How to Start an Export Business in Ethiopia

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


A person is only required to have a business license and/or to export goods. A person should have a business license to engage in export trade. However, there are some goods which require a special permit for exportation. For instance a person who wants to export coffee should have a special permit from the Coffee and Tea Development centre which is under the Ministry of Agriculture.

In order to get a business license, all exporters in Ethiopia should, first, be registered in the commercial registration which is administered by the Ministry of Tradeion and Regional Integrat located in Addis Ababa. Exporters in the regional states may be registered in the respective regional trade bureaus. Foreign investors (and domestic investor who want to benefit from the investment incentives) must be registered in the Ethiopia Investment Commission.

After commercial registration, a person must obtain a business license and a special export permit for selected goods from the relevant government organ (i.e. Ministry of Trade and Industry, regional trade bureaus, Ethiopian investment commission or any other government organ vested with such powers).

What documents one has to provide is mentioned on our Business Registration and License page.


  • A total amount of 101 birr is paid to the Ministry of Trade and Regional Integration, the Regional Bureaus, etc.

One can register to export all types of goods allowed for import provided that such good is not prohibited or restricted by an administrative decision. For further information Check our Import/Export page.