I, US citizen living in US, believe investing in the Ethiopian economy is a good investment because XYZ. How can I do this? I have found many African ETFs with exposures to either specific regions or individual countries, but, perhaps because Ethiopia does not yet have a stock exchange, none of these ETFs are geared toward Ethiopia. With no stock exchange and no ETFs, am I stuck? Is there no accessible way for me to invest broadly in its economy? Do I simply have to wait until the stock exchange is set up so that Ethiopian companies can be publicly listed and, therefore, put into an ETF? Want to make sure I'm not missing something.


2 Answers 2


People investing in frontier countries, as from developed countries, often invest in limited partnerships, found at their home country investment banks, that fund and engage in particular endeavors in the frontier countries. However, the developed countries only allow accredited investors to invest in that way. A group of investors could form their own partnership that doesn't offer participation to other investors.

Now Ethiopia has a new law that allows its citizens, that live in foreign countries, to invest in commercial banks and in investment banks or to participate in funding projects of those banks.

And so overall, the way to invest in the frontier country is to form a company in that country that has a registered-agent office in the country. Then the company should be able to invest in banks or invest in funding projects of the banks.

However, it appears that neither Atlas Mara Limited or Equity Group Holdings have any position in Ethiopia and if they don't then I wonder if any foreign company or foreign partnership is allowed to invest in the banks.

  • This means that I, a retail investor without the ability to 'form a company' in Ethiopia, have no accessible way of investing in its economy until an ETF is created? Is that right?
    – Runeaway3
    Commented Oct 29, 2020 at 1:45
  • 1
    Particular projects can be found. For instance, investment in a mining company that has a license in Ethiopia would be possible. Investment in Chinese companies that have construction or manufacturing projects in Ethiopia would be possible.
    – S Spring
    Commented Oct 29, 2020 at 2:03
  • Consumer banking in Africa is mostly by mobile phone: theafricareport.com/22250/…
    – S Spring
    Commented Oct 29, 2020 at 2:47
  • Investment funds issued by private equity companies are generally for accredited investors only: cepheuscapital.com
    – S Spring
    Commented Oct 29, 2020 at 20:28

You could consider 'investing' more directly by participating in the local Ethiopian economy in whatever way makes sense for you. This could include buying reputable fair-trade products sourced from Ethiopia where money actual ends up in the hands of locals there, (coffee is a main export), or spending your tourist dollars there.

If you want to see a financial return from this social 'investment', you could also seek out art being produced there, if you are sufficiently diversified generally that you want to expand your investment portfolio into art.

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