Firms in Ethiopia’s industrial parks: COVID-19 impacts, challenges, and government response

Policy brief Firms and COVID-19

  • The COVID-19 pandemic poses an unprecedented challenge for Ethiopia’s ambitious industrialisation agenda focused on export-oriented light manufacturing.
  • To quantify the impacts of COVID-19 on firms in Ethiopia’s export processing zones, the World Bank Group in cooperation with the Government of Ethiopia administered a phone survey of firms.
  • Survey data suggest the pandemic has severely impacted firms’ ability to produce and sell their output. The availability and affordability of foreign inputs and the availability of labour are widely reported as constraints to production.
  • During the survey period, firms reported that they expected orders to decrease by an average of 20 percent and employment by 17 percent in the next six months, compared to the same period last year.
  • The findings illustrate the need for sustained support to help firms and workers in this strategic industry.