Ethiopia flag Ethiopia: Buying and Selling

E-commerce in Ethiopia


Internet access
According to IWS’ statistics on Ethiopia, out of a population of 107.5 million, only 15.3% have access to the internet.
In 2017, the number of mobile subscriptions reached 53 million, up 11% compared to the previous year (data by Ethio Telecom). The Ethiopian telecommunication monopolist also revealed that out of the total subscribers, 25% of them use internet and data. However, the number of smartphone users is still low, below 5%.

According to the Digital in 2018 report published by We Are Social, data on Ethiopia shows that the number of internet users grew by 37% in one year, while the number of active social media users also grew significantly (20%). The majority of Ethiopians access the internet from a mobile device.

The most popular web search engines in Ethiopia are Google (92.9%), Yahoo and Bing (3.2% and 3% respectively).
E-commerce market
E-commerce is still at the embryonic level and is rarely used. This is due to the lack of IT infrastructures and even more to the absence of a legal framework. Recently, the government of Ethiopia has been drafting a national law to regulate e-commerce: when approved and implemented, such a tool is expected to boost the online market. Furthermore, Ethiopian banks do not issue credit cards, and only lately the local financial institutions have started using primary internet transactions through mobile and card banking services.

The main platforms to shop online are Jumia (by far the leading online market place in the country),,, ShebaShopping and Delala, all of which are market places.

The most used social medias are Facebook (with 4.5 million users in December 2017 - IWS), YouTube, Pinterest and Twitter. Instagram’s user base is relatively low, with 330.000 users. It needs to be noted that social media in Ethiopia have been subject to blockage by the government (especially in relation to the Oromo protests at the end of 2017) and in some regions mobile data was totally stopped. In 2016, social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Viber were temporarily blocked as the government considered them as “a distraction for students”.

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Latest Update: April 2024