Germany and Ethiopia: bilateral relations

14.12.2021 - Article

Relations between Germany and Ethiopia, which have been in place since 1905, have traditionally been good and are fostered by reciprocal high-level visits.

The visit by Emperor Haile Selassie in 1954 was the first by a foreign Head of State to the young Federal Republic of Germany. In more recent times, Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel visited Ethiopia in 2016 and Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier in 2019. Foreign Minister Maas’ first trip to Africa in May 2018 also took him to Addis Ababa. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali visited Berlin in October 2018.

Ethiopia joined the Compact with Africa during Germany’s G20 Presidency. Strategic, interministerial cooperation takes place within the context of a Binational Commission under the auspices of the Federal Foreign Office.

Ethiopia is a priority country of German development cooperation and has been a reform partnership country since 2019. The focus is on education, nutrition and agriculture as well as the protection of natural resources. The reform partnership is designed to support the current domestic reform process, boost investment and create jobs. Germany is also providing financial assistance to combat food crises and acute humanitarian emergencies, not least during the locust plague in early 2020.

Germany is one of the biggest buyers of Ethiopian goods, primarily coffee and textiles. The main German exports to Ethiopia are finished products such as machinery, engines, motor vehicles, chemicals and medicines. Ethiopian Airlines and DHL set up a joint venture in 2018. Volkswagen signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ethiopian Investment Commission in late January 2019.

Cultural relations between the two countries are based on a long tradition of German research in Ethiopia, which has led to a number of university partnerships. In practice, cultural relations are also shaped through the work of the Goethe-Institut, the German Academic Exchange Service, the German Embassy School in Addis Ababa and the German Archaeological Institute with excavation campaigns in Yeha and Wuqro. Deutsche Welle’s Amharic channel is an important medium for cultural Relations. 

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