The European Union and Ethiopia step up their partnership and cooperation

The European Union and Ethiopia step up their partnership and cooperation


The President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker met with the Prime Minister of Ethiopia Abiy Ahmed to discuss EU support to Ethiopia's reform process and agree to an additional €130 million to support job creation.

On this occasion, President Juncker said: "The partnership between Ethiopia and the EU is particularly strong and the meeting with Prime Minister Abiy today allowed us to exchange on how to further deepen it. The EU supports the ambitious reform agenda in Ethiopia and is committed to step up its support to the country".

Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica and Ethiopian Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Workneh Gebeyehu Negewo furthermore signed three new programmes to promote sustainable economic growth and job creation in the country for a total amount of €130 million.

Commissioner Mimica said: “Today's cooperation package worth €130 million is proof of our support to Ethiopia's economic development and job creation, which will help build new opportunities for its people. With this additional funds we are also supporting the better access to sustainable energy and the development of the agro-industrial sector in the country".

The 3 new programmes signed today are part of the implementation of the ‘Africa-Europe Alliance for Sustainable Investment and Jobs', which aims to deepen the economic and trade relations between the two continents, in order to create sustainable jobs and growth. These financing agreements between the EU and Ethiopia support job creation (€50 million), sustainable energy (€35 million) and the establishment of agro-industrial parks in Ethiopia (€45 million).

During Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's first visit to the EU institutions, he also met with High Representative/Vice-President, Federica Mogherini, Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, as well as Council President, Donald Tusk.

More information on the 3 programmes signed today 

  • “Ethiopia Job Compact – Sector Reform and performance Contract” (EU Trust Fund contribution: €50 million): This programme aims at supporting Ethiopia’s industrialisation strategy. The "job compact" is an agreement between the Government and international partners to create decent employment opportunities for Ethiopians and refugees. This initiative also supports the implementation of the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF), an UNHCR initiative to help refugee populations become self-sufficient and to support host communities.
  • Promotion of Sustainable Ethiopian Agroindustrial Development (PROSEAD): Worth €45 million, it will help build environmentally-friendly agro-industrial parks in four regions: Amhara, Oromia, the Southern Region and Tigray. It will also work with farmers to increase supplies of quality raw materials needed by food manufacturers in these parks; train unemployed women and youth in related jobs and provide microfinance and small grants to create opportunities for small agri-food businesses. The four agroindustrial parks are projected to create more than 160 000 direct jobs. For this project, the EU has partnered with the Government of Ethiopia, the African Development Bank, the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ), the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation, and financial institutions. 
  • Contribution to the Africa Investment Platform for the Sustainable Energy Programme in Ethiopia: The aim of this €35 million blending programme is to promote investments in on-grid or off-grid infrastructure to increase access to sustainable, inclusive and affordable energy. Only 44% of Ethiopians have access to electricity. This low access hinders economic growth and limits the wellbeing of the population. This project seeks to mobilise investment and leverage funds in EU countries by facilitating private sector investments.


Ethiopia is a key partner for the European Union and they have a long standing partnership. In 2016 the EU and Ethiopia signed a “strategic engagement”, which implies close cooperation in areas ranging from regional peace and security, to trade and investment, and including migration and forced displacement.

EU development cooperation portfolio in Ethiopia is one of the largest in Africa and in the world (€715 million for the period 2014-2020); and the country is also one of the major beneficiaries of the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (€257.5 million for 2015-2018). The EU is also providing humanitarian assistance to refugees and internally displaced people in the country. EU humanitarian assistance to the country amounted to €381 million for the period 2014-2018.

The EU supports Ethiopia in the implementation of its development strategy, notably in the areas of food security and agriculture, health, and governance. In recent years, the EU has increased the focus in areas related to job creation, industrial and agro-industrial parks, export and trade promotion and private sector development.

Ethiopia has also become a destination of choice for investors. Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) level has surged in the past years. The EU accounts for 23% of exports and 25% of imports, remaining the second trading partner. There are over 300 EU companies present in Ethiopia, most members of the EU Business Forum for Ethiopia (EUBFE), a fully-fledged chamber of commerce set up in 2016.

For more information

Factsheet - Africa-Europe Alliance for Sustainable Investment and Jobs

Development cooperation with Ethiopia

Delegation of the EU to Ethiopia

Humanitarian aid to Ethiopia