Finland’s development cooperation in Ethiopia

Ethiopia plays an important regional role in the Horn of Africa and has brought stability to this otherwise turbulent area. It has contributed troops to peace-keeping operations and hosted large numbers of refugees from its neighbouring countries.

Ethiopia continues to be one of the poorest countries in the world but its economic growth is strong. Ethiopia’s most important objectives are to ensure continued economic growth and secure a stable income for its rapidly growing population. The Government is also investing in the provision of basic public services, such as access to clean water and education. Finland's planned budget frame for 2016–2019 is EUR 55 million.

Country Strategy:

Country Strategy for Development Cooperation with Ethiopia 2016–2019

Etiopia infograafi, englanti

Commercial cooperation

Trade between Finland and Ethiopia has been very minimal but the countries would like to expand their current commercial relations. This takes place through the Team Finland network.  Finland’s long-term water sector cooperation with Ethiopia forms the basis for the development of the trade relations. Additionally, efforts are made to strengthen cooperation particularly in the education and agro-business sectors.

Civil society organisations’ cooperation

Several Finnish civil society organisations (CSOs) are carrying out projects in collaboration with local Ethiopian organisations. Their projects complement the bilaterally implemented Country Strategy. The CSOs have gained considerable expertise and wide experience of Ethiopia. In order to attain the goals set in the Country Strategy, it is very important that the CSOs’ expertise is used in matters concerning education and the position of persons with disabilities, for example.

The support channelled through Finnish CSOs is approximately EUR two million a year. CSOs support Ethiopia’s development at grassroots level, for example in the education and rural development sectors.


Development cooperation between Finland and Ethiopia started in 1967. Cooperation has produced good results.

  • After 1994, over four million people have been provided access to safe water. The water points have proved to be durable and, over time, building them has become faster.  Toilets are now available to 1.4 million people. A project implemented by Finland during 2016–2019 will provide water, sanitation and hygiene services for 900,000 Ethiopians.

  • Finland has developed a model for water programmes which ensures sustainability. The Government of Ethiopia is responsible for over half of the funding and local communities together save the necessary nest egg. Villagers build and maintain their own wells. A well and a toilet cost a community resident about 10 euros. The model has proved to be so efficient that the Government of Ethiopia has adopted it as one its own models of operation.

  • In the State of Amhara, funding targeted to the development of agribusiness has benefited 88,000 members of agricultural cooperatives and 5,500 people have been trained to develop agriculture as a livelihood. Approximately 440,000 people have benefited from a project supported by Finland, which focused on food security and means to earn a decent income. More than 900 people have found work and a source of income through the project.

  • About 17,000 households’ land tenure is secured as their farmland has been registered under a certification system. Of these, 22% are single woman households. Finland's support has helped both those responsible for land registration (authorities) and rights-holders (rural people) improve their knowledge about and heighten their awareness of a fair registration process. As a result, the number of user rights conflicts has reduced.

  • Over 90 per cent of Ethiopian children start the first class at age 7 now that basic education is free, more schools have been built and teacher training has increased. In addition, more school books are available and the quality of teacher training has improved. The quality of education continues to be poor but efforts are made to improve it in future.

  • The cooperation benefits over 22 million pupils attending comprehensive school, nearly half of them girls. More than 7,000 teachers have been trained under a bilateral special educational needs project (2013–2017).

  • Increasing numbers of children with disabilities or other special support needs attend school in Ethiopia. During the past five years, the number of pupils with special needs has almost doubled, but the majority of Ethiopian children with learning disabilities are not in school yet.

Risk management

The risks in the development cooperation between Finland and Ethiopia include rapid population growth, climate (recurrent droughts, floods), weaknesses in the capacities of local administration and declined human rights and political freedoms. The risks are mitigated by means of systematic monitoring of projects and programmes and dialogue with the partners and the country’s administration. External audits and evaluations are also carried out regularly.

The Constitution of Ethiopia recognises civil and political rights and freedoms, and the country has ratified most of the principal international human rights conventions. In Ethiopia, economic and cultural rights have been realised but there are many shortcomings with regard to civil and political rights.


Support provided by Finland:

Rural development:

  • Land management and registration: Responsible and Innovative Land Management Project REILA 2011-2017: EUR 12.8 million. Second phase for 2017–2021 under preparation in March 2017.

  • Agro-business Induced Growth: AgroBIG 2012–2017: EUR 9.3 million.  Second phase for 2017–2021 under preparation in March 2017.

Clean water and toilets for all:

  • Water supply, sanitation and hygiene: Community-led Accelerated Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Project COWASH: 2011–2016: EUR 20.3 million. Third phase for 2016–2019:  EUR 12.7 million.

  • Ethiopian Government’s water management, sanitation and hygiene fund: Consolidated Wash Account CWA: Finland’s funding in 2017–2019 will be EUR 2 million.

Education for all children:

  • General Education Quality Improvement Programme: GEQIP: 2014-2018: EUR 19.8 million.

  • Support for special-needs education: SNE: 2013-2017: EUR 2 million.

Other support:

  • Finland supports Ethiopia also through multilateral organisations, channelling funding via the EU and such international non-governmental organisations (INGOs) as the World Bank and the UN.

  • Two projects are supported through the Institutional Cooperation Instrument (ICI). The projects’ annual expenditure is approximately EUR 500,000.

  • Funds for local cooperation (FLCs) are used to support Ethiopian CSOs. The appropriations earmarked for 2017 total EUR 300,000. Funds from the FLCs have been used to support the human rights, democracy and environmental sectors and equality work, education and special groups, such as persons with disabilities and pastoral communities.



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