Facts on the Ethiopian plastprintpack market

Ethiopia’s plastics industry is fast growing

The Country Cluster of EUROMAP-European Plastics and Rubber Machinery confirms significant growth for Ethiopia. 

Ethiopia’s per capita plastics consumption on the up

  • The per capita consumption of plastics in Ethiopia has grown by about 15% annually over the past ten years, from 0.6 kg in 2007 to 2.4 kg in 2017 and is estimated to be 3.2 kg in 2020.

Ethiopia’s plastics consumption – Strong and steady increase

  • The country's plastics consumption has grown by 17.5% annually over the past ten years, from 44 kt in 2007 to 220 kt in 2017 and is estimated to be 308 kt in 2020.

Ethiopia’s plastics consumption by application 2017E

  • 58.4% of consumption is accounted for by packaging, 9.4% by construction, 6.6% by automotive, 2.7% by electrical, electronics & telecom, the remainder by various industries.

Ethiopia’s plastics consumption by processing method 2017E

  • In plastics processing, extrusion is in the lead with 50.3%, followed by injection molding with 24.9%, blow molding with 9.9% and PET with 8.5%.

Ethiopia’s plastics production  

Until today Ethiopia does not produce any plastics at all. 

Ethiopia is East and Central Africa’s 2nd largest importer of plastics in primary forms  

As Ethiopia does not manufacture any plastics raw materials at all, 100% of raw materials are imported (mainly from the Middle East, Europe and Asia). Thus, the Ethiopian market has great potential for exporters of plastics in primary forms. 

Imports of plastics raw materials, for instance, grew by 19.4% annually between 2007 and 2015, from 43 kt to 178 kt, +314%!



Ethiopia – 2nd largest importer of plastics in primary forms in East and Central Africa

with a phenomenal annual growth rate of 46% (2011 - 2014) reaching 527 million Euros in 2014

Source: GTAI

Main suppliers

• Saudi Arabia• United Arab Emirates• Qatar
• South Korea• The Netherlands• USA
• Thailand• Egypt• Germany
• China• Oman
• India• Turkey

Ethiopia is the largest importer of plastics machinery in East and Central Africa

Source: VDMA

Ethiopia is the 2nd largest importer of packaging machinery in East and Central Africa

Source: VDMA

Ethiopia is the 2nd largest importer of printing machinery in East and Central Africa

Source: VDMA

Ethiopian plastics, printing and packaging sector enjoys staggering growth

Ethiopia’s plastics, printing and packaging sector has grown rapidly in recent decades.

Unsurprisingly growth in the sector closely mirrors that of the FMCG industry which has seen a tremendous expansion in demand for packaged goods over the last five years. This has contributed to a two-digit compound annual growth rate for packaging producers which is expected to keep growing over the next decade.

Business opportunities and positive sector outlook and trends

Ethiopia is often called the next global manufacturing hub. The sheer size of Ethiopia’s market combined with its large and young work force will attract massive investments in the manufacturing industry. Machines and production materials will continue to be imported, though.

The Ethiopian plastics and packaging sector has become increasingly sophisticated with new technologies introduced to the market. The plastics and packaging sector comprises of different subsectors, which include plastics, plastics flexible packaging and polythene bags.

The Ethiopian plastics subsector is an emerging industry with the potential to drive growth within the country’s manufacturing industry.

The packaging industry in Ethiopia is fairly developed and tends to mirror the trend in the local fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) industry. The materials used in packaging products include plastics (flexible & rigid), glass, cartons, aluminum, caps, corks etc. The most commonly used material is plastic.

Bottles for cosmetics, detergents, pharmaceuticals, domestic containers and general hollow items produced in Ethiopia are made mostly from polypropylene, polyethylene and polyethylene terephthalate (PET). The method of processing employed is extrusion blow-molding. Plastic manufacturers are heavily reliant on the upstream petrochemical sector as well as imports for resin raw material.

Flexible packaging includes products such as bags and sachets made of easily yielding materials such as foil, paper or film, which when filled and sealed acquire a flexible shape. The manufacturers of these products act as suppliers to different industries, which include but are not limited to food and beverage, healthcare, textiles, etc. Companies that make use of products from the flexible packaging industry include Cadbury, Nestlé, Guinness, PZ Cussons, Unilever, etc.

Plastics packaging has become very popular in Ethiopia and is increasingly being preferred to glass, especially in the pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries. One of the leading drivers of growth in the industry is the demand for plastic packaging by pharmaceutical and FMCG companies. Examples include packaging for snacks such as cashew nuts, groundnuts and beverages in plastic containers. Another major driver for plastic packaging is the growing sophistication of the middle class and their demand for well packaged local products.

Raw materials employed in the packaging subsector are imported.

Business opportunities.
A market exists for plastic manufacturing and recycling machines in Ethiopia. New and used extrusion and injection molding machines are in demand. The supply of spare parts for these machines also presents business opportunities. However, demand tends to favor technological advancement and affordable prices more than quality and durability of the machines.

Sector outlook and trends. Growth in the plastics and packaging sector has been driven by the growth of the population and the increasing sophistication of the Ethiopian middle class. The plastics subsector is expected to grow by two-digits over the next 10 years. Packaged foods have seen increased demand following the growth of organized retail outlets evidenced in the last years. In addition, rapid growth in the FMCG sector has been a major driver; a trend which is expected to continue.

Soft drink manufacturers and bottling companies have continued to embrace PET bottles over glass. Most of the large plastic companies are engaged in juice, table water and alcoholic beverage bottle production. Companies are also increasingly packaging commodity based products in household plastics.

A positive outlook is projected for the packaging industry due to increased market demand and sophistication of the Ethiopian consumers. Plastic products used for packaging will eventually become less common as new technologies and growing industrialization are shifting to more advanced and sophisticated means of packaging. Nonetheless, other uses of plastics aside from packaging (e.g. domestic ware) will continue to experience growth as consumer disposable incomes continue to rise.