Licensing and Registration Services


Last Updated: September 13, 2012

As a one - stop shop office, the following services are rendered by the Ethiopian Investment Agency (EIA):

The foregoing services are rendered to the following categories of investments:
  • Investment made by a foreign investor;
  • Investment made by a foreign national permanently residing in Ethiopia and taken for a domestic investor;
  • Joint investment between domestic and foreign investors.
  • Investment made by public enterprises.

1. Issuance of investment permit (new and expansion projects)

An investment permit is issued to an investor to establish a new enterprise or to expand or upgrade one that already exists. As per the Investment Proclamation No.280/2002 (as amended), a foreign investor or a domestic investor who is eligible for and wants to get incentives, is required to obtain an investment permit to invest in Ethiopia.

An Investment permit can be obtained in one of the following ownership forms:
  • Sole proprietorship;
  • Business organization incorporated in Ethiopia or abroad;
  • Public enterprises; and
  • Cooperative societies.

2. Renewal of investment permit
Based on sufficient reason, an investment permit should be renewed annually until a project becomes operational. An application for renewal of an investment permit should be submitted at least a month before the end of one year for which the permit remains valid. The investor is also required to submit a bi-annual progress report.

3. Amendment of investment permit
When an investor needs to amend the content of an investment permit which may include change in capital, location, form of ownership, modification of project activities or any other related matters that have sufficient reasons for amendments, the Agency will accept such application and issues the investment permit incorporating the necessary amendments.

4. Substitution of lost and/or damaged investment permit
When an investment permit is damaged or lost, the Agency issues a substitute of the original which shall be the exact replica of the damaged or lost permit.

5. Issuance of commercial (principal) registration certificate
According to the Commercial Registration and Business Licensing Proclamation No. 67/1997, an investor is not allowed to engage in any commercial activity unless registered in a commercial register. Such registration is made only once even if an investor engages in different commercial activities in various regions. An investor is expected to perform summary registration when he/she wants to establish branches other than the place where it is principally registered. The registration service is simultaneously provided when an investor applies for an investment permit.

6. Notarization of memorandum and articles of associations of a business organization
If an investment is to be made by a business organization, either share company or private limited company, which is to be incorporated in Ethiopia, a memorandum and articles of associations are required. The Agency notarizes the memorandum and articles of associations at the time of the formation of the company. The notarization service is simultaneously provided when an investor applies for an investment permit. Any amendment to either memorandum or articles of association is done by the competent government body.

7. Issuance of work permits to expatriate employees
As per the Investment Proclamation No. 280/2002 (as amended), an investor may employ qualified expatriate experts required for the operation of his business. However, he is required to train Ethiopians and replace the expatriate personnel within a limited period of time. The Agency issues work permit to expatriate staff of investment projects which are under implementation. Once the project is operational, the investor should apply directly to the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs to obtain work permits for expatriate employees.

8. Issuance of business license
According to the Commercial Registration and Business Licensing Proclamation No. 67/1997, an investor is not allowed to commence commercial activity without obtaining a valid business license. The Agency issues business licenses to investors. Any amendment, renewal or replacement is made by the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

9. Grading of construction contracting companies
A foreign investor who wants to invest in a construction contracting business should fulfill the requirements for a ‘Grade One’ construction contracting company as set out by the Ministry of Works and Urban Development as well as the Ministry of Water Resources. Grading of construction contracting companies is done when an investor applies for business (operating) license. A duly filled and signed application form designed for such purpose is required.

10. Issuance of domestic status certificate to a foreign national permanently residing in Ethiopia and taken for a domestic investor
A foreign national, permanently residing in Ethiopia, other than an Ethiopian by birth, may apply and register for a domestic investor status. Once a foreign national is registered as a domestic investor, rights and privileges as well as restrictions solely relating to foreign investors will no longer be applicable. A foreign national who wishes to register as a domestic investor is required to declare his intentions by completing a form designed for this purpose.

11. Registration of technology transfer agreement
A technology recipient who concludes a technology transfer agreement related to his investment should submit the agreement to the Agency for registration. Any such agreement that is not registered by the Agency has no legal effect. The agreement may also be renewed as per the request of the technology recipient by submitting the renewed agreement to the Agency.

12. Registration of export-oriented non-equity based foreign enterprise collaborations
A hundred percent export-oriented non-equity based contractual agreement between a domestic investor and a foreign enterprise should be registered by the Agency. The Agency provides a registration certificate which legalizes the collaboration between the domestic investor and the foreign enterprise. The collaboration agreement may also be renewed upon the request of the domestic investor.

The collaboration agreement may take the following forms:
  • Guaranteed external market access;
  • Export product and production know-how;
  • Export marketing know-how;
  • Export business management know-how;


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