Finland’s relations and development cooperation in Ethiopia

Finnish development cooperation in Ethiopia promotes good governance and supports the achievement of better learning outcomes in primary and secondary schools.

An Ethiopian woman lifting a bucket of water at a waterpoint.

Water supply and sanitation in Ethiopia have improved considerably through Finnish development cooperation. Thanks to the over 20,000 water points that have been constructed in Ethiopia with Finland’s support, over five million people have gained access to safe water services. Today, 1.4 million people have access to improved sanitation facilities (latrines).

Following the transfer of power in 2018, Ethiopia is still undergoing many changes. Even though Ethiopia is one of the world’s poorest countries with many challenges, its economic growth has been rapid. Ethiopia has implemented significant social and political reforms in recent years.

Positive developments in Ethiopia are hampered by the deteriorating security situation, especially after the Tigray conflict, natural disasters, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and migration. In the best case scenario, Ethiopia will find a way to continue the reforms.

Finland and Ethiopia have long-standing relations. The relations are based on the development cooperation that started in the 1960s. Finland has supported Ethiopia in the agriculture, forest and education sectors, strengthened democracy development and human rights, and provided humanitarian assistance. Together with the donor community, Finland supports Ethiopia in reaching the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Over time, the relations have diversified to political, commercial and economic cooperation as well as civil society activities, and Finland wants to expand and deepen these in the next few years. Finland wants to double its trade with African countries in 2020–2030 and, during the same period, efforts will be made to significantly increase Finnish companies’ investments in Africa and African companies’ investments in Finland.

Finland’s strategic goals in Ethiopia are described in the Country Strategy and the Country Programme. The latter focuses on development cooperation. In 2021–2024, Finland will focus on diversifying and deepening the relations between the two countries, supporting Ethiopia’s political, social and private sector reforms, and strengthening Ethiopian institutions.

Finland’s Country Strategy for Ethiopia (PDF, 192 KB)

Expected outcomes of Finland’s development cooperation in Ethiopia in 2021–2024

In 2021–2024, Finland will direct its bilateral development cooperation mainly to supporting rural economic development and improving water services as well as developing the quality of inclusive basic education. Resources will also be channelled to improving the operational capacity of private sector operators. Finland’s support to Ethiopia for 2021–2024 will total EUR 75.2 million.

Finland’s Country Programme for Development Cooperation in Ethiopia (PDF, 503 KB)

Finland's planned development cooperation appropriations for Ethiopia 2021-2024. 28 million euros for education, 23.3 million euros for rural development, 23.9 million euros for clean water and sanitation. Totalling 75 million euros.

In the previous programming period in 2016–2019, Finland’s support was directed to rural development, the improvement of water services and the development of the quality of basic education.

Finnish development cooperation supports economic development in rural Ethiopia

In its development cooperation, Finland will concentrate on strengthening  economic growth and better livelihoods for people in rural areas, in particular in the Amhara and Benishangul Gumuz regional states. Special attention will be paid to work done in the systems development in rural land administration, which will have nationwide impacts. A reliable land tenure system will encourage farmers to invest in their land.

Expected outcome: Economic growth and opportunities to earn a living in rural areas will be improved

  • Value chains of agricultural produce will improve and new jobs will be created in rural areas
  • Farmers will diversify their crop varieties
  • Improved land tenures will enhance productivity

Ongoing programmes and projects

  • Development project for agricultural value chains (AgroBIG II), totalling EUR 9.4 million in 2017–2022
  • Responsible and Innovative Land Administration programme (REILA II), totalling EUR 7.8 million in 2017–2022  

Finland's development cooperation in the water sector

Finnish development cooperation will improve the availability of water and sanitation and ensure that persons with disabilities will also benefit from them. Local communities will be trained to be able to take care of the water points and sanitation facilities.

Expected outcome: Clean water and sanitation facilities will promote health and wellbeing

  • Households and communities will have access to clean water and sanitation facilities
  • Water services and sanitation systems will function reliably
  • People become aware of the significance of sanitation and hygiene

Ongoing programmes and projects

  • Community-based rural water services and sanitation project (COWASH IV), totalling EUR 18.4 million in 2021–2024
  • Contribution to the water sector's multi-donor Consolidated WaSH Account (CWA), totalling EUR 4.0 million in 2020–2023

Finland’s development cooperation improves the quality of the basic education

Finland will continue to support efforts to improve learning outcomes with a specific focus on developing pre-primary education and inclusive education.  Special attention will be given to learning opportunities in crisis areas.

Expected outcome: All children will have access to high-quality education

  • Pre-primary school system and professional skills of teachers will be developed  
  • Girls, children with disabilities and children in a vulnerable position will have access to education as well
  • Technical and vocational education and training will be strengthened

Ongoing programmes and projects

  • General Education Quality Improvement Programme (GEQIP-E), totalling EUR 16.9 million in 2017–2023
  • Continued technical assistance for inclusive education to GEQIP-E, totalling EUR 1.45 million in 2018–2022

Highlights of the Results Report 2022

The Cessation of Hostilities Agreement concerning the Northern Ethiopian conflict, signed in November 2022, allowed the start of gradual normalisation of societal activities. However, severe malnutrition and high inflation persisted, and millions of people remained internally displaced. 

Finland successfully contributed to national-level policy and practices in rural development in Ethiopia: a digitalised land administration was adopted at the federal level. Improved land tenure security is of direct benefit to 36% of Ethiopians. At a grassroots level, the AgroBIG project reached a total of more than 83,000 smallholder farmers in 2022, of which 25% were female. 

In the WASH sector, the Community-led Accelerated Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Project (CoWASH IV) has been extended to 104 districts in seven Regional States. The project trained 29,000 people in hygiene and sanitation practices. Menstrual Hygiene Management facilities were constructed in two schools, benefitting over 900 schoolgirls. The number of beneficiaries of Consolidated WASH Account (CWA) water schemes has reached 1.93 million, and 2.3 million people gained access to sanitation in 2022. WASH projects were also adapted to increase climate resilience by providing water to camps for internally displaced people and planning water provision in drought-affected areas.

Due to conflicts as well as drought, floods and other climate-related crises, 3.6 million students, about 13% of the student population, were out of school at the end of 2022. Despite a very challenging year, the number of children with disabilities attending Inclusive Education Resource Centers (IERCs) exceeded set targets. Finland’s active policy dialogue kept the topic of inclusion on the agenda of the Ministry of Education of Ethiopia and other international partners. More children enrolled in pre-primary education, and gross enrolment reached 44%.

Finland’s cooperation partners in Ethiopia

The European Union is Finland’s most important reference group in Ethiopia. As a Member State of the EU, Finland participates in the dialogue between the Government of Ethiopia and different actors of society. Recently, the discussion has focused on the security situation, delivery of humanitarian assistance, and Ethiopia's elections. Moreover, Finland explores opportunities for participation in the EU’s joint programmes in various sectors, including development cooperation.  

Finland supports economic and social development in Ethiopia also by providing funding for UN organisations and international development finance institutions. In addition, Finland provides needs-based humanitarian assistance especially via humanitarian organisations of the UN and Finnish civil society organisations. Several Finnish civil society organisations (CSOs) are carrying out projects in collaboration with local Ethiopian organisations.  CSOs’ projects complement the bilateral activities implemented under the Country Strategy. Various CSOs have considerable expertise and wide experience of work in Ethiopia.  In order to attain the goals set in the Country Strategy, it is very important to make use of CSOs’ expertise, for example in such areas as education and the position of persons with disabilities.

Team Finland cooperation

Finland and Ethiopia aim to increase both direct trade between their countries and trade supported by such public sector operators as Finnfund, which receive development cooperation appropriations. Telecommunications and the energy, water, agriculture and education sectors, in particular, may provide opportunities in the interface of development cooperation and commercial cooperation. Finnish development cooperation supports Ethiopia’s private sector development as well.

Team Finland network in Ethiopia(Link to another website.)