How to Start an Import Business in Ethiopia

Any domestic investor can engage in import/ export business in Ethiopia. Check our import/export page.

Registration and License: A minimum capital of Br. 5,001.00 is needed to register and get business license. All importers in Ethiopia, except those who are found in Dire Dawa, should be registered and get their license from the main office of the Ministry of Trade and Industry located near Hilton Hotel or beside Casanchis super market, located in Addis Ababa. Importers in Dire Dawa can apply in Dire Dawa.

What documents one has to provide is mentioned on our business registeration and license page.

Cost:

  • To get principal registration: Br. 80

  • To get summary Registration: Br.10

  • To get new trade name: Br. 80

  • To get New Business License: Br. 80

One can register to import all types of goods allowed for import.  According to the new proclamation number 686/2010, there is no license for General Import/Export. The subcategory has to be specified for all kinds of imports on the business license as per the Ethiopian Standard Industrial Classification. However, it used to be the case that importing the following goods only needed to be mentioned specifically in the business license.

  • New vehicles

  • Used vehicles

  • Construction machinery

  • Chemicals (except pesticides and herbicides)

  • Agricultural machinery

  • Industrial machinery

  • New Motor bicycles

  • Medical Appliances (lab equipment, hospital equipment, etc): special permit/approval is needed from Ethiopian Drug Administration and Control Authority (DACA). To know the regulations, guidelines and procedures of permits issued by DACA (permits for Medical Appliances, some kind of chemicals, pharmaceuticals and veterinary medicine), please check DACA’s website: www.daca.gov.et (Phone: +251 11 5524122-23, fax: +251 11 5521392, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ; located on Bole Road, adjacent to Shoa supermarket).

  • Chemicals (precursor and related chemicals, pesticides, herbicides): special permit/approval is needed from Ethiopian Drug Administration and Control Authority and Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development(Phone: +251 11 5518040, fax: +251 11 5528298, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ; located at Kazanchis, on the way from Urael to Hilton Hotel)

  • Pharmaceutical and veterinary medicine: special permit/approval is needed from Ethiopian Drug Administration and Control Authority

  • Fertilizer: special permit is needed from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development Animal and Plant Health Regulatory Department. Its location is on Lam Beret

  • Medical appliances and pharmaceuticals for animal use only: special permit/approval is needed from Ethiopian Drug Administration and Control Authority

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