BY DARGIE KAHSAY
The relation between Ethiopia and Kenya is beyond neighborhood. And further than official government to government diplomatic relations, the people-to-people relation between Ethiopia and Kenya is like a single nation. The boundary between the two countries is a soft boundary that becomes an economic corridor for both states and the people living in the border areas of the two countries are enjoying the relation.
Ethio-Kenya relation is politically stable, economically strong and socially bonded historic relation. These two neighboring countries have been enjoying their relations for centuries smoothly and peacefully. Unlike other neighboring states features in Africa that is full of completion, contention and dispute, the Ethio-Kenyan neighborhood is stable, peaceful and smooth for long period of time. It is something unique to see such like traditionally stable diplomatic relation for long period in the volatile region of the Horn of Africa.
Ethiopia and Kenya are interconnected with energy and the two countries with South Sudan are working to build an economic corridor to connect with the Kenya’s Lamu Port. Currently, Kenya based telecom; Safaricom is also becoming the only foreign company started telecom service in Ethiopia following the liberalization of the telecom sector by the Government of Ethiopia. The trade relation of the two countries is also strong.
This week, Kenya agreed to import wheat from Ethiopia. Ethiopia’s wheat investment is growing following the development of irrigation based wheat production. Now, since Ethiopia is preparing to export wheat, Kenya becomes the first country ready to import wheat from Ethiopia following the two countries leaders’ agreement in Addis Ababa this Thursday.
Ethiopia, the nucleus of the Horn of African region is the major actor of the Horn of Africa. Similarly, Kenya, with its stable political and economic development, is a major actor in the region. Both countries are also members and major actors of the Inter Governments Authority for Development (IGAD). The people to people and government to government relation of Ethio-Kenya is among the smooth, peaceful, stable relations that continued for centuries without major challenges.
On Thursday, the fifth President of Kenya, President William Ruto, just within a month of his presidential inauguration, came to Ethiopia for an official working visit. Ruto holds bilateral discussions with the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Abiy Ahmed (PhD) and both leaders attended the official launching ceremony of Safaricom Ethiopia in Addis Ababa. Well coming Ruto, PM Abiy said, “The relation between Kenya and Ethiopia is established on strong foundations and cordial cooperation focused on matters of mutual interests.”
The Ethio-Kenya relation is a text book example of win-win cooperation and the two countries are keeping their smooth and friendly relationship in the volatile region of the Horn of Africa. The relation of the two countries never changed with time, situations and leadership change, the relation between the two countries is continuously growing and becoming multidimensional. Now, they are interconnecting with more infrastructural and development sectors in addition to working together for the development of the two countries and for the stability and peace of the region as a whole.
Kenya has ports and Ethiopia is a landlocked country. Ethiopia is investing in road and dry port preparation to use Kenya ports. On the other hand, Ethiopia has a comparative advantage in renewable energy production and a grid connection is already completed to connect Ethiopia and Kenya. The trade relation between the two countries is also growing from year to year, though still it needs further interventions to capitalize it. The two countries have their own comparative advantages in all sectors and the people of the two countries are old enough to become an opportunity for the two countries products market. Safaricom’s opportunity in Ethiopia and the Kenya’s decision to import Ethiopia’s wheat grain are simple examples.
Ethiopia’s Medemer foreign policy approach gives due attention for the diplomatic relation of neighboring countries. Kenya, as a major actor of the region and true friend of Ethiopia, the Ethiopian foreign policy approach towards Kenya aims strengthening all relations so as to heighten the traditional relation of the two countries to maximize mutual benefits of the two countries through a win-win approach.
Keeping this old, historic and peaceful relation is one thing. But, only keeping it is not enough this time, it needs renewing, heightening and maximizing it for better mutual development of the two countries. These days, cooperation among states is the only way for common development and since the destiny of Ethiopia and Kenya is inseparable, it is crucial to improve, heighten and develop the relation in all sectors for better mutual development.
Keeping the traditional smooth relation, the governments of the two countries are exchanged views on ways of transforming the Ethio-Kenya all-rounded relations. Similarly, the leaders of the two countries in their discussion here in Addis Ababa agreed to work together to take the relation a higher level and to increase cross-border trade.
Editor’s Note: The views entertained in this article do not necessarily reflect the stance of The Ethiopian Herald
The Ethiopian Herald 9 October 2022