Ethiopia is the second most populous country in Africa with well over seventy million people, half of them below the age of twenty years. It is a strategic country not only because it is the seat of the African Union (AU) and United Nation Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), but also because it is the door, in many ways, to Sub-Saharan Africa. It is critical for stability in the Horn of the African region.
The Catholic Church has significantly contributed to education and humanitarian relief operations in the country. At present it manages 358 Primary and Secondary Schools. The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (FDRE) has acknowledged the contribution of the Catholic Church and requested it to establish an international Catholic University in Ethiopia.
In 2005 the FDRE and Catholic Bishops Conference of Ethiopia (CBCE) signed a formal agreement for the establishment of the Catholic University of Ethiopia that will be open to students and teachers of all backgrounds and beliefs. The Ethiopian Government has given land for the Campus in the capital city Addis Ababa. In 2006, the University was officially named ECUSTA, Ethiopian Catholic University of St. Thomas Aquinas.
In 2008, Medical Laboratory Technology became the first discipline to be offered. ECUSTA is now formally registered as a non-profit Higher Learning Institution with the Ministry of Education.
ECUSTA is currently hosted in the Catholic Cathedral Compound in Addis Ababa and is ready to open new programmes and begin the construction of the new campus on the land granted by the Ethiopian Government.