The council of ministers in session
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Ethiopia Prepares First Personal Data Protection Law

ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopia’s first personal data protection bill has received the Council of Ministers’ approval for parliamentary ratification.

The bill was among the three draft proclamations tabled for discussion at the 25th regular session of the Council of Ministers on Friday.

In a statement today, the PM Office says building a legal framework consistent with international personal data protection standards will have a multitude of benefits.

The legislation, it says, would help promote a culture of safeguarding individuals’ privacy and personal data administration.

The personal data protection proclamation will also play a key role in building an effective digital economy, the PM Office says.

The draft proclamation defines the duties and responsibilities of entities handling personal data and a procedure to enforce them.

The ministers, after in-depth discussions and adding their inputs, unanimously voted to refer the bill to the lower house of the Ethiopian parliament for ratification.

Law governing Rural Land gets Revised

The second bill the council of ministers dealt with today was a Rural Land Administration and Use draft proclamation.

The bill, which would replace the 2005 proclamation, aims to establish a new system of administration for rural land management and use based on the diverse agro-ecological zones.

The system would align the living standards of the farmers, semi-pastoralists and pastoralists to the current political and socioeconomic development of the country, the PM Office says.

The bill aims to strengthen the quality of rural land registration, transfer of land rights, acquisition and dispute resolution systems, per the Office.

Bill to Transform IPs into Special Economic Zones

Finally, the council of ministers endorsed a draft Special Economic Zone Proclamation which was prepared by the Ethiopian Investment Commission (EIC).

In August last year, Ethiopia opened its first free trade zone in Dire Dawa city administration days after the government adopted a Special Economic Zone Policy to establish economic zones across the nation.

The PM office says the newly approved SEZs bill will provide a legal framework to transform the current industrial park system into special economic zones. There are twelve state-owned industrial parks across the country.

The move aims to create a robust framework for attracting Foreign Direct investments, promoting economic clusters, and integration into global value chains. The government has so far built twelve state-owned industrial parks.

The Council of Ministers has directed both the rural land and Special Economic Zone draft laws to the lower house of the parliament for further discussions and enactment.