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Map of Ethiopia

Map of Ethiopia.
flag of the Republic of Kenya


Bilateral relationship

New Zealand’s bilateral relations with Ethiopia have expanded recently, with New Zealand extending accreditation to the country in November 2011. The political and trade relationships are, at this stage, limited, but there is a significant and active Ethiopian diaspora community in New Zealand.

With the profile of East African affairs rising in New Zealand, it is projected that Ethiopia will increasingly provide a focal point for New Zealand. In particular, the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, is home to the headquarters of the African Union, in which New Zealand maintains an active interest.

New Zealand has further contact with Ethiopia through development aid. Since the 1990s New Zealand has responded to humanitarian crises in Ethiopia by making annual contributions to multilateral organisations like the UN World Food Programme and UNICEF. Most recently, in July 2011 New Zealand contributed NZ$1 million to the World Food Programme for food assistance in response to the Horn of Africa famine, a proportion of which provided assistance to people in Ethiopia.top of page


Key facts


Official Name - Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
Land area - 1,104,300 square km
Population - 82.95 million (UN estimate, 2010)
Capital city - Addis Ababa
Religion - Orthodox (43.5%), Muslim (33.9%), Protestant (18.6%)
Language - Official - Amarigna (32.7%), Oromigna (31.6%), Tigrigna (6.1%)
Currency - Birr
Exchange Rate - NZ$1 = 13.88 Birr; US$1 = 17.34 Birr (January 2012)


Political system - Federal Republic
National Government - The Prime Minister and his Cabinet (Council of Ministers), and a largely-ceremonial President, appointed by the House of Representatives.
National Legislature - Federal Assembly consisting of a House of Representatives (lower house of 547 members) and a Council of the Federation (Upper House of 108 members). Nine regional state councils have limited powers, including that of approving member of the Council of the Federation.
Last election - May 2010 (Federal and regional)
Next election due - May 2015
Head of State - President Girma Wolde-Giorgis (since October 2001)
Head of Government - Prime Minister Meles Zenawi

Key Ministers:

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs - Hailemariam Desalegn
Defence - Siraj Fegisa
Finance and Economic Development - Sufian Ahmed

Main Political Parties:

Ruling - Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), consisting of a coalition of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, the Amhara National Democratic Movement, the Southern Ethiopia People’s Democratic Movement, and the Oromo People’s Democratic Organisation. Opposition – Unity for Democracy and Justice, United Ethiopian Democratic Party-Medhin, United Ethiopian Democratic Forces, Oromo Federalist Democratic Movement.


GDP - US$29.4 billion
Real GDP Growth - 7.5%
Exports - US$2.951 billion
Imports - US$8.367 billion
Current account balance - US$ -424 million
Inflation - 33%
Gross external debt - US$6.393 million

New Zealand Trade

Exports (FOB) - NZ$0.36 million
Main exports - Machinery (90%), textile articles (5%)
Imports (CIF) - NZ$3.52 million
Main imports - Spices, coffee and tea (99%)top of page



There have been no recent high-level visits between the two countries.



New Zealand’s Wellington-based Ambassador to the African Union and Ethiopia, James Kember, has been accredited to Ethiopia since November 2011.


Travel advice

The Safetravel website provides a travel advisory for travellers to Ethiopia [external link].

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Page last updated: Monday, 09 December 2013 13:00 NZDT