Ethiopia exports rise 25 pct in ’07/08 to $1.5 bln

July 30th, 2008 | by addis portal |

ADDIS ABABA, July 30 (Reuters) – Ethiopia’s export revenues hit a record $1.5 billion in 2007/08 (July-June), just shy of the official target, while the import bill was $4.7 billion, a top trade official said on Wednesday.

In the previous financial year, Ethiopia paid out $3.9 billion for imports ranging from industrial machines to fuel, said Girma Gelelcha, head of the Trade Promotion Department.

“The 2007/08 export revenue registered a 25 percent growth over the $1.2 billion earned in 2006/07 but failed to meet the planned income of $1.6-$1.8 billion,” Girma told Reuters.

Ethiopia, which depends heavily on development aid, says its farm-based economy has been growing by 10 percent for the past five years and hopes agriculture will help end pervasive poverty among its 81 million people.

Coffee was Ethiopia’s top export in 2007/08, earning $525.2 million, followed by oil seeds worth $221.1 million, cereals at $141.6 million and flowers at $111.7 million.

Khat, narcotic leaves that are popular in Horn of Africa countries, earned the country $108.3 million, leather and leather products bagged $101 million while gold fetched $94.1 million, Girma said.

The leading importers of Ethiopian goods, especially coffee, were Germany, Saudi Arabia, the United States, Netherlands and Japan.

Ethiopia has received some $755 million from western donors in loans and grants this year to expand sectors such as agriculture and hydropower generation. China has also been investing heavily and plans a $713 million industrial park in Ethiopia.

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