The relationship between Indonesia and Ethiopia is one of the most important relations in the region of Africa. The close ties between Indonesia and Ethiopia were marked among others by the presence of the Ethiopian delegation to the Asian - African Conference in Bandung in 1955 and cooperation in multilateral forum including the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) since its establishment in 1961. In the same year the diplomatic relations between Indonesia and Ethiopia was formally established. In 1964 the Government of the Republic of Indonesia established its Embassy in Addis Ababa. The Indonesian Embassy in Addis Ababa is also accredited to Djibouti and African Union. On the other hand, the Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia established its Embassy in Jakarta in 2016.
Thirteen years after the Asian-African Conference, Emperor Haile Selassie made a state visit to Indonesia in 1968. He was received by Indonesian President, Soeharto. Since then, the number of high-level official visits by the two countries increases. In her visit to Ethiopia, Indonesian Foreign Minister H.E. Mrs. Retno L.P. Marsudi along with her Ethiopian counterpart, H.E. Dr. Tedros Adhanom signed Memorandum of Understanding on the Establishment of a Bilateral Consultative Forum on 29 January 2015. The first meeting of this forum was held during the Indonesia - Africa Forum in Bali, April 2018.
There has been a dynamic in the economic relations between the two countries. The interest of Ethiopian businessmen to get information and to meet directly with their Indonesian counterparts as well as to buy Indonesian products is getting stronger. The total trade between Indonesia and Ethiopia in the year of 2016 amounted to USD 351.75 millions (according to the calculation made by the Ethiopian Custom Authority based on country of origin). This figure decreased if compared to that of 2015 which amounted to USD 423.99 millions. The decline was caused partly by the decrease in Indonesia's export to Ethiopia and the problem of hard currency in Ethiopia.
Many of Indonesian products such as garment, textile products, battery, vehicle battery, paper/ paper products, chemical products, soap and detergent, glassware, furniture, enamelware, plastic products, pharmaceuticals, medical equipments, and food (instant noodles) are well-known in Ethiopian market because of their good quality and their reasonable price.
Based on International Trade Center Data, the main imports of Ethiopia from Indonesia are dominated by soap and detergent, palm oil and its derivatives, paper, yarn, electronic devices, margarine, and furniture products. Other products imported by Ethiopia include cable (acrylic and yarn), garment, textile, battery, chemical products, glassware, enamelware, plastic products, baby clothes, vehicle tire, foodstuffs (instant noodle, wafer, candy, etc.), and medical equipments. On the other hand, Indonesia imports cotton, leather, spices, and coffee from Ethiopia.
In the field of investment, Indonesian instant noodle company, PT. Indofood, which is famous for its product of Indomie and Supermie, opened its factory in Ethiopia in the middle of 2015. Meanwhile, one of Indonesia's leading garment companies, PT. Ungaran Sari Garments has started its production process since the early of 2017. In addition, PT. Sinar Antjol, producer of B-29 soap and detergent, started its production in the early of 2018. In order to boost connectivity between the two countries, Indonesia and Ethiopia signed Air Service Agreement in Jakarta on 21 December 2017.
The socio-cultural relations between Indonesia and Ethiopia grow stronger from time to time. The Indonesian government annually offers 2 (two) kinds of scholarships to Ethiopia. And for several recent years, there has always been recipient from Ethiopia for the two scholarships. In 2017, 13 Ethiopians succeeded to receive the scholarships.
Meanwhile in the field of education, Bahir Dar University and Sebelas Maret University, in following up their MoU signed in April 2016, agreed in March 2017 to do a joint research related to livestock. The Indonesian government also often provides capacity-building trainings to Ethiopians. For example, in 2017 there were 3 capacity-building trainings offered to Ethiopia namely: 2 trainings in the field of agriculture and 1 training in diplomatic course.
And in order to promote Indonesian products and tourism, the Indonesian Embassy in Addis Ababa in September 2017 and in April 2018 sponsored and organized Journalist Familiarization Trip for Ethiopian journalists to make coverage on several industries and tourist destinations in Indonesia.