Canada and Ethiopia have maintained relations since our Embassy opened in Addis Ababa in 1966. In 2010, Ethiopia closed its Embassy in Canada; it subsequently opened a consulate in Toronto. Ethiopia is represented in Canada by its embassy in Washington D.C.
Ethiopia is a country of focus for Canada’s international development assistance, and Canada is the third largest donor to Ethiopia. Canada’s bilateral development cooperation program is focused on food security/agriculture, children and youth, and enabling accountable and effective public institutions. In 2010-2011, the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) provided $176.66 million in development and humanitarian assistance to Ethiopia through bilateral and multilateral channels as well as through Canadian civil society
In response to the worst drought and famine in over 60 years, Canada contributed $74.6 million in humanitarian assistance for those affected by the drought and famine in 2011 and an additional $86.5 million so far in 2012 for relief efforts in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Djibouti. This is being delivered through experienced international and Canadian organizations who are providing food, water, sanitation, medical support and shelter to communities affected by the drought, including refugees and internally displaced persons.
Canada supports the ongoing capacity-building of seven key democratic institutions through the Democratic Institutions Programme, a multi-donor fund to which Canada is the largest contributor. Canada participated in the European Union Election Observation Mission to monitor the 2010 elections, contributing two long-term and three short-term observers. Canada closely monitors the human rights and governance situation in Ethiopia and seeks to promote and encourage progress toward international standards.
Ethiopia is the most stable country in the volatile Horn of Africa region and a voice for Africa on the world stage. Prime Minister Meles Zenawi chairs the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Heads of State and Government Orientation Committee. Ethiopia also currently chairs the regional Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), which has lobbied for increased engagement by the region and by the international community in Sudan and Somalia. Prime Minister Meles is also Coordinator of the Committee of African Heads of State and Government on Climate Change. Ethiopia is home to the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).
Canada values a lasting peace between Eritrea and Ethiopia and was actively engaged in mediating the Eritrea-Ethiopia border dispute, to which it sent 450 peacekeepers to the border region in 2001 as part of a UN force with a mandate to prepare for the now-defunct UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea. Canada strongly encourages Ethiopia and Eritrea to respect and to fully implement the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission’s ruling on the placement of the border.
Ethiopia is a major gateway to the African market. Trade flows between Ethiopia and Canada are modest but growing. Canadian merchandise exports to Ethiopia, consisting of aircraft, machinery, equipment and coins, were $20.5 million in 2011. Imports from Ethiopia, mainly agri-food products (coffee, tea, oil seeds, cuttings), totalled approximately C$17.5 million in 2011. In 2010, Ethiopian Airlines took delivery of eight Q400 aircraft from Bombardier Aerospace at a cost of USD $192 million. In February 2012 it bought an additional five Q400.
According to the Ministry of Mines of Ethiopia, 13 Canadian companies have signed contracts for the exploration of potash and precious and base metals, with a registered capital of $6.5 million.
In January 2010, Canada concluded its first-ever Air Services Agreement with Ethiopia. The agreement provides modest rights for air transport services in a small bilateral air transport market. The first scheduled Ethiopian Airways flights from Addis Ababa to Toronto are slated for summer 2012. In addition, according to a Memorandum of Understanding signed between Canada and Ethiopia in 2003, Ethiopian exports of textile and apparel goods have tariff-free access to the Canadian market.
The African Union (AU), based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, plays an increasingly central role in African affairs and it is the principal continental interlocutor for Africa. Created in 2002 from its predecessor organization, the Organization of African Unity (OAU), this young multilateral organization has been steadily growing in scope and responsibilities.
The AU is an important partner for Canada in promoting shared values, preventing and reducing conflict, and encouraging political and economic development on the African continent. Canada contributes to the AU’s peace and security efforts across the continent while strengthening the capacity of the institution.
Canada’s Ambassador to Ethiopia also serves as Permanent Representative to the AU and UNECA.
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