Press Release 2008
Ethiopian AGOA Exports Double in First Half of 2008
Thursday, August 21, 2008 Addis Ababa (U.S. Embassy)
Continuing a trend of accelerated growth, Ethiopian exports to the United States under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) in the first six months of 2008 more than doubled over export levels from the first six months of 2007.
From January-June 2008, Ethiopia’s AGOA exports reached USD $9.7 million, surpassing the USD $8.9 million achieved during the entire 2007 calendar year. Ethiopia’s AGOA exports from January-June 2007 totaled $4.4 million. In the first six months of 2008, total Ethiopian exports to the U.S. also rose 89 percent, to USD $70 million from USD $37 million in the same period last year. The growth of Ethiopian exports to the U.S. is much greater than Ethiopia's average export growth rate of around 25%.
The textile and garments sector, long considered an under performer given its potential in Ethiopia and the competitive advantage offered under the AGOA zero tariff preference, achieved the highest total exports with an impressive increase of over 160 percent. Other products also recorded significant increases including foliage/bouquet filler (115 percent), live plants (122 percent), and fruits/nuts (1,495 percent).
The VEGA Ethiopia AGOA+ Program, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), is the only stand-alone trade promotion program in Africa working to increase exports to the U.S. under AGOA. USAID’s VEGA Ethiopia AGOA+ Program has been operating in Ethiopia for the last three years, providing targeted intervention to support Ethiopian exporters gain a foothold in the U.S. market.
“We see great potential for Ethiopia to increase exports to the U.S. under AGOA in general and in the textile and garments sector in particular,” says Addis Alemayehu, Chief of Party of USAID’s VEGA Ethiopia AGOA+ Program. “With many new investments in the pipeline, our program has focused its support to the Ethiopian Textile and Garments Manufacturers Association (ETGAMA) in order to continue this robust winning streak.”
Over the past several months, USAID VEGA Ethiopia AGOA+ has worked closely with ETGAMA, the Ministry of Trade and Industry, the Ethiopian Embassy in the U.S. and the USAID South Africa Trade Hub, to coordinate the marketing of Ethiopia and Ethiopian made textile and garments to the U.S. market. Final preparations are underway to represent Ethiopia at the prestigious Magic International Apparel Trade Show, Source Africa Pavilion to be hosted in Las Vegas, Nevada from August 25-27, 2008. With the assistance of an international expert provided by USAID VEGA Ethiopia AGOA+, an array of marketing materials has been developed for this major trade promotion event.
In what is another major milestone, USAID VEGA Ethiopia AGOA+ and ETGAMA announced the launch of a brand new, world class website for the association. The website, www.etgama.org, is designed to promote Ethiopian textile and garment manufacturers to the global market. A new logo and visual identity has been produced for the association in keeping with modern design principles.
“It is a partnership that is poised to deliver real results for the country as a whole,” says Endalkachew Sime, Secretary General of ETGAMA. “The support we have been receiving from USAID’s VEGA Ethiopia AGOA+ Program has been invaluable in our efforts to realize the promise which the textile and garments sector holds in becoming a major foreign currency earner for Ethiopia.”
USAID VEGA Ethiopia AGOA+ also recently hosted a successful Ethiopian Diaspora Business Conference in Washington, DC, where presentations where made about how the Diaspora can help Ethiopian producers access the U.S. market. The conference was attended by more than 200 Ethiopian-American professionals and business persons looking to explore business opportunities that exist in Ethiopia.
USAID VEGA Ethiopia AGOA+ was initiated in January 2005 and has made tremendous progress in contributing to the growth of exports from Ethiopia to the U.S market. The project works in close partnership with the Government of Ethiopia, the Ministry of Trade and Industry, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the Ethiopian Embassy in the Washington, DC, the Ethiopian and Addis Ababa Chambers of Commerce and Sectoral Associations, and other development partners including the World Bank Country Office in Ethiopia and the ECA Trade Hub in Nairobi, Kenya.