The concept of Chamber of Commerce was introduced to Ethiopia for the first time in 1943. The need for its establishment basically emanated from the economic crisis occurred during that time. The establishment of the Chamber of Commerce was seen as a solution to address the distribution of scarce commodities such as cotton, yarn, and woolen products. Members of the Chamber of Commerce were allowed to distribute those scarce commodities to stabilize the market.
Cognizant to these the Government issued Charter No. 90/47 in 1947 in a bid to establishing the Chamber as a legally recognized institution. This was the turning point for the establishment of an apex organization of the private sector in the country. The Charter clearly defined the roles and functions of the Chamber and stipulated membership to be mandatory.
A cursory investigation of some documents indicates that the Chamber had good Government support with patronage at the highest political level. In 1959, the Government as part of its endeavors to strengthen the Chamber provided a plot of land on which the current a seven-story Head Quarters building was constructed. The construction of the building was also facilitated by the Government. The National Chamber had then branches in Asmara, Diredawa, Gondar, Jimma and Nazareth.
Following the change of Government in 1974 proclamation No. 148/74 was enacted that declared membership of business entities mandatory and restructured the Chamber in line with the command economic policy adopted by the then administration.
The Chambers’ activities during this period were focused mainly on promoting export trade, participating in international trade fairs, conducting research on trade constraints and establishing relations with other chambers.
In 2003, the incumbent Government promulgated Proclamation No. 341/2003 with a view to reorganizing Chambers of Commerce in line with the free market economic policy and the Government’s Industrial Development Strategy (IDS) of the nation. Accordingly, the Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce has been restructured and rechristened the Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Associations in 2007.
The Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Associations (ECCSA) is an apex organization of Chambers and Sectoral Associations in Ethiopia. It has eighteen members including nine Regional Chambers of Commerce and Sectoral Associations, two City Chambers of Commerce and Sectoral Associations, one National Chamber of Sectoral Associations and six Sectoral Associations organized at national level.
ECCSA Vision: To see a dynamic Chamber system proactively responsive towards sustainable private sector growth.
ECCSA Mission: To head the creation of enabling business environment and capacity in which the business community plays a leading role in the economy through evidence based dialogue and partnership.
ECCSA is established to fulfill the following objectives as per proclamation no 341/2003:
1. Providing different services to the business community
2. Safeguarding the overall rights and benefits of its members
3. Promoting and publicize products and services of the country
4. Serving as a bridge between the business community and the Government
Adaptation and Learning.
In line with these objectives, ECCSA is entrusted with the following duties and responsibilities
1. To encourage the establishment of Chambers at different levels and provide necessary support
2. To find local and foreign markets for products and services
3. To participate with the concerned organs, in identifying export products, improving their quality and quantity and in finding solutions to problems pertaining to trade activities
4. To establish relations with foreign chambers in order to exchange information and share experience
5. To organize or participate in local or foreign trade exhibitions upon obtaining license from the concerned organ
6. To settle disputes arising out of business transactions between members, by way of arbitration, when the parties so request
7. To issue product certificate of country of origin upon delegation by the Government
8. To prepare commercial gazettes, bulletins, reports, compile statistical information and provide different trainings
9. To make members aware of business related government policies, proclamations, regulations and directives; and participate at discussion forum prepared by the Government;
10. To determine the contribution to be made by members
11. To charge fees for the services it provides
12. To own property, enter into contract, sue and be sued in its own name
13. To perform such other duties deemed necessary for the attainment of its purp
The services delivered by the ECCSA are mainly the following:
Provision of business information to the business community
Research & Advocacy
Issuance of Certificate of Origin
Document Authentication (Export)
Affidavit of support for the business community
Need based training
Technical & Skill development
Preparation of Strategic Plan, Project Proposal, etc.
Soliciting supports for members from donors