Core Principles of Ethiopia’s foreign Policy: Ethiopia-South Africa
The peoples of Ethiopia and South Africa have had a long and historic relation as the two peoples were bound together by the common struggle to free Africa from colonialism and apartheid. Ethiopia’s victory against colonialism at the battle of Adwa had long served as an inspiration for a resistance movement against racism in South Africa. Ethiopia also had an active role in the fight against apartheid.
The military training given hundreds of freedom fighters including Former President Nelson Mandela is a testament to Ethiopia’s commitment to the cause of freedom in Africa in general and South Africa in particular. Their relationship has survived decades of resistance against injustice, and this continued until the peoples of South Africa finally managed to do away with the Apartheid system.
It is in the light of this that both countries saw the ideas of closer cooperation and deeper people-to-people relations as important. It was in this context that Ethiopia opened its Embassy in Pretoria in June 1996.
Since then, Ethiopia has been able to note with satisfactions that bilateral relations have steadily strengthened; and Ethiopia and South Africa signed a Declaration of Intent in March 1998 and a General Co-operation Agreement in March 2004. Ethiopia values these bilateral relations and its cooperation with South Africa. They are based on the spirit of Pan-Africanism and on African brotherhood.
The historic bonds and goodwill existing between the two countries has also provided a firm basis for building stronger cooperation in various political and economic areas, and in trade, investment, health, agriculture, education, capacity building, culture and tourism. All together these constitute a significant step forward in strengthening economic ties and in facilitating the prospects for South African investment in Ethiopia.
In the context of expanding bilateral relations as well as trade and investment, a number of agreements were signed between South Africa and Ethiopia during the first meeting of the Joint Ministerial Commission in Pretoria in March 2008. These included the Agreement to Establish the Joint Ministerial Commission itself, an Agreement for the Promotion and Reciprocal Protection of Investment, and a Memorandum of Understanding on Industrial and Technical Co-operation.
The establishment of the Joint Ministerial Commission is intended to enable the General Co-operation Agreement to facilitate bilateral co-operation on key issues of mutual concern, while the Memorandum of Understanding on Industrial and Technical Co-operation is expected to serve as a catalyst for improving favourable conditions for economic, industrial and technical cooperation.
The Agreement on Promotion and Reciprocal Protection of Investment will provide for the improvement of conditions for trade and investment between both countries as well as stimulate individual business initiatives. In order to give impetus to the agreement, it was agreed to take measures to elevate investor confidence and promote trade and investment between the two countries.
South Africa’s relatively high level of economic development is rightly seen by many as a major engine of economic development in Africa. In this regard, the fact that Ethiopia is endowed with significant natural resources and a sizable population of around 80 million offers huge