Germany and Ethiopia: bilateral relations

12.12.2022 - 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. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali visited Berlin in October 2018, and Minister of Foreign Affairs Demeke Mekonnen most recently visited Berlin 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 as well as the protection of natural resources. A central objective is to increase the level of investment and to create jobs.

The military conflict in the north of the country, which was fought between November 2020 and November 2022, substantially set back the country’s previously promising achievements in this regard. Due to the conflict, development cooperation was refocused on people-oriented activities, and measures were added to promote human rights, good governance and democracy-building. Germany is also providing financial assistance to combat food crises and acute humanitarian emergencies that have arisen not least during the locust plague in 2020 and due to 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 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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