The Cooperation and Cultural Action Department of the French Embassy monitors and coordinates the cooperation actions and programs implemented through the bilateral channels (mainly the Embassy, French Development Agency and Expertise France) and multilateral channels (European Development Fund, Emergency Trust Fund, Global Fund, World Bank, UN agencies, Green Climate Fund, Global Partnership for Education...). Since November 2016, Ethiopia has been one of the 17 priority countries for French Official Development Assistance (ODA).

The Embassy’s Cooperation and Cultural Action Department has a specific budget dedicated to intervene in the following main areas: cooperation for the teaching and dissemination of French language and Francophonie; promoting debates of ideas and cultural diversity; development of student mobility and university and research partnerships; enhancement of cultural heritage and development of tourist attractiveness. The cooperation actions implemented in these areas are based on long-established French or Francophone operators in Ethiopia: the Lycée Guébré Mariam (1947), the Alliances Ethio-françaises in Addis Ababa (1907) and Dire Dawa (1908), as well as the French Center for Ethiopian Studies (CFEE, 1952).

Promotion of the French language and Francophonie

Lycée Guébré Mariam (LGM)

Founded in 1948 by the French Secular Mission (MLF), the LGM is an institution certified by the French Ministry of Education from the first year of nursery school to the final year of high school (ES, L and S), and approved by the AEFE (Agency for French Education Abroad). Located in the heart of Addis Ababa, with a 9000 m2 structure that extend over a plot of 4 hectares and a half, this internationally-oriented Franco-Ethiopian establishment supported the foundation of United Nations Economic Commission for Africa and the Organization of African Unity (African Union since 2011) in Addis Ababa. Hosting more than 1700 students of about fifty nationalities, the LGM provide Ethiopian children with schooling for more than two thirds of the total number of pupils.

The Alliances Ethio-françaises of Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa

Respectively founded in 1908 and 1907, the French alliances of Dire Dawa ( and Addis Ababa ( offer group and individual courses, as well as the Delf/Dalf certification of French language skills. In Addis Ababa, where the large presence of embassies and international organizations maintains a significant institutional demand for learning French, the Alliance is the reference training center for teaching the French language. As such, it offers a one-year University Diploma in French as a Foreign Language, in partnership with the University of Maine in France, which trains to become a French teacher for a foreign audience. In Dire Dawa, the Alliance monitors the reintroduction of French in secondary school program, which includes three high schools, and also runs an introductory early childhood French language and culture center, which welcomes 200 young Ethiopians throughout the school year.

French-language streams in the Ethiopian education system

The French language is taught in two universities and, in the form of optional teaching, in five Ethiopian secondary schools.

The Universities of Addis Ababa and Haramaya are home to French departments, which host about 60 undergraduate students (at both universities) or masters (in Addis Ababa, French as a Foreign Language didactics master). The French language is also taught in the bachelor of Tourism and Hospitality Management in the universities of Haramaya, Jima, Gondar, Bahir Dar, and in some private universities across the country.

In secondary education, a pilot project to reintroduce French has been conducted for some years at the initiative of the Ministry of Education with the support of the Embassy of France. A first experiment was conducted in 2013-2014 at Menelik II High School in Addis Ababa, before being extended and consolidated to five other institutions, three of which are located in Dire Dawa. French is also taught in Addis Ababa in international schools (ICS, German School, Italian School, Greek School) and private Ethiopian institutions (Fountain of Knowledge, Gibson, Sanford...).
The French Embassy provides educational and technical assistance to the entire network, including four teaching positions: two positions of international volunteers as sectoral experts in the French departments of Addis Ababa and Haramaya, and two trainees in French as a Foreign Language (FLE).

Promotion of multilingualism and of the French language in the African Union

The French Embassy, in close partnership with the representative office of the Organization of La Francophonie at the African Union, supports individual and collective training actions in French language (technical workshops, simulations, conferences...) to enhance the language skills of the African Union Commission teams.

Every year, many linguistic and cultural activities are also offered in partnership with the French Embassy, Alliance Française, OIF and many embassies of Francophone and Francophile countries, on the occasion of the celebration of the International Day of La Francophonie on March 20th.

French-language broadcasting / RFI

RFI in French is broadcast live from 11 am to 1 pm on the EBC 104.7 FM radio station, a bilingual radio station (English/French) launched by EBC in Addis Ababa. RFI organizes twice a year technical training workshops for EBC journalists, in order to support the professionalization of the teams.

Promoting the debate of ideas and cultural openness

The Alliances Ethio-Françaises of Addis Ababa ( and Dire Dawa ( are the main cultural operators of the Embassy of France in Ethiopia.

The Alliance Ethio-Française of Addis Ababa is a major cultural actor in the country, with its dynamic programming of concerts, exhibitions, film screenings, theater and other events. The Alliance is committed in the detection of young contemporary artists, and seeks to support them in their professionalization and international visibility. The cultural institution also co-chairs the European Union National Institutes of Culture (Eunic) network, which brings together European cultural institutions (Alliances françaises, Goethe Institute, Italian Cultural Institute, British Council) and cultural sections of European embassies (Spain, Portugal).

Dire Dawa Alliance, the only cultural scene in the country’s second largest city, provides programming composed of regional artists, mainly in the fields of painting, photography and music. It also hosts several times a year nationally of internationally recognized artists.

The French Embassy also supports, in complementarity with the support it gives to Alliances Françaises, several cultural initiatives led by local actors.

Student mobility

The French Embassy awards nearly 30 scholarships to study in France. In order to support the ambitious Ethiopian policy of developing the number of universities in the coming years (11 new universities planned from 2016 to 2020) by contributing to the training of future teachers, these scholarships mainly concern the doctorate level. Twenty of them are co-funded by the Ethiopian Ministry of Education and the French Embassy, as part of a partnership established in 2016 to support the training of Ethiopian doctors in French institutions of higher education, in the field of engineering sciences.

To improve information and orientation on the pursuit of higher education in France, a Campus France Ethiopia office ( was opened in early 2017 within the Alliance Ethio-Française of Addis Ababa. This office organized in 2017 and 2018 a student fair with the participation of eight French higher education institutions, with the main universities of the country (Addis Ababa, Hawassa, Bahir Dar Debre Berhan, Dire Dawa, Mekelle), and enabled the launch of the France Alumni Ethiopia network (, which brings together the community of Ethiopian graduates of French secondary and higher education.

University and research cooperation

The French Center for Ethiopian Studies (CFEE) is one of twenty-seven French Research Institutes (IFRE) under the joint supervision of the CNRS and the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, and is the only foreign research center in Ethiopia. He is the operator of the French Embassy for the implementation of the university cooperation and research in Ethiopia. The CFEE has historically developed a high level of expertise in archeology, paleoanthropology and history. The center has also considerably developed in recent years its research in the contemporary field, on topics such as migration, urban development, the management of heritage and cultural projects, the place of women in society, or issues of peace and security. Advances in this research are presented at seminars and research workshops held throughout the year. The CFEE relies on long-standing and dense partnership relationships with many Ethiopian institutions, such as the ARCCH (Authority for Research and Conservation of the Cultural Heritage) and the IES (Institute of Ethiopian Studies), as well as several Ethiopian universities, among which those of Addis Ababa, Mekelle and Debre Berhan. Given its recognized expertise, the CFEE has been involved in several museum projects, in particular the design of the exhibition retracing the history of the museum and castle of Gondar (2018), restored by Franco-Ethiopian cooperation, or the establishment of the paleoanthropology gallery at the National Museum of Ethiopia in Addis Ababa (2014). The CFEE also supports Ethiopian research on Ethiopia by awarding scholarships, and also provides material support to numerous French and foreign researchers carrying out excavation missions in the country, including four of them (Omo valley, Wakarida, Lalibela, and lakes region of Ziway, Langano, and Abijata) receive financial support from the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs.

With a library of about 4000 references available to researchers, the CFEE publishes a scientific journal, the Annals of Ethiopia, publishes a scientific blog (An eye on the horn,, and participates in the writing or translation of scientific literature on Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa countries. The CFEE also publishes a collection of guides ( on urban heritage sites (Gondar, Dire Dawa and Addis Ababa Piazza area are already available).

In addition to the scientific activity of the CFEE, IRD researchers ( and Cirad ( regularly take long-term stays in Ethiopia to develop their research in a partnership approach in connection with Ethiopian academic and scientific institutions.

Partnership to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

The Embassy supports initiatives contributing to Ethiopia’s achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. The implementation of a Priority Solidarity Fund - FSP program over the period 2016-2018 made it possible to support in Addis Ababa and in the regions diversified projects implemented by Ethiopian civil society organizations: promotion of subsistence farming in urban areas; ecological constructions and access to water in schools; promotion of sustainable agriculture that does not consume pesticides; improvement of urban waste collection.

Given Ethiopia’s strong tourism potential and the job-creating potential of this sector, the Embassy also supports projects aimed at rehabilitating and preserving the country’s cultural and architectural heritage with a view to enhancing the economic value and the attractiveness of tourist sites.

Decentralized cooperation

Decentralized cooperation between France and Ethiopia celebrated its twentieth anniversary in November 2011. It promotes links between local authorities in the two countries, that work together on development projects and to encourage cultural and human exchanges:

The cities of Lyon (Metropolitan Lyon since 2014) and Addis Ababa maintain close cooperation, which started with technical assistance to the revision of the master plan of Addis Ababa in 1999. The cooperation exchanges between the two cities then continued with a gradual expansion to the areas of transport (metro and bus lines - Bus Rapid Transit) and waste management in the city especially. Since 2009, this cooperation has benefited from the financial and technical support of AFD, which has supported the municipality in financing infrastructure and urban services for 25 years.

The cooperation between Charleville-Mézières and Harar began in 2006, on the observation of a common historical heritage: the poet Rimbaud, native of the first and resident in the second. The opening of Rimbaud cultural center within the walls of the old fortified city (Jugol) classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the main achievement of this decentralized cooperation. This dynamic continues today through the project to develop a guest house within the cultural center, which will allow the Harari region to accommodate in a traditional architecture and an appropriate level of comfort visitors eager to learn about the authenticity of the local culture.

The cooperation between Dire Dawa and Villeurbanne started in 2009, in the continuity of the links already existing through the actions led by the Association France Ethiopia Horn of Africa, through projects carried out in the fields of health, education and access to water (equipment of a maternity, schools, drilling and construction of a well...).

In 2010, the two historic cities of Castles Gondar and Vincennes initiated a three-year (2010/2013) cooperation to promote economic, social and sustainable development in Gondar through the enhancement of its cultural and tourism heritage. The restoration and development of the "Ras Ghimb" castle, a historical monument dating from the 18th century, was completed in January 2014. This building houses a museum of the history of Gondar, created by the French Center for Ethiopian Studies, which was inaugurated in February 2018.

Humanitarian aid: France’s actions

Ethiopia is chronically food insecure due to the drought that is affecting the country’s lower valleys in the context of global warming. France participates in the humanitarian response in Ethiopia mainly through the multilateral channel, through the UN agencies, which are extremely active in the country. Through the bilateral channel, France contributed € 1.5 million in 2017 to the response to the humanitarian crisis that affects several million people across the country.

Dernière modification : 02/08/2019

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