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World bank, 2015
Poverty headcount ratio at $2.15 a day (2017 PPP) (% of population)
Population below international poverty line

No national minimum wage.
Some institutions and enterprises set their own minimum wages.

not by law
National minimum wage

Equivalent to 10,607 Ethiopian birr per worker per month.
Global Living Wage Coalition, 2022

per month
Urban living wage
World bank, 2019
Employment in agriculture (% of total employment) (modeled ILO estimate)
Agricultural workforce
World bank, 2021
Agriculture, forestry, and fishing, value added (% of GDP)
Agriculture share of GDP

ITUC Global Rights Index, 2022
Systematic violations of rights

Risk to workers' rights


Ethiopia has a population of roughly 117 million people[1] with 78% living in rural areas[2] and 22% living in urban settings.[3] Agriculture is central to the Ethiopian economy, assuming  67% of the workforce[4] and representing around one third of Ethiopia’s GDP.[5]

In the last decades, agriculture’s share of the GDP has shrunk significantly.[6] Even so, agriculture employs approximately 67% of the Ethiopian workforce[7] and plays a pivotal role in the life and livelihood of most Ethiopians. Approximately 74% of the country’s farmers are smallholder farmers with an average farm size of less than one hectare. Smallholders are responsible for most of the agricultural production in Ethiopia, yet about 67% of Ethiopian smallholders live below the national poverty line.[8]

The top produced commodities in Ethiopia are maize, cereals, wheat, sorghum and fresh cow milk.[9] Ethiopia’s top exported products in terms of quantity are green coffee, sesame seed, dry beans, soy beans and shelled groundnuts.[10]

  1. ^ World Bank. (2021).
  2. ^ World Bank. (2021).
  3. ^ World Bank. (2021).
  4. ^ World Bank (2019).
  5. ^ World Bank. (2019).
  6. ^ International Trade Administration. Ethiopia Country Commercial Guide.
  7. ^ World Bank (2019).
  8. ^ FAO (2018) Small family farms country factsheet.
  9. ^ FAOSTAT (2020).
  10. ^ FAOSTAT (2020).


Minimum wage

Ethiopia has no national minimum wage. Yet some government institutions and public enterprises set their own minimum wages. Public sector workers have minimum wages ranging between 420 (7 EUR) to 1,172 Ethiopian birr (20 EUR) per month. These minimum wages vary based on position rankings and starting versus ceiling salaries.[1] The government of Ethiopia has generally not been effective in enforcing labour law when it comes to wages. Worker's health and safety are not protected to a satisfactory level in many industries, especially in the domestic and the informal agricultural sector. In addition, wages in the informal sector are so low that workers cannot even have access to bare necessities solely relying on them[2]

Living wage

The Global Living Wage Coalition has developed a Living Wage benchmark based on the Anker methodology, for non-metropolitan urban Ethiopia, Ziway region which focuses on the floriculture sector.

The living wage estimate for Ziway Region (non-metropolitan urban Ethiopia) is 10,607 Ethiopian Birr (190 EUR) per month. This estimate is based on the cost of living for a family of 5 with 1.65 workers per family. The region of Ziway, is one of the areas of Ethiopia with the largest share of foreign investment concerning the flower industry. Flower farms are a  source of attraction for mostly internal migrants searching  for better working conditions. This influx of migrants however,  has been a source of socio-economic changes in the region, which strongly affect worker's living costs. 

Living income

The Global Living Wage Coalition has published a working paper with the Living Income  for rural Guji zone, a small administrative division in the south of Ethiopia in the Oromia Region where coffee production is important.

This Guji zone report concludes that living income is 8,544 Ethiopian Birr (153 EUR) for this specific region. This the income required by typical rural families to be able to afford a basic but decent living standard. The value is 7% higher than the average for rural Ethiopia, which the Anker National Living Income reference value defined as 7,985 Ethiopian Birr (143 EUR) per month. This is because family sizes are larger in rural Guji zone although living costs per person are similar[3].


  1. ^ WageIndicator Foundation. (2023).
  2. ^ U.S. Department of State. 2019 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Ethipia.
  3. ^ Global Living Wage Coaltion. (2021)
Copyright Fairfood

Working conditions

Hazardous working conditions, discrimination and limited rights exist across the agricultural sector. In the floriculture sector, temporary and seasonal jobs are the norm, and long working hours and labourers’ exposure to dangerous pesticides are prevalent.[1]

  1. ^ Tizazu, T. Y., & Workie, M. A. (2018). Social, Economical and Environmental Issues of Floriculture Sector Development in Ethiopia.Review of Plant Studies,5(1), 1-10.
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What's happening


Living Income for Rural Ethiopia, Guji Zone, Oromia Region

Anker living income estimate for Guji Zone (Oromia Region), where coffee is grown. Global Living Wage Coalition, 2021.


Updates on Living Wage Benchmark, Non-Metropolitan Urban Ethiopia

Updated living wage estimate in non-metropolitan urban Ethiopia. Context provided for the horticulture sector. By the Global Living Wage Coalition.


Living Wage Benchmark, Non-Metropolitan Urban Ethiopia

Living wage estimate in non-metropolitan urban Ethiopia, 2016. Context provided for the horticulture sector. By the Global Living Wage Coalition.


Women@Work Campaign

Program to improve the position and labour conditions of women workers in global supply chains of flowers and vegetables in East and Southern Africa.


Towards a Living Wage

An analysis to close the living wage gap of workers producing roses in Kenya, Ethiopia and Zambia.


East Africa Flower Industry

Promoting living wages for workers in the floriculture sector in Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania. By Fairtrade International, Fair Flower Fair plants and Hivos; co-funded by IDH (2014-2016).

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