Countries of the Horn of Africa

When we speak of relations with other countries, we should first speak of our neighbors in the Horn of Africa; namely: the Sudan,Eritrea, Djibouti, Somalia, and Kenya.

In this world so closely interconnected through globalization, civil society has started to play a more important role in relations between countries. Religious organizations, professional associations and NGOs have been building links with fraternal organizations all over the world and are striving to spread the benefits of  globalization around.  In this  way, they contribute to development and the building of democracy.  They are becoming new  forms of inter-country interchange.   The government should  take note  of this  growing phenomenon and encourage and even help coordinate Ethiopian civil society so  that one's  interests and  security are respected.   It  is when we strengthen our networking, when we seek the widest participation, and  when we play a key  coordinating role that we  can build our capacity  to deliver what  is needed to protect our interests and security. 

These countries  have long standing  links with Ethiopia  in such areas as language,  culture, history, natural resources, and  so on. Changes in  Ethiopia affect  them directly,  and what  happens to them has an  impact on us.  There  are rivers that connect  us and have a  direct bearing on  our development.   This is  particularly true of Sudan, Somalia and  also Kenya.  Ethiopia is landlocked,while all our neighbors have ports that can provide services.  We need to consider our strong ties with our neighbors and chart out the appropriate policy towards them.

1.1  General Policy

The relations we have with a given country or group of countries is based on the protection of national interests and security, and as such, is linked to our democratization and opment goals. Our relations with countries in the Horn, therefore, should be seen from the vantage point of how relations could help us promote  our agenda of democracy and  development.  With our eyes firmly on fundamental national interests, we need to draft a policy on the basis of a sober analysis of the  value and  role of  these  countries vis  a vis  our own interests.

possibilities fully  and as the  region develops, opportunities will grow.  But in the present day context, the role of investment, trade  and development  finance  originating from  our region, on our development is quite limited. As regards natural resources, disagreements  of differing degrees might be expected to arise with the Sudan, Somalia and Kenya. However, the capacity of our neighbors to utilize water resources is low, and our assessments  indicate that the basis for conflicts of interest is not sound. The Horn countries can neither be obstacles for our utilization of water resources nor can they assist us to do so. Ethiopia has  had a  history of  both friendship  and hostility with these countries in the Horn, and there  is a risk of being guided by emotion  in assessing the  value of our  neighbors.

There could be the tendency to exaggerate or minimize their influence of  our neighbors in  our effort to  develop and democratize.  It is important to be free of emotions in analyzing the situation.

Our neighbors have ports and we do not, and as we develop, the need for efficient  service rendering ports will be  important. Port service  provision is to the mutual  benefit of both the provider and the recipient of the service.  In fact, if some of our neighbors were  not to provide port services to Ethiopia,  the damage  to  their economies  would  be  substantial. Therefore, if seen from the economic and mutual benefit point of views; port  services would be provided steadily  and predictably, and that is the way it should be.

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