Relations between France and Eritrea began in August 1992 with the visit of Bernard Kouchner, then Minister for Health and Humanitarian Action, who was the first European Minister to travel to Eritrea after the end of the War of Independence. This was followed in May 1994 by the visit of Isaias Afwerki, the first official visit of an Eritrean President to a European country. Dialogue channels have since been maintained with Eritrea through France’s embassy in Asmara.
Trade between France and Eritrea is extremely limited. French exports comprise industrial and agricultural equipment as well as chemicals and cosmetics. Arabic gum accounts for 98% of our imports from Eritrea. Similarly, the only French investments in Eritrea date back to Total’s arrival in 1994 in the Marketing and Services branch. It is the market’s second-largest operator with a share of 46%, behind the Libyan company Tamoil.
Our cultural cooperation is based around the Alliance Française in Asmara, which is the country’s only non-Eritrean cultural actor.