Ethiopia-Saudi Arabia Relation
o Islam may have been born in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia but Ethiopia was the first country to allow its adherents to practice it. Because they were persecuted in their own country, the followers of the Prophet Mohammed were ordered by him to seek refuge in Ethiopia. King Al-Najashi of the then Abyssinia treated the Muslims with kindness and dignity and gave protection. This is indeed considered as the source of excellent relations that exist between peoples and governments of Ethiopia and Saudi Arabia.
o Ethiopians estimated around 800,000 are living in the Kingdom; particularly Ethiopian Muslims go to Saudi Arabia for Religious purposes. Others also go to the KSA seeking job opportunities there. The people to people relations have still continued in a good way and this paved the way for trade relations between the two countries.
o Ethiopia and Saudi Arabia established diplomatic relations in 1948. Ethiopia opened its Consulate in Jeddah in 1948 and later Ethiopia has opened the Embassy in Riyadh in 1978, New Capital of Saudi Arabia. Simultaneously Ethiopia has opened its Consulate in Jeddah. Immediately, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia also opened its embassy in Addis Ababa in 1948. The diplomatic ties between the two countries are intended to ensure mutual benefit for both. As a result, high-level government officials of both countries conduct exchange official visits frequently.
o Ethiopia and Saudi Arabia have also established a Joint Ministerial Commission in 2001 with the objective of further enhancing the relations between the two sides. The two countries have signed various agreements in various socio-economic areas to further strengthen the existing cooperation. These agreements are being effectively implemented.
o The Government of Ethiopia encourages the Saudi business community to invest in Ethiopia in the sectors such as Leather and Leather Products;;; Textiles and Garments; Horticulture; Agriculture; Construction; Manufacturing; Pharmaceuticals; Tourism; Agro-Processing; construction of tourist centers and lodges; and Industrial Parks.
o Saudi Arabian Direct Investment in Ethiopia is also growing from time to time. There have been 118 Saudi investments operational in Ethiopia since 1992. Areas of the investment largely include manufacturing, agriculture, construction, real state, and related fields, etc. The total investment amount reached around 663 million USD.
o Saudi Arabia is among the major countries of Ethiopia’s exports destinations. Items of exports to Saudi include coffee, meat, cereals, oilseeds, banana, etc. Ethiopia imports from Saudi Arabia Mineral fuels, oils, distillation products, plastics, paper etc.
o From 2012 to 2018 trade data between Ethiopia and Saudi Arabia shows that the volume of trade between the two countries is 6,561,640,071.55 USD. Ethiopia’s export during the same period was 1,136,771,680.68 while it’s import far larger amounting to 5,243,479,527.33. This shows negative trade balance for Ethiopia.
o The Kingdom is also financing various Socio-Economic development projects through its Development Fund.