This article is a general guideline on how to set up an office in Ethiopia (particularly in Addis Ababa). Regulations on Licensing/Registration/Investment permit etc are found separately on our Starting A Business section and Investment page.
There are numerous new buildings coming up in Addis Ababa. You can rent offices on these buildings. The buildings can be found in almost all areas and you can choose as per your need, location of your clients, etc. Villas that can be turned to offices are available as well. The rent lease has to be authenticated by the Documents Authentication and Registration Office, as is required by the Commercial Registration and Business Licensing Proclamation No. 686/2010 or 686/2002 EC. in order to aquire commercial licence.
What you have to check when renting offices on buildings or Villas
- Is deposit required? How many months advance rent have to be paid?
- Is regular Generator service available in case of power outage? (This is important!!)
- Are there sufficient phone lines in the building? This is very crucial for your work.
- Are there sufficient parking spaces?
Furnishing your office
You can buy imported or locally made furniture. Almost all the main furniture sellers will agree to deliver the material to your office. The main office furniture sellers are found on Bole Road, at Hayuhlet Area and at Piazza. Technostyle (located in Flamingo area in Bole, on Lex Plaza at Hayahulet); Waryt (located on Waryt Building on Haile Gebreselassie Avenue); 3F (in Piazza, Before Bambis on Dil Building); Deluxe Furniture (Located at Olympia and also on Bole Road some 100m East from Getu Commercial Centre) are the biggest that provide quality material; Technostyle is known for their quality yet cheap priced office furniture.
But it's good to take a tour of Bole Road, Ethio China Friendship Road, Debrezeyit Road, Hayahulet area, Urael Area and Piazza to check every possibility. You may also check our business directory.
- Fixed Phone Lines
The best thing is to have a fixed land line. You can apply to the local telecommunications office and it takes 2-5 weeks to get the lines depending on availability, etc. You can have the phone numbers with you when you move your office provided your new office is located in the same sub city/region.
In case land lines are not available, you can always buy wireless phones that operate on CDMA 1x technology.
For more you can visit Ethio Telecom's website.
- Mobile Phones
You can buy prepaid SIM cards almost everywhere. But when you buy credit to charge your account, the shopkeepers usually give you local receipts that may be rejected by the tax auditors. Therefore, the best thing is to apply for post paid SIM CARDS. For more you can check Ethio Telecom's website.
You can apply for dial up service (but you need to have a phone line), broadband, wireless CDMA (CDMA 1x and EVDO). All have their pros and cons. Dialup is very slow, broadband is fast but expensive, CDMA 1x is good and post-paid service is available for the voice-data, but for the data service no post-paid service is available; EVDO is fast but expensive and there are two types of EVDO service (limited and unlimited) and post-paid service is available for the unlimited service. For application process and rates, you may check Ethio Telecom's website. Ethio Telecom has also setup a new website for CDMA information only. This new website can serve us a good guide while choosing which CDMA service to buy.
- Computers, Laptops, Networking equipment and accessories
Computer Dealers are found in almost every corner of the city. While buying a computer, you can go for brand or assembled PC’s, brand laptops, and second hand brand PC’s. Dell, ACER and HP brands are widely available for desktop PC’s and Toshiba, Dell, HP and ACER are available for laptops. All these brands have their own authorized dealers. SNAP Computer (on Bole Road), Net Computer (on Bole Road), SysTech (at Bole Medhanialem), ALTA CompuTEC (Bole Road), Nejat (Bole Road) and ETComp (on Bole Road) are among the best known dealers in the city. You may find accessories in these shops as well. But it’s worthwhile to take a tour of the city (especially Bole Road, Bole Medhanialem area, Piazza) and compare prices. You can also check the Computer & Accessories Importers section and Computers/ Accessories Sales and Maintenance Service Providers section of our Ethiopian business directory.
- Photocopy Machines, Fax Machines
Gellately and Hankey (located in Piazza and Bole Road), ICAS (located in Bole Road), Jupiter Trading (located in Kazancis area) and PETRAM (located on Mexico Square area) are among the biggest dealers. They have brands such as Cannon and Olivetti. You can check the Office Machines Importers section and of Office Machines Sales & Repair our Ethiopian business directory.