Promoting the ties, Prince Ermias Sahle Selassie, grandson of Emperor Haile Selassie, believes both are “gateway” countries – Australia to Asia, and Ethiopia to Africa.

By Andrew Clark (The Australian Financial Review) |

On the face of it, Australia and Ethiopia have little in common. A poor country of 100 million people on the Horn of Africa, Ethiopia is scarred by coups, civil wars and famine.

But links range from Australian mining investments to eucalyptus trees ringing the capital Addis Ababa; from Australian “Whaler” horses providing mounts for the ceremonial guard, to both countries’ soldiers fighting alongside in the Korean War. And then there is the Australian-founded, funded and run obstetric fistula hospital, the Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia.

Promoting the ties, Prince Ermias Sahle Selassie, President of the Crown Council and putative successor to the oldest throne in the world, believes both are “gateway” countries – Australia to Asia, and Ethiopia to Africa.

Australia is “a gateway to Asia and because of that to the world.” he says. Ethiopia is the oldest state in Africa with the oldest continuous Judeo-Christian bloodlines. It hosts the African Union, and ranks, after Brussels, as a major diplomatic capital, making it “the gateway for Africa”.

Australia: a global microcosm

Warming to his theme, Prince Ermias views Australia as “a microcosm of what the world may look like in the future because you have all types of people in this supposedly isolated and remote place”.

Arriving in Sydney, “what struck me the most was the multicultural nature of Australia. I found it more visually stunning than New York.” The Big Apple “is supposed to be a melting pot of the world but when I came to Sydney Airport and I was watching all those faces I just could not believe the interaction of people.”

This bilateral gateway status is part of one of the more intriguing foreign visits to Australia in recent years. Prince Ermias – his full name is His Imperial Highness Prince Ermias Sahle Selassie Haile Selassie – is retracing the steps of his grandfather, Emperor Haile Selassie, near the 50th anniversary of a state visit to Australia in 1968.

Continue reading this story at The Australian Financial Review
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