A boon to continental grand vision

Continental integration is one of the priority areas that Africa has been pushing for as per Agenda 2063. The Future also identifies key Flagship Programmes that can boost Africa’s economic growth and development and lead to the rapid transformation of the continent. From the continental free trade zone to the LAPSSET initiative, Africa has been toiling to realize integration with various countries entering bilateral and multilateral accords that would build on the aspiration.

Agenda 2063 is the continent’s blueprint and master plan for becoming a global powerhouse with a strategic framework of inclusive and sustainable development. With the Agenda, Africa focuses on inclusive social and economic development, continental and regional integration, democratic governance, peace, and security, among other issues intended to reposition Africa to become a dominant player in the global arena, in contrast to previous times when the continent was primarily focused on decolonization and political freedom.

African nations, both together and apart, have been striving to put bricks on the aspiration. Additionally, nations like Ethiopia have taken the lead in promoting economic integration. Through the provision of energy and power supplies to its neighbors, the nation has been at the forefront of regional integration. The nation’s massive construction projects are advantageous to its borders.

Over the years, the nation has been making significant investments in joint infrastructure initiatives that support regional growth. Ethiopia’s inclusive growth is centered on efforts to connect the nation to Djibouti, Sudan, Kenya, and South Sudan via electricity, road, and rail transportation; after the Abbay Dam is built, the nation will be exporting to distant nations.

The recent agreement between Ethiopia and Somaliland on sea access is a significant development that opens the door to much-needed regional integration.

The agreement is highly crucial to regional and continental goals and has increased hope for an integrated Horn. To the level-headed, the agreement even presents a clever illustration of a give-and-take tactic. It is in the best interests of the regional nations to share resources and integrate the Horn region, as population growth is expected to be rapid, and economic growth is expected to continue.

Ethiopia’s recent move to enter an agreement with Somaliland is meant to reduce dependence on a single transportation route and expand trade opportunities through the provision of export destinations. Securing port access eases transaction hurdles and stabilizes the economy.

Geographic proximity, infrastructural development, and cost efficiency also play into the country’s aspiration. In addition to significance to national socio-economic development, port deals with neighboring nations also cement regional cooperation. Having multiple ports access or direct sea outlets can be vital in providing a quicker and more effective route for transporting commodities. Ensuring economically and geographically advantageous ports will help reduce the time and money needed for shipping products

Ethiopia’s accord with Somaliland is a continuation of its decades of amicable comradely and reciprocal foreign policy, not a farfetched move to breach the sovereignty of another country, so argue experts, stressing the need to have direct sea access to secure national interests in the fiercely-contested region.

In contradiction to the sacred objective of the deal, some entities have been trying to twist the deal into their own propaganda and lopsided narrations. Experts however slammed the doubts and supersized interpretations of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for Partnership and Cooperation between Ethiopia and Somaliland while describing the agreement as valid and reciprocal actions which would serve the entire region.

Ethiopia has not reinvented something new, its agreement with Somaliland is part and parcel of its three decades of foreign policy towards Hargeisa, said Dr. Abdu Mohamed, History and International Affairs analyst at Dilla University speaking to The Ethiopian Herald.

Ethiopia and Somaliland have been forging commercial and other diplomatic relations devoid of external reactions and standpoints. And, the country needs to view the ongoing reactions carefully from diplomacy and peace perspectives, Dr. Abdu added.

Ethiopian airlines have been flying to Hergisa and Ethiopia has a share in the Berbera port. So, the recent MoU is not a new phenomenon, it is normal for two parties to seal a mutual agreement so long as it does not affect others, Fekadu Deriba, a law instructor at Hawassa University said slamming the wrong characterization of the agreement by some entities.

“Ethiopia needs to study the reactions following the signing carefully and craft appropriate response mechanisms and continue to create clarity.”

No external entity should dictate Ethiopia as to when and with whom it should enter into agreements. It is up to Ethiopia to decide on its foreign policy, said Fekadu adding: “The country’s quest for access to a sea outlet is historical, legal and geopolitical rational. Its interest can be achieved through various means. A mutual agreement is one path.”

Ethiopia’s quest is purely economic and reciprocal; its agreement with Somaliland is neither an invasion nor a violation of sovereignty, argued Awel Ali political Science and Philosophy Instructor at Hawassa University. That is why it needs alternative port access or sovereign access to the sea. Most of the time threats or attacks are launched from the sea and having sea access will give the country to freely import the armament it needs to protect its security.

Expressing his delight over the recent development, that agreement should be followed by concrete actions by the parties to it. Both parties need to work more on the details and translate the accord into action.

Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for Partnership and Cooperation would give Ethiopia, already besieged by natural and man-made disasters, the chance to establish a port and station a naval force in the Red Sea, as well as give Somaliland a stake in Ethiopia’s public sector. Both parties to the agreement have clear and sincere aims, which are to promote common growth.

The agreement once realized will be a unifying force and an example to promote unity in the fractured area, in contrast to some incorrect responses from some entities.

The agreement also suggests that a new era is emerging in the unstable area. Additionally, it is the ongoing manifestation of Ethiopia’s persistent determination to foster close friendship and cordial relations with its neighbors. Ethiopia has already signed agreements to construct infrastructure cooperatively with its neighbors. The agreement with Somaliland is also the same.

The agreement also suggests that a new era in the unstable area is about to dawn. Furthermore, it represents Ethiopia’s ongoing commitment to fostering close friendship and cordial relations with its neighbors. Ethiopia has already signed agreements to cooperate on cooperative infrastructure development with neighboring countries. The Memorandum of Understanding with Somaliland is the same.




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