Ethiopia to open up real estate to foreign buyers

March 25, 2024 | 08:59
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Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has unveiled plans to allow foreign nationals to buy real estate and to open up retailing to international companies.
Ethiopia to open up real estate to foreign buyers
Ethiopia to open up real estate to foreign buyers, illustration photo/ Source:

The announcement came as Africa's second most populous country, with about 120 million people, seeks to shore up its finances.

"We will bring in a law for foreigners to own property," Abiy told a meeting of business executives that was broadcast by state media outlets late Saturday.

He said the legislation was in the final stages of being drafted.

In addition, Abiy said the government aimed to ease restrictions in the retail sector and open it up to international players, not just Ethiopians.

The landlocked country has about $28 billion of external debt and is also grappling with sky-high inflation and a shortage of foreign currency reserves.

After coming to power in 2018, Abiy announced an ambitious reform package to liberalise Ethiopia's tightly controlled economy.

But in recent years the state of the economy has deteriorated sharply and the will to continue the reforms has largely stalled.

Ethiopia has however partly opened up the telecommunications sector, issuing a licence to Kenyan telecoms giant Safaricom and announcing its intention to sell off a stake in the state-owned Ethio Telecom.

The government has also said it plans to allow foreign investment in the banking sector.


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