Tag: Ethiopian land law

Model Land Lease Regulation

The House of People’s Representatives has enacted the controversial urban land proclamation No.721-2011 on January 2011. Even though the law is a Federal law, the power of implementation through subsidiary legislation is given to Regions and city administrations. According to article 33 of the proclamation, Regions and city administrations shall have the powers and duties to issue regulations and directives necessary for the implementation of the Proclamation. This being the case, the Ministry of Urban Development and Construction has prepared a model land lease regulation two months after the issuance of the proclamation. This document was submitted for discussion mainly in Addis Ababa, Dire Dawa and some regions.

The model land lease regulation is not a binding document. However, it is expected that it will significantly affect the subsequent regulations to be issued by Regions and city administrations. (I don’t have information whether they have already issued the regulation.)

The model land lease regulation is drafted only in Amharic. (This is a typical problem of subsidiary legislations in Ethiopia.) You can get the document from the official web site of the Ministry, but I advise you not to do so. There is some annoying advertisement displayed on each page of the document, telling you that the document was converted to pdf using an inactivated version certain software. For this reason, you will not be able to read at least two articles on each page. They are totally covered by this irritating advertisement. May be someone can help the Ministry by sending a pdf converter.

I have removed all the objects from the original document and now you can download the model land lease regulation from this blog.

Click HERE to download Final Land Lease Regulation

Click HERE to download the file from the original source.


Proclamation No. 721/2004


 WHEREAS it is provided by Article 40 of the Constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia that land is the property of the State and the people of Ethiopia and that its use shall be subject to specific regulation by law;

 WHEREAS the sustained rapid economic growth registered across sectors and regions in the country has steadily and exponentially increased the demand for urban land, and such development requires prudent and responsive land resources management;

 WHEREAS the prevalence of good governance is a foundational institutional requisite for the development of an efficient, effective, equitable and well functioning  land and landed property market, the sustenance of a robust free market economy and for building transparent and accountable land administration system that ensures the rights and obligations of the lessor and the lessee;

 NOW, THEREFORE, in accordance with sub-article 2(a) of Article 55 of the Constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, it is herby proclaimed as follows:

1. Short Title

This Proclamation may be cited as the “Urban Lands Lease Holding Proclamation No.721/2004

2. Definitions

In this Proclamation unless the context otherwise requires:

1/ “lease” means a system of land tenure by which the use right of urban land is acquired under a contract of  a definite period;

2/ “urban land” means land located within an administrative boundary of an  urban center;

3/ “urban center” means any locality having a municipal administration or a population size of 2000 or more inhabitants of which at least 50% of its labor force is, primarily, engaged in non-agricultural activities;

4/ “region” means any state referred to under Article 47(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia;

5/ “city administration” means the Addis Ababa City Administration or the Dire Dawa Administrative Council;

6/ “appropriate body” means a body of a region or a city administration vested with the power to administer and develop urban land;

7/ “public interest” means the use of land defined as such by the decision of  the appropriate body in conformity with urban plan in order to ensure the interest of the people to acquire direct or indirect benefits from the use of the land and to consolidate sustainable socio-economic development;

8/ “urban plan” means structural plan, local development plan or basic plan of an urban center including annexed descriptive documents which are  legally endorsed by the authorized body and have legally binding effect;

9/ “tender” means a modality of land use right transfer applied for  providing urban land on lease to the highest bidder on the basis of market and competitive parameters;

10/ “allotment” means a modality of land use right transfer applied for  providing urban lands by lease to institutions that could not be accommodated by way of tender;

11/  “lease benchmark price” means the threshold price determined by taking into account the cost of infrastructural development, demolition cost as well as compensation to be paid to displaced persons in case of built up areas, and other relevant factors;

12/  “grace period” means a time frame that a lessee is relieved from payment after effecting the advance payment and before the commencement of the annual lease payment;

13/ “construction start-up” means the construction of at least the foundation and erection  of  re-enforcement  bars  to  cast   columns  of the planned construction;

14/ “completion of foundation” means the construction phase whereby the building site is dug, reinforcement concrete is filled in and its floor is completed and erection of its first wall is started;

15/ “half-completion of construction” means:

a) in the case of a villa, completion of foundation, columns and top beam;

b) in the case of a multi-story building, completion of foundation and 50% of the total number of floor slabs;

c) in the case of a real estate development, completion of the construction phase referred to, as the case may be, in paragraph (a) or (b) of sub-article (1) of this Article relating to the entire blocks.

16/ “completion of construction” means the full completion of a building and installation of basic utilities in accordance with the plan and make it ready for use;

17/ “old possession” means a plot of land  legally acquired before the urban center entered into the leasehold system or a land provided as compensation in kind to persons evicted  from   old settlements;

18/ “manufacturing industry premise” means plots of  land reserved, developed or allotted, in accordance with the land use plan, for use of manufacturing industries;

19/ “mega real estate” means a housing development involving the construction of at least 1,000 residential units with a view to alleviating the shortage of housing in urban centers;

20/ “projects having especial national significance” means projects having outstanding contributions in the success of the country’s growth and transformation, or projects which, in the course of expanding the country’s cooperative relations with other governments, are intended to lay strong foundation for  the relations between the countries;

21/ “Ministry” means the Ministry of Urban Development and Construction;

22/ “person” means any natural or juridical person;

23/  any expression in the masculine gender includes the feminine.


Ethiopian Urban Land Lease Law (the previous!)

Still I am not getting any good news about the publication of the newly adopted urban land lease law. I will be posting on this new law the moment I get access to it. The following material,  taken from Land Law Teaching Material, an official text book for all Ethiopian law schools, is a must-read to get a glimpse of the nature, content and scope of Ethiopian urban land lease law. It thoroughly discusses and analyses the Lease Holding of Urban Lands Proclamation No. 272/2002 (which is amended or may be totally repealed by the new law.)

The material is prepared by :

Daniel W/Gebriel


Melkamu Belache

Under the sponsorship of:

 Justice and Legal System Research Institute

The material (taken From Chapter Three) is presented here as it is.

3.4 Urban Land Lease

3.4.1 Scope

Today, in Ethiopia, lease is the “cardinal” and “exclusive” land-holding system to transfer urban land to users in accordance with the master plans of each urban area. Hence, unlike the housing sector, urban land is governed by a special legislation, namely, the Lease Holding of Urban Lands Proclamation No. 272/2002. And yet the civil code may be applied whenever necessary. The scope of application of the law is “to an urban land held by the permit system, or by lease-hold system or by other means prior” to the coming of the proclamation “as well as to an urban land permitted hereafter.” Continue reading “Ethiopian Urban Land Lease Law (the previous!)”






    WHEREAS, the government needs to use land for development works carried out the in the public interest;

    WHEREAS, it is necessary to improve procedures for appropriation of the required land and valuation of property for compensation;

    NOW, THEREFORE, in accordance with Article 55(1) of the Constitution of Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia it is hereby proclaimed as follows: Continue reading “APPROPRIATION OF LAND FOR GOVERNMENT WORKS AND PAYMENT OF COMPENSATION FOR PROPERTY PROCLAMATION NO. 401-2004”