Ethiopia’s Trade and Investment: Policy Priorities for the New Government

16 Pages Posted: 29 Sep 2010

See all articles by Dan Ciuriak

Dan Ciuriak

Ciuriak Consulting Inc.; C.D. Howe Institute; Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI); BKP Development Research & Consulting GmbH; Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada

Claudius Preville

European Union - Trade Capacity Building Programme

Date Written: September 1, 2010

Abstract

As Ethiopia’s new government begins work in September 2010, it is armed with a new plan: the Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP). Trade and foreign direct investment (FDI) figure in the new plan but less reliance is placed on FDI inflows than in the past and as much emphasis appears to be placed on import substitution as on export expansion to reduce the trade deficit. Ethiopia has tried different trade strategies in the past, the perennial goal being to diversify its exports to reduce dependence on coffee and other cash crops. Nonetheless, Ethiopia has a low share of trade in GDP, its exports continue to have limited diversification, and its trade deficit has widened significantly. This paper argues that Ethiopia’s trade performance has been held back by a combination of factors that are amenable to policy treatment, including very high trade costs due to poor trade logistics and burdensome official requirements, an unsupportive macroeconomic policy mix, and private sector under-development that is at least partially attributable to weaknesses in the microeconomic framework. By the same token, it argues that targeted infrastructure and regional cooperation developments, in conjunction with a trade friendly macroeconomic policy and domestic administrative reforms would, properly sequenced, enable Ethiopia to use its abundant factor of production – cheap labour – to drive its development on a basis less vulnerable to the risks inherent in rain-based agricultural production, including participation in processing trade. On this basis, it identifies a set of priority initiatives for the new government.

Keywords: Ethiopia, trade policy, liberalization, facilitation

JEL Classification: F13, F14, F15

Suggested Citation

Ciuriak, Dan and Preville, Claudius, Ethiopia’s Trade and Investment: Policy Priorities for the New Government (September 1, 2010). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1684310 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1684310

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Claudius Preville

European Union - Trade Capacity Building Programme

Ethiopia

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