Limited US restrictions

FATF AML Deficiency List


Higher Risk

Corruption Index (Transparency International & W.G.I.)
World Governance Indicators (Average Score)

Medium Risk

Non - Compliance with FATF MER Recommendations




FATF Status

Ethiopia is no longer on the FATF List of Countries that have been identified as having strategic AML deficiencies


Latest FATF Statement  -  18 October 2019

The FATF welcomes Ethiopia's significant progress in improving its AML/CFT regime and notes that Ethiopia has strengthened the effectiveness of its AML/CFT regime and addressed related technical deficiencies to meet the commitments in its action plan regarding the strategic deficiencies that the FATF identified in February 2017. Ethiopia is therefore no longer subject to the FATF's monitoring process under its ongoing global AML/CFT compliance process. Ethiopia will continue to work with ESAAMLG to improve further its AML/CFT regime.


Compliance with FATF Recommendations 

The last follow-up to the Mutual Evaluation Report relating to the implementation of anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing standards in Ethiopia was undertaken in 2021. According to that Evaluation, Ethiopia remained Compliant for 11 and Largely Compliant for 24 of the FATF 40 Recommendations. It was deemed Highly Effective for 0 and Substantially Effective for 0 of the Effectiveness & Technical Compliance ratings.


US Department of State Money Laundering assessment (INCSR) 


Ethiopia was deemed a ‘Monitored’ Jurisdiction by the US Department of State 2016 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR). Key Findings from the report are as follows: -

Due primarily to its underdeveloped financial system and pervasive government controls, Ethiopia is not considered to be a regional financial center. Although Ethiopia’s location within the Horn of Africa makes it vulnerable to money laundering-related activities perpetrated by transnational criminal organizations, terrorists, and narcotics trafficking organizations, its limited integration in the global financial system, underdeveloped financial institutions, and strict currency controls make it highly unlikely such groups will use the financial sector to launder funds from abroad. Corruption, smuggling, tax fraud, and trafficking in narcotics, persons, arms, and animal products are the key proceeds-generating crimes.  As the economy grows and becomes more open, Ethiopian law enforcement sources believe bank fraud, electronic/computer crime, and related money laundering activities could continue to rise. The financial services sector remains closed to foreign investment.

High tariffs encourage customs fraud and trade-based money laundering. Since strict foreign exchange controls limit the possession of foreign currency, most of the proceeds of contraband smuggling and other crimes are not laundered through the official banking system, composed of three public banks and sixteen private banks.  Law enforcement sources indicate money and value transfer systems, particularly hawala, are widely used. The Ethiopian government attempts to monitor informal value transfer networks within the country and has closed a number of illegal hawala operations. The Financial Intelligence Center (FIC), Ethiopia’s financial intelligence unit, is currently conducting an assessment of the informal money transfer system.



The US has issued Executive Order (E.O.) of September 17, 2021, “Imposing Sanctions on Certain Persons with Respect to the Humanitarian and Human Rights Crisis in Ethiopia.



Rating                                                                           (100-Good / 0-Bad)

Transparency International Corruption Index                           38

World Governance Indicator – Control of Corruption             40

There are high levels of corruption in Ethiopia, although less high than in comparable regional countries. Examples of corruption include facilitation payments and bribes being necessary to keep land leased from the state or in order to obtain government contracts. Ethiopian anti-corruption law is primarily contained in The Revised Federal Ethics and Anti-corruption Commission Establishment Proclamation and the Revised Anti-Corruption Law which criminalize major forms of corruption including active and passive bribery, bribing a foreign official, and money laundering. Facilitation payments are illegal, and it is forbidden for civil servants to accept gifts or hospitality that may affect their decisions. The legal anti-corruption framework is rarely enforced. For further information - GAN Integrity Business Anti-Corruption Portal



Ethiopia has grown at a rate between 8% and 11% annually for more than a decade and the country is the fifth-fastest growing economy among the 188 IMF member countries. This growth has been driven by sustained progress in the agricultural and service sectors. Ethiopia has the lowest level of income-inequality in Africa and one of the lowest in the world, with a Gini coefficient comparable to that of the Scandinavian countries. Yet despite progress toward eliminating extreme poverty, Ethiopia remains one of the poorest countries in the world, due both to rapid population growth and a low starting base. Changes in rainfall associated with world-wide weather patterns resulted in the worst drought in thirty years in 2015/2016, creating food insecurity for millions of Ethiopians.


Almost 80% of Ethiopia’s population is still employed in the agricultural sector, but services have surpassed agriculture as the principal source of GDP. Under Ethiopia's constitution, the state owns all land and provides long-term leases to tenants. Since 2005, the Ethiopian government has introduced a system to register traditional land use rights and provide certificates documenting these rights. Initial surveys show that land-use certificates have significantly increased the willingness of farmers to invest in improvements on their land, from terracing to irrigation. However, title rights in urban areas, particularly Addis Ababa, are poorly regulated, and subject to corruption.


Ethiopia’s export earnings are led by the services sector - primarily Ethiopian airlines - followed by several commodities. While coffee remains the largest foreign exchange earner, Ethiopia is diversifying exports and commodities such as gold, sesame, khat, livestock and horticulture products are becoming increasingly important. Manufacturing represents less than 8% of total exports.

The banking, insurance, telecommunications, and micro-credit industries are restricted to domestic investors, but Ethiopia has attracted significant foreign investment in textiles, leather, commercial agriculture, and light manufacturing.

Ethiopia remains a one-party state with a planned economy. In the fall of 2015, the government finalized and published the current 2016-2020 five year plan, known as the Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP II). GTP II emphasizes developing manufactures in sectors where Ethiopia has a comparative advantage in exporting, including textiles and garments, leather goods, and processed agricultural products. New infrastructure projects are to include power production and distribution, roads, rails, airports and industrial parks. To support industrialization, Ethiopia plans to increase power generation by 8,320 MW, up from an installed capacity of 2,000 MW, by building three more major dams and expanding to other sources of renewable energy.

Construction is underway on an electric railway network that will connect Ethiopia to all its neighbours, with a link to the Port of Djibouti already finished and partially functioning. A tripling of capacity at the international airport in Addis Ababa to 25 million passengers will be completed in 2017, while construction of a completely new airport is being planned by 2025. Meanwhile, the domestic airport network has expanded to nineteen airports in a country where mountains and deserts make developing and maintaining a road network challenging. Despite difficult topography, more than a hundred thousand kilometres of roads have been built, connecting previously isolated regions.


Agriculture - products:

cereals, coffee, oilseed, cotton, sugarcane, vegetables, khat, cut flowers; hides, cattle, sheep, goats; fish



food processing, beverages, textiles, leather, garments, chemicals, metals processing, cement

Exports - commodities:

coffee (27%, by value), oilseeds (17%), edible vegetables including khat (17%), gold (13%), flowers (7%), live animals (7%), raw leather products (3%), meat products (3%)

Exports - partners:

Switzerland 14.3%, China 11.7%, US 9.5%, Netherlands 8.8%, Saudi Arabia 5.9%, Germany 5.7% (2015)


Imports - commodities:

machinery and aircraft (14%, by value), metal and metal products, (14%), electrical materials, (13%), petroleum products (12%), motor vehicles, (10%), chemicals and fertilizers (4%)

Imports - partners:

China 20.4%, US 9.2%, Saudi Arabia 6.5%, India 4.5% (2015)

Investment Climate  -  US State Department


Ethiopia has one of the fastest growing economies in the world. The IMF estimates Ethiopia will have an average GDP growth rate of 7.4% from 2017 to 2020, although a drought caused by el-Nino could slow growth next year. After Nigeria, Ethiopia is the second most populous country in sub-Saharan Africa with a population of roughly 95 million.


The government of Ethiopia follows integrated 5-year plans to guide its state-led industrial development. The second of these Growth and Transformation Plans (GTP II), covering 2016–2020, is now being implemented. GTP II sets a target of an average growth of 11% in the next five years with the objective of middle income status by 2025. To realize these goals, the government continues to pursue consistent and prudent macroeconomic policies and to invest heavily in large-scale social, infrastructural and energy projects. Included in the GTP II are incentives for international investors, such as facilitation of repatriation of investment and profit, ease in hiring expatriate personnel, temporary income tax exemptions for investments in selected sectors, duty-free imports of capital goods, components and raw materials for exporting industries and manufacturers in priority sectors.


However, while public sector infrastructure projects can provide significant investment opportunities, the government limits the capital available to the private sector by requiring banks to deposit 28% of their loan portfolio in government bonds, reducing the overall volume available as credit. In addition, access to foreign exchange is controlled by the National Bank of Ethiopia, and companies can experience delays of more than six months in obtaining the forex needed for imports. The World Bank estimates that public infrastructure spending was approximately 19% of Ethiopia’s total GDP since fiscal year 2011-2012.


Key sectors targeted by the government in GTP II include renewable energy, construction, healthcare, tourism, textile and apparel, leather products, telecommunication infrastructure and value-added services, and aviation support services and products. Competitive labor, a strategic location on the African continent, an excellent national airline, competitive energy costs and the budding consumer markets are key elements attracting foreign direct investment (FDI).


The government of Ethiopia does not provide protection from currency risks, and while rapid devaluations have been rare in the recent past, with the last significant devaluation episode occurring in September 2010, the government performed a series of controlled step-downs, which caused a 97% depreciation of the birr against the U.S. dollar in the past seven years. Challenges include foreign exchange shortages and limited access to finance, long lead-times for importing goods and for dispatching exports due to logistic bottlenecks and high land-transportation costs, and bureaucratic delays. Ethiopia is not a signatory of major Intellectual Property Rights treaties. Banking, insurance and accounting/assurance services, retail, telecommunications and transportation are closed to foreign investments.


All land in Ethiopia belongs to “the people” and is administered by the government. Private ownership does not exist, but “land-use rights” have been registered in most populated areas. The government retains the right to expropriate land for the “common good,” which it defines to include expropriation for commercial farms, industrial zones and infrastructure development. While the government claims to allocate only sparsely settled or “empty” land to investors, some people have been resettled. In particular, traditional grazing land has often been expropriated, leading to resentment, protests and, in some cases, conflict.


Successful investors in Ethiopia counsel a thorough due diligence check on land title, including the attitude of local communities to the investor’s proposed use of the land, and a full understanding of the requirements put forward by the Ethiopian government at the federal and local levels.


The government of Ethiopia has expressed interest in accession to the World Trade Organization, and maintains its goal of attaining middle income country status by 2025. In 2015, Ethiopia became a full member of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and ratified the Free Trade Area (FTA) in 2014, heading towards full FTA in five phases, which gradually liberalize various industries depending on readiness to meet trade competition expected from similar industries of member states. Full FTA accession is expected by 2021. In addition, the COMESA - Eastern Africa Community (EAC) - Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) tripartite FTA was launched in June, 2015. Ethiopia is actively pursuing improving its investment climate by adopting more efficient processes to reduce bureaucracy in the areas of registration, logistics, and taxation. Key energy generation and distribution projects, as well as transportation infrastructure projects that were scheduled for completion by the end of 2015 are still ongoing.



Country Links
National Bank of Ethiopia
Other Useful Links
US State Department
Transparency International
World Bank
CIA World Factbook