German Unity Day celebrated in Addis Abeba

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The Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany to Ethiopia celebrated the 32nd German Unity Day (3rd October) in a lively event in the presence of honorable members of the House of Peoples’ Representatives, senior Government and African Union officials, Ambassadors, Heads of International Organizations, civil society and media representatives, artists, as well as members of the German community living and working in Ethiopia.

Distinguished Guest of Honor and Ethiopia’s Minister for Women and Social Affairs, Ergogie Tesfaye (PhD) delivered welcoming remarks.

Birhanu Nega (Professor), Minister of Education also attended the German Unity Day celebration.

In his opening speech, Stephan Auer, Ambassador of Germany to Ethiopia remarked: “We celebrate today 32 years of German reunification, a historic event brought about by the courageous people of Eastern Europe and Eastern Germany striving for freedom and democracy.”

The National Day celebration also provided the opportunity to celebrate Germany’s historic relationship with Ethiopia, and the close partnership with the African Union, the continental sister of the European Union, according to the Ambassador.

Ambassador Auer remarked that the celebration came at a time when the general mood was rather somber. Fighting has resumed in the North of Ethiopia, and people in many regions suffer from violence, hardship and drought. The African Union is managing crises in many parts of the continent, including unconstitutional changes in Government that violate the word and spirit of the AU constitutional act.

“War has also returned to Europe,” Ambassador Auer stressed. “The Russian war of aggression against Ukraine is raging for more than seven months already. Not only have the people of Ukraine and Europe felt its impact. Ordinary people on the streets of the African continent, in Addis Abeba, Lagos and Johannesburg, suffer from increased food prices due to the grain war that Russia is waging on the world.”

According to the Ambassador, “Some may see Russia’s war as a European problem. However, let me be clear: It is a global crisis. A crisis that inspires my Government and us here at the Embassy to redouble our diplomatic efforts to unite partners against this aggression and support the most vulnerable.”

With a view to the situation in Ethiopia, Ambassador Stephan Auer pointed out that the ties between Ethiopia and Germany date back hundreds of years. Diplomatic relations were established more than 100 years ago. In 2019, the German government adopted a reform partnership with the Government of Ethiopia to support the country in its political and economic reforms. He stressed that “Our relationship stands on a firm basis. This is why I am confident that we will also weather the current difficulties. When and how this will be achieved depends on our Ethiopian partners. Germany stands ready to fully re-engage our relations again.”

“However, for that to happen, we will need to see peace prevail in the North, an end to human suffering, a credible and transparent national dialogue and perpetrators of egregious human rights violations to be held accountable,” he said.

Welcoming the presence of the Minister for Women and Social Affairs, the Ambassador stated: “One thing is clear: for Ethiopia to overcome divisions and prosper, women will need to play a central role – as peacemakers, entrepreneurs, and activists. Women’s participation – equal participation – is not a “nice to have”; it is a must.”

Ergogie on her part said that Ethiopia will further strengthen its ties with Germany.

Pertaining to the relationship with the African Union, Ambassador Auer stressed that “We need the African Union more than ever. It has the mandate to lead negotiations to end the war and suffering in Northern Ethiopia and to start a long-overdue peace process.”

“Elsewhere on the continent, the African Union is working tirelessly for peace and stability so that democratic and economic progress can be achieved,” he said. He further added that “my Government is a staunch supporter of the African Union. Our partnership with Africa and the African Union is a policy priority back in Berlin.”

The German National Day celebration was held in cooperation with the State of Baden- Württemberg. The Economic Representative for East Africa, Mr. Estifanos Samuel, welcomed the guest, recalling his personal experience attending the first reunification celebration on 3rd of October 1990 as a boy in Cologne, Germany.

Musical entertainment was provided by the famous Roha Band and artists performed life painting with the artwork being used for charity. Several German organizations displayed their activities, including the Goethe Institute, DAAD, German Church School, German Embassy School, State of  Baden-Württemberg, and GIZ.

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