Logistic and forwarding services in Ethiopia


Capital City
Addis Ababa

96.63 Mio.

National languages
Amharic, English as second traffic language, regional languages Orominya, Tigrinya, Somali, more than 70 native languages

Birr (ETB)

Gross national product (GNP)
USD 57.56 Mia.

GNP per person
USD 619

Financial exports to Switzerland
CHF 38.50 Mio.

Financial imports from Switzerland
CHF 258.06 Mio.

Bilateral relations Switzerland–Ethiopia

Relations between Switzerland and Ethiopia focus on development cooperation and humanitarian aid. Switzerland has stepped up its humanitarian commitment due to recurring disastrous droughts and food crises. Ethiopia is covered in the Regional Strategy for the Horn of Africa 2013–2016, which coordinates all Switzerland’s activities in the region.

Economic cooperation

Trade with Ethiopia is limited. In 2012, Switzerland exported goods to the value of about CHF 28m, primarily pharmaceutical and chemical products and products of the mechanical engineering industry. Imports from Ethiopia, primarily of coffee, during the same period amounted to about CHF 34m.


Business language


Dimensions and weights

Metric system.


National currency 1 Birr = 100 cents.
ISO code: ETB

Customs tariff

Harmonised system.

Import control

Importers must be registered with the Ministry of Commerce and hold a valid import licence. The importer must obtain a Foreign Exchange Certificate before the import order can be placed. There are general bans on the import of pesticides, hazardous waste, used tyres and used clothing. Import authorisations or registrations are required for various groups of goods such as used vehicles, used machines, certain chemicals, medicinal products, medical devices, telecommunication devices, foods, cosmetics etc. Exporters to Ethiopia require product certification in the form of a Certificate of Conformity before shipment. The original document must be submitted to Ethiopian customs.
Standard VAT rate: 15%

Pre-shipment inspection

Not currently used.


Terms of payment and tenders

Invoices preferably in EUR or USD; irrevocable, confirmed letters of credit are standard. Tenders CIF Djibouti or CIF Assab.

Designations of origin and packaging

There are no regulations on designations of origin on goods and marking regulations for packages. Seaworthy packaging, solid, particularly in the case of transports across the Red Sea during the summer and during the Ethiopian rainy seasons from March to April and mid-June to October. Goods which are at risk of breakage should ideally be sent to Ethiopia via Djibouti.

Product samples

Samples, medical samples and advertising materials must be declared based on their value, unless the samples are labelled as such, in other words can no longer be used (e.g. the samples are cut up or cut in half etc.).

Shipping and accompanying documents

Standard and for

a) Commercial invoices, 3 copies, in English with all standard information including the country of origin, price per unit and total price of the goods etc. and the following declaration: “We certify this invoice to be true and correct and in accordance with our books”. Certification by the Chamber of Industry and Commerce. The FOB value, freight and insurance must be listed separately for CIF sales. Recommendation: indicate the licence and foreign exchange certificate numbers and comply with the special regulations for perfume, drinks and textiles.

b) Certificates of origin are required. As the origin, indicate “Swiss” in the case of Swiss goods, or “European Union” for goods originating from UE. Movement certificate EUR 1 or UE not required.

c) Bills of lading uncertified. Order bills of lading are possible with an indication of a notify address.

d) Postal packages up to 31.5 kg: 1 foreign dispatch note, 2 customs declaration in English, 3 commercial invoices; airmail packages up to 20 kg: 1 foreign dispatch note with a sticker saying “airmail”, 2 customs declaration in French/English, 3 commercial invoices; freight shipments: 3 commercial invoices. Bills of lading uncertified. Do not currently send any post to Ethiopia by sea or land.

In the case of debt collection of package shipments by the State Bank of Ethiopia in Addis Ababa the recipient’s address must be indicated in the documents.

e) Where applicable a certificate of conformity is required.