Identifies common practices to be aware of when selling in this market, e.g., whether all sales material need to be in the local language.
Last Published: 10/30/2019

The most important consideration for the majority of Ethiopian customers is price rather than life-cycle cost. Durability is seen by few as an important purchasing factor. Given the significance of price, businesses often import low cost goods with a high turnover. However, for capital/durable items, buyers tend to prefer reliable, quality equipment, with dependable after-sales service. Presenting sales materials in the official local language, Amharic, in addition to English, is an effective way to reach a broader customer base. Nevertheless, the use of English is prevalent in the business community.

In 2016, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) organized a two phase training program for major Ethiopian public agencies under the Global Procurement Initiative: Understanding Best Value (GPI) program. The first phase was training presented in Addis Ababa to procurement experts while the second phase involved an 11-day study tour for Ethiopian senior public procurement officials in the United States to receive advanced training in life-cycle cost analysis, best value determinations and risk management. The presenters were experts from the George Washington University’s Government Procurement Law Program and technical specialists from industry. The GPI team also met with U.S. procurement officials at the federal, state and local levels, and considered case studies in value-based procurement as commonly used in Virginia and Pennsylvania.

This visit marked the second phase of USTDA’s partnership with Ethiopia under the GPI. USTDA is supporting the GOE’s efforts to incorporate life-cycle cost analysis and value-for-money elements in their public procurement practices to obtain the best value for government funds and to improve overall procurement outcomes. Such initiatives and programs are intended to bring about transparency and level the playing field allowing U.S. companies to effectively bid and compete in GOE tender based public procurement programs.

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Ethiopia Trade Development and Promotion