How to Get a Job and Work in Ethiopia: A Complete Guide for Expats
Ethiopia is one of the fastest-growing economies in Africa, with a booming agricultural sector, a diverse culture, and a rich history. If you are looking for a new challenge and an opportunity to work in a dynamic and developing country, Ethiopia might be the place for you. But how do you find a job and work in Ethiopia as a foreigner? In this blog post, we will answer some of the most common questions that expats have about working in Ethiopia, such as:
- What are the economic sectors and industries that offer the most job opportunities in Ethiopia?
- What are the best job boards and websites to look for jobs in Ethiopia?
- What are the requirements and procedures to get a work permit and visa in Ethiopia?
- What are the average salaries and living costs in Ethiopia?
- What are the cultural and social aspects of working and living in Ethiopia?
By the end of this blog post, you will have a clear idea of how to get a job and work in Ethiopia as a foreigner and what to expect from your expat experience in this fascinating country.
Economic Overview of Ethiopia
Ethiopia’s economy has been one of the fastest growing in the world over the last decade, with an average annual growth rate of 10.5%. The main drivers of this growth are the exports of agricultural products, such as coffee, maize, pulses, cereals, sugarcane, and vegetables, which account for almost 45% of the GDP and 80% of the exports and employment. Ethiopia is also Africa’s largest producer of coffee and the second-largest producer of maize.
Other important sectors and industries in Ethiopia include:
- Mining and natural resources: Ethiopia has a large potential for mineral exploration and development, especially for gold, oilseeds, leather, and khat.
- Manufacturing And Industrialization: Ethiopia has been investing in developing its industrial parks and zones, which offer incentives and facilities for local and foreign investors in sectors such as textiles, garments, leather, agro-processing, pharmaceuticals, and metal engineering.
- Services and tourism: Ethiopia has a diverse and rich cultural and natural heritage, which attracts millions of tourists every year. The country is also a regional hub for air transport, telecommunications, and banking services.
According to the IMF, the GDP per capita in Ethiopia was 570 USD as of 2014, which is low compared to the regional and global averages. However, the country has made significant progress in reducing poverty and improving social indicators, such as health, education, and gender equality.
Job Hunting in Ethiopia
Finding a job in Ethiopia as a foreigner can be challenging, but not impossible. There are several sources and platforms that you can use to search for job opportunities in Ethiopia, such as:
- National newspapers: Some of the national newspapers that publish job ads include The Ethiopian Herald, Ethiopian News, New Business Ethiopia, NTA Newstime, and Sub-Saharan Informer. All these are available in English
- Online job boards and websites: There are many websites that specialize in posting job openings in Ethiopia, such as Employ Ethiopia, Ezega, UN Jobs, and Career Jet. You can filter your search by sector, location, salary, and experience level.
- Networking and referrals: One of the most effective ways to find a job in Ethiopia is to network with people who are already working or living in the country, such as expats, locals, colleagues, friends, or relatives. You can use online platforms such as InterNations, LinkedIn, or Facebook to connect with potential employers, recruiters, or mentors. You can also join events, groups, and forums for expats and professionals in Ethiopia, where you can exchange tips, information, and contacts.
- Teaching English: Teaching English as a foreign language is a popular option for expats who want to work in Ethiopia, as there is a high demand for qualified and native English speakers. You can find teaching jobs in private schools, language centres, universities, or NGOs. Some of the websites where you can look for ESL jobs in Ethiopia are Total ESL, ESL Employment, TESall, and ESL Cafe.
Work Permit and Visa Requirements in Ethiopia
To work in Ethiopia as a foreigner, you will need to obtain a work permit and a visa. The work permit is issued by the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (MOLSA), and the visa is issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) or the Ethiopian embassy in your country of origin. The process and requirements for getting a work permit and visa in Ethiopia vary depending on the type and duration of your employment, but generally, you will need to provide the following documents:.
- A valid passport with at least six months of validity and two blank pages
- A completed and signed visa application form
- Two passport-sized photos
- A letter of invitation or contract from your employer in Ethiopia
- A letter of recommendation from your previous employer or professional association
- A copy of your academic and professional certificates and credentials
- A medical certificate and a police clearance certificate
- A fee payment receipt
The work permit and visa fees depend on the type and duration of your employment, but they range from 20 USD to 200 USD. The processing time for the work permit and visa can take from two weeks to two months, depending on the availability and efficiency of the authorities.
Therefore, it is advisable to apply for your work permit and visa well in advance of your planned departure date.
Salaries and Living Costs in Ethiopia
The salaries and living costs in Ethiopia vary depending on the sector, location, and lifestyle of the worker. However, as a general rule, the salaries in Ethiopia are low compared to international standards, but the living costs are also relatively low. According to the World Bank, the average monthly salary in Ethiopia was 66 USD as of 2013, while the average monthly living cost for a single person in Addis Ababa, the capital city, was 487 USD as of 2020.
Some of the main expenses that you will have to consider when working and living in Ethiopia are:
- Housing: The cost of housing in Ethiopia depends on the type, size, and location of the accommodation. You can choose to rent or buy a house, apartment, or room, depending on your budget and preferences. The average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Addis Ababa is 237 USD, while the average price for buying a square meter of property in the city center is 1,493 USD.
- Transportation: The cost of transportation in Ethiopia depends on the mode and distance of travel. You can use public transportation, such as buses, taxis, or trains, or private transportation, such as cars, motorcycles, or bicycles, depending on your convenience and comfort. The average one-way ticket for public transportation in Addis Ababa is 0.18 USD, while the average price for a liter of gasoline is 0.67 USD.
- Food: The cost of food in Ethiopia depends on the type, quality, and quantity of food. You can choose to eat out at restaurants, cafes, or street stalls or cook at home, depending on your taste and preference. The average meal at an inexpensive restaurant in Addis Ababa is 2.72 USD, while the average monthly grocery bill for a single person is 110 USD.
- Health: The cost of health care in Ethiopia depends on the type, quality, and frequency of health care. You can choose to use public or private health facilities, depending on your insurance and condition. The average cost of a doctor’s visit in Addis Ababa is 15 USD, while the average cost of a hospital stay per day is 50 USD.
- Education: The cost of education in Ethiopia depends on the level, type, and quality of education. You can choose to enroll yourself or your children in public or private schools, colleges, or universities, depending on your qualifications and aspirations. The average annual tuition fee for a public primary school in Addis Ababa is 30 USD, while the average annual tuition fee for a private university in the city is 1,500 USD.
- Entertainment: The cost of entertainment in Ethiopia depends on the type, quality, and frequency of entertainment. You can choose to enjoy various cultural, natural, and recreational activities, such as visiting museums, parks, or historical sites, watching movies, concerts, or sports, or going out for drinks, dancing, or shopping, depending on your interest and mood. The average ticket for a movie in Addis Ababa is 3.63 USD, while the average price for a beer in a pub is 1.09 USD.
Cultural and Social Aspects of Working and Living in Ethiopia
Working and living in Ethiopia as a foreigner can be a rewarding and enriching experience, but it can also pose some challenges and difficulties. Ethiopia is a country with a diverse and rich culture, history, and religion, which can offer you many opportunities to learn, explore, and appreciate.