD. However, during this period, Ethiopia’s neighbor Kenya’s intra-COMESA export bill was 1.3 billion USD and limiting its intra-COMESA import to 428 million USD.

COMESA, covering a geographical area of 12 Million (sq km), has a population of over 389 million and an annual import bill of around 32 billion USD.