Light Manufacturing in Ethiopia: The Apparel Export Industry

Cornelia Staritz, Lindsay Whitfield

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapterResearchpeer-review


The apparel export industry in Ethiopia has increased significantly since the 2000s. Apparel exports emerged due to low labour costs and preferential trade agreements with the United States and European Union, but more importantly to proactive government industrial policies and the decisions of US and EU buyers and core suppliers to invest in or source from Ethiopia. Foreign direct investment has played an important role in the growth of the apparel export industry, but there exist also locally owned export firms. Sector-specific industrial policies are divided into three phases: incentivizing local investment in apparel exporting; addressing constraints facing local export firms and attracting foreign direct investment; and promoting foreign and local investment within specialized industrial parks. This chapter provides an overview of the development of the apparel export sector in Ethiopia, highlighting the role of industrial policy and the performance of locally owned firms given their importance in economic transformation.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of the Ethiopian Economy
EditorsFantu Cheru, Christopher Cramer, Arkebe Oqubay
Number of pages17
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
Publication date2019
ISBN (Print)9780198814986
ISBN (Electronic)9780198814986
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes

Cite this