Ethiopia- Nigeria relations

Ethiopia-Nigeria relations 

Ethiopia and Nigeria had long-standing relations even before Nigeria became independent in October 1960, and Ethiopia opened an embassy in Lagos in 1961. Now, of course, the embassy is in Abuja. Two years later Nigeria reciprocated, opening its embassy in Addis Ababa.

Ethiopia and Nigeria have common interests in the consolidation of their bilateral relations. The two most populous countries in Africa with a combined population of well over 200 million, they are both multi-ethnic, multi-religious, federal democracies. Both are working to ensure democracy, good governance and sustainable development.  From their earliest diplomatic dealings they have enjoyed warm bilateral relations and this has been encouraged by the visits of Prime Minister Meles to Nigeria in 1996 and of President Olesgun Obasanjo to Ethiopia in 2006. These, and other visits, have provided the basis for building up of cooperation in political, social and economic spheres as well as in trade, culture, investment, education, agriculture and other fields.

Ethiopia and Nigeria signed an agreement in June 2000 providing for Nigerian teachers for various universities and high schools in Ethiopia, and since then Ethiopia has been the leading beneficiary of Nigerian technical aid corps teachers. This has been particularly helpful in the Ministry of Educations efforts to expand the number of universities throughout Ethiopia, bridging a gap with the provision of highly experienced teachers from Nigeria. It has been an excellent example of South/South relations. Earlier, under the late Emperor Haile Selassie, Addis Ababa University, one of the oldest in Africa, welcomed a number of Nigerian students during the liberation period. Similarly, in the early 1960s, a number of Nigerian military officers joined the Harar Military Academy, and staff from the Nigerian Defense College have   visited Ethiopian Defense Colleges to share experiences in the field of military hard-ware maintenance, pilot training and related military facilities. Ethiopian officers have made reciprocal visits.

During his visit to Ethiopia in 2006, President Obasanjo met with officials of the Ministry of Education and of Addis Ababa University. He also spoke to a joint session of Ethiopian and Nigerian business communities and encouraged them to become actively involved to bolster trade and investment relations. Agreements were signed to foster ties in trade "on the basis of equality and mutual benefit", culture and tourism as well as a mutual recognition agreement on standardization. The visit was of great importance in the efforts of Ethiopia and Nigeria to work together in bilateral, regional and international issues. Both counties committed themselves to promote harmonious development and diversification of products to improve trade and investment links. They also agreed to arrange familiarization tours for culture and tourism professionals to benefit from each other's expertise. An Ethiopian cultural troupe was in Nigeria in October to participate in Nigerias 50th anniversary celebrations and met with Nigerias Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation. A high level Ethiopian delegation, led by the former speaker of the House of People's Representatives, attended the celebrations.

The first meeting of the Joint Ministerial Commission also took place in 2006, and a Memorandum of Understanding on co-operation was signed between the two Ministries of Foreign Affairs and various other agreements were signed at the end of the meeting in Addis Ababa.  These agreements were hoped to provide the means for a framework for improving conditions for economic, industrial and technical cooperation, but progress has been more limited than expected or hoped.

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