Ethiopia - Country Commercial Guide
Market Entry Strategy
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Accessing the Ethiopian market often requires the following: undertaking a judicious assessment of the market opportunities, conducting extensive due diligence, and developing personal relationships.  U.S. firms should consider appointing experienced and reliable local agents or distributors to represent their products and services in Ethiopia.  Ethiopian Americans, living in the United States or in Ethiopia, often serve as good resources in establishing U.S.-Ethiopian partnerships.  Hiring a local lawyer to review documents and contracts is essential for any investor.

The GOE requires that all commodity imports be channeled through Ethiopian nationals registered as official import or distribution agents with Ethiopian Ministry of Trade and Regional Integration (MOTRI).  There is no substitute for conducting meetings in person and spending time on the ground to build relationships and form business partnerships. Email communication should not be substituted for face-to-face meetings.

A significant portion of Ethiopia‚Äôs imports are solicited through government tenders, primarily issued by the Public Procurement & Property Disposal Service (PPPDS). The Ministry of Health coordinates purchases through the Ethiopian Pharmaceutical Supply Agency (EPSA) and the Ministry of Agriculture uses the Ethiopian Agricultural Businesses Corporation (EABC).  Tender announcements are made accessible to all interested potential bidders, regardless of the nationality of the supplier or origin of the products/services. 

Some U.S. companies have raised concerns regarding a lack of transparency in the PPPDS and EPSA tender evaluation processes.  The administration of PM Abiy Ahmed has undertaken actions against corruption, including detaining eight senior executives at PPPDS and its regulatory body, the Public Procurement Authority (PPA), including the Director General for PPPDS and the Deputy Director General for PPA.  The GOE has launched the Electronic Government Procurement platform (EGP) as part of its transparency measurements.  U.S. companies interested in participating in government tenders are encouraged to register and explore the system.  Once registered, companies can access procurement opportunities and submit bids online.  Also, a subscription to an online private tender service provider can assist in regularly accessing a number of tenders.