Leather and Leather Product Industry in Ethiopia

The Ethiopian leather industry is a relatively older industry with more than 90 years of involvement in processing leather and producing leather products. The first two tanneries were established and vertically linked to two shoe factories: ASCO Tannery & ASCO Shoe Factory (the present Addis Ababa Tannery and Tikur Abbay shoe factory) and Darmar Tannery & Shoe Factory (the present Awash Tannery and Anbessa Shoe Factory).

The industry bases itself on the country’s livestock resources. Indeed Ethiopia possesses one of the world largest livestock populations, 60.9 million heads of cattle’s, 31.8 million heads of sheep’s and 30.7 million heads of Goats. This makes the country in the first place in the Africa and sixth in the world. This enormous population of livestock provides ample opportunity for the development of the leather industry in the country.

In addition to possessing large livestock population, Ethiopian cattle hides are well known internationally for their fine grain pattern and good fiber structure and are ideal for making shoe uppers. Correspondingly, the Ethiopian highland sheepskins have got worldwide reputation in terms of quality, thickness, flexibility, strength, compact structure and clean inner surface. It is also estimated to assume for about 70% of the national sheepskin production found to be very suitable for the production of high quality leather garments, sport gloves and has great demand - on the international leather market.

Tanning Industry:
There are 23 tanneries converting hides and skins to different types of finished leather. The sector is successfully moved to the production & export of higher value-added (fully processed) finished leather. There is a possibility of producing up to 500 million square feet of finished leather per year. This industry relatively, having a better position due to mature in its age and huge investment.

Footwear Industry:
It is at a least stage of development in the country which is only two factories before 1991 but at present it reached 21 medium and large scale footwear manufacturers. The production capacity of shoe factories including production of Small and Micro enterprises rise to 15 million pairs per year. The shoe industry is emerging and promising industries.

Leather Goods and Garment Industries:
There are more than 43 garments and goods factories and four gloves factories producing leather gloves, garments, bags & different kinds of leather articles. This industry is also an emerging segment & appears to be more promising (especially the glove part).

Small and Medium Enterprises:
There are over 400 small and medium enterprises are individually producing leather products with capital ranging from 100,000 ETB – 20 million ETB in different regions of the country. The Leather Industry Development Institute was founded in 1991 as the Institute of Leather Products Technology before giving its name today. The institute re-established in 2002 aims to further expands the industry's competitiveness and rapid development by accelerating the development and transformation of the leather and leather products industries through acceleration and rapid development. Leather and Leather Products Technology Institute (LLPTI) was established by Council of minister regulation number 41/1998 and restructured by the name of Ethiopian Leather Industry Development Institute (LIDI) by council of minister regulation number 181/2010. The level of industrialization in the country is very low, with the shares of the manufacturing sector accounting for less than five percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the past decades. In an effort to turn this growth pattern and the vision of the government for the manufacturing sector into a reality the government gives great attention and priority for the leather sector and established LIDI with the main objectives of leather sector development and competitiveness of the sector in the global arena by council of ministers regulation No. 181/2010.

Investment Opportunity in Ethiopian Leather Sector Industry:
  • Footwear Manufacturing

  • Shoe Accessories and Components Manufacturing,

  • Leather Goods and Garment Manufacturing,

  • Glove Manufacturing,

  • Tanning Industry,

  • Leather Chemical Manufacturing.

  • Leather Sector Spare Part and Machinery Manufacturing.

LIDI’s Objectives:
The objective of Leather Industry Development Institute is to facilitate the development and transfer of leather and leather product industries technologies, and to enable the industries become competitive and beget rapid development.

LIDI’s Vision:
To see the share of the Ethiopian Leather Industry grow tenfold in 2025 in the global market

LIDI’s Mission:
By expanding the Ethiopian leather industry sustainably and fast, promoting investment, providing the investor with production and marketing, technologies, counseling and support services; making Ethiopia gain the most out of its leather resources.

LIDI’s Core Values:
  • Customer oriented service

  • Readiness for change

  • Best and fair service

  • Effective team work

  • Professional ethics

  • Occupational safety and health

  • Decent working environment
Leather Industry Development Institute Services In Investment Phase:
  • Collecting, analyzing, sharing, and disseminating all necessary updated information as regards the leather sector.

  • Prepare & promote project profile for investment opportunity, and provide feasibility study services.

  • Provide consultancy services in technology selections, in dealing with technology, machinery installation and in commissioning to those involve in the sector.

  • Supervise and provide technical services for the projects in pre- implementation, during-implementation and post-implementation for the investors who engaged in leather sectors.

  • Providing maintenances, production planning & controlling and consultancy services to the leather industry sector

In Production Phase:
  • Providing different trainings which made the sector completive in productivity and quality of product in the world market.

  • Providing research and development service which solve the bottle neck of the sector.

  • Provide benchmarking services in collecting, analyzing and disseminating the information to facilitate the development of leather industry sector to the world index.

  • Providing product standardization and testing to the leather industry.

In Marketing Phase:
  • Providing market research, Market support in product value chain, collecting and disseminating of market information.

  • Monitoring, evaluating and take measure action to all the services rendered.


The FDRE- Leather Industry Development Institute is organized with eight core directorates and nine supportive directorates to enhance the Ethiopian Leather Industry Sector by giving a support service on Leather Industry Development, Leather Garment and Goods Industry Development, Footwear Industry Development, Testing and Research Laboratory, Environmental Technology , Technological Transfer and Training, Engineering Services and Marketing support services with the art- of -state equipment and machinery available at LIDI premises.