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Considerations for new projects in Ethiopia

Legal registration

Emory is registered in Ethiopia with the Charities and Societies Agency. Because of this registration, any Emory program that intends to conduct business in Ethiopia must contact Global Services. The program will be subject to local regulations and may be required to register or obtain permission from various ministries. Local research also requires the approval of an Ethiopian-based Institutional Review Board, similar to the Emory IRB process. For health projects, this will primarily include coordinating permission from the Ethiopian Public Health Institute in the region where you are working, or at the national level if you are working in multiple regions. If handling biological specimens or if working in partnership with a government entity, also expect to coordinate permission from the Ministry of Science and Technology. 

Please review our information about establishing legal status in Ethiopia and contact the Office of Global Strategy and Initiatives and the Office of the General Counsel if you are considering conducting business activities in Ethiopia.

Learn more about budgetary considerations for projects in Ethiopia >>

Conducting research

Some short-term activities in Ethiopia require permissions from various ministries. Depending on the specific activities envisioned, some research projects may require written permission from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism or other federal entities. Local research also requires the approval of an Ethiopian-based Institutional Review Board, similar to the Emory IRB process. Mindy Simon in the General Counsel’s office can assist you in coordinating all the necessary legal status permissions for new projects in Ethiopia. Learn more >>


Consult with Kevin Wysner in the Office of Quality and Risk for the types of insurance needed for proposed activities within Ethiopia. Certain insurance may be required by local law.  Learn more >>

Local accounting & payroll services

Local accounting businesses or certified accountants can assist any new project with local regulation compliance, as well as ensure that local payroll services are conducted correctly. Costs for in-country accounting services should be built into program budgets from inception.

Please review banking and purchasing information for Ethiopia for more information on opening bank accounts and purchasing goods locally. The reporting and tax obligations section includes information about auditing practices in Ethiopia.

Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs)

If a new program or activity requires an MOU, please refer to Emory’s MOU guidelines for establishing a new agreement. Learn more >>

Hiring local nationals

Ethiopian employment contracts are subject to local regulations and have specific rules on duration, activities, and employment benefits. Contact Mindy Simon in the General Counsel’s office for assistance in developing employment contracts for local nationals.

Please review budgetary considerations for Ethiopia for more information on employment allowances that should be included in new program budgets.

Please review the Emory human resources manual for Ethiopia staff and provide a copy to all staff in Ethiopia.

Hiring local vendors or partners

  • Grant subcontracts: For assistance in arranging for a grant subcontract to or from Emory involving a third party for a portion of a sponsored project in Ethiopia, please contact Holly Sommers in the Office of Sponsored Programs.
  • Service agreements: Contracts or payments to local Ethiopian vendors for the provision of a service in exchange for a fee should work through the Office of Grants and Contracts to ensure compliance with Ethiopian, U.S., and university regulations.

Only designated individuals may sign grant subcontracts or service agreements on behalf of the university.

Please review our real estate information for guidance on leasing office or residential space in Ethiopia.

Program oversight

Programs operating abroad must have clear on-site operational managers and financial reporting lines to a particular principal investigator (PI) or administrator at Emory. Overseas projects should also undergo the same regular academic review as domestic programs. Each program should have a designated financial manager at Emory to ensure appropriate documentation of expenses for reporting purposes, oversee compliance with university financial policies, and guard against fraud. Programs that involve multiple departments are advised to give one financial manager ultimate oversight to avoid gaps or confusion in oversight responsibilities.

Ensure that faculty, staff, and students working abroad know how to report problems confidentially. Be sure that overseas staff who are Emory employees (not independent contractors) are aware of the following resources, which they can access from another country:

  • Emory Trust Line, for reporting potential ethical, legal, or business conduct violations or concerns in a confidential manner.
  • Faculty Staff Assistance Program (for employees only, some features only available on Emory’s Atlanta campus), which enhances employees’ emotional and physical health, performance, and wellbeing.
  • HR representatives by department, for locating your HR representative based on the school or division that sponsors an overseas program.

Business etiquette

When considering new relationships with a foreign partner as an Emory representative, you should consider Ethiopian business etiquette to ensure the best possible start to a new partnership. The Office of Global Strategy and Initiatives can assist you in this area.

More info on international business etiquette and its implications on new projects >>