Addis Ababa to host annual design event in December

With an impressive history as a trading hub, Ethiopia’s recent history has been coloured by repeated droughts and territorial issues with Eritrea and Somalia. As the world’s demand for coffee continually increases, Ethiopia is set for continued economic expansion – and what better way to celebrate than with an annual exhibition dedicated to design and fashion.

Trade drives everything and positive growth for primary industry sectors like agriculture, will ripple through the rest of a country’s economy. Ironically, it was a drought in Brazil that led to a spike in coffee prices for Ethiopian growers. Alongside which, the global market for coffee is set for another 25% increase over the next 5 years.

Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, is ready to celebrate this continued period of prosperity from 7th to 13th December, with its first Annual Design and Innovation event.

Event organiser Metasebia Yoseph did her Master’s thesis on the deep connection between coffee and culture, so she seems the perfect person to drive this concept forward. She is now bringing her UNESCO connections and experience to bear in her role with Ethiopia’s Ministry of Trade.

For Yoseph, the brand ‘Made in Ethiopia’ is crucial to her country’s future success. She has a deep belief in the artistic and cultural heritage of her country and believes that it has a lot to offer the world in terms of fashion and design.


In particular, she believes that Ethiopian artisans can inspire other countries with their unique approach to leather, textile and garment creation.

Located in the heart of the country, Addis Ababa is now the fastest growing city in Africa with a total/metro population now approaching 5 million people – almost exactly the same size as Boston or Sydney and already larger than Rome.

The themes for Ethiopia’s first Design Week exhibition are coming together now and you can keep up to date with developments by registering your interest here.

How big will Ethiopia be in terms of textiles? According to a report published in May, the target is $1 billion by 2020. That represents an increase of more than 100% – impressively ambitious.

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