Ethiopia is Africa’s 9th largest economy and 2nd biggest population of about 100 Million people. The Ethiopian economy has grown at an average of 10% since 2010 and in 2012 Ethiopia was the Fastest Growing Economy in the world, Managing to grow faster than other African Countries such as Rwanda, Mozambique, Zambia and Ghana, As well as China and India. Addis Ababa is also the main air hub for Africa and the home of Ethiopian Airlines, which has won repeated recognition as the best airline in Africa.

Company Registration

All foreign companies intending to invest in Ethiopia are required by law to get registered in accordance with the commercial code of Ethiopia. The Ethiopian Investment Commission, representing the Ethiopian Ministry of Trade and Industry, carries out such company registration.

In Ethiopia business companies are formulated according to the commercial code of 166 of 1960. In the commercial code of article 212 there are six forms of business organizations as follows:

Ordinary partnership

A partnership is an ordinary partnership within the meaning of this Title where it does not have characteristics which make it a business organization covered by other Title of the code. (Art.227)

Joint venture

A Joint Venture is an agreement between partners on terms mutually agreed and is subject to the general principles of law relating to partnerships. (Art.271)

General partnership

A general partnership consists of partners who are personally, jointly, severally and fully liable as between themselves and to the partnership for the partnership firms undertakings. Any provision to the contrary in the partnership agreement shall be of no effect with regard to third parties.

Where the partnership is a commercial partnership, each partner shall have the status of a trader.

The partnership shall have a firm name.

Limited Partnership

A limited partnership comprises two types of partners: general partners in full liable personally, jointly and severally and limited partners who are only liable to the extent of their contribution.

Share company

A share company is a company whose capital is fixed in advance and divided into share and whose liabilities are met only by the assets of the company. The members shall be liable only to the extent of their share holding.

Private limited company

A private limited company is a company whose members are liable only to the extent of their contributions. A private limited company shall not have less than two or more than fifty members and is always commercial in form.

The company shall not issue transferable securities in any form. The capital of a private limited liability company shall not be less than 15,000 Ethiopia birr.

Opening a Branch Office of an Overseas Company

An overseas company wishing to invest through a branch office is required to submit the essential documents to the Ethiopian Investment Commission. Foreign companies wishing to open liaison offices must submit their application to the Ministry of Trade And Industry.

Even though, in Ethiopia, land is a public property both rural and urban lands are made available to investors at competitive price on a lease hold bases which run from 50-99 years.

Visas are required for all for all foreign visitors to Ethiopian with the exception of nationals of Kenya and the Sudan. Visas may be available before departure or upon arrival. The main department for immigration and nationality affairs issues a residence permit to a foreign investor, upon submission of an investment permit issued in his/her name.

How we can help you

If you are considering forming a business or you need expert help with company registration in Ethiopia, LegalGenius™ is ready to assist you with its skilled team of lawyers, consultants and tax experts. We are committed to making the process as stress-free and streamlined as possible for you, and we will take care of all your document preparation and administrative tasks regarding the registration forms, payment of government fees, local address registration, banking support, etc., whilst always keeping your exact objectives and unique vision in mind throughout the process.

Please use our Company Formation Wizard if you would like to set up your registered company in Ethiopia or if you would like to know the costs involved prior to proceeding with our exceptional services. For other queries and special requests for complex or customised company formation services, please contact us at