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25 Mar, 2024 10:24

Ethiopia to allow foreigners buy real estate – PM

Abiy Ahmed has unveiled plans to liberalize the country’s economy
Ethiopia to allow foreigners buy real estate – PM

Foreign nationals will be permitted to buy real estate in Ethiopia in a major change to the country’s laws, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announced on state TV late on Saturday.

Ethiopia, with a population of approximately 120 million, is grappling with significant economic challenges, including inflation and currency reserve shortages. The landlocked country’s external debt stands at around $28 billion, according to a government report.

“We will introduce a law which will allow foreigners to own property,” Abiy told a meeting of business executives. “[The economy] was closed, but now we will slightly open it. So we want you to be ready as well,” he added. 

The government will also make it possible for foreigners, not just Ethiopians, to participate in the retail sector, the politician stated. 

According to the prime minister, the new law is in the final stages of drafting. However, he did not set a deadline for submitting the law to parliament.

As part of its journey towards economic liberalization, Ethiopia recently granted a license to Safaricom, a telecommunications firm from Kenya, and revealed plans to divest a portion of state-owned company Ethio Telecom. The government also indicated its willingness to permit foreign investment in the banking sector.

At present, foreign ownership of residential or commercial real estate is prohibited in Ethiopia, preventing international investment in the African nation. The country’s constitution stipulates that land may only be owned by the “State and the people.”