July 21, 2009 / 3:46 PM / 10 years ago

Ethiopia earns $1.5 bln from exports in 2008/09

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) — Ethiopia’s export earnings in 2008/09 (July-June) came in at $1.5 billion, well below a planned $2.6 billion due to the global financial crisis, the Ministry of Trade and Industry said on Tuesday.

A vendor arranges dresses on mannequins in front of a shop in Addis Ababa September 13, 2007. REUTERS/Radu Sigheti

The ministry report seen by Reuters also said coffee, Ethiopia’s main export commodity, was hit severely by the global economic slowdown, which has hurt demand in developed nations for beans from Africa’s biggest producer.

The government says economic growth, which has posted rates of 11.6 percent during the last five years, will be reduced to 10 percent this year due to power rationing, which in turn has affected the performance of industry.

“Ethiopia earned $1,450,034,000 aggregate income from export in 2008/09, much less than the anticipated $2.6 billion, mainly due to the global economic slowdown,” the Ministry of Trade and Industry document said.

Despite missing the target, export earnings in 2008/09 were the same as in 2007/08 and up from $1.2 billion a year earlier.

“Ethiopia had targeted to earn $805.4 million from export of 224,800 tonnes of coffee in 2008/09. But, the economic slowdown and poor demand, reduced the country’s targeted income from coffee to $376 million from sales of 134,000 tonnes,” it said.

Ethiopia earned $525 million from coffee exports in 2007/08. Leading buyers of Ethiopia’s coffee are Germany, followed by Saudi Arabia, Japan, the United States and The Netherlands.

The Horn of Africa nation is also the world’s fourth largest exporter of sesame seeds, but has for decades relied on its premium grade coffee for hard currency earnings.

It received $355 million from exports of 287,334 tonnes of oil seeds, mainly sesame, this year.

Major buyers are Asian countries such as India, China, Middle Eastern countries, Turkey, Greece, Sudan, South Africa and North African states.

The report said khat, narcotic leaves that are popular in the Horn of Africa, the Middle East and Europe, fetched $139.2 million from exports of 25,000 tonnes, up from $108.3 million a year earlier.

The country generated $91 million from exports of pulses and another $99.43 million sales of 4.72 tonnes of gold, up slightly from $94.1 million a year earlier.

According to the report, Ethiopia earned $131 million from the export of 1,300 billion flower stems. Live animal and meat products brought in $76 million and leather exports came to $105.3 million, up from $101 million in 2007/08.

Other export commodities also include sugar, textiles, cotton, beverages and mineral products.

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