The Ethiopian business environment is relatively complex. Here's what we found about starting a business.
To create a business in Ethiopia, you have to follow a list of requirements. These requirements depend on the industry and the type of business. For example, a sole proprietor in the retail sector would have a vastly different set of requirements from a partnership in the export industry. Additionally, we found information is not easily accessible, as individuals in the specific municipal offices are vague on information and often send you on the runaround. We found the lack of detailed information is mostly due to the on-going management level reforms to improve business processes.
The business environment is not very start-up friendly, particularly for individuals who do not have an established local base. One of the first requirements is having an office space, which can be a challenge to acquire, particularly for a lean start-up. Additionally, the wording on most legislative information tends to be vague and differs in practice; as a result, having an experienced local consultant is beneficial. Here are some useful links we found that detail the processes required to start a business and some statistics to frame the local business environment.
Lastly, finding production partners in Ethiopia is relatively easy, as most businesses are always looking for opportunities. A point of caution though some producers may not have an eye for quality, making supervision and quality inspection key. Additionally, taking the time to look around, and networking will pay dividends later on. We have observed a significant variation in prices for the same goods, as some suppliers are technically resellers who mark-up the product.
Stay tuned for next weeks update!