A new amendment has been made on the previous investment proclamation number 769/2012. The objective behind the amendment under Proclamation number 849/2014 is said to be aimed at further facilitating and encouraging investments in Ethiopia.

Under the current amendment proclamation we can note:

  1. The change made from the Investment Agency to Investment Commission;
  2. The Investment Board which is supervisory body is intended, by the law maker, to be chaired by the Prime Minister;
  3. The Investment Board is empowered to supervise the administration of industrial development zones;
  4. The Investment Board, inconformity with the laws and plans of investment, is empowered to pass a decision on the reduction or expansion of the boundaries of industrial development zones;
  5. The Investment Board is authorized to the granting of new or additional incentives other than what is provided under the law;
  6. The Investment Board is authorized to the opening of investment areas for foreign investors which are exclusively reserved for domestic investors;
  7. The scope given to Industrial Development Zone has been broadened to embrace special economic zones, industrial parks, technology parks, export processing zones, free trade zones and the likes which are to be designated by the Investment Board;
  8. The development of industrial zone will be undertaken either by the Government or by joint venture of the government and the private sector or by the private sector alone;
  9. The organs of investment administration comprise the Investment Board, the Commission and Regional Investment Organs.

Are you planning to come to Ethiopia for investment, work, tourism or any other purpose? Here are the basic points you should be aware of.

Obtaining Visas

The first thing that you should do is get your visa from the nearest Ethiopian Embassy or consular office. Except Kenya and Djibouti nationals, visas are required for all visitors coming to Ethiopia. Visitors should obtain a visa from an Ethiopian Embassy or Consulates before departure. However Tourist visas are available on arrival at Bole International Airport for nationals and residents of the following countries; Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Democratic people's Republic of Korea (northern Korea), Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea (south Korea), the Russian Federation, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States of America. Nevertheless it is advisable to get your visa before departure.

Customs Law

While traveling in or departing out of Ethiopia you must be watchful about the amount of local and foreign currency you hold with you. That same attention should be given to any item that appears to be cultural.

Do you have trademarks registered in Ethiopia before 2006? It is high time to reregister them as per the new trademark regulation because a new regulation has been recently enacted obligating trademarks that have registered in Ethiopia before 2006 to reregister again. The regulation has set a time frame of 18 months to register for trademarks that have registered prior to 2006.

So we caution you to reregister all your trademarks in Ethiopia, irrespective of the fact their due date is less than one year away. This is because, according to the new law, owners of Trademarks that are already registered in Ethiopia will be required to file new applications within 18 months time of the publication date of the law, which is by no means is no later than June 24, 2014.

You should also note that these trademarks will be reregistered just like a new application. Just because a trademark has been registered previously doesn’t mean it will automatically register and acquire protection in Ethiopia. It will have to go the process of re registration within the projected time frame in order for it to continue getting protection here in Ethiopia.

 

Even though Ethiopia provides ample investment opportunity with various incentives, it also Suspends, Revokes, Cancels investment licenses it granted for failure to comply with the requirements of the country’s investment laws. On March 2013 alone Ethiopia has cancelled 330 foreign investment licenses, including various investors form the country’s main sources of investment like India, China, United Arab Emirates and Sudan, on the ground of failure to implement the planned projects.  The Ethiopian Investment Agency mentioned these investors had failed to carry out various projects they have undertaken in different parts of the country and most of these investors have had their licenses lying dormant for more than three years after the permits were awarded.

Grounds for Suspension, Revocation, Cancelation of Investment Permit

Any investor with investment permit shall submit progress reports on the implementation of his project to the appropriate investment organ at the end of every three months; and provide information concerning his investment activities whenever required by the appropriate investment organ.  Further any investor is required to comply with the applicable Investment laws of the country. Where an investor violates the provisions of the Investment Proclamation or regulations or directives issued to implement same, the appropriate investment organ may suspend the investment permit until the investor takes due corrective measures.