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Ethiopia is among the few African countries where foreigners or even citizens do not own land. The land is often leased out by the government for a period of time. However, to buy a property as a foreigner in Ethiopia, it is possible to transfer lease ownership from one party to another. The new owner will have to update the lease once it expires. Before a foreigner qualifies for a lease, they must meet some requirements. First, you must be an investor in the country.

Under the law, a foreign investor can acquire a leased land for up to 99 years, in the name of the company. But, to be considered an investor, you need to have a capital of at least $200,000. Otherwise, you can partner with an Ethiopian investor where you only need a capital of $150,000. This is the minimum capital a foreign investor needs to invest in Ethiopia. Interestingly, a lease is renewable.

If your capital and bank statement are intact, here’s how you can start to buy property as a foreigner in Ethiopia.

Step 1. Get the Property Tax Statement

This is a document that shows the tax assessment and registration of the property by the property tax authority. It is among the first of many documents you’d need before proceeding with the transfer of the property. You can get this from the Property Tax Authority Office.

This is a document that shows the tax assessment and registration of the property by the property tax authority. It is among the first of many documents you’d need before proceeding with the transfer of the property. You can get this from the Property Tax Authority Office.

Step 2. Register the property with the real estate registry

After concluding the purchase with the seller, head to the Real Estate Registry. Here you’ll have to pay a registration fee of 10,000 Birr. Once this is done, the asset is transferred to the Ethiopian Surveying Authority, internally.

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Step 3. Survey and Inspection of property

The Ethiopian Surveying Authority will carry out a routine survey on the land. After it is done, it will submit its findings to the Measurement department. This will all be done within a space of 10 days. There is no extra cost attached to this.

Step 4. The Measurement Department

The measurement department will review and approve the inspection report from the Ethiopian Surveying Authority. The report will be sent back to the Registry department for further approval. The Real Estate Registry will then approve the documents after conducting an engineering and legal review of the request. Once approved, the document is authenticated with a stamp. This document and a stamped form will be given to the parties involved. Both parties will print their contract agreement on the stamped form.

Step 5. Final Contract Draft Presentation

The lawyer/s representing both parties will draft a contract agreement on the stamped form provided by the Real Estate Registry. After that, the contract is taken to the lawyer syndicate for verification. The lawyer/s representing both parties should include his/her syndicate identification number on the form. This will verify that the lawyer is part of the lawyer’s syndicate. This entire process will normally take about 4 days and cost 0.5% of the property value.

Step 6. Real Estate Registry Approval

After the form is verified by the lawyer’s syndicate, both parties will take it back to the Real Estate Registry. The Real Estate Registry then reviews the contract, stamps it, and approves it for registration. This should take about 10 days. All foreigners hoping to invest in Ethiopia must have a residency entry visa. This confers the power of attorney to the lawyer who will then be able to represent you in court. Without this, it will not be possible to register any property.

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