Leather and Leather Goods Industry
Ethiopia’s footwear industry and its leather sector in general enjoy significant international comparative advantages owing to its abundant and available raw materials, highly disciplined workforce and cheap prices. Ethiopia boasts the largest livestock production in Africa, and the 10th largest in the world. Ethiopia annually produces 2.7 million hides, 8.1 million sheepskins and 7.5 million goatskins. This comparative advantage is further underlined by the fact that the costs of raw hides and skins constitute on average 55-60% of the production of semi-processed leather.
Ethiopia’s leather and leather product sector produce a range of products from semi-processed leather in various forms to processed leathers including shoe uppers, leather garments, stitched upholstery, backpacks, purses, industrial gloves and finished leather.
Ethiopian leather products have been exported to markets in Europe (especially Italy and the UK), America, Canada, China, Japan and other Far Eastern countries and the Middle East. Leather is also exported to other African countries including Nigeria and Uganda.
Ethiopian footwear factories produce men’s casual shoes and children’s shoe-uppers made from pure leather. Additionally, the factories:
• Sell directly to overseas importers/wholesalers, or to direct buying offices;
• Facilitate the production and export of footwear under the private labels of department stores, boutiques, shoe retail chains and mail-order houses;
• Source out from Ethiopia and other nations in East Africa and re-export;
• Facilitate the production and export of internationally well-known brands under contract.
The Ethiopian footwear industry produces shoes that are globally competitive in terms of both quality and price. Due focus is given to maintaining the quality of the hides and skins, leather and leather products for export. All exports are tested by the Quality and Standards Authority of Ethiopia (QSAE).