Overview of best prospect sectors, major infrastructure projects, significant government procurements and business opportunities.
Last Published: 11/5/2018

The primary U.S. exports to Ethiopia include aircraft, aircraft parts, trucks, vehicle and machinery parts, medical equipment, as well as construction and agricultural equipment. The most promising commercial opportunities in Ethiopia, are in agriculture and agro processing, infrastructure, energy, aviation, healthcare, and tourism.
Government Tenders.

The Government of Ethiopia (GOE) and its public institutions are the leading buyer and market for U.S. products. GOE invests heavily in large social and economic infrastructure projects, including power generation, industrial zones and parks, housing construction, water and irrigation, roads and railways, airports and dry ports, telecommunication and internet networks, as well as fertilizer factories. There are prospects for U.S. companies to participate in government tenders. U.S. companies heavily rely on high level advocacy support to win government tenders or overturn unfair or non-transparent tender awards associated with irregularities in the tender process. 
The GOE welcomes tender bid proposals accompanied by financing options. Bidders who do not include 100% financing options are usually at a competitive disadvantage. Also, there have been reported issues of lack of transparency and fairness in the tender evaluation process. Therefore, bidders should consider working with CS Ethiopia and using the U.S. Commerce advocacy process (see export.gov) to develop a strategy for bidding prior to the tender evaluation process. EXIM’s capacity to finance U.S. exports is currently limited to only $10 million as it does not have a full board. The U.S. Overseas Private Investment Bank (OPIC) has shown renewed interest in financing projects in Ethiopia with U.S. equity investment.

Ethiopia is endowed with abundant agricultural resources and has diverse ecological zones for agricultural production. Investment licenses can be obtained from the Ethiopian Investment Commission and land can be leased for up to 99 years from regional and city administration bureaus. Recently, land allocation, compensation, and relocation have posed significant issues for the GOE in terms of equity and transparency. U.S. companies should do their due diligence in advance of making investments requiring land use and/or relocation.

Energy is one of the most significant sectors for Ethiopia’s economic growth and development. GTP II targets an increase in power generation capacity from its current near 4000 MW to over 17,000 MW by 2020. Ethiopia possesses significant renewable energy potential, especially hydroelectric, and seeks to exploit these resources by increasing the installed capacity of renewable energy sources. The GOE issues tenders for several renewable energy projects with the tender evaluation process focusing on quality and project experience. 

Aviation is a high-growth sector with increasing demand for air transportation, both passenger and cargo, expanding at an average 20% growth rate. 

COMESA Opportunities
The Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA) launched in June 2015 will unite Africa's largest market in eastern and southern Africa, bringing together the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the East African Community (EAC), and the Southern African Development Community (SADC). Ethiopia has ratified the TFTA, facilitating trade between 26 countries with a combined GDP of more than $1.2 trillion dollars and a population exceeding half a billion. This is an opportunity for U.S. companies to use Ethiopia as a regional trade hub to reach neighboring markets.

African Union Opportunities 
The African Union (AU), headquartered in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, replaced the Organization of African Unity in 2002 and serves as the region’s preeminent intergovernmental organization, grouping Africa’s 55 member states. The United States has been accredited to the AU as an observer since 2006, currently represented by Ambassador Mary Beth Leonard leading the U.S. Mission to the African Union. As enshrined in its long-term strategy Agenda 2063, the AU has the mandate to pursue continental integration as one of its top priorities. In pursuit of this goal, the AU coordinated negotiations on an African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), intended to reduce tariffs and other barriers to trade among African countries. As of July 2018, 49 AU member states have signed the AfCFTA Agreement, and the ratification process is ongoing. Twenty-two signatories must ratify the Agreement for it to come into force. 

With an annual budget of $450 million, the AU offers a variety of business opportunities. The AU is currently undergoing organizational restructuring, opening up multiple opportunities for U.S. firms to compete for management consulting and other contracts related to the reorganization. The AU hosts dozens of high-level and sector-specific conferences annually, both in Addis Ababa and in other African capitals, requiring significant hospitality and conference support services. 

U.S. companies interested in bidding on African Union contracts can find a list of open tenders and the AU’s procurement manual on the AU’s website, https://au.int/en/bids. For additional information on AU procurement, contact:  Carine Toure Yemitia, AU Commission Head of Procurement Travel and Store Division, Tel: (+251) 11 551 7700 – Ext 4305, Email: tender@africa-union.org 
For more information on U.S.-AU economic and commercial affairs, contact: Pren-Tsilya Boa-Guehe, Economic Officer, U.S. Mission to the African Union, Tel: (+251) 11-130-6174, Email: Boa-GueheP@state.gov

Prepared by our U.S. Embassies abroad. With its network of 108 offices across the United States and in more than 75 countries, the U.S. Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce utilizes its global presence and international marketing expertise to help U.S. companies sell their products and services worldwide. Locate the U.S. Commercial Service trade specialist in the U.S. nearest you by visiting http://export.gov/usoffices.

Ethiopia Trade Development and Promotion