Do I need an Ethiopian Bank Account?


I will be moving to Addis Ababa in January 2018, and will be doing some self employment tutoring work to support myself for the year that I am there.

Can anyone give me advice on whether I need to open a bank account in Addis, or if I can just use my American account.

Many thanks! :)


opening a bank account in Ethiopia is easy and fast. The point is that you can not expect the same service as you are most likely used at home. Ok online banking is by now days possible but in general the Ethiopian Business World is still using cash as the common payment!

The Bank will ask you for some legal paper, which might be the real problem for you, I believe due that you wrote "self employed" - so you need a resident permit for 1 year and most important a work permit!

Both you can get as a non Ethiopian either

a. based on a employment contract with a legal entity

b. as a investor running your onw business

Setting up your own business is basically easy and needs not more the 3 days, if you fulfill the requirements and here comes the big problem. For each business field are minimum capital requirements requested from NON Ethiopians, which are honestly speaking very high!

Also not every business is open for non Ethiopians, check out the proclamations (you find most online today at the HP of the investment commission or the immigration office)

Another question is for what do you want to use the account, basically its limited to domestic banking. A transfer to another country is a big challenge and as well demands a lot of requirements to full fill and a lot of patience! You can say t is not POSSIBLE to send money out of the country!

Feel free to contact me directly! But please check out your legal status in Ethiopia, it might be the bigger hurdle the n a bank account!


I personally do not have one and don't think I need one either.

firetown :

I personally do not have one and don't think I need one either.

I assume you use your American account then? What is that experience like? Are you able deposit and manage your money easily enough in Addis?

I will help u in Ethiopia,I have brothers and sisters Living there. You could contact me  in person or by phone as well,I live in Mn, know that its very difficult to get a US dollar in Ethiopia so that's why bro!

To deposit into a US Bank Account from Ethiopia is nearly impossible, for this you have to full fill several points.
For expat employees it is possible to send money out of the country, but you need a work permit, a work contract stating this, a residence permit.

If you are not employed you need to be recognized as a investor!

But for investors its even more difficult, the law allows you, but the law is theory, because Ethiopia has a shortage of foreign currency and for sure just now this situation has changed with the devaluation of the Birr this week!


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