Ethiopia, commonly known as the Horn of Africa was one of the first countries from Africa to establish diplomatic relations with India in 1948. Celebrations of 75 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries are ongoing.
In recent years, both countries have been working to strengthen cooperation in areas such as renewable energy, healthcare, tourism, and education. In 2017, India announced a line of credit worth $195 million to Ethiopia for power transmission and irrigation infrastructure.
India has invested in various projects in Ethiopia, including the sugar industry, textile industry, power sector, and infrastructure development. Ethiopia is also an important source of commodities such as coffee, oilseeds, and pulses for India.
During the last 20 years, Indian investors have contributed to the economic development of Ethiopia. According to the Ethiopian Investment Commission (EIC), 650 Indian companies registered with EIC have generated employment for about 75,000 Ethiopian workers.
MELAKU ALEBEL, Minister of Industry of Ethiopia participated in the 17th CII-Exim Bank Conclave on India – Africa Growth Partnership (19 July 2022). He spoke about the Ethiopian government’s efforts to attract foreign investments. He noted that Indian investments have a substantial and visible presence in Ethiopia.
H.E. Dr. Tizita Mulugeta, Ambassador of Ethiopia to India mentioned in her media interaction that Ethiopia can be an attractive investment destination for Indian businessmen as it offers advantages like:
- Business-friendly policies and good climatic conditions.
- Ethiopia is the second-most populous nation on the African continent.
- Ethiopian Airlines which is Africa’s largest carrier, with more than 70 years’ of successful air transport services offers perfect mobility.
- The capital Addis Ababa is one of the world’s largest diplomatic hubs, hosting the seat of the African Union, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, and dozens of foreign embassies.
- As part of new reforms, Ethiopia also started issuing e-visas to all visitors and introduced visa-on-arrival.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar met Dy. PM and Foreign Affairs Minister Demeke Mekonnen Hassen at Addis Ababa on April 23. Two leaders shared views on “strong multilateral cooperation” between India and Ethiopia, including in the African Union and the United Nations. During the interaction, Demeke highlighted the need for Ethiopia’s partners, such as India, to take positive measures on the debt restructuring requests of developing countries.
A 50 member Ethiopian parliamentary delegation led by Mihretu Shanko Gidi – Chief Government Whip, paid a visit to the Indian Parliament from February 20 to 25, 2023 for a training program hosted by the Parliamentary Research and Training Institute for Democracies (PRIDE).
The visit coincided with both countries celebrating 75 years of diplomatic relations. Shanko expressed his appreciation for the exchange of experiences, as India is one of the countries that have built an effective parliamentary democracy based on a federal system. He mentioned that Ethiopia is keen on learning from this experience and putting it into practice.
India has also been supporting Ethiopia in its efforts towards regional peace and stability, including contributing troops to the United Nations Mission in South Sudan, which has a significant Ethiopian component.
What Robert Shetkintong Had To Say
Indian Ambassador to Ethiopia, Robert Shetkintong, mentioned in his media interaction that trade contacts brought about exchange of ideas between these two ancient civilisations thousands of years ago. He also draws similarities between Ethiopian and Indian spices, the Ethiopian Injera and Indian Dosa, and the rock hewn churches of Lalibela and the temples of South India that share engineering similarities.
About 100 years ago, there were about 150 Indian families mostly in Dire Dawa and Addis Ababa. Today, about 50 families, mostly from Gujarat, have made Ethiopia their home for the past 4-5 generations. During imperial times, there were thousands of Indian teachers, mostly from Kerala, who taught in secondary schools in Ethiopia even in the interior parts of the country.
Today, there are about 1200 Indian Lecturers/Professors in about 40 Universities and higher educational institutions in Ethiopia. The Indian Diaspora in Ethiopia is estimated to be about 5000. However, historical linkages between India and Ethiopia go back about 2,000 years of recorded history.
Overall, the relationship between India and Ethiopia is based on mutual respect, shared values, and a commitment to regional and global cooperation.