States of the region depend largely on a few key exports:
- Ethiopia: Coffee 80% of total exports.
- Somalia: Bananas and livestock over 50% of total exports.
Over 95% of cross-border trade within the region is unofficial and undocumented, carried out by pastoralists trading livestock. The unofficial trade of live cattle, camels, sheep and goats from Ethiopia sold to other countries in the Horn and the wider Eastern Africa region, including Somaliaand Djibouti, generates an estimated total value of between US$250 and US$300 million annually (100 times more than the official figure). This trade helps lower food prices, increase food security, relieve border tensions and promote regional integration. However, there are also risks as the unregulated and undocumented nature of this trade runs risks, such as allow disease to spread more easily across national borders. Furthermore, governments are unhappy with lost tax revenue and foreign exchange revenues.