Ethiopia is the top African exporter of shoes to the U.S. under AGOA. Ethiopia offers a unique opportunity for footwear production thanks to its tradition of shoe making and tanning coupled with new foreign direct investments and duty-free access to the U.S. market under AGOA. The USAID Hub is helping Ethiopia make the most of these advantages. The Hub supports Ethiopian companies to attend trade shows and participate in buyer missions where they can engage with U.S. buyers. The Hub is also providing technical assistance as the country updates its National AGOA Strategy in which footwear is a focus sector.
Check out the latest Ethiopian footwear catalog to see some of the companies looking to export to the U.S.
Ethiopia has several competitive advantages, including the largest number of cattle in Africa and the 10th largest cattle population in the world with an estimated 54 million heads. This ensures leather’s availability as a raw material for footwear and accessories production. Government policies and incentives, such as tax-free importation of materials and zero export taxes, support price competitive exports. Huge infrastructure projects in the last few years have also boosted competitiveness on the logistics front. Train services to port, new roads, foreign logistics service providers’ engagement and discounted rates offered by Ethiopian Airlines for outbound cargo have generated interest among international buyers. Ethiopia follows a green economy, generating hydroelectricity at the low rate of $0.03 per KWH, and the country recently developed industrial parks that exceed industry compliance requirements.
As a country with more than 100 million people, with 60 percent of the population under 25 years, a readily available labor pool exists in Ethiopia. The country has taken steps and made investments toward its vision of becoming the footwear manufacturing hub in Africa, creating employment and opportunities for its young population. To learn more about some of the companies contributing to Ethiopian footwear’s rise, view our catalog here.
The USAID East Africa Trade and Investment Hub is committed to boosting trade and investment in East Africa and is a one-stop shop for businesses and national governments in East Africa seeking to take advantage of AGOA.