Ethiopia is the second most populous country in Africa (98 million in 2014). It is in the top 10 fastest growing economies in the world (based on a 2008-2013 average), albeit from a low base. Linguistically, the country is a mosaic of about 100 languages that can be classified into four groups—Semitic, Cushitic, Omotic and Nilotic. Apart from a five-year occupation by Mussolini's Italy, it has never been colonised.
Ethiopia is home to the African Union and plays an influential role in mediating African conflicts. Ethiopia was a founding member of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA); and is a member of the Intergovernmental Development Authority (IGAD), which has developed a strong focus on early warning systems for conflict and disaster in the region.
Trade between Australia and Ethiopia is small but Ethiopia is endowed with mineral resources and is keen on bilateral investment and sharing expertise. The Ethiopian State Minister for Mines visited Perth, Australia, for the East Africa Oil and Gas Conference and Africa DownUnder in August/September 2014.
In 2012, Ethiopia was ranked the third highest ODA recipient in the world at US$3.26 billion, although ODA per capita was relatively low (ranked 86th at $42 per capita). Ethiopia houses almost 600,000 refugees from the neighbouring countries of South Sudan, Sudan, Somalia and Eritrea. Australia is a donor to maternal, neonatal and child health; and provides training delivered through scholarships and study tours, with a focus on extractives and agriculture. The Hamlin Fistula Hospital and the Fred Hollows Foundation, both set up by Australians, have had a long relationships with Ethiopia delivering much needed medical services.
Australia moved into a new chancery in Addis Ababa in July 2014, having opened a mission in 2010. Ethiopia has been represented by an ambassador in Canberra since December 2013.
Economic and trade information
- Travel advice for Ethiopia
- Before you travel:
- Assistance to Australian travellers: Consular Services Charter