Ethiopia has experienced more than 10 years of rapid economic development growth. Nevertheless, it is still among the world’s group of Least Developed Countries (LDCs). Through its development cooperation, the EU stands by Ethiopia to address its key challenges, such as food insecurity, a rapidly growing population, environmental pressures exacerbated by climate change, a low industrial output, and a range of governance issues.

The majority of EU development funding to Ethiopia is financed by the European Development Fund with the objectives of increasing resilience, accompanying reforms and promoting sustained economic growth.

The cycle of 2014-2020 amounts to €745 million. It focuses on sustainable agriculture and food security, mainly targeting vulnerable population groups, health, to improve the national health system and its access, roads infrastructure, and energy, to increase access and diversify the energy mix. It also finances actions in favour of civil society and strengthening democratic governance.

Under the previous cycle of funding from 2009-2013, the EU dedicated €674 million to programmes in Ethiopia, with a main focus on transport and regional integration, rural development and food security, basic social services and democratic governance. One multi-donor programme project with an EU contribution of €100 million, the Productive Safety Net Programme (PSNP), is the largest programme of its kind in Sub-Saharan Africa and provides around 7.5 million vulnerable people with reliable assistance each year (in the form of cash or food), in return for participation in public works. This programme has prevented the re-emergence of large famines in Ethiopia, including during the 2011 drought in the Horn of Africa.

Furthermore, Ethiopia is a beneficiary of actions under the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, in particular related to building the resilience of vulnerable communities and stemming irregular migration, including support towards new legislation on migrant smuggling and trafficking in human beings.

Additional support to Ethiopia is channelled through other EU initiatives, in particular the Energy and Water facilities, the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace, the Global Climate Change Alliance, the Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights and EU humanitarian assistance. In total, the value of EU development assistance to Ethiopia has averaged an estimated €160 million per year.

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Key country statistics

  • Total population (2015): 99 391 000
  • Life expectancy (at birth) (2015): 61 years (male), 65 years (female)
  • Human Development Index - Low human development (2014): 0.442
  • Population living below $1.90 a day (2010): 33.5 %
  • Income share held by lowest 40% of income distribution (2010): 20.6%
  • Low income country - Gross National Income per capita (2005): 161 US$ (constant 2005 US$)
  • Average Gross Domestic Product growth over 5 years (2010-2014): 10.16%

Selected results achieved with EU support through projects and programmes completed between mid-2014 and mid-2015

Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change

  • 258 000 hectares of natural forest have been brought under sustainable Participatory Forest Management and are managed by 19 communities in the 4 regions of Amhara, Oromia, Benishangul-Gumuz and Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples. The Participatory Forest Management is a legal agreement with the Government of Ethiopia at local level which recognises the rights and responsibilities of the community to manage the forest through forest management cooperatives

Water and Sanitation

  • 73 000 persons have received access to improved water sources (20 litres/day from adequate sources) in the communities of the Sidama Zone in the Southern Nations and Nationalities and Peoples Region
  • In 2014, 67% of households in communities on the Sidama Zone in the Southern Nations and Nationalities and Peoples Region have been provided with access to improved latrines (up from 27% in 2011)


  • 73 000 adolescents and youths (22 130 girls and 50 870 boys) have used adolescent-friendly sexual and reproductive health services in North Wollo and South Wollo Districts of the Amhara Region
  • In 2015, 78% of adolescents and young people in North Wollo and South Wollo Districts of the Amhara Region have used a method to prevent unwanted pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections or HIV/AIDS (up from 56.6% in 2011)
  • 22 037 000 persons have been vaccinated against wild poliovirus in Ethiopia


  • 72 000 persons in the regions of Oromia and Somali have received access to sustainable and affordable sources of energy

Employment and Social Protection

  • 45 000 poor informal women workers and their families have received cover by social protection schemes in Addis Abba

Trade and Private sector development

  • 600 existing or new small businesses developed through training and coaching and were profitable for at least 6 months after the support was received

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