France and Ethiopia

Political relations

The Franco-Ethiopian dialogue is progressing

  • Visits to Ethiopia by the President of the French Republic: 30 January 2011 (African Union Summit); 25 May 2013 (fiftieth anniversary of the Organization of African Unity).
  • Visits to France by the current Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn: 18-19 April 2013 (working visit); 6-7 December 2013 (Élysée Summit for Peace and Security in Africa); December 2015 (COP21).
  • Visits to Ethiopia by French ministers: Minister of Foreign Affairs (January 2013); Minister Delegate for Development (7-8 July 2013); Minister of Foreign Trade (20-21 December 2013); Minister of State for Development and Francophonie (April 2015); Minister of State for Foreign Trade, Promotion of Tourism and French Nationals Abroad (December 2015), Minister of the Environment, Energy and Marine Affairs (February 2016).
  • Visits to France by Ethiopian ministers: Minister of Transport (January 2013); Minister of Foreign Affairs (April 2013 and December 2013); Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Civil Service (May 2013); Minister of Justice (April 2014); Deputy Prime Minister (November 2014); Minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy (December 2015, COP21); Minister of Transport (March 2016 and January 2017).

Economic relations

Trade relations between France and Ethiopia have intensified over the last five years.

The structural bilateral trade surplus for France reached €179.7 million in 2015, a 216% increase on 2014.

In 2015, French exports stood at €228.1 million and were concentrated in 3 main sectors: pharmaceuticals (48% of sales), transport equipment and agrifood products.

French imports from Ethiopia grew by 13.1% on 2014, standing at €48.4 million, dominated by agricultural products at €46.1 million (95.3% of which is accounted for by raw coffee).

The leading French groups are present in Ethiopia (Castel, Total, Alstom, France Telecom, Bolloré and Airbus). Major contracts have been signed and the Ethiopian market is a promising one (rapid growth, 100 million inhabitants today and 150 million by 2050).

As of late 2015, 32 French businesses were present in Ethiopia, as against 28 a year earlier. These subsidiaries and offices employ almost 3,000 people and produce an annual turnover of around €300 million.

France is among the main European investors, after the United Kingdom, Italy and the Netherlands.

Other types of cooperation

The long-standing presence of French cultural, educational and research establishments (French lycée Guebremariam, Alliance éthio-française, French Centre for Ethiopian Studies) make France a well-known contributor to Ethiopia’s development.

Bilateral French cooperation in Ethiopia is mainly centred around:

  1. Higher education. In addition to a traditional scholarship programme (principally at Master‘s level or engineering and PhD studies), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development has implemented scholarships co-funded with the private sector present in Ethiopia (BGI, Castel and Alstom)
  2. Teaching of French. The reintroduction of French in public secondary education and support for university French departments are the main focuses

The Agence Française de Développement (AFD) has been involved in Ethiopia since September 1993 and, from 2010, in the form of sovereign loans.

To date, the project portfolio has reached about €407 million, including outstanding loans of €373 million. Its action is focused on the sectors of transport, water and sanitation, energy and urban development.

Updated: 25 January 2017