The government's long-term economic development strategy – Agricultural-Development-Led-Industrialization (ADLI) – is geared to the transformation of the economic structure. The strategy involves an export-led external sector, and internal emphasis on agriculture to supply commodities for exports, domestic food supply and industrial output, and expand markets for domestic manufacturing. The development strategy is supported by an economic reform program developed in cooperation with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and by a series of structural adjustment programmes. There have been major gains from the reform programme, and from liberalization of the economy, including low inflation, fiscal discipline and low government borrowing, infrastructure improvement and the growth of the private sector after a privatization program was initiated in 1995 under which a majority of former government-owned firms have been denationalized.

The current Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP), finalized in November 2010, was built on the implementation of previous poverty reduction strategies, the Sustainable Development and Poverty Reduction Program for 2002/03−2004/5 and the Plan for Accelerated and Sustained Development to End Poverty for 2005/06−2009/10 (PASDEP) which laid out the directions to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015 and the basis for Ethiopia to reach ‘middle-income' status by 2020−25.  In March 2012, the IMF said Ethiopia would achieve this earlier if its rapid growth continued.

PASDEP provided for substantial progress in the provision of social services such as education, health and infrastructure through investing in physical and human capital formation and allocating over 60% of the budget to pro-poor expenditure. The spending on poverty-targeted sectors (both recurrent and capital) steadily increased during this period rising from 42.0% of total expenditure in 2002/03 to over 64% and this has continued.  The effects were visible in significantly improved education and healthcare services. Primary school net enrolment rose from 77 percent in 2004/05 to 82 percent in 2009/10, and is now over 96%; completion rates also increased steadily. Secondary enrolment also rose steadily. Tertiary level education increased sharply. The proportion of fully immunized children rose from 20 percent in 2006 to 66 percent in 2010; the percentage of births attended by healthcare workers increased from 16 percent to 29 percent during the same period. In 2005 the maternal mortality was 871 per 100,000 births; this declined to 590/100,000 by 2010. Under-five child deaths fell from 200/2000 to 75/2000 in 2009. Health service coverage increased from 30% to 89% during PASDEP.

 In 2004, Ethiopian GDP (Gross Domestic Product) was about 63% of Kenyan GDP and 4.6% of South African GDP; by 2009, the comparison was 97% and 10.1% respectively. Per capita income had increased from $138 to $344 in 2009. In 2009/2010 the economy grew by 10.4%, compared to the estimated growth rate of 6.0% for all Sub-Saharan Africa. Agriculture and allied activities contributed 30% to the increase while the service and industry sectors provided 56% and 13% respectively. Inflationary pressure continued to ease due to prudent monetary and fiscal policies and other government measures, and annual average inflation dropped to 2.8% in June 2010 against 36.4% a year earlier. It has since fluctuated sharply, rising sharply in 2011 and remaining a serious problem in 2012.

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Currency and Currency Regulations

Currency and Currency Regulations

 The local currency is the Ethiopian birr, made up of 100 cents. Notes are issued in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 50, and 100 birr. There are six different coins: 1, 5, 10, 25, and 50 cents, and 1 birr.

The exchange rate as of 30th June 2014: 

1 USD = 19.9733 ETB

1 GBP = 34.0445 ETB

1 Euro = 27.2756ETB

1 Renminbi – 0.0000ETB



There is no limit to the amount of foreign currency that can be imported into Ethiopia, but it must be declared on arrival, using a currency declaration form. Foreign currency may be changed only at authorized banks and hotels .The currency declaration form will be required by Customs on departure. Visitors may change back any excess birr into foreign currency at the air port before departure, but they are expected to produce receipts for all exchange transactions.

Credit cards 

These can be used in some of the larger hotels in Addis Ababa, and major credit cards can be used for flights by Ethiopian Airlines.  A number of banks and hotels have  ATM machines available and Visa cards can be used at some banks. The US dollar is the best foreign currency to bring into Ethiopia and it can be exchanged at banks and foreign exchange bureaus.


Drivers require a valid International Driving License, which can be obtained by exchanging your own local license at the Transport and Communications office on Haile Gebreselassie Road in Addis Ababa. Visitors can recover their original driving licenses a day or so prior to departure. Those with their own vehicles require a permit from the Ministry of Transport and Communication. Driving is on the right hand side of the road.

Energy (Power)

Ethiopia uses a 220 Volt and 50 Hz. System. It is sensible to bring a round, two-prong adapter and transformer if necessary.

Health Requirements

All visitors (including infants) are required to possess a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate if you have recently travelled to a country where it is present. Vaccination against cholera is also required for any person who has visited or been in transit through a cholera-infected area within six days prior to arrival to Ethiopia. Malaria is endemic in areas of Ethiopia below 2000 meters, and both chloroquine–resistant and falciparum strains are present.

Medical Services

Medical facilities are available in all major towns but facilities are often over-taxed. Tourists and non-citizen residents should go to private hospitals and clinics. Contact your Embassy for referral to recommended doctors. Air rescue services are available.