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Ethiopia set to open import, export, retail and wholesale commercial sectors to foreigners

Addis Ababa, April 18, 2024 (FBC) – Ethiopian Investment Commission and Trade and Regional Integration Ministry, in a joint statement, disclosed that the nation is set to open key commercial sectors that were restricted to only local investors to foreigners.

The federal institutions announced that Ethiopia will open the import-export, retail and wholesale sectors to foreign businesses.

For many years, the import-export, retail and wholesale commercial sectors have been barred from participation of foreign investors as the government had developed a policy to protect specific areas from competition from foreign investment.

“The purpose of the previous policy was to support the growth of domestic investors, to protect them from competitive pressure from foreign investors, and build a sustainable economy based on homegrown capacity,” it was stated.

However, the institutions pointed out that the policy that entailed the closure of the commercial sectors faced setbacks in terms of achieving the desired objectives as expected.

The opening of the business sector to foreign investors is said to play a significant role in modernizing the business system, reducing the price of goods for consumers, and boosting the economy as a nation.

Under the new law, a foreign investor may now participate in retail trade investments that were previously restricted to local investors.

In terms of the export industry, foreign investors will now oversee the management of raw coffee, khat, oilseeds, pulses, hides and skins, forest products, poultry, and livestock.

As per the new directive, foreigners can engage in import trade with the exception of fertilizer and petroleum import trade.

Officials stated that that a permanent joint committee of several institutions will be organized to achieve the desired objectives.



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