Germany and Ethiopia: Bilateral relations

26.05.2023 - Article

Relations between Germany and Ethiopia, which have been in place since 1905, have traditionally been good and are maintained by reciprocal high‑level visits. The visit by Emperor Haile Selassie in 1954 was the first by a foreign Head of State to the Federal Republic of Germany. Federal Chancellor Scholz most recently visited Ethiopia in May 2023. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali visited Berlin in October 2018, while Minister of Foreign Affairs Demeke Mekonnen last visited in November 2020.

Ethiopia joined the Compact with Africa during Germany’s G20 Presidency in 2017. Ethiopia is an important bilateral partner for German development cooperation, with a focus on vocational training, nutrition and agriculture, and the protection of natural resources. Another central objective is to increase the level of investment and to create jobs.

The military conflict in the north of the country between 2020 and 2022 substantially set back Ethiopia’s previously promising development. Development cooperation was therefore refocused on more grassroots projects, and measures were added to promote human rights, good governance and democracy-building. Germany is also providing ongoing financial assistance for long‑term efforts to combat food crises, by supporting agriculture that is adapted to climate change, and acute humanitarian emergencies caused in part by the drought that is currently spreading throughout the Horn of Africa.

Germany is one of the most important 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.

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 additionally 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 also an important medium for cultural relations.


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