Ethiopia Industry

The industrial sector is small in Ethiopia. Factories are mainly located in Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa. Production of food, textiles and leather goods dominates.

In the food industry, the production of flour, vegetable oils, sugar, soft drinks and beer is most important.

The leather industry manufactures, among other things, the exclusive cabaret leather from highland sheep. Most of the leather is exported, but investments are made in shoe factories and other industries to enable export of processed leather goods.

The clothing industry has benefited from favorable trade terms with the United States since 2001. Some new industrial production has also been developed in collaboration with foreign investors. This applies, among other things, to the manufacture of tires and medicines.

Privatization of industrial companies has been ongoing since the 1990s, but the process has been slow and large companies are still predominantly governmental. In the spring of 2018, the government launched a new initiative to accelerate its sales.

  • COUNTRYAAH: List of top trading partners of Ethiopia. Includes countries that imported most shipments from and exported most goods to the country.




The police open fire to mourners

July 2

Two people are shot to death and seven injured when police open fire to mourners trying to reach the murdered singer Hachalu Hundessa’s funeral at a football stadium in Ambo west of Addis Ababa. Hundreds of people have been killed in riots in Addis Ababa and Oromia since the murder of the oromour Hundessa was committed by unknown perpetrators.

Around 100 are killed in rattlesnakes after the murder of singers

July 1st

About 100 people are killed in Addis Ababa and Oromia during two days of violent protests against the murder of a popular singer from the Oromo people. Hachalu Hundessa, whose political songs expressed the marginalization felt by many unions, was shot dead on June 29. Among the dead are three police officers. A relative of the singer dies in a grenade attack on the family’s home in Ambo. At the center of the protests are Oromo nationalists who want the singer to be buried in Addis Ababa, from where they feel chased away by other people. However, the dead are to be grounded in the hometown of Ambo. The turmoil is heightened when an opposition oromo politician, Jawar Mohammed, is arrested by the police along with just over 30 others as they try to steal Hundessa’s body to bring it to the capital.


Progress in the dust conflict with Sudan and Egypt

June 26

Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt have agreed that Ethiopia should wait to start filling water in the giant dam on the Blue Nile that is causing strong tensions between the three countries. The Ethiopian government is adamant that it is ready to start filling the dam in July, but that it has agreed to wait a while. Sudan’s prime minister says the countries agreed that the dam should only be filled once an agreement is signed between the three parties. Technical committees shall try to produce a basis for an agreement within two weeks.

Tigray may not hold state elections

June 24th

The TPLF outbreak party, which dominates the politics of the state of Tigray, wants to hold the state election as planned in August, despite the Abiy government postponing the elections due to the corona pandemic. However, the electoral authority rejects TPLF’s election plans. The power struggle between Addis Ababa’s central government and TPLF is thus stepping up.

Abie’s term of office is extended

June 10th

The Federation Council (Parliament House of Commons) approves a proposal to extend Prime Minister Abiys, the government’s and Parliament’s terms of office until international health institutions have ruled that the corona pandemic no longer poses a threat to public health. Only then should elections be held. The opposition criticizes the decision, saying that Abiy is using the pandemic to stay in power, something he denies.

Conflict around the election

June 8

Prime Minister Abiy rejects the demands of political opponents to form a transitional government when his term expires in early October. Abiy has been accused, in particular, of the breakaway party TPLF for using the corona pandemic as a pretext to postpone the elections and thereby extend its own reign. The elections would have been held in August but were postponed indefinitely by the electoral authority when the pandemic reached Ethiopia in March. It is the election authority that must inform when the election can be held. Ethiopia has over 2,100 confirmed cases of corona-infected residents and 27 confirmed deaths in covid-19.


Offense against OLA rebels

May 29th

Ethiopian soldiers and police have committed 39 cases of extrajudicial killing in connection with the 2019 strike against the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) rebel group in the Oromia region, writes Amnesty International . The killing was part of a pattern of abuse that also included torture and arbitrary mass arrests. According to a spokesman for Amnesty International, the abuses show how Ethiopian security forces continue to quell dissent and political opposition even under Prime Minister Abiy. The arrested are said to be put into “political rehabilitation” in support of the Abiy government. The rebels within OLA have been accused by the authorities of murders, bomb attacks, bank robberies and kidnappings in Oromia.


Crisis loan from the IMF

April 30th

The IMF grants $ 411 million in loans to Ethiopia to better combat the corona pandemic. The money is a kind of Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI), which means that the IMF rounds off the usually lengthy process preceding the approval of a crisis loan. In addition, the IMF grants Ethiopia debt relief of $ 12 million for the same reason.

State of emergency throughout the country

April 8

The government is introducing emergency permits in the country to give the authorities increased powers to fight the spread of the corona virus.

First death in covid-19

April 5

Ethiopia gets its first two confirmed deaths in covid-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. The victims are a 60-year-old woman and a 56-year-old man.

Internet again available in Wollega

April 3

The authorities make internet and mobile telephony available in the troubled area of ​​Wollega in Oromia, where the service was shut down in January 2020 in connection with the launch of a military offensive against the rebel group OLA. Earlier military offenses in Wollega have been surrounded by allegations of human rights violations against the civilian population. According to analysts, the situation in the area has not calmed down, but Prime Minister Abiy wants residents there to be accessed by information about the corona pandemic.

Rescue package from the World Bank

2 April

The World Bank presents a rescue package of $ 1.9 billion to be distributed among 25 developing countries. The money is a contribution to the fight against the corona pandemic. $ 82.6 million goes to Ethiopia.


The general elections are postponed

March 31st

The electoral authority postpones the general elections because of the corona pandemic. A new election date is announced when the threat of the pandemic is over. The preparation of the election has been so disturbed by the limitations that the fight against the corona virus means that the election process becomes impossible to carry out at present, the election authority announces. The elections were scheduled for August.

The limits are closed for passenger traffic

March 23rd

In an attempt to halt the spread of the corona virus, Ethiopia is in principle closing all land borders for passenger traffic. Freight freight is allowed to continue. The military is called out to ensure that residents respect the ban on people gathering. Addis Ababa International Airport is kept open, but air travelers arriving there are quarantined for 14 days.

Harassment in the pandemic’s tracks

March 19

The US Embassy reports on verbal and physical harassment against people coming from countries hit hard by the corona pandemic. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, in a speech to Ethiopians, pleads not to discriminate against any group of fears of the virus. When Abiy gives his speech, Ethiopia has six confirmed cases of coronary infection, two of which are Ethiopians and four are foreign nationals. Experts say the dark numbers of corona-infected Ethiopians are likely to be high.

Measures against coronary pandemic

March 16

Ethiopia is taking several steps in an effort to curb the spread of the new corona virus, sars-cov-2, that has caused a pandemic. For example, schools are closed, and events that gather a larger audience such as sports competitions and matches are canceled. When the decisions are made, Ethiopia has five confirmed cases of coronary infection in a population of just over 100 million.


Oromo guerrillas are suspected of bombing and murder

February 23

About 30 people are injured when a “bomb attack” is directed at a manifesto in support of Prime Minister Abiy in the city of Ambo, 10 miles west of Addis Ababa, Oromia police say. Abiy is not present at the manifestation. Six people are arrested for the attack. They are suspected to belong to the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA), which broke out of the OLF when the former guerrilla was transformed into a police party. OLA is also suspected of murdering a security chief in the city of Burayu in Oromia two days earlier.

The election is postponed again

February 14th

The electoral authority postpones the general elections for another 13 days, from August 16 to August 29. This means that the election must be held during the rainy season, which risks posing problems when many roads are flooded. The electoral movement will start on May 28.

Fury against people’s groups becomes punishable

February 13

Ethiopia adopts a law that makes it punishable by hatred of people. A conviction can result in high fines and up to two years in prison. Parliament adopts the law by a large majority. Human rights groups, such as Human Rights Watch (HRW), warn that the law can be exploited to undermine freedom of expression. The law criminalizes rhetoric that fuels discrimination “by individuals or groups on the basis of nationality, ethnicity, religion, gender or disability”. If the heat leads to a physical attack, five years in prison can be sentenced.


Kidnapping provokes anger

January 28

Protests erupt in Amhara due to dissatisfaction with how the Abiy government acted in connection with the removal of some 30 students from a university in Oromia in December 2019. The government did not speak until a month later and then said that the students were free, something as family members demented. A female student who managed to escape from the kidnappers says that the perpetrators belong to the olomogerilla OLF and that they were mainly harassed by Amharic students. Critics accuse the government of trying to silence the information about the kidnapping of fear of diluting already severe ethnic conflicts in society.

Abiy reduces TPLF’s influence

January 22

Prime Minister Abiy appoints three new non-Tiger Ministers. At the same time, he is removing the ministerial status of one of the two remaining members of the government who belong to the Tigrian TPLF.

The elections are postponed

January 16

The Election Authority announces that the general elections are postponed from May to August 16.

Conflict mediation on pond construction

January 16

Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan are reported to have reached an agreement in principle in a conflict involving Ethiopians in the process of building a giant dam in the Blue Nile, one of the largest tributaries to the Nile. Ethiopia is in dire need of electricity, but Egypt and Sudan, both downstream, believe the river system is being drained of water at their expense. The hydroelectric power plant will be the largest in Africa (see Natural Resources, Energy and Environment). According to the agreement, which was reached through mediation by the United States and the World Bank , the dam should be filled with water gradually, while the rainy season prevails.

Facilitates the law of terror

January 2

The EPRDF-dominated parliament adopts a new law that replaces the terrorist legislation that has received widespread criticism from opposition and Amnesty International . According to the human rights organization, the change in law is a step in the right direction but it can still be used against government critics. For example, Parliament retains the right to identify and ban terrorist organizations, an opportunity previously used to eliminate opposition parties. Deadly terrorist acts can still be punished with death, and terrorist acts that cause serious bodily harm or great material destruction can result in 10 to 18 years in prison. A definite improvement is that the new law gives employees the right to strike even if they “impede community service”, which was previously classified as terrorism.

Ethiopia Industry

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