Includes steps involved in establishing a local office.
Last Published: 10/30/2019
The Ethiopian Investment Commission (EIC), which reports to the Office of the Prime Minister, is one of the first stops for an investor wishing to apply for an Ethiopian business and investment license. EIC provides detailed information on investment promotion incentives. All business entities operating in Ethiopia must first be registered with the Ministry of Trade and Industry and obtain a tax identification number (TIN) from the Ethiopian Customs Commission, under the Ministry of Revenue.

According to the World Bank’s Doing Business 2019 report, starting a new business in Ethiopia takes 32 days, one day less than in 2018 and three days less than in 2017. A foreign company seeking to open an office in Ethiopian must go through the following procedures: one procedure fewer than the 12 procedures required in 2018 and three procedures fewer than the 14 procedures required in 2017.
  • Reserve a unique company name or authenticate a company’s international name.
  • Authenticate the company documents and the office lease agreement at the Documents Authentication and Registration Office (DARO) under the Ministry of Justice:
  • Obtain a Tax Identification Number (TIN)
  • Register and obtain the commercial registration certificate from the Ministry of Trade and Industry.
  • Make a company seal.
  • Register the company and employees with the Private Organization Employees' Pension Fund.
  • Register with the Ethiopian Revenue Authority for Value Added Tax (VAT).
  • Publish the trade name in a nationwide newspaper.
  • Reserve a unique trade name.
  • Obtain a business license from the Ministry of Trade and Industry.
  • Install a cash registration machine (if you generate over 500,000 Birr – roughly $18,350 - in annual revenue).
A U.S. firm wishing to establish a branch, representation or project office in Ethiopia must also submit the following documents for registration:
  • A notarized copy of the registration of a parent company in the United States
  • A copy of the U.S. Memorandum and Articles of Association.
  • An authenticated decision of the parent company's board of directors or a similarly authorized body for the establishment of a branch in Ethiopia. The decision should indicate the types of activities of the branch, the individuals appointed by the parent company to act on its behalf, and the capital allocated for its operation.
  • An authenticated power of attorney issued by an authorized organ of a company for the permanent representative in Ethiopia.
  • A letter of financial reference from the company's bank.
  • A notice published in a local newspaper announcing the establishment of a branch company in Ethiopia.
Please refer to the World Bank'sreport on Doing Business in Ethiopia for more information.
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