Healthcare Resource Guide: Ethiopia

Ethiopia Statistics


Market Entry

Current Market Trends

Main Competitors

Current Demand

Registration Process



Best Prospects

CS Contacts

Market Size

Capital: Addis Ababa Population: 95+ million GDP*: 61.54 billion

Currency: Birr Language: Amharic and others


The government of Ethiopia is working on strengthening the healthcare sector and system in a way to align it with the Millennium Development Goals of the country. Ethiopia has a large predominantly rural and impoverished population with poor access to safe water, housing, sanitation, food and health service, which has resulted in exposing the local community to communicable diseases like TB, malaria, respiratory infection, diarrhea and nutritional deficiencies. HIV/AIDS, high fertility rate and low contraceptive prevalence are the other health issues in Ethiopia. Non-infectious diseases like maternal and child mortality, cancer, diabetes, heart diseases, high blood pressure are also issues which the Government of Ethiopia focusing to provide a good health care service.

Under the second Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP II), the Ministry of Health (MOH) is planning to upgrade different aspects of the healthcare system. This program will encourage the introduction of new technology as well as technology transfer. The government has increasingly decentralized management of its public health system to the Regional Health Bureau levels. The Food, Medicine and Health Care Administration and Control Authority (FMHACA) is being strengthened to provide increased regulatory oversight for the registration, importation and quality of medicines in the Ethiopian Market. The Pharmaceutical Fund and Supply Agency (PFSA) is tasked with procurement and distribution of medicines to 19,000 service delivery sites throughout the country. In the coming few years under GTP 2, further improvements will be made to further ensure proximity of PFSA distribution hubs to health facilities and to establish efficient systems for inventory, fleet and information management. These improvements are targeted to increase efficiencies and improve the availability of commodities throughout the public sector.

The following list is the 2020 impact-level targets for the Health System Transformation Plan (HSTP):

  • Reduce infant and neonatal mortality rates.
  • Decrease HIV contraction by at least 60% and achieve zero new infections among children.
  • Lessen the number of TB deaths and incidence rate by 35% and 20% respectively.
  • Diminish malaria case incidence and mortality rate by at least 40%.
  • It has also set targets to stabilize and reduce deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents, which are significantly high in Ethiopia.

The government also plans to make a significant investment in improving the capacity for health emergency risk management. This will focus on building capacity to prevent, detect, and contain potential outbreaks. The Ministry of Health (MOH) is committed to reform agencies such as the Pharmaceuticals Fund and Supply Agency (PFSA) for providing consistent and reliable services to the healthcare system. The MOH is also working to establish cancer diagnosis centers at seven hospitals and to strength the services at 48 health facilities. The MOH has planned to improve the usage of mobile health data in different parts of the country. The MOH has also prioritized the introduction and scale up of new innovations and technologies in the health sector with the aim of transforming the data collection, management, and data use processes to support evidence-based decision making as well as to improve the quality and efficiency of health service delivery. Digitization of information management in the health care system is becoming one of the pillars of the information revolution in Ethiopia. The objective of the information revolution is to maximize the availability, accessibility, quality, and use of health information for decision making processes through the appropriate use of ICTs to positively impact the access, quality, and equity of healthcare delivery at all levels.


Market Entry

The health sector is one of the few sectors which is open for foreign competition unlike other services such as banking and telecommunication. The country’s trade and investment policies and strategies aim at creating a competitive economy driven by the private sector. The policy also enables the government to regulate the services provided by the private health providers. Health and health related services are not subject to discriminatory taxes on trade. In addition the country has put in place different laws to regulate the healthcare market. Suggested market entryways which are recognized by Ethiopian Commercial Code of 1960 are ordinary partnership, joint venture, general partnership, limited partnership, Share Company and private limited company. The Government of Ethiopia requires all imports channel through Ethiopian Nationals registered as official import or distribution agents with the Ministry of Trade.

Current Market Trends

Currently, more than 12,000 private health facilities are providing health services in Ethiopia. The GOE is playing a facilitation role and supports private sectors in the area of quality of care and quality services. The government is also working with private sectors in order to build advanced tertiary care hospitals to attract medical tourism. There are 3562 functional health centers with additional 165 under construction, 241 functional hospitals with additional 153 under construction and an estimated 3,691 private clinics. There are also 246 pharmacies, 476 drug stores and 1754 rural drug vendors in Ethiopia. The Government of Ethiopia has taken a proactive role to address health related challenges by increasing the health budget. The Government of Ethiopia is actively working on Public-Private Partnership to tap into and make optimal use of available resources for healthcare and promote quality improvements on the part of the private sector. Strengthening the availability of the pharmaceuticals and medical supplies system by supporting and strengthening local manufacturers engaged in the sector is among priority areas.

Main Competitors

The major percentage of medical equipment’s and supplies are imported from India and China. Imports from Dubai and European countries like Germany, United Kingdom and France are present as well.

Current Demand

Market prospects for the health sector is promising as it is one of the major areas the government gives attention. The Ethiopian community is interested in new technology developments and products in relation to medical equipment and supplies. In the Growth and Transformation Plan of Ethiopia, 2015- 2020 it is envisaged that necessary incentive packages such as tax exemption for heavy machines and some medical equipment as well as importing of vehicles for ambulance service will be made available to the private sector working on health and healthcare related services. In addition the Government of Ethiopia is working on improving Private Public Partnership, to improve the health service in the country.

Registration Process

A U.S. firm wishing to establish a branch office in Ethiopia must submit the following documents for registration:

  • A notarized copy of the registration of a parent company in the U.S.
  • A copy of a U.S. Memorandum and Articles of Association.
  • An authenticated decision of the parent company's board of directors or a similarly authorized body for the establishment of a branch in Ethiopia. The decision should indicate the types of activities of the branch, the individuals appointed by the parent company to act on its behalf, and the capital allocated for its operation.
  • An authenticated power of attorney issued by an authorized organ of a company for the permanent representative in Ethiopia.
  • A letter of financial reference from the company's bank.
  • A notice published in a local newspaper announcing the establishment of a branch company in Ethiopia.


The government of Ethiopia is working to address the challenge of high out of pocket costs for the use of health services which includes the introduction of community-based health insurance (CBHI) and social health insurance (SHI) for the informal and formal segments of society, respectively. The Ethiopian Health Insurance Agency (EHIA) has already been established and is undertaking the necessary preconditions to offer SHI. Currently patients are using on the spot payment for medical services as Ethiopia does not yet have an insurance system in place. 


The prohibition of foreign financial services institutions from operation in Ethiopia and the undeveloped regulatory environment are significant barriers for market entry and access to credit, especially for Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs). Additional factors are periodic foreign exchange shortages; lack of access to finance due to companies unable to access finance from banks and private investors; poor infrastructure in areas such as communication, road, electricity; bureaucratic procedures; high transportation and transactional costs and lack of transparency in the public procurement system.

Procurement & Tenders

Most of the tenders and procurements are posted on the local newspapers.

Ministry of Health

Food, Medicine and Health Care Administration and Control Authority

Pharmaceutical Fund and Supply Agency (PFSA)



  • What is the best way to enter to the Ethiopian market?
  • Building partnership with a well-established local importer is the best way to enter to the Ethiopian market.
  • What is the biggest challenge U.S. firms face in the procurement process?
  • The biggest challenges faced by U.S. firms in the procurement process is the lack of transparency and unequal treatment amongst bidding firms.

U.S. Commercial Service Contact Information


Name:  Yemesrach Kassu           

Position: Commercial Assistant


Phone: +251111306794/+251944731972            

Best Prospects

  • Equipment and services to new hospitals and health centers.
  • Construction of modern hospitals and health care facilities.
  • Pharmaceuticals and supplies.
  • IT support.
  • Cold storage facilities.
  • Knowledge and skill transfers.

The above listed areas are opportunities for U.S. companies that are providing equipment and supplies, hospital furniture, ambulances for emergency, pharmaceuticals, vaccinations and other services.

Market Size

Healthcare spending (including investment)


... as percent of GDP

4.9% of GDP (2014)

... of which spent on pharmaceuticals/consumables


data source is annual MOH bulletin

Hospitals, Procedures, Healthcare Professionals UN:

Number of hospitals

241 data source is annual MOH bulletin


16 data source is annual MOH bulletin


225 data source is annual MOH bulletin




Life expectancy men/women

Male:59.8 years/female: 64.7 years

Infant mortality

51.1 deaths/1,000 live births

Percent of population older than 65


Annual deaths

7.9 deaths/1,000 population

Prevalence of [fastest growing disease burden]

HIV/AIDS is one of the fastest growing disease burdens. According to the “HIV related estimates and projections for Ethiopia-2012,” the adult HIV prevalence is estimated at 1.1% (0.7% in males and 1.4% in females) and the adult HIV incidence is 0.03% in 2016. Data source is annual MOH bulletin

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