Open Access Article; Published online: 15 Mar 2021 / African yam bean (AYB) is an affordable protein source capable of diversifying the food base in sub-Saharan Africa. However, research efforts made towards the crop's improvement and in expanding production are limited. This study characterized 169 AYB accessions at Jimma, Ethiopia, using 31 phenotypic characters. The analysis of variance revealed highly significant (P < 0.01) differences for days to 50% flowering, days to first flowering, leaf area, number of seeds per pod, pod length, seed thickness, total seed weight, petiole length and significant (P < 0.05) difference for terminal leaf length. Accession TSs62B produced the highest number of seeds per pod (17.65) and recorded the highest 100 seed weight (25.30 g), while 3A was the earliest to flower at an average of 84.50 d. Principal component analysis (PCA) of qualitative traits attributed 77.6% of observed variations to the first five principal components, of which the first two PC axes accounted for 53.6% of total variations. Cluster analysis and PCA biplot distinctly grouped the accessions into two major groups, cluster I had the highest number of accessions (108). The analytical approaches used confirmed considerable diversity across the germplasm with a distance matrix ranging from 0.37 to 0.85. The extent of diversity reflected in the current study provides breeders the baseline information to design breeding strategies, which might help identify materials for release as variety or parental lines for hybridization programmes.