France and Ethiopia have close relations.
Relations between France and Ethiopia have grown closer over the past five years. In 2018, bilateral trade between the two nations were €655 million, down 33% in 2017, due to the combined drop-in French exports (down 26% to €615 million) and imports (down 5% to €38 million). The trade balance shows a structural surplus for France (€580 million in 2018). Ethiopia is, therefore, France’s fifth largest market and its second-largest trade surplus in Sub-Saharan African.
In 2018, French exports focused on two main sectors:
transport equipment and pharmaceuticals. French imports from Ethiopia have been
falling steadily since 2015. They mainly comprise agricultural products (81%) (Mainly
France is among the main European investors, after the United Kingdom, Italy and the Netherlands. At the beginning of 2019, 55 French companies were present in Ethiopia, employing almost 4,900 people.
French cultural, educational and research institutions (French Lycée Guébré-Mariam, Alliance Ethio-Française, and French Centre for Ethiopian Studies) have been in Ethiopia for a long time, which has made France a well-known contributor to Ethiopia’s development.
The French Development Agency (AFD) has been involved in Ethiopia since September 1993 and, since 2010, has mainly provided sovereign loans. In order to support Ethiopia’s economic structural reforms, France has undertaken to grant budgetary assistance of €100 million in 2019, to support the World Bank program, including €15 million in technical assistance.
A defense agreement was signed in March 2019 during the visit of the President of the French Republic. The agreement will also help increase information sharing and officer training. Other ongoing cooperation activities will continue, such as French-language lessons for senior military personnel, training, and support for the development of the Ethiopian International Peacekeeping Training Center.