Addis Ababa was Finland’s gateway to southern Africa, as in 1965 Finland’s first sub-Saharan Embassy was opened here. Diplomatic relations were established in 1959. Ethiopia is one of the world’s oldest independent nations (more than 2000 years). Many may only know Ethiopia from news clips about poverty and famine, but Ethiopia also has thousands of years of history, a rich culture, and the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, which is one of the oldest Christian religions.
In 2005, Finland promoted its relation to an ambassadorial level, after a break of 30 years. This is a clear indication of Ethiopia’s importance to our country, recognising Addis Ababa as “Africa’s capital”.
Ethiopia and Finland’s common history is short considering that Ethiopia has existed for thousands of years. Yet, from Finland’s viewpoint, 40 years is a long time. As you can read from the history of Finland and Ethiopia (Four Decades – History of Finnish-Ethiopian Relations, published in 2006 by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, ISBN 951-724-534-3), our countries have strong bonds between them. Our relationship has remained stable over the decades, through changing political situations, and economic ups and downs. Today, Ethiopia is one of Finland’s long-term development partners and in the water and education sectors, our cooperation has continued for several decades.
The success of Ethiopian athletes in Finland has changed the image of Ethiopia all over the world. Due to the great amount of medals brought home from Helsinki by the Ethiopian runners, Finland has become more known in Ethiopia. Sport is significant in both our countries, in the media and as a topic of discussion amongst our people.
Decades of cooperation have brought many friends of Ethiopia to Finland. Every year, more and more Ethiopian students begin their studies in Finland. Many Finnish families have an adopted child from Ethiopia. Meanwhile in Ethiopia, there are various persons and organizations with strong connections to Finland, from the Parliamentary Ombudsman to students who were educated in Finland.
With the accreditation of the Finnish Ambassador, Finland has received more publicity in the local media. Information technology is continuing to progress in Ethiopia, with Finnish expertise among others. Thus, the tie between our countries has an opportunity to intensify and diversify, which our embassy is consciously working towards.