Thursday, June 20, 2024
HomeEthiopian NewsInvestment law draft that allows foreigners to own land for residential home...

Investment law draft that allows foreigners to own land for residential home triggers controversy

Investment law draft allows foreigners to own land in Ethiopia for residential purpose. Parliamentarians point out that it is against the constitution

Investment law _ Ethiopia _ foreigners
Ethiopian Parliament

December 17, 2019

The Ethiopian Parliament discussed on Tuesday investment law amendment. It  triggered controversy as the draft allows foreigners to have what the Ethiopian constitution calls right to “immovable property,” a right which is exclusively, as stipulated in the Ethiopian constitution, reserved for Ethiopian citizens ( You may refer to article 40: 3, among others subsections)

According to a report by Sheger FM, article 18 subsection 2 of the draft allows foreign investors in Ethiopia to build and own a residential house in Ethiopia.

State Minister Chala Lemi told members of parliament, as reported by Fana Broadcasting Corporation (FBC), that the investment law draft  is informed by “job creation, technology transfer, growing the foreign currency as well as making use of Ethiopia’s natural, cultural and other resources.”

Members of parliament, however, opposed it pointing out that the Ethiopian constitution clearly specified right to get land for residential purpose and build a house, create an “immovable “wealth to Ethiopians, and they argued that the draft contravenes the supreme law of the land. 

As it is directed to the relevant standing committee in the House of Commons, parliamentarians emphasized that the committee should look into it carefully before it is approved.

The sixth regular session of the House of Commons has also discussed draft to privatize state-owned enterprises.  Chala Lemi framed the purpose of privatization as “improving productivity and competitiveness, and enhance capital and financial supply” of these enterprises.

One of the first economic reform measures that Abiy Ahmed introduced just a few months after taking over the office of Prime Minister was to “privatize” enterprises that are widely seen as national assets. Ethio-Telecom, Sugar-enterprises and Ethiopian-Airlines are among enterprises to be privatized. As the matter was expected to be sensitive to most Ethiopians, the prime minister’s approach was to establish a council, by handpicking individuals that are believed to have considerable social influence, to oversee the process.

Despite that, reputable Ethiopian economists have been alarming the public about irreversible damages that the privatization policy could bring to Ethiopia.

Abiy Ahmed’s government has recently got over $6 billion dollars in loans from international financial institutions like IMF and The World Bank, not to mention funds from state actors in the Gulf region. And it seems that privatization policy was one of the conditions.  In fact, the draft legislation to amend investment law came barely a week after the IMF and The World Bank announced the loan to support Abiy Ahmed’s “homegrown economic growth” policy.

Join the conversation. Like borkena on Facebook and get Ethiopian News updates regularly. As well, you may get Ethiopia News by following us on twitter @zborkena



  1. Is the land going owned by foreigners passed from generation to generation forever or is it a lease for certain amount of years only?
    Leasing and owning are completely two different deals.

  2. Terrible move for the country, will never get out of poverty – most African countries strapped in debt unable to provide for majority of its citizens followed this path only foreigners can enjoy their country enslaving the locals.

    Bad news:

    1. Borrowing.
    2. Allowing the lender to detect how to develop.

    3. this is structural adjustment. This provides a path to ripping open the poor for EXPLOITATION.

    Best approach would have been a slow sustainable development using own best assets and resources

  3. Subject: “Investment law draft that allows foreigners to own land for residential home triggers controversy, borkena, December 17, 2019”

    “ETHIOPIA”! be very careful when it comes to opening your TENT to the CAMEL. YOU do not have the instrument to reverse back. And the Good Lord, way above beyond reach, may not help!!!

  4. Any privatization should be done by an elected government in a manner that does not violate the constitution.Anything other than that is a treason and will be put to justice.

  5. There are many teen agers and young
    diasporas that wished to move and start a life in Ethiopia who were unable to do so due to the previous government’s policies not allowing foreigners to own residential lands , if this new law permits them many will move there to lift Ethiopia out the current problems . This is received as a great news by many that can contribute so much to their people in Ethiopia. Especially Washington DC area youngsters are already starting to pack hoping the parliament will aprove , please don’t let them down.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here