India-Ethiopia Commercial Relations

India and Ethiopia have long-standing economic and commercial relations, which are centuries old and can be traced back over 2000 years of recorded history. During the Axumite Kingdom, Indian traders had links with the ancient port of Adulis in the eastern part of Ethiopia and traded silk and spices for gold and ivory. In recent years, with the opening up of the Ethiopian economy, business ties between the two countries have grown significantly, especially in the areas of trade, investment, agriculture and infrastructure projects. The economic dimension of the bilateral relationship has now become its most important.

Bilateral Trade:

India’s total trade with Ehiopia stood at US$1.133 billion in 2017, out of which India’s exports to Ethiopia were US$1.090 billion and imports were US$43.2 million. India’s trade with Ethiopia is diversified and composed primarily manufactured products. Among India’s top exports to EthiopiaExports from India consisted mainly of primary and semi-finished iron and steel products, drugs and pharmaceuticals, machinery and instruments, manufactures of metal, etc. Major imports by India from Ethiopia were: semi precious stones, pulses, leather, oil seeds and vegetables & seeds. India is currently the third most important source of imports for Ethiopia, contributing 7.26% of all of Ethiopia’s imports next to China and USA.


There is no Ethiopian Investment in India. Indian companies maintained their reputation as being in the top three foreign investors in Ethiopia with newer Indian multinationals marking their presence in Ethiopia. There are more than 584 Indian companies in Ethiopia with licensed investment of over US$ 4 billion of which about US$ 2 billion is estimated to be on the ground. Indian companies have invested in various sectors like agriculture and floriculture, engineering, plastics, manufacturing, cotton and textiles, water management, consultancy and ICT, education, pharmaceuticals and healthcare. About 58.7% of Indian investment is in the manufacturing sector, followed by agriculture (15.6%).

Some major investments by Indian companies announced in 2017 include MSP Steel & Power Limited, Arvind Envisol, Balaaji Manufacturing Plc, Aarti Steel Pvt. Ltd. Co and Sonalika Tractors. More Indian companies began to invest in Ethiopia, especially in the textile and garments sector, which is a priority sector in the Growth and Transformation Plan-II. Arvind set up a six-million-piece garment plant in Ethiopia. Kanoria Africa Textiles PLC’s denim factory in Bishoftu was opened by the Honorable Prime Minister of Ethiopia on 24 October 2015. Raymond signed a US$100 million investment agreement with the Ethiopian Government during the Ethio-India Investment Forum held in Mumbai in October 2015.

Indian companies in Ethiopia

Some of the Indian companies in Ethiopia are Cadila Pharmaceuticals PLC, S & P Energy Solution PLC, Tata International Limited, Karuturi Global PLC, Kanoria Africa Textiles PLC, Mohan Group of companies, Anmol Products Ethiopia PLC, Telecommunications Consultants India Limited (TCIL), EXIM Bank of India, Oxford Group of Companies, Roto PLC, Whitefield Cotton Farm PLC, Ruchi Agri PLC, Verdanta Harvests PLC, Neha International PLC, Asian Paintings, Arvind Mills, Allanasons Ltd., Kanoria, SVP Group, Fontana Flower PLC, Balaji Manufacturing PLC, Samaka Stones Pvt. Ltd. Co., Velocity Apparel etc.

Marketing/Investment opportunities in Ethiopia

The areas with most promising potential for investments in the country are agriculture, food-processing, leather & leather products, textile & garments, horticulture, sugar & related industry, chemicals industry, pharmaceutical industry, cement industry, metal & engineering industry, tourism, construction, mining & oil and hydropower. Leading non-agricultural sectors and investment include: renewable energy, information technology and communications (ICT), construction, tourism and aviation.  Sub-sectors such as mobile banking services and outsourcing services, website software and technologies, software development for eGovernment services, and ICT training services are going to be among the major investment opportunities in the country. The ambitious road construction and expansion projects in the country also offers  opportunities either to directly involve in the construction work or export of construction machinery, chemicals, and building materials as well as consultancy and supervision services.


A Trade Agreement between the Government of the Republic of India and the Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia was signed at New Delhi in 1997. A new Bilateral Trade Agreement is under negotiation. A Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPPA) was signed in 2007 but not enforced yet. India and Ethiopia signed a Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) in 2011. The DTAA has been made effective in India w.e.f. 1.4.2013. During the India-Africa Forum Summit of April 2008, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh had announced the Duty Free Tariff Preference Scheme (DFTP) for Least Developed Countries (LDCs). Ethiopia was among the first countries that had accepted the DFTP Scheme. Ethiopia being a Least Developed Country, as per the WTO mandate and pursuant to the decisions of the WTO Ministerial Conferences and the collective request of LDCs, visa fee is waived for Ethiopian applicants seeking Indian business and employment visas.

Trade promotion activities:

The Embassy promotes trade, investment and technology transfer processes in Ethiopia. SMEs have been a special focus and the Embassy is committed to support SME companies in creating partnerships in Ethiopia. A large number of SME industry members have been participating at the trade fairs and exhibitions, Buyer-Seller Meets and product promotion programmes in India. These efforts strengthen the dialogue of the Ethiopian delegations with the SMEs in India. The Embassy also promotes and facilitates visits by trade delegations by arranging meetings and organizing Exhibitions, Buyer-Seller Meets, etc. CRISP (Bhopal) – Centre for Research and Industrial Staff Performance proposes to organize Buyer-Seller Meet of handicraft and handloom items in Ethiopia to promote Indian handicraft products in Ethiopia in September-October 2018.. CRISP – India, Bhopal was established in 1997 as a service provider institution in hi-tech areas. It has an autonomous status as a Society under the bilateral cooperation between the State Government of Madhya Pradesh and the Federal Republic of Germany under their Indo-German Technical Cooperation Agreement therein the Ministry of SME, Govt. of India was the line Ministry. The Department of Technical Education and Skill Development, Government of Madhya Pradesh and German Technical Cooperation agency (GIZ) were the implementation partners. The Society has representation from the industry, academia, government the German partners. In addition to being a service provider in various areas of its operation, CRIP India has trained more than 200,000 personnel from the industries, government and corporate sector through India and overseas.

CRISP – India has its overseas branch in Addis Ababa, which is equipped with latest technology and training equipment in the area of Electronics (PLC, Drives), Electrical (AC/DC Motors, Relay logic controls), Mechanical (Hydraulics, Mechanical Maintenance, CAD/CAM, welding) and IT (CISCO, Programme Languages and computer hardware maintenance). CRISP – Ethiopia Centre has trained more than 600 participants in the last four years in the field of industrial automation to enhance productivity and competence of Ethiopian industry workforce.

Lines of Credit

The ongoing Government of India assistance in developmental projects in Ethiopia continued with sanctioned Lines of Credit worth more than US$1 billion to the Government of Ethiopia for sectors such as rural electrification, sugar industry and railways. Ethiopia is the largest recipient of long term concessional credit from India in Africa. Finchaa and Wonji Shoa sugar factories and Phase I of the Tendaho sugar factory being built in Ethiopia under the Indian EXIM Bank’s Lines of Credit of US$ 640 million are almost complete. India has also donated to Ethiopia a 64-Slice CT Scan Machine to Black Lion Hospital in Addis Ababa as part of our Grant Assistance. The National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) and Central Leather Research Institute (CLRI) also have twinning arrangements with the Ethiopian Textile Industry Development Institute (ETIDI) and Ethiopian Leather Industry Development Institute and undertake capacity building projects.

India Business Forum:

Indian Embassy in Addis Ababa supports the IBF (India Business Forum) which focuses on promoting bilateral trade and investment between India and Ethiopia. The India Business Forum (IBF) was launched on October 30, 2005, and has organized meetings with the Presidents of the Regional states, General Managers of Banks, DG, Ethiopian Customs Revenues Authority, Ethiopian Employers Federation, Ministers of Trade, Industry and even with the late H.E. Mr. Meles Zenawi, Prime Minister of Ethiopia and H.E. Mr. Hailemariam Desalegn, Prime Minister of Ethiopia. IBF is the first foreign Forum of its kind in Ethiopia and is considered a model for foreign businesses to organize themselves on. IBF meets twice every month, either at the Executive Committee or the General Body-level. The India Business Forum (IBF) celebrated its 10th anniversary on 5 October in the presence of Dr. Arkebe Oqubay, Adviser to the Prime Minister of Ethiopia as Chief Guest. Dr. Arkebe’s presence was a boost to the Forum’s presence and engagements in Ethiopia and will provide it more access to Ethiopian government in future. The 9th anniversary of IBF in October 2014 was graced by the Ethiopian Prime Minister; H.E. Hailemariam Desalegn.

Visits from India

Momentum maintained in trade and economic engagements with participation of Indian business delegations in Trade Fairs, BSMs, etc. A 17-member delegation organized by India’s leading business association, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) led by H.E. Mr. Ajit Gupte, Joint Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs visited Ethiopia from 2-4 February 2017. The first Indian Medical Tourism Destination (IMTD) Exhibition—IPHEX Ethiopia was held at Millennium Hall, Addis Ababa on 20 & 21 February 2017.   The Embassy in collaboration with the Pharmaceuticals Export Promotion Council (PHARMEXCIL), Federation of Indian Export Organization (FIEO) and Department of Tourism of India organized IPHEX Ethiopia. More than 30 Indian pharmaceutical companies and 28 major hospitals across India participated in the event. 19 Indian companies representing diverse sectors participated in the Addis Chamber International Trade Fair (ACITF) from 23 February to March 1, 2017 under the motto “Conducive Environment For Enhanced Export Performance.’’ held at the Addis Ababa Exhibition Center.   Their participation was organized by the India Trade Promotion Organization (ITPO). Since 2006 India participated consistently in the fair. The event has attracted 80 local and 100 foreign companies. The Synthetic & Rayon Textiles Export Promotion Council (SRTEPC) of India, with the assistance of this Embassy, organized an Indian Textile Exhibition (INTEXPO- Ethiopia) on 6th and 7th March 2017, at Sheraton Addis Hotel. Twenty two member-delegates of SRTEPC participated and showcased their products of synthetic rayon and blended textile items including fiber, yarn, fabrics, apparels, made-ups and accessories.   Shri Manoj Jhalani, Additional Secretary and Mission Director and Dr. Ajay Khera, DC & Incharge (CH & AH) of Ministry of Health and Family Affairs, Government of India participated an international conference on maternal and child health dubbed Acting on the Call 2017, an initiative jointly started by the Governments of Ethiopia and India, on August 24 and 25 under the theme “Overcoming critical obstacles to maternal and child survival.”the Summit from Government of India. The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) organized a delegation and exposition showcasing of India’s technology and innovation coinciding with the visit of Shri Ram Nath Kovind, Hon’ble President of India to Ethiopia from 4-6 October 2017. Eying on the increased cooperation in trade and investments between India and Ethiopia, high level officials and business people of the two countries held “Business Dialogue” on 5 October 2017 at Sheraton Addis Hotel. President Mulatu and President Kovind attended the forum where a 30-member business delegation and representatives from different Indian industries had participated during the dialogue. Three Indian based construction companies participated on the Construction Materials and Technologies Exhibition held from 13 – 16 October 2017 Sixteen Indian companies participated in the 7th International Conference on Pulses and Oilseeds with a theme “Africa: The Future Pulses and Oilseeds Supply” on 22nd November 2017 at Sheraton Addis. Three Indian companies participated in the 10th Ethio-Chamber International Trade Fair from Oct. 26 – 30, 2017 at Addis Ababa Exhibition Center. Forty seven Indian companies participated in the 5th Addis Agro food Agriculture, Agricultural Machineries, Food, Food Technologies and Packaging Exhibition held in Addis Ababa Millennium Hall from 8-11 December 2017. Their participation was organized by the Associated Chambers of Commerce of India;(ASSOCHAM). Plastindia Foundation organized a Plast India promotional event on 12th December 2017 at the Hilton Addis. Plast India is a plastic exhibition taking place in February 2018 in India. 150 Ethiopian Industrialists who are in the plastic and polymer business participated in the event. A three-member delegation led by Shri Chhabilendra Roul, Additional Secretary, Department of Agricultural Research and Education and Secretary, Indian Council for Agricultural Research visited Addis Ababa on 15-16 February 2018. The Indian delegation held discussions with International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and gave a brief account of structure and functioning of ICAR and highlighted significant achievement of the Council in bringing food security of the country through research and education in agriculture and allied subjects. Ambassador accompanied the delegation during their meeting with Commissioner of African Union Commission, Addis Ababa. Ambassador emphasized the greater role of the
Commission in nominating students and scholars from African countries for fellowships in undertaking Master and Doctoral programmes in agriculture and allied subjects in India. Shri Roul sought intervention of the Commission in taking the proposal forward for establishment of Pan-African University of Life and Earth Sciences with financial support of India in Nigeria. He also suggested for looking option for establishment of the proposed university in any other alternative country. He also raised the issue of proposal of bilateral cooperaton between ICAR and Kenya on the establishment of Soil Analysis Laboratory, and with Ethiopia on establishment of Farm Science Centre and requested the Commission for help. During the meeting, Ambassador of India proposed organizing an Exhibition on Indian innovation as a sideline event on the African Summit to be held in Addis Ababa during the later part of the year. The Indian delegation along with the Ambassador called on the Minister of State for Agriculture of Ethiopia. Ambassador brief the MOS about the existence of MoU between ICAR and Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research and possibility of greater cooperation in the field of agricultural research between India and Ethiopia. The issue of non-allocation of suitable land for establishment of Farm Science Centre in Ethiopia was raised. On 16th February, the delegation held meeting with MOS for Livestock and Fisheries. The Indian side raised the issue of Farm Science Centre and the Work Plan to be signed between ICAR and Government of Ethiopia and sought Minister’s intervention. The Minister assured to take up the issue. The Minister emphasized help for capacity building in different areas of livestock and fisheries. He mentioned that Ethiopia can take benefit from the experiences of India in areas of dairy development and genetic improvement. The Minister highlighted that there is limited production of FMD vaccines by the Government and private companies in Ethiopia and sought help of Indian companies. The Minister emphasized the need for product processing, including dairy and cold chain development and sought investment on processing of animal produce including dairy cold chain in Ethiopia. Shri Roul informed about the commitment of Government of India for establishment of Pan-African University of Life and Earth Sciences in Nigeria or any other alternative country. The Minister assured to discuss the issue with the Ethiopian Foreign Ministry.

Visits from Ethiopia

Important visits and participation from Ethiopia included in H.E. Ms. Aysha Mohammad, Minister of Construction and H.E. Mr. Gebremeskel Chala, State Minister of Construction participated in the 12th CII-EXIM Conclave on India Africa Project Partnership 2017 in New Delhi from 9-10 March, 2017. An Ethiopian delegation, including government officials and textile industry representatives, visited the Government Polytechnic Nagpur (GPN) in Nagpur, India in the first week of May 2017. The visit was part of a study tour on cotton growing methods and development in cotton textiles in India. The delegation included eight officials from Ethiopian Industry Input Development Enterprise, Ethiopian Textile Industry Development Institute, Cotton Producers, Ginners and Exporters Association Ethiopia, Ministry of Agriculture and Natural resources and Ministry of Industry. H.E. Dr. Abraham Tekeste, Minister of Finance and Economic Cooperation and Mr. Fisseha Aberra, Director, International Financial Institution Cooperation Directorate of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Cooperation participated in the 52nd Annual Meetings of African Development Bank Group at Mahatma Mandir, Gandhinagar, Gujarat from 22 to 26 May 2017. On this occasion, the Department of Economic Affairs in association with Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) organised “Sessions on Africa-India Cooperation” on 22nd 24th and 25th May 2017. H.E. Mr. Anthony Mothae Maruping, Commissioner for Economic Affairs of the Commission of the African Union also participated in the 52nd Annual Meetings of African Development Bank Group. A workshop on the investment opportunities in Ethiopian textiles held on 21 July in India. According to fibre2fashion, the session hosted by Ethiopian Investment Promotion and International Trade Centre and the Southern India Mills’ Association. The investment promotion workshop provided a platform for engagement between Indian textile industries and a high-level Ethiopian delegation to explore partnerships in the sector. It also raised awareness of existing opportunities for investment in Ethiopia with a particular emphasis on the textile and garments. The session highlighted key factors that serve as Ethiopia’s comparative advantages in the cotton, textile and apparel sector.Ethiopia is expected to become a sourcing hub for the global textile and garment industry within the next decade. A seven members delegation from different Ethiopian Government Organizations and business leaders from reputed private companies visited India from 23-29 July 2017 to gain experience and learn good practices from India’s economic and social transformation agenda and adopt this knowledge to Ethiopian institutions. A seven-member delegation led by Mr. Berhane Kelete, CEO of the Ethiopian IT Park from the Ethiopian Ministry of Communication and Information Technology visited Hyderabad and Bangalore from 28 August to 1 September 2017 on site knowledge sharing on IT parks management and service provision. H.E. Mr. Girma Amente Nono, Minister of Public Enterprises and Mr. Mohammed Abdurahman, Advisor to the Minister from the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and Dr. Vera Lum Songwe, Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) participated in the 13th edition of CII-EXIM Bank Conclave on India – Africa Project Partnership from 25 – 27 March, 2018 at Taj Palace in New Delhi, India. Five Ethiopian companies and one Djiboutian company participated in CAP India 2018- a joint initiative of CHEMEXCIL, PLEXCONCIL, CAPEXIL and SHEFEXIL in the Chemicals & Plastics Sector which was held from 22-24 March 2018 at Bombay Exhibition Centre, Mumbai. An 8-member Ethiopian business delegation led by the Senior International Trade Relation Expert of the Ethiopian Chambers of Commerce & Sectorial Associations visited the Vibrant Saurashtra Expo & Summit 2018 (SVUM 2018 International Trade Show) at Rajkot, Gujarat from 20-23 April 2018. A seven-member Ethiopian delegation led by H.E. Mr. Getachew Adem, Deputy Commissioner, National Planning Commission, visited India from 30th April to 5th May 2018 to gain experience and learn good practices from India’s Public Investment Management. Mr. Fisseha Aberra Kidane, Director International Finance Institution Cooperation, Ministry of Finance and Economic Cooperation of Ethiopia attended the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) which was held from June 21-26, in Mumbai.

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