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Market access and opportunities in Ethiopia


Choosing a market for your product or service requires careful research. Here are some pointers to take into consideration in relation to market access;

Domestic market access and opportunities

The domestic market is the main source of agricultural products, while imports dominate processed foodstuffs, sanitary products and vegetable oils. A mix of imports and Ethiopian products are available in the local market.

Opportunities in the Value Chain Development

By adding value to products, women can create access to markets and finance, and compete in the market. In Ethiopia, the value chain development as an approach to poverty reduction is implemented by different organizations:

Organizations working on Value Chain Development & create market access:

The Graduation with Resilience to Achieve Sustainable Development (GRAD) project in Ethiopia engages food insecure households in various agricultural value chains. As a result, these households have showed improved incomes. GRAD is a USAID funded project, and is implemented in partnership with

  1. CARE Ethiopia
  2. Catholic Relief Society
  3. Agri-Service Ethiopia
  4. Organisation for the Rehabilitation and Development in Amhara and
  5. Relief Society of Tigray.

For further information visit: https://snv.org/update/value-chain-development-improved-livelihoods-ethiopia

Market access through cooperatives

Women producers can utilize take advantage of cooperative societies by becoming members in order to access the markets created (established) by these cooperatives. For example, in Ethiopia's case, the grain market is the largest of all commodity markets in terms of the volume of products handled and the number of market actors and participants involved.

Naturally, market actors increase in composition and number as grain passes through the hierarchy of marketing channel from local to central market. Thus, cooperatives shorten the process and can be considered as a channel for market. The establishment of such cooperatives is to improve the bargaining power of farmer members, procure products and services at a lower cost, improving market access, and increasing the income of members through value added products.

Opportunities in production of substitute goods

The most important products in term of local market are apparels, foodstuffs, beverage and construction materials. Furthermore, nowadays organizations face competition from industries that are producing substitutes. But substitution also provides opportunities. In order to identify gaps a realistic assessment has to be made of the relative merits of the products/services in the eyes of the customer. Thus, engaging in production of substitute goods can be considered as domestic market opportunity.

Input for large scale processors

Large scale processors are also market potentials for women producers. Usually large-scale processors are located near to urban areas. Therefore, such institutional buyers are very important to tap in to.

Foreign market access opportunities

  • Ethiopia is pursuing a more active approach to regional economic integration, through the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), and has recently signed the Framework Agreement of the African Continental Free Trade Area. These creates opportunities to access global markets but not yet fully exploited by many Ethiopian entrepreneurs (exporters). Thus, women can leverage such market.
  • Exporters, especially in manufacturing can exploit preferential market access to the European Union, the United States, and other major markets.
  • The Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), which entered into force May 2019, unites the 52 African countries that have signed the agreement into one common trade area. Ethiopia has ratified the AfCFTA, facilitating trade across the continent between Ethiopia and the 52 countries that have signed the agreement. The AfCFTA creates an opportunity to women exporters to reach neighboring markets.