Estimated Chinese population (2019):


Chinese migrants residential centers:

Addis Ababa, Dukem

Important China-Ethiopia cooperative projects:

  • Addis Ababa–Djibouti Railway
  • African Union Headquarters
  • Addis Ababa Light Rail TransitAddis

Important governmental policies influencing Chinese migrants:

Number of Chinese workers in Ethiopia

In 2017, the number of Chinese workers accounts for approximately 25% of total Chinese population.

Gross Annual Revenues of Chinese Companies’ Construction Projects in Africa


The population of Chinese migrants (temporary workers not counted) is approximately 30,300, with most migrants living in Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa and the Eastern Industrial Zone area. According to our field research, approximately 80% of the Chinese migrants in Ethiopia are planning to return China at some point. Most Chinese migrants are male, coming to Ethiopia with invitation from friends or family members. Education level of China Shop owners is generally lower than that of Chinese workers in big SOEs or POEs.

China Shops are concentrated in the Chinese migrant communities such as the China Market in Addis Ababa. These stores show low level of integration. Theft and robbery from local Ethiopians are a major security concern for the Chinese migrants living in Addis Ababa, in contrary to those living in Dukem who are protected by Chinese and Ethiopian guards.

Ownership in retail businesses in Ethiopia is exclusively for domestic citizens. Chinese migrants are not allowed to own retail stores, which lead to many running China Shops behind an Ethiopian legal person. Residents in Ethiopia are allowed to bring currency up to USD3,000 abroad, which means Chinese migrants can not legally bring their money back to China. As a result, many rely on WeChat Pay or Alipay to exchange Birr into RMB online with tourists.

Read our articles for more detail about Chinese migrants living in Ethiopia.