Ethiopia’s Accession to World Trade Organization (WTO): The Need to Reform Ethiopian Patent Law to Facilitate Access to Medicine



As a country dealing with a pending WTO accession procedures, Ethiopia is required / expected to go through different legal reforms in order to have WTO-compliant domestic laws. Inter alia, the country specifically needs to review its intellectual property laws to provide a protection for intellectual properties as envisaged under the rule of WTO. However, adopting WTO-compliant rules to protect intellectual property, especially patent, exhibits a cross-road of patent protection and access to patented invention such as pharmaceuticals. It is logical to think that strong patent protection highly challenges an eased public access to the patented invention since the very nature of patent provides a stronger exclusive right to the right holder. To systematically deal with the issue of balancing patent protection to right holders and access to medicine to the public, different countries successfully reformed their laws to facilitate access to medicine while still adhering to WTO’s rules on patent. Thus, scrutinizing areas of reforms under Ethiopian patent law, in order to facilitate access to medicine before joining WTO, would help the country to adopt WTO-compliant rules which exhaustively addresses / exploits all exceptions, flexibilities and legal loopholes available to facilitate access to medicine.


Part One - Introductory Remarks

Before rushing into examining or establishing the details of Ethiopian patent law with regard to its role on facilitating access to pharmaceuticals, it would be helpful to shortly point out the relationship between patent and access to patented innovations in general. Lately, literatures seem to show / define that intellectual properties, especially patentable innovations, and public demand to access patented inventions, as two competing interest (“Monopoly” and “Access”) which hinges on a balance.

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Why Churches are not taxed


I am inspired to share this idea and bring to discussion, after hearing Christian leaders took the rare step on Sunday (25/3/2018) of closing Jerusalem’s church of the holy sepulcher in protest at Israeli tax measures and a proposed property law. Accordingly, for further discussion and research insight I raise issues related with why churches are tax exempted? What are the rationales and what about in Ethiopia?  

Taxation is a governmental assessment upon property value transaction, estates of the deceased, licenses granting a right and/or income and duties on imports from foreign countries. It includes all contributions imported by the government upon individuals for the service of the state.

Generally taxes are divided into two broad categories as direct and indirect. Direct taxes are those assessed against income, land or real property, and personal property, which are paid directly to the government. Indirect taxes are assessed against articles of consumptions, such as products or services, but collected by an intermediary such as a retailer.

Tax and religious institutions

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Making Extraordinary Power Part of the Ordinary Discourse? The Case of Ethiopian State of Emergency Declared on February 16




In this piece, I will examine the legality of and intent induced the State of Emergency (SoE) declared on Feb. 16, 2018, in Ethiopia. Throughout, I will utilise legal and public choice analytical models. To do so, I will start by giving an overview of SoE as a general practice and under the 1995 FDRE constitution. I will then employ functional analysis to highlight the functions of SoE – mainly reassurance and existential rationales. Tied to the functional review, I will discuss the possibility of abuse of function and alternatives to control an abuse through ex-ante and ex-post monitoring mechanisms. In the fourth section, I will turn to the examination of a motive element that may induce declaration of SoE with a focus on benevolent intent and as a power-maximizing tool. Against these theoretical backdrops, under the fifth section I will diagnose the legality of and the rationale that induced the declaration of the current SoE. I would argue that SoE is an extraordinary power to be used in any but dire circumstances. The vaguer the condition for declaring an emergency and the weaker the check and balance of emergency process, the higher will be the risk of emergency power abuse. Further, its repeated reoccurrence sets a threat of normalization of SoE which is as much dangerous as the threat it is meant to mitigate.      

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ከሠራተኞች መብት አንጻር ትኩረት የሚሹ የግንባታ ደህንነት አንዳንድ ነጥቦች


ለመስፋፋትና፡ ለመመቻቸት፤

ተድላና፡ ደስታ፡ ምቾት፡ ለማግኘት፤

እንረዳው በጣም፡ መነሻ እርካባችን፤

ሠራተኞች ናቸው፡ መቆናጠጫችን፡፡

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Book Review - Getting to Yes: Negotiation agreement without giving in

Getting to Yes: Negotiation agreement without giving in by Roger Fisher and William Ury page 200+xiii, price 11.00 $ ,publisher Penguin book publisher [1]

Either to earn or to learn if anyone is interested in negotiation a small but coherent book getting to yes should be a start-up book to read. As Newsweek perfectly stated it is a lucid brief for win-win negotiation which if it takes hold, may help convert the age of ‘Me to the Era of We’. [2] You can’t spell negotiation without this book.

Like it or not, we are a negotiator. Every day we negotiate knowingly or unknowingly. Negotiation is a basic means of getting what you want from others. Although negotiation takes place every day, it is not easy to do well.  This book is all about how to get yes without going in to war and giving in.

Getting to yes is not a sermon on the morality of right and wrong; it is a book on how to do well in a negotiation. In our daily life there are different types of people those shy, outgoing, verbal and logic-chopping, structured, less comprehensive, tactful, blunt and others. These all are what we witness and one may wonder how to negotiate with different people in principle but flexible manner. This book is all about creating a principled negotiation which brings victory for both sides.

There are three ways of negotiation and three types of negotiators. Soft negotiators who think that the other side is friend, the goal is agreement, soft on the people and the problem, trust other, disclose their bottom line and insist on agreement. On the other hand there are  hard negotiators who believes that the other side is adversarial, goal is victory, hard on both the people and problem, distrust others, make treat, mislead as to you bottom line. The third ways is a novel concept called principled negotiation.

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Commentary on the draft proclamation of special interest of state of Oromia in Addis Ababa city


The advent of a modern constitution in Ethiopia goes back to the 1931 Constitution which was designed to fortify an absolute monarchy. It was revised in 1955. Unlike its predecessor, the Revised Constitution had a section on the “Rights and Duties of the People” devoted to several human rights and democratic freedoms. Another constitution came in 1987 under the military dictatorship. On paper, the 1987 Constitution guaranteed civil and political rights and personal freedoms though, in practice, none of these were protected in any manner. All three constitutions made sure that the issues of group rights, such as the interest of Oromo People in Addis Ababa City, were not raised.

In 1991, the Transitional Charter was issued to establish the Transitional Government (1991-1995). Enacted during the Transitional Period, a proclamation to provide for the Establishment of National/Regional Self-governments, proclamation number 7/1992, Article 3(4) reads:

The special national interests and political right of the Oromo over Region 13 [Harari] and Region 14 [Addis Ababa] are reserved.  These regions shall be accountable to the Central Transitional Government and the relations of these Self-governments with the Central Government shall be prescribed in detail by a special law.

Pursuant to the article of this proclamation, the People of Oromo Nation have interest and political right over Addis Ababa and Harari. In legal parlance, the addition of political right was a redundancy unless it was used to avoid doubt for the sake of clarity. According to Black’s Law Dictionary, 8th edition, 1990, interest is a synergy of rights, powers, immunities and privileges. Special interest contains political power and ownership right. During the Transition, a special law to determine the accountability of the regions to the Central Government was not enacted.

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Hammering Labor Rights: Succinct Summary of the Draft Labor Proclamation



Labor is the most important activates of a human being crate both material productivity and social values. Now a day it is not a point of disagreement that the development of any given country is highly dependent upon high level of labor productivity, quality and efficiency. This being said, legally speaking labor right is one of the most fundamental human rights recognizing under various international instrument to which Ethiopia is a party. Furthermore, labor right is one of rights which patronizing to constitutional protection. The draft labor proclamation brought untold roaring from Ethiopia Workers Confederation Union (EWCU) and others stakeholders. This mini-article is meant to summarized and explore the draft labor proclamation.

Historical Background of Labor Right

Although the evolution of labor relations had witnessed considerable national varies even in Europe the general path of development display many similarities. As a general pattern of development, the landlord-tenant relationship and the guild society of the feudal mode of production gradually gave its way to capitalism.Under capitalism mode production the governing and overriding principle was freedom of contract.

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ጥቂት ስለአስቸኳይ ጊዜ አዋጅ የኢትዮጵያ መስፈርት ከአለምፍ ሕግ ጋር ሲቃኝ


ሀገሮች የዜጎቻቸውን የንብረት፣ የህይወት በአጠቃላይ የስብአዊና ዲሞክራሲያዊ መብቶቻቸውን ለማስጠበቅና ለማረጋገጥ የተለያየ ሕጎችን ያወጣሉ፡፡ እነዚህም ሕጎች ከሕገ-መንግስቱ (የየሃገሩ የበላይ ህግ) ጨምሮ አዋጆችን፣ ደንቦችንና መመሪያዎችን ያካትታል፡፡ በእነዚህ ሕጎች የተደነገጉት መብቶችን ማራመድ አንዳንድ ጊዜ የሌላውን ሰው መብትና ደህንነት አደጋ ላይ ሊጥል ይችላል፡፡ በእንደዚህ ሁኔታ ላይ ሲሆን ሕግ እነዚህ መብቶች ላይ ገደብ (limitation) ያስቀምጣል፡፡ ይህ የመብት ገደብ ዘለቄታና በቋሚነት የሚፀና ነው፡፡ ለምሳሌ ያህል በሕገ- መንግስታችን አንቀፅ 29 ሀሳብን በነፃነት የመግለፅ መብት ተደንግጓል ፡፡ ነገር ግን በተመሳሳይ አንቀፅ ሃሳብን በነፃነት የመግለፅ መብት ወጣት ዜጎችን እና የሌሎች ሰዎች መብትና ክብር ለመጠበቅ ሲባል በህግ ሊገደብ እንደሚችል ተደንግጓል፡፡ ይህ የመብት ገደብ ሲሆን ተፈፃሚነቱም በዘለቄታዊነት ነው፡፡ ከዚህም በተጨማሪ የመብት ገደብ ነገሮች ተፈጥሮዊና በተለመደው ሥርዓት ላይ እያሉ የሚተገበር ነው፡፡

በአንፃሩ አንድ ሀገር የአስቸኳይ ጊዜ አዋጅ (state of emergence) የምታውጀው አንድን ክሰተት ባለው ነባርዊና በተለምዶ በተዘረጋው ሥርዓት መቆጣጣር ሳይቻል ሲቀር እንዲሁም የሀገሪቱን ህልውና የሚፈታተን አደጋ ሲያጋጥም ነው፡፡ እንደዚህ ዓይነት ሁኔታ ሲያጋጥም በሕግ የተደነገጉ መብቶችን ሁሉ ተግባራዊ ላድርግ ማለት አዳጋች አንዳንዴም የማይቻል ሊሆን ይችላል ነው፡፡ በዚህም የተነሳ ሰፊው የስብአዊና ዲሞክራሲያዊ መብቶች ሊገደቡ ይችላሉ፡፡ ይህ የመብት ገደብ ከላይ ከጠቀስነው የመብት ገደብ የሚለየው ነገር ቢኖር በአስቸኳይ ጊዜ አዋጅ ወቅት የመብት ገደብ ዘላቄታዊ ሳይሆን ጊዜያዊ ነው፡፡

የተለያዩ ዓለም አቀፍና አህጉራዊ ስምምነቶች የአስቸኳይ ጊዜ አዋጅ የመደንገግ እና በዚህም የተነሳ መብቶች ሊገደብ እንደሚችሉ እውቅና ይሰጣሉ፡፡ እነዚህም ዓለም አቀፍ ስምምነቶች  ይህንን አስቸኳይ ጊዜ አዋጅ የመደንገግ መብት ሲሰጡ በተመሳሳይ መልኩ ምን ምን የሥነ-ሥርዓት (procedural requirements) እና የይዘት (substantive requirements) መስፍርቶችን መሟላት እንዳለባቸው ደንግገዋል፡፡

  1. የይዘት መስፈርቶች

ሀ. የአስቸኳይ ጊዜ አዋጅ  እጅግ አስፈላጊ መሆን አለበት (necessity test)

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Tax Evasion under Ethiopian Tax Laws - Conceptual Introduction


Taxation is as old as history of early state formation. As tax remains essential source of public finance, states used to collect taxes for public funding. Apart from its extant condemnation by modern governments, one can strongly argue that tax evasion remains persistent challenge from the very inception of state. Nowadays, following the advancement of public finance the concept of tax evasion get emphasis by tax scholars. It is now condemned and categorized as anti-social behaviors as well as criminal act.

What is tax evasion then?

 Even though it’s helpful to provide conventional definition of tax evasion, as the concept more of relies on the tax laws that regulate it, which is territorial and jurisdictional by nature, providing universal definition at the outset remains a challenge. However based on definitions given to the term in different legal systems if not universal, one can come up with comprehended definitions of the therm. To come up with few, the United States revenue service sector (IRC), defines tax evasion under section 7201,-“as willful attempts in any manner to evade or defeat any tax or the payment thereof”.

The definition given above by IRC clearly depict any intentional attempt to defeat assessment of true tax liabilities which in turn end in tax Deficiency(evasion of assessment) and non-payment of tax due and owing(evasion of payment)as tax evasion. Among others a comprehensive definition of tax evasion was given by Canadian department of national revenues-as-

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Case Summary and Issue for Reflections - Formality requirement in Insurance Contract


{tip title="The Case" content="In this case the applicant was the Ethiopia insurance company and respondant was Benshangul Gumuz Burea. Panel judges of federal supreme cassation court were Ato Abdulkadir Mohammed, w/ro Hirut Melese, Ato. Tafesse Yirega, Ato. Medhineh Kiros and Ato. Sultan Abate."}The Case{/tip}

The case involves the failure to comply with the formality requirements more specifically the failure of witnesses and parties to the contract to put signature on insurance policy as ground for non-existence of contract of insurance.  Asosa Zonal court upheld that there is no contract of insurance because signature is missed. The Higher Court confirms the decision of the Zonal court. Then Ethiopia Insurance Company appeal against this judgment by alleging that there is fundamental and basic error of law.

Material facts

  1. The respondent expresses its desire to insure its ten vehicles by written letter contain the signature of manager and seal of the authority.
  2. After receiving a written letter from the authority, the insurer i.e. Ethiopia Insurance Company issues policy and sign on it.
  3. The insured i.e. Benshangule Gumuz Bureau was not signed on the insurance policy.
  4. The contract was not attested by witnesses.
  5. The insured is not willing to pay the premium which is 55, 068.56 Birr.


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