Ethiopia - Country Commercial Guide
Selling Factors and Techniques
Last published date: 2022-07-21

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. 

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. 

Trade Promotion & Advertising 

Advertising and trade promotion are important in the Ethiopian market. Government-owned mass media outlets (radio, television, and newspapers) and privately-owned magazines, satellite television stations, newspapers, radio stations and billboards are the major means of advertising. Annually, the Addis Ababa Chamber of Commerce organizes several international trade fairs in Ethiopia. These events attract many Chinese, Indian, European and local exhibitors. Please visit the chamber website for show information. 

United States companies can contact the U.S. Foreign Commercial Service Addis Ababa office for a Single Company Promotion (SCP) service to brand their company’s products and services. 

Please refer to the following list for more information:  

Disclaimer: This list is not comprehensive and inclusion does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation by the U.S. government.  


American Chamber of Commerce Ethiopia ( 

Mina Building, Addis Ababa 

Addis Ababa Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Associations  

P.O. Box 2458  

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia  

Tel: +251-11-551-8055 

Fax: +251-11-551-1479  



Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Associations  

Tel: +251-011-551-8240  

Fax: +251-011-551-7699  


Advertising agencies 

B.T. Digital Advert  

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia  

Tel: +251-11-663-1717  

Fax: +251-11-662-6545  



Champion Communication 

Addis Ababa Ethiopia 

Tel: +251-92-440-9569 


Cactus Advertising  

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia  

Tel: +251-11-554-4901  

Fax: +251-11-554-4907  



Flawless Events 

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 

Tel: +251-11-6186915 



I Print Digital Advertising Plc  

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia  

Tel +251-11-554-5777 

Fax +251-554-5778 

Mobile +251-911-62-5779/+251-911-52-3398 



251 Communication 

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 

Tel +251 911 25 96 94  



Horizon Ethiopia  

P.O. Box 26782/1000  

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia  

Tel: +251-11-618-4045  




Ozzie Business and Hospitality Group 

Tel: +251-934-240443 


Lion Advertising and Public Relations Organizations 

P.O. Box 5372  

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia  

Tel: +251-11-552-7835 / 552-7836  

Fax: +251-11-551-2499  



Mono 2000 PLC  

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia  

Tel: +251-11-663-3060  

Fax: +251-11-663-3061  

Mob: +251-91-121-2091  



Sonic Screen Advertising Plc 

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 


Fax: +251-11-661-6104 

Mobile: +251-911-20-8335 



Zeleman Productions  

P.O. Box: 17629  

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia  

Tel: +251-11-663-2800/01/02/03/04  

Mobile: +251-91-124-5627  

Fax: +251-11-662-6238  




Addis Business (Weekly) 

P.O. Box 2458  

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia  

Tel: +251-11-551-8882 

Fax: +251-11-551-1479  



Addis Zemen (Daily Amharic newspaper)  

P.O. Box 30145  

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia  

Tel: +251-11-662-5466 

Fax: +251-11-661-2261 



Capital (weekly)  

P.O. Box 95 Code 1110  

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia  

Tel: +251-11-618-3253 / +251-11-651-3375  

Fax: +251-11-618-5206  



Ethiopian Business Review Magazine (monthly) 

P.O. Box 54605  

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 

Tel: +251- 92-440-9569   

Fax:  +251-11-554-6450   


Addis Fortune 

P.O. Box 1110, Code 259  

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia  

Tel: +251-11-662-7150  

Fax: +251-11-662-3727  



New Business Ethiopia (Online newspaper)  


Press Digest (weekly)  

P.O. Box 12719  

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia  

Tel: +251-11-111-2154  

Fax: +251-11-551-3523  



The Daily Monitor (Daily) 

P.O. Box 4502  

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia  

Tel: +251-11-156-0199/156-0794  

Fax: +251-11-156-0515  



The Ethiopian Herald (Daily) 

P.O. Box 30701  

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia  

Tel: +251-11-156-9983  

Fax: +251-11-156-9862  



The Reporter (weekly)  

P.O Box 7023  

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia  

Tel: +251-11-661-6188  

Fax: +251-11-661-6189  



Government Media 


Ethiopian News Agency  

P.O. Box 530  

Tel: +251-11-155-0011  

Fax: +251-11-155-1609  


Ethiopian Radio and Television Agency  

P.O. Box 1020/5544  

Tel: +251-11-550-5483 / 553-6566  

Fax: +251-11-550-5174  



Fana Broadcasting Corporation 

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia  

Tel: +251-11-551-6777  

Fax: +251-11-551-5039  



Sheger FM 

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 

Tel: 251- 93-007-6849   



Walta Information and Public Relation Center S.C  

P.O. Box 12918  

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia  

Tel: + +251-11-416 9032  

Fax: +251-11-4670302 



Commercial imports are subject to up to five separate import taxes, which are all collected by the Ethiopian Customs Commission (ECC). These taxes are charged in a compounding, sequential order as follows: customs duty, excise tax, value added tax, surtax and withholding tax (not compounding). All taxes are payable at the time of import. 

Custom duties range from 0% to 35% and are levied on CIF (cost, freight and insurance) price applied based on Harmonized System (HS) tariff codes. The calculation of the total customs duty is based on the CIF (Cost + insurance + freight) of the imported good. 

An excise tax is imposed on products deemed to be luxury items or other demand inelastic products. This tax is product dependent and ranges between 10 to 100%. The excise tax is applied to 19 specified classes of products identified by ECC. 

The value added tax (VAT) is a flat 15% tax on all imports, unless otherwise exempted. 

The surtax is a flat tax of 10%on all imports, unless otherwise exempted. 

The withholding tax is a flat tax of 3% on the CIF price of all imports, unless otherwise exempted. A withholding tax may be offset against qualified business income taxes. 

The former Ethiopian Revenue and Customs Authority was restructured in 2019. According to the new structure, the Ministry of Revenue is the highest authority with oversight over customs issues. The Ethiopian Customs Commission operates now under the Ministry of Revenue and is led by a commissioner. 

ECC has developed an import tax calculator to assist traders in determining the applicable taxes for their products. The calculator requires entry of the following information: six or eight-digit Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) code, cost of the imported item, freight, and insurance, as well as any other cost. The HTS code along with the associated import taxes can be found in ERCA’s HTS. Please visit Ethiopian Ministry of Revenue website.  

The Government of Ethiopia (GOE) sets prices for local transportation fares, petroleum, and fertilizer; with periodic reviews on the prices to reflect prevailing local market situation.  

Prices of locally produced products have increased significantly in recent years. The relative prices of imported goods are also high, due to customs duties, transportation costs, and a 15% devaluation of the local currency, the birr, against the U.S. dollar. 

For more information on customs, please refer to the Ministry of Revenue website. 

For more information on the African Growth Opportunity Act please refer to the following link. 

Sales Service/Customer Support 

Sales service is available for most products, but customer service levels are poor in comparison to international standards. Service providers that rely on imported parts often face delays in obtaining the foreign exchange to purchase these goods. Consumer advocacy or protection associations that operate in Ethiopia have weak enforcement capacity.  

Local Professional Services 

The following list includes companies that render general professional services (see Web Resources section below for website and email links).  

Disclaimer: This list is not comprehensive and inclusion does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation by the U.S. government.  

Banking and Finance 

Ethiopia’s commercial banks include Abay Bank, Addis International Bank, Amhara Bank, Awash International Bank, Bank of Abyssinia, Berhan International Bank, Bunna International Bank, Commercial Bank of Ethiopia, Construction and Business Bank, Cooperative Bank of Oromia, Dashen Bank, Development Bank of Ethiopia, Enat Bank, Lion International Bank, Nib International Bank, Oromia International Bank, United Bank, Wegagen Bank, and Zemen Bank.  

Hotels and Meeting Facilities 

Ethiopia has a number of hotels that meet international standards operating in Addis Ababa, including: Capital Hotel and Spa, eLilly Hotel, Ghion Hotel, Golden Tulip Hotel, Harmony Hotel, Hilton Addis Ababa, Best Western, Hyatt Regency Hotel, Jupiter Hotel, Marriott Executives Apartment, Radisson Blu, Ramada Addis, and Sheraton Addis Ababa.  

Tour Operators 

Several tour operators serve the country including: Abyssinian Tours, Ethiopia Travel, Ethiopian Rift Valley Safaris, Experience Ethiopia Travel, GETTS Travel, and Travel Ethiopia.  


Other entities that work with international companies doing business in Ethiopia include: American Chamber of Commerce in Ethiopia, Association of Ethiopian Microfinance Institutions, Construction Contractors Association of Ethiopia, Deloitte Ethiopia, Encore Employment Training Services, Ernst & Young, Ethio-Jobs, Ethiopian Bar Association, Ethiopian Cotton Producers and Ginners Association, Ethiopian Business Development Services Network, Ethiopian Economics Association, Ethiopian Horticulture Producer Exporters Association, Ethiopian Information Technology Professional Association, Ethiopian Leather Industries Association, Ethiopian Medical Association, Gazebo International, Grant Thornton Ethiopia, HST Consulting, Precise Consult International. 

Principal Business Associations 

The establishment and operation of foreign chambers of commerce is governed by the Ethiopian Investment Commission. In 2016, the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) in Ethiopia signed a cooperation agreement with the Ethiopian Investment Commission, which allowed for the formal establishment of the AmCham and its registration as a legal entity. The AmCham was officially launched in December 2016.  

Other business associations include Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Association and the Addis Ababa Chamber of Commerce and Sectorial Association, Ethiopian Entrepreneurs Association, Ethiopian Women Entrepreneurs Association, Addis Ababa Women Entrepreneurs Association, Ethiopian Coffee Exporters Association, and Ethiopian Bankers Association. All these business associations share a similar goal of promoting trade. Ethiopian business associations look favorably on U.S. companies and are interested in working with them to attract U.S. trade and investment to Ethiopia. 

Limitations on Selling U.S. Products and Services  

The investment and business environment in Ethiopia has considerable limitations and market challenges. Major challenges are shortage of foreign currency, lack of finance, high logistics costs, bureaucratic approval procedures and slow decision-making. Other challenges include unreliable internet connectivity and power supply and closed service sectors such as the financial and insurance sector. U.S. companies interested in selling their products and services in this market will generally need to bring their own financing and have patience to obtain payment from buyers.