Addis Ababa and Washington DC signed a sister city agreement on 11 December at the city hall in Washington.
The agreement remains in force for five years and is designed to facilitate cultural and educational exchanges between residents of both cities. It will also act as a platform for collaboration on mutual priority areas such as economic development, public health, urban planning and transportation.
The accord was signed by Washington DC mayor Vincent C. Gray and Addis Ababa mayor Diriba Kuma, in front of a large Ethiopian contingent.
Washington and its environs has the largest Ethiopian diaspora in the United States, estimated at up to 250,000, making it the largest number of Ethiopians in any urban area outside of Addis Ababa.
During the 1990s tens of thousands of Ethiopians fled their country's civil war to seek asylum in the US, with many settling in the capital.
The Ethiopian community in Washington has a business forum, radio station, its own 1,000-page telephone book and even a “Little Ethiopia” district.