Ethio-Philippines Relations

 1.    Background

Ethiopia and the Philippines established diplomatic relations in 1977. However, diplomatic relations were not strong during the military regime due to ideological differences. It is estimated that there are approximately 850 Filipinos working and living in Ethiopia, mostly professionals in the fields of education, industry, and services. Currently, Ethiopia covers the Philippines from Seoul while the Philippines is accredited to Ethiopia from Cairo. Ethiopia has also opened its honorary consulate in the Philippines in June 2015. On the other hand, the Philippines is currently in the process of establishing an honorary consulate in Addis Ababa to service the needs of the Filipinos here.

2.   Bilateral Relations

The two countries have signed three agreements namely an Air Services Agreement signed in October 2014 which paved the way for Ethiopian Airlines to fly to Manila. In October 2016, a Memorandum of Understanding on Bilateral Consultation Mechanism between the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of the two countries was signed during the visit of Dr. Tedros Adhanom, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, to the Philippines. Memorandum of Understanding between the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) and the Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Associations (ECCSA) have also signed in May 2018.

Ethiopia and the Philippines held their first political consultative meeting on 22 November 2019 in Addis Ababa. It hoped that the political consultative meeting would enhance bilateral relations and step the political, economic and diplomatic relations between the two countries. The discussion on the ways to continue to strengthen the relations between the two countries in the areas of education, culture, and tourism, as well as capacity building and technology transfer, were also some of the focus points of the consultative meeting.

3.    Trade and Investment between the two Countries

The trade and investment between the two countries is not significant. Ethiopia imports machinery, electronic products, steel, metal, garments, and medicaments from the Philippines, while it exports leather and leather products, and kidney beans. The trade volume of the two countries in 2017 was $9.2 and the trade balance is in favor of the Philippines with a value of    $8.6 million.

There are also no Philippine investment in Ethiopia except for an Assembling & Body manufacturing of three-wheel motorcycle and Vehicle Company jointly owned by Ethiopia, India and the Philippines at the operational level. More has to be done to attract more Philippine companies to invest in Ethiopia.

Though the two countries have a long history of diplomatic relations, their economic ties in trade, investment, and tourism is very low. Companies in the Philippines should be encouraged to invest in Ethiopia. The Philippines’ experiences in manufacturing, information technology, trade, tourism, education and health as well as support for migrant workers could be taken as a sphere of cooperation from which significant lesson can be drawn. In relation to this, based on the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Bilateral Consultation Mechanism signed between the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of the two countries, it is important to begin the political consultation to exchange views on bilateral and international affairs of mutual interest and advance common agendas between them.



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