The infectious Coronavirus disease, COVID-19, is declared as a pandemic, i.e. as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, on 30 January 2020, by the World Health Organization. COVID-19 is having far reaching impacts on all aspects of human life and the global economy. In this legal brief attempt will be made to assess its impacts from the three perspectives of the Ethiopian laws.

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Ethiopia is on the verge of adopting the Electronic Transaction Proclamation (‘the draft Proclamation). The draft Proclamation which is drafted by the Ministry of Innovation and Technology (‘the Ministry’) is deliberated upon and approved by the Council of Ministers, which referred it to the Ethiopian Parliament. The Parliament after reviewing the draft Proclamation has mandated its Human Resources and Technology Affairs Standing Committee to scrutinize the draft Proclamation and to give its feedback. Accordingly, the Standing Committee has conducted discussion with the Minister of the Ministry and his colleagues on May 6th 2020 and the draft Proclamation is expected to be adopted as law very soon.

The draft Proclamation, which has 46 provisions, gives legal recognition to electronic commerce and electronic government. As per the provision of Articles 7 and 8 of the draft Proclamation information which is in electronic form has the same legal validity as information contained in written document. The draft Proclamation also gives legal recognition to electronic signature of the signatories, electronic stamps and electronic signature of witnesses as long as the requirements that are stated under its Articles 9 to 11 are fulfilled.

Article 16 of the draft Proclamation has given legal recognition to electronic receipts as long as e-receipt is prepared in a form of electronic message, the electronic message fulfills the contents of paper based invoice and the electronic message is traceable, reachable and readable where it is needed for future comparison of such e-receipt.

The conclusion of contracts electronically is given legal recognition by Article 17 of the draft Proclamation. The draft Proclamation has also given acknowledgement to publication of laws electronically and has established Electronic Federal Negarit Gazeta and Archives of Federal Electronic Laws under its Articles 18, 36 and 37. There are also provisions that are aimed at the protection of the consumers who will engage in e-commerce as can be seen from Articles 28 to 34 of the draft Proclamation.

The provisions of Articles 35 of the draft Proclamation requires government institutions to receive, prepare and issue the documents, licenses and payment systems electronically. Articles 38 to 40 of the draft Proclamation regulates issues relating to domain names. Finally, the provisions of Articles 41 to 46 of the draft Proclamation deals with miscellaneous issues and gives mandate to the Council of Ministers and the Ministry to issue Regulations and Directives, respectively, that enables the effective implementation of the draft Proclamation. Read the full story at: million alemu legal services.


On 8th of April 2020, the Ethiopian Council of Ministers has promulgated Proclamation No. 3/2020 “A State of Emergency Proclamation Enacted to Counter and Control the Spread of COVID-19 and Mitigate Its Impact”, which will last for five months. The House of Peoples’ Representatives of Ethiopia has discussed on the declaration of state of emergency in its session held on April 10th 2020 and approved it as Proclamation No. 1189/2020, which is published on Negarit Gazetta as of April 16th 2020.

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