Friday, September 10, 2021

Money & Shopping in Ethiopia

AfricaEthiopiaMoney & Shopping in Ethiopia

The Ethiopian birr (ETB) is the local currency, and it is one of the more stable African currencies. In September 2013, €1 was worth 25 birr, GBP1 was worth 30 birr, and USD1 was worth 19 birr. There are 100 santim to the birr, and coins of 1, 5, 10, 25, and 50 santim, as well as a one birr coin, are in circulation. Banknotes are available in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 50, and 100 birr.

It is illegal to import or export more than 100 birr. Hotel and car rental bills must usually be paid in cash.

ATMs may be found in most major cities. Dashen Bank is the greatest option for ATMs, followed by Commercial Bank of Ethiopia and Wegagan Bank. The most widely accepted credit cards are Visa and Mastercard. Expect international Cirrus or Plus cards to be inoperable. ATMs are not always dependable, so have a backup plan for cash when traveling outside of Addis Abeba. Master card is accepted at all Dashen Bank and Awash Bank ATMs.

Credit card (Visa and MasterCard) acceptance is expanding in Addis Abeba, but remains limited elsewhere.

Changing cash

Cash may be exchanged at any commercial bank in Ethiopia. The rates are the same across the country and are determined by the central bank on a daily basis. There are hundreds of commercial bank branches in Addis Abeba, including those in the Sheraton and Hilton hotels, as well as at the baggage claim area of the airport. Except for settlements in the Omo valley, most cities and towns visited by visitors will have at least one commercial bank. At the front desk, many hotels will change US money to birr. Banks may refuse to accept US dollar notes issued before 2002, as well as damaged or extremely worn notes, due to counterfeit in circulation. It is unlawful to exchange money on the black market, and the rates aren’t any better than those offered by banks. Due to currency restrictions, it is almost difficult to exchange the birr outside of Ethiopia, and it is illegal to take more than 200 birr from the nation without authorization.

In that order, the best currencies to carry are US dollars, euros, and pounds sterling. It may be better to retain the majority of your cash in your native currency and withdraw just what you need on a daily basis. Furthermore, since ATM machines distribute money in birr, it may be simpler to just take money from an ATM as required. Prices in Ethiopia are very cheap, and a US dollar will go a long way.

Travelers cheques are no longer accepted by banks.

US dollar

The US dollar is often accepted in places like as Addis Abeba and Dire Dawa (albeit not as much in Dire Dawa as it is in Addis). Prices at certain stores in Addis Abeba will be written in birr and USD. Some ATMs in Addis Abeba accept both US dollars and Ethiopian birr. The majority of hotels in Addis Abeba accept US currency. Ethiopian airports accept US currency.

You cannot legally acquire US dollars in Ethiopia unless you have an airline ticket out of the country. This implies that if you need dollars (for example, to get a Djibouti visa) but don’t have a flight ticket to leave Ethiopia, you’ll have to either convert money on the black market or carry enough US dollars with you.


In comparison to other African nations, Ethiopia is very inexpensive for visitors.

A five-star hotel in Addis Abeba, Dire Dawa, Nazret, Bahir Dar, Gondar, or Awasa costs around 1,500 birr per night.

The most costly cities in Ethiopia are Addis Abeba, Dire Dawa, and Adama/Nazret. A 32-inch (81-cm) LCD TV, for example, costs about 15,000 birr. Food is similarly costly if purchased in the city centers.

You will require about 400 birr each day for hotel, gasoline, food, accommodation, and transportation. You may require 600 birr each day in Addis Abeba and Dire Dawa.


Tipping is prevalent in Ethiopian hotels, restaurants, and pubs. Parking lot attendants, whether formally employed by institutions or self-assigned, are likewise required to be tipped. It is traditional in certain restaurants to tip any dancers, which is typically done by putting a paper money note on the dancer’s forehead.