The University of Gondar recently hosted a high-profile delegation from the Canadian Embassy. Among the representatives who came, H.E Stéphane Jobin, Canadian Ambassador and a political affairs staff member of the embassy were present.
The strong ties between Ethiopia and Canada first began in 1956 when Canada established a diplomatic mission in Addis Ababa. This relationship has been growing ever since and today Ethiopia is one of Canada’s most important partners in Africa. High-level exchanges between the two countries in the form of bilateral visits and dialogues enable the two countries to strengthen the ties of friendship, bolster economic cooperation and share best practices.
As it is known the University of Gondar was conceived through the joint effort of the then Ethiopian Imperial Government and the United States, which was named the 4-point Program. Hence, it is clear that universities, such as UoG, are cognizant of the role of international stakeholders and their role in developing Ethiopian based institutions. When welcoming the guests, Dr. Asrat Atsedeweyn, the President of the University of Gondar, shared that Trade between Canada and Ethiopia has been steadily increasing over the past decade as well. Bilateral trade in goods between the two countries amounts to more than $250 million Canadian dollars annually. Ethiopia is now the 4th largest trading partner for Canada in sub-Saharan Africa.
On his part Ambassador Stéphane shared that the Canadian Government has been heavily involved in the education sector in Ethiopia since the 1950’s. He shared with the people in attendance that the Canadian people, via missionaries, helped establish the Haile Selassie the first University which is now named Addis Ababa University. The Canadian effort in this regard helped increase the knowledge of tens of thousands of able minded Ethiopians and till this day Canadian institutions are supporting in the educational endeavors of the Ethiopian people.
When speaking on the great initiatives that Canadian based intuitions are working in unison with the University of Gondar, Dr. Asrat, couldn’t help but allud to the ten-year partnership with the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program and the tremendous achievements and strides it has made. “Thanks to Canadian institutions, like the Mastercard Foundation, we are giving scholarships to 450 talented youth with disabilities and disadvantages, sending 60 staff members to obtain their MSc and PhD degrees at a renowned Canadian university, working on eight collaborative researches, creating new programs of international importance, organizing CBR certificate programs and gaining insight into finally institutionalizing the efforts being done in inclusivity,” shared Dr. Asrat.
UoG has been benefiting tremendously from its collaborations and has been able to create win-win scenarios that have the interests of all parties as its top priority. The President later shared that the presence of the Ambassador of Canada can only create a more suitable situation where the Canadian Embassy, in the near future, will be working in more areas with the University of Gondar.
The guests from the Canadian embassy, in their time at UoG, were allowed to meet deans and directors, discuss on current plans, received insight from staff on how to strengthen the people-to-people interaction, visited the MCF office at UoG, spoke to prospective UoG staff who are planning on studying in Canada and talked with MCF Scholars.
Canadian exports to Ethiopia, in recent memory, have included education and mining related services, agricultural and forestry products, machinery and electrical equipment, pharmaceuticals and chemicals. Ethiopia is the largest market for Canadian pulses, and Canadian investments in the country are focused on agri-business, education, and health services.