The Egyptian-Ethiopian relationship is one of the deep-rooted in Africa, as it dates back to the time of the Pharaohs thanks to mutual commercial trips between the two nations in the ancient times. In the modern time, Egypt and Ethiopia established diplomatic relations in 1927, being one of the oldest in Africa and the world.
- The Egyptian-Ethiopian political relations are of a special nature, as the two countries are engaged together in vital issues, including the Nile waters, the Horn of Africa security, and combating piracy and terrorism. In addition, Egypt and Ethiopia (alongside Sudan) are members of the ENTRO (Eastern Nile Technical Regional Office) which aims to boost coordination among the three nations on implementing projects in the fields of energy and water in collaboration with international donors.
- Egypt and Ethiopia are members of the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) which was established in 1999 to promote cooperation between upstream and downstream countries to help achieve their peoples’ aspirations.
- Egyptian-Ethiopian relationship has seen a remarkable change since President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi assumed office in Egypt in June 2014. In his inaugural speech, President el-Sisi said he would not allow the Renaissance Dam to be a bone of contention with Ethiopia. Then, the President met with the then Ethiopian Prime Minister in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea at the sidelines of the African Union Summit in 2014. At that time, a seven-point Declaration signed by the two sides confirmed each country’s right to development without harming the other.
- Another remarkable change has been noticed between Egypt and Ethiopia since Dr Abiy Ahmed took over as Ethiopia’s prime minister in April 2018. In June 2018, he visited Egypt and met with President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, reiterating his country’s commitment not to harm Egypt’s interests in the Nile waters; thus, launching a new chapter in the history of relations between the two countries.
- Then, in August 2018, the Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Chief of Intelligence visited Addis Ababa and met with the Ethiopian Prime Minister, conveying a message from the Egyptian President on means of bolstering joint bilateral cooperation.
- Egypt and Ethiopia are bound by distinguished economic relations, thanks to the Egyptian investments in Ethiopia in different spheres, including El-Sewedy Cables Factory (with investments that roughly hit USD 1 billion). There are also joint ventures between Egyptian and Ethiopian companies in the fields of agriculture, meat export, and meat processing, among others.
Cooperation in the medical field
- This is one of the most successful stories of cooperation between the two countries, as Egypt started dispatching medical convoys to Ethiopia since 2009 to help ease the suffering of Ethiopian patients and perform critical surgeries in different fields.
- In September 2015, H.H. Pope Tawadros II inaugurated the Canadian Hospital, affiliated to the Egyptian Coptic Church, to provide low-cost or free-of-charge medical services to the Ethiopian people. In the same year, a Cooperation Protocol was signed between the Canadian Hospital and the Ethiopian Ministry of Health to provide training for the Ethiopian physicians and professional health workers at the Hospital and in Egypt as well.
- Egyptian famed professor Magdi Yacoub frequently visits Ethiopia alongside his team to perform open heart surgeries for Ethiopian children and the elderly, particularly at Black Lion Hospital, where the Chain of Hope, affiliated to the Egyptian professor, has established one of the state-of-the-art heart unit there.
- In addition, Egyptian American spine surgeon Dr. Kamal Ibrahim, Head of the American Scoliosis Research Society, has presided over several medical convoys to Ethiopia to perform critical spine surgeries in Ethiopia.
- Throughout the year, medical convoys consisting of Egyptian physicians based in the UK and the US come to Ethiopia to provide treatment to the Ethiopian patients in the fields of ophthalmic diseases, dermatology, dentistry etc.
Egyptian and Ethiopian Churches’ Relations
- There is a close spiritual bond between the Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria and the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church; till the mid of the past century, the Ethiopian bishop was consecrated by the Egyptian Coptic Church. In 2008, H.H. late Pope Shenouda III paid a historic visit to Ethiopia and met with H.H. late Abune Paulos, Pope of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, late President Girma Wolde Girogis and late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.
- In January 2015, H.H. Abune Mathias of Ethiopia made his first visit to Egypt and stayed for six days in the country.
- In September 2015, H.H. Pope Tawadros II of Alexandria visited Ethiopia and toured the historical religious sites like Axum, Gondar and the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela.