Category Archives: Ethiopia

Top ten 10 poorest countries in the world

GDP per capita is often considered an indicator of the standard of living of a given country, as it reflects the average wealth of each person residing in a country. It is therefore the standard method used to compare how poor or wealthy countries are in relation to each other. With 2018 coming to a close, we decided to take a look at our forecasts for GDP per capita from 2019 to 2023 for the 127 countries we cover to get an idea of what countries are the poorest currently and which will be making a leap toward becoming wealthier in the coming years. The projections used in this study are Consensus Forecasts based on the individual forecasts of over 1000 world renowned investment banks, economic think tanks and professional economic forecasting firms.

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Click image to view larger version – See the full list below

As one might imagine those closest to the top of the list are mostly emerging markets and least developed countries of which the majority are from Sub-Saharan Africa. Similar to our ranking for the most miserable economies, this is one of those lists where the “winners” aren’t really winners; being as far from the top of the list as possible is a good thing.

Many of the poorest nations in the world are places where issues such as authoritarian regimes, political turmoil, weak financial institutions, inadequate infrastructure and corruption deter foreign investment despite the fact that many of them are immensely rich in natural resources and have a young, growing population. In our list of the top 10, five are landlocked, which means they have no direct access to maritime trade and another one is in the midst of a civil war, which helps to explain why some of them are currently not in the best of shape.

Despite how grim that may sound, these countries stand to benefit the most in the coming years as emerging markets will become vitally important to the global economy. Although per capita GDP will still be the highest in the developed world by 2023, the fastest growth in GDP per capita will indeed come from many of the world’s poorest economies currently. According to our forecasts, the highest per capita growth from 2017–2023 will be in Mongolia with an 89% increase in that time span, followed by Myanmar, Egypt, Serbia and Bangladesh with 83%, 80%, 79%, and 67% growth in per capita GDP, respectively.

With that said, let’s have a look at the poorest countries in the world according to the FocusEconomics Consensus Forecast for 2019 nominal GDP per capita.

1. Democratic Republic of Congo
2017 GDP per Capita: USD 439

2019 GDP per Capita (projected): USD 475

2023 GDP per Capita (projected): USD 551

Although the DRC has abundant natural resources, unfortunately with a projected 2019 GDP per capita of USD 475, the country is in the unenviably position of being the poorest country in the world. There has been severe political unrest in recent years, as calls for President Joseph Kabila, who took power after the assassination of his father in 2001, reached a fever pitch in 2018. Kabila was reelected in 2011 in a controversial election and had since postponed elections several times. Finally in August, Kabila declared that he would not seek re-election and named a successor candidate. The next presidential election has been slated for 23 December and opposition parties selected well-known businessman and veteran legislator, Martin Fayulu, as the unity candidate on 11 November following lengthy talks in Geneva. Fayulu has been one of the fiercest critics of President Joseph Kabila’s tight grip on power. While strong activity in the extractive sectors has supported firm growth, the long-delayed elections have led to a tense business environment and a slowdown in overall activity. Moreover, Katanga Mining (a subsidiary of Glencore) announced a temporary halt to cobalt production at its Kamoto mine, after high levels of uranium were discovered.

Strong demand for key export commodities, including copper and cobalt, is expected to drive growth next year. Moreover, a sharp decline in inflation should buoy domestic demand. Political risks, however, darken the outlook. FocusEconomics analysts have thus far priced-in a peaceful transition of power—which would mark the first since independence in 1960—projecting growth of 3.7% in 2019 and 4.3% in 2020.

2. Mozambique
2017 GDP per Capita: USD 429

2019 GDP per Capita (projected): USD 502

2023 GDP per Capita (projected): USD 648

The second poorest country in the world is Mozambique with a forecasted GDP per capita of USD 502 for 2019. The former Portuguese colony has high hopes of transforming its economy based on prospects of abundant natural gas fields discovered in 2011. The country recently took an important step toward said transformation with the approval of a USD 20 billion Anadarko liquified natural gas plant in early-2018, which envisages exploiting the country’s vast deposits of natural gas.

Economic growth is expected to accelerate this year on the back of higher prices for natural gas. FocusEconomics panelists see growth of 3.5% in 2018 and 4.1% in 2019.

3. Uganda
2017 GDP per Capita: USD 726

2019 GDP per Capita (projected): USD 759

2023 GDP per Capita (projected): USD 959

Uganda finds itself in third place on the list with a 2019 projected GDP per capita of USD 759. Although this represents a large leap from the level of the first two on the list, Uganda is a bit of a strange case. Following the 1986 armed conflict, the ruling political party National Resistance Movement (NRM), enacted a series of structural reforms and investments that led to a period of significant economic growth and poverty reduction all the way up to 2010. In the last five years or so, economic growth has slowed and consequently so has the pace of poverty reduction. There are a variety of factors that have brought on the slowdown, however, it has been attributed mostly to adverse weather, private sector credit constraints, the poor execution of public sector projects and unrest in their neighbor South Sudan, which has flooded the country with refugees fleeing the country and subdued exports. According to the World Bank, if Foreign Direct Investment accelerates, the banking system stabilizes, and budgeted, capital spending is executed without delays, the economy may start to pick up once again, helping to reduce poverty.

Luckily for Uganda, it appears the FDI is indeed improving according to the latest confiremd data, expanding by double digits in 2017, which bodes well for the economy and poverty reduction in the near future. The downside risk to the outlook is the weakness in the financial system, particularly the low level of credit in the private sector and the high cost of small loans. FocusEconomics panelists see growth of 5.9% in 2019 and 6.1% in 2020.

4. Tajikistan
2017 GDP per Capita: USD 777

2019 GDP per Capita (projected): USD 861

2023 GDP per Capita (projected): USD 1159

Tajikistan is number four on the list of poorest countries with a projected 2019 GDP per capita of USD 861. Tajikistan gained independence after the fall of the Soviet Union, however, a civil war broke out shortly after, which lasted five years until 1997. Since then, political stability and foreign aid have allowed the country’s economy to grow, reducing poverty rather remarkably. According the World Bank, poverty fell from over 83% to 47% between 2000 and 2009 and fell further from 37% to 30% between 2012 and 2016. Since then, poverty reduction, has regrettably stagnated, however, it is projected to fall from 30% to 25% by 2019 as growth picks up.

The economy, which is highly reliant on remittances, is expected to grow strongly in again 2019. Improving labor market dynamics, and a continued robust inflow of remittances supported by Russia’s ongoing economic recovery, should buoy private consumption. Headwinds to the growth outlook include a less supportive external environment owing to tighter global financial conditions and the escalating tit-for-tat trade war. The economy is seen growing 5.7% in 2019 and 5.4% in 2020.

5. Yemen
2016 GDP per Capita: USD 762

2019 GDP per Capita (projected): USD 913

2023 GDP per Capita (projected): USD 1079

Yemen is in the midst of massive civil war that has caused a catastrophic humanitarian crisis, which goes a long way to explaining the country’s place on this list of the poorest countries in the world. Yemen is forecast to have a GDP per capita of USD 913 in 2019. Basic services across the country are on the verge of collapse, as half of the population is currently living in areas directly affected by the conflict and millions of Yemenis have been forcibly displaced.

Yemen is also facing the worst famine in a century, according to the United Nations, with 14 million people at risk of starvation. After peace talks failed to get off the ground in September, fighting only intensified. In recent weeks, the unofficial exchange rate has come under pressure despite a USD 200 million cash injection from Saudi Arabia into Yemen’s Central Bank in October, while Yeminis around the country have protested for better living conditions.

Following three-and-a-half years of civil war, the economy is expected to return to growth for the first time in six years in 2019; albeit thanks in part to a miserably-low base effect. FocusEconomics expects the economy to expand 5.3% in 2019 and 7.6% in 2020.

6. Haiti
2017 GDP per Capita: USD 776

2019 GDP per Capita (projected): USD 923

2023 GDP per Capita (projected): USD 993

Haiti is number six on the list with an expected GDP per capita of USD 923. Haiti is extremely vulnerable to extreme weather and natural disasters with 90% of the country’s population at risk according to the World Bank. These natural disasters batter the country in more ways than one, including the economy. The 2010 earthquake for example did damage equivalent to 32% of the country’s GDP.

Although there is some positive sentiment over Haiti’s political situation, as new president Jovenel Moïse took office in February of last year and the new parliament and cabinet were ratified later in the year, which should allow the country to accelerate reforms and move public programs forward to create a more sustainable development for all Haitians, the country remains the poorest in the Americas. More than 6 million out of 10.4 million Haitians live under the national poverty line of USD 2.41 per day and over 2.5 million live under the national extreme poverty line of USD 1.23 per day according to the latest household survey (ECVMAS 2012). As far as income equality goes, it is also one of the most unequal, with a Gini coefficient of 0.59 as of 2012.

While the economy started 2017 on a solid footing, economic activity has decelerated since, mostly due to the negative impact of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Furthermore, the U.S. administration’s decision to scrap Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitians as of July 2019 threatens all-important remittance inflows, which account for around 34% of the country’s GDP. As a result of this decision, around 60,000 Haitians currently living in the U.S. could be forced to return to Haiti.

Growth should accelerate in 2019, though the country’s prospects remain hampered by rampant corruption and political instability. Growth is projected to come in at 2.7% in 2019 and 2.7% again in 2020.

7. Ethiopia
2016 GDP per Capita: USD 884

2019 GDP per Capita (projected): USD 1122

2023 GDP per Capita (projected): USD 1508

Back to Africa now with number seven on the list, Ethiopia is located in the Horn of Africa, which gives it a great strategic jumping off point, as it is close to the Middle East and its markets. Although it is technically landlocked, it’s tiny bordering neighbor, Djibouti acts as its main port. Ethiopia has grown rapidly since the turn of the century, and is currently the fastest growing country in Africa, although extremely poor as evidenced by its projected 2019 GDP per capita of just USD 1122.

Along with Ethiopia’s rapid economic growth came significant reductions in poverty with over 55% of Ethiopians living in extreme poverty in 2000 dropping to 33.5% in 2011, according to the World Bank. To sustain its economic growth and poverty reduction, good governance is needed, however, significant public unrest has taken hold in Ethiopia of late over the country’s authoritarian regime.

In a bid to cool mass unrest and open the way for economic reforms, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn submitted his resignation on 15 February. In October, parliament approved Sahle-Work Zewde to become the country’s first female president—a sign of political openness from Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. Growth should remain robust in FY 2018, although is likely to slow somewhat as the government restrains public investment growth to limit imports. That said, an improving business environment following market-friendly economic reforms could propel stronger activity in the private sector. FocusEconomics sees the economy growing 8.2% in FY 2018 and 7.6% in FY 2019.

8. Tanzania
2017 GDP per Capita: USD 1037

2019 GDP per Capita (projected): USD 1159

2023 GDP per Capita (projected): USD 1502

Number eight on the list of poorest economies is Tanzania with an expected USD 1159 GDP per capita for 2019. Tanzania’s economy has been very consistent over the last decade averaging between 6 and 7% growth every year. According to the World Bank, the poverty rate has also steadily declined, however, the absolute number of people living in poverty has not due to the high growth rate of its population over that time.

Economic prospects for Tanzania depend on infrastructure investment, improving the business environment, increasing agricultural productivity, amongst others and growth prospects for next year remain strong. The economy should continue to expand solidly, supported by sustained infrastructure spending and growth within the services sector on the back of growing tourist inflows. FocusEconomics expects GDP to expand 6.5% in 2019, which is unchanged from last month’s forecast, and 6.4% in 2020.

9. Kyrgyzstan
2017 GDP per Capita: USD 1203

2019 GDP per Capita (projected): USD 1266

2023 GDP per Capita (projected): USD 1488

Kyrgyzstan is ninth on the list with an expected 2019 GDP per capita of USD 1266. A landlocked, largely mountainous country with just over 6 million inhabitants, the Kyrgyz Republic recently adopted a parliamentary system in 2011. Having experienced considerable political and social instability with weak governance and high corruption since gaining independence in 1991, the country’s current democracy is a far cry from those days. Nonetheless corruption is still pervasive in the public sector, which constrain the country’s economic growth potential.

The Kyrgyz economy is also vulnerable to external shocks due to its overreliance on its massive gold mine, Kumtor, which accounts for about 10% of GDP, as well as remittances, which amount to about 30% of GDP.

Growing gold production in September at the all-important Kumtor mine powered the rebound in economic activity recorded in the January–September period, when GDP increased slightly in annual terms, from the small contraction recorded in January–August. That said, cumulative mining output in January–September was still much lower than in the same period last year, which translated into falling exports. On the other hand, during the same time span, sustained wage increases and rising remittances led to a solid expansion in retail sales while both capital investment and construction increased strongly.

GDP growth is set to accelerate next year, as production at the Kumtor gold mine increases, driving output growth in the industrial sector. Solid consumer spending, fueled by healthy wage growth and higher remittances from Russia, will also underpin the expansion. A possible cooling in economic activity in Russia due to U.S. sanctions, however, cloud the outlook. FocusEconomics projects GDP growth of 4.3% in 2019 and 4.5% in 2020.

10. Uzbekistan
2017 GDP per Capita: USD 1514

2019 GDP per Capita (projected): USD 1350

2023 GDP per Capita (projected): USD 2351

Uzbekistan is last on the list of poorest countries according to 2019 GDP per capita, which is forecast to come in at USD 1350. The country’s economic growth was fast between 2004 and 2016, lifting significant portions of the country out of poverty. A country rich in commodities, Uzbekistan was aided by high commodities prices and increased exports of gas, gold and copper, which generated state revenues that financed large increases in investment and wages that bolstered private consumption.

Unfortunately, in the period between 2013 and 2016, commodities prices came crashing down along with the weak performance of Russia and China, key trade partners, adversely affected the economy. Despite the external environment weakening, the government’s countercyclical fiscal and monetary policies allowed growth to slow only slightly, however, poverty reduction has largely stagnated.

In February of 2017, the government began implementing its Strategy of Actions for the Development of Uzbekistan for 2017-2021, which among other things included measures to liberalize its economy. One measure was implemented in September of 2017, which linked the official exchange rate with the curb market rate and established a framework to allow it to flow.

Unfortunately, the economy moderated sharply in 2017 to 5.3% from 2016’s 7.8%, the slowest print since 2003. The moderation partly reflected the impact of the currency devaluation, which had caused inflation to spike and real disposable income to drop. It also underscored the short-lived impact that many market-friendly reforms pushed ahead by the government to attract foreign investment are having on the economy.

The economy grew 5.2% annually in the January–September 2018 period, driven by a strong services sector and solid industrial output. Industrial activity was propped up by soaring mining and quarrying production, largely thanks to a booming natural gas sector. In addition, construction activity expanded robustly in the same period, supported by buoyant demand for real estate amid easing inflationary pressures. On 19 October, authorities began preparatory work on the country’s first nuclear plant, estimated to cost USD 11 billion and largely financed by Russia, in a bid to further strengthen Uzbekistan’s energy sector. The government has also signed multibillion-dollar economic and investment deals with Russia and the U.S. as the country continues its pro-liberal economic policy push.

In 2019, growth should remain solid on the back of sustained government spending, healthy capital investment and a growing inflow of remittances from Russia. FocusEconomics expects the economy to expand 5.1% in 2019, down 0.4 percentage points from last month’s forecast, and 5.5% in 2020.

You can see the entire list below of our projections for GDP per capita for 2018 below. If you’d like to get more historical data, Consensus Forecasts, charts, graphs and written analysis from our team of economists, download a free sample report by clicking on the button below the table.

GDP Per Capita 2019-2023
2019 Rank Country GDP per Capita 2019 (projected) GDP per Capita 2017 (actual) 2017 Rank GDP per Capita 2023 (projected) 2023 Rank
1 DRC 475.3217 438.5256 2 551.3249 1
2 Mozambique 501.9192 429.3636 1 647.641 2
3 Uganda 759.0817 725.9486 3 959.4522 3
4 Tajikistan 861.2937 777.0268 5 1158.827 6
5 Yemen 912.5141 – N/A 1079.137 5
6 Haiti 922.7217 775.8355 4 992.7961 4
7 Ethiopia 1122.567 – N/A 1508.321 9
8 Tanzania 1159.105 1037.079 6 1502.31 8
9 Kyrgyzstan 1266.064 1203.071 7 1487.614 7
10 Uzbekistan 1350.473 1513.999 10 2350.817 14
11 Zambia 1479.781 1566.378 13 1858.185 10
12 Pakistan 1495.477 1546.844 12 1869.015 11
13 Myanmar 1533.067 1278.07 8 2337.462 13
14 Cambodia 1627.842 1383.751 9 2194.383 12
15 Bangladesh 1774.44 1521.366 11 2547.109 18
16 CDI 1899.69 1618.134 14 2526.718 17
17 Kenya 1960.507 1691.498 15 2357.122 15
18 Nicaragua 2151.084 2220.543 19 2388.447 16
19 India 2171.269 1979.313 16 – N/A
20 Nigeria 2318.455 1994.661 17 2988.712 19
21 Ghana 2434.003 2061.11 18 3278.356 21
22 Vietnam 2749.925 2354.901 20 3750.412 22
23 Laos 2898.278 2522.904 22 3925.37 24
24 Honduras 2909.249 2773.835 25 3202.053 20
25 Egypt 2924.286 2471.783 21 4439.591 30
26 Ukraine 3033.515 2685.161 23 4237.628 28
27 Angola 3041.152 4388.521 40 4274.436 29
28 Philippines 3306.841 2989.068 26 4560.859 31
29 Moldova 3347.066 2761.133 24 3922.999 23
30 Tunisia 3502.351 3479.192 29 4155.141 26
31 Morocco 3513.398 3159.52 27 4120.344 25
32 Bolivia 3727.982 3388.005 28 4228.401 27
33 Venezuela 3887.217 – N/A – N/A
34 Indonesia 4042.662 3875.781 32 5480.01 37
35 El Salvador 4172.125 3894.715 33 4782.359 32
36 SriLanka 4264.391 4071.251 36 5565.878 38
37 Algeria 4281.844 4036.28 35 5369.218 34
38 Georgia 4322.538 4265.342 39 5765.187 42
39 Armenia 4462.305 3862.116 31 5681.698 41
40 Azerbaijan 4505.525 4148.86 37 5449.05 36
41 Jordan 4554.322 4195.882 38 5436.38 35
42 Kosovo 4669.263 4026.13 34 6298.403 43
43 Mongolia 4694.103 3639.977 30 6886.963 45
44 Guatemala 4769.698 4466.347 41 5613.315 39
45 Belize 4850.095 4825.427 43 5025.607 33
46 Iraq 5081.196 4920.48 44 5672.477 40
47 Jamaica 5455.045 5198.3 45 6603.454 44
48 Albania 5532.769 4644.693 42 7033.495 47
49 Iran 5645.365 5634.898 49 7852.415 51
50 Paraguay 6050.501 5633.191 48 7166.749 48
51 Bosnia 6130.693 5309.657 46 8152.124 53
52 South Africa 6135.719 6281.276 53 7491.503 49
53 Belarus 6169.273 5707.975 50 7616.448 50
54 Ecuador 6210.746 6216.598 52 6919.949 46
55 Macedonia 6270.104 5437.174 47 8274.915 55
56 Colombia 6886.258 6377.405 54 8262.014 54
57 Turkmenistan 7203.68 6642.032 56 8020.402 52
58 Peru 7238.793 6748.979 57 9126.309 56
59 Thailand 7572.41 6590.926 55 9494.643 57
60 Serbia 7772.239 5904.748 51 10597.87 60
61 Turkey 8060.201 10541.78 67 11338.95 62
62 Dominican Republic 8245.759 7472.295 58 9693.61 58
63 Botswana 8403.47 7657.871 59 10499.33 59
64 Montenegro 9127.597 7796.785 60 11935.33 64
65 Brazil 9180.12 9895.964 66 11365.09 63
66 Kazakhstan 9346.117 8585.308 62 12053.76 65
67 Argentina 9519.177 14605.17 75 10853.51 61
68 Bulgaria 10008.19 8300 61 13491.55 68
69 China 10148.53 8805.975 63 14442.21 69
70 Mexico 10357.13 9325.097 64 12732.19 66
71 Russia 10640.84 10957.71 69 13289.46 67
72 Malaysia 11354.87 9814.508 65 14714.68 71
73 Costa Rica 12095.84 11626.27 71 14623.26 70
74 Romania 12811.64 10843.51 68 17476.31 73
75 Lebanon 12895.13 11495.45 70 15658.22 72
76 Croatia 15777.19 13814.83 72 20657.06 76
77 Poland 16460.36 13825.27 73 22526.56 81
78 Panama 16568.68 15198.58 77 20195.35 75
79 Chile 16590.26 15117.77 76 20852.7 77
80 Hungary 16660.19 14349.87 74 22278.07 79
81 Uruguay 16907.26 17104.49 81 22389.87 80
82 Oman 17563.99 17102.49 80 18725.36 74
83 Trinidad 17827.89 16146.82 79 21583.47 78
84 Latvia 18610.53 15571.79 78 24869.22 83
85 Lithuania 20364.45 18513.27 83 28160.73 86
86 Greece 20886.22 18638.56 84 25929.76 84
87 Slovakia 20987.53 17639.72 82 27155.12 85
88 Saudi Arabia 22278.18 21095.4 87 24846.53 82
89 Estonia 24123.96 20275.08 85 32358.3 91
90 Portugal 24205.31 21294.77 88 30030.2 88
91 CzechRepublic 24968.04 20492.96 86 33081.46 92
92 Taiwan 25949.99 24382.5 91 31246.56 89
93 Bahrain 26026.56 24237.5 90 29461.96 87
94 Slovenia 27634.46 23494.68 89 35535.75 94
95 Kuwait 28140.95 27129.24 93 31892.92 90
96 Cyprus 29367.9 26081.87 92 36237.79 95
97 Brunei 30294.58 28276.27 95 34070.92 93
98 Malta 31854.31 27326.09 94 41280.48 99
99 Korea 32660.66 29745.07 97 39784.39 96
100 Spain 32672.64 28393.94 96 40600.76 97
101 PuertoRico 32682.34 31229.57 98 40601.42 98
102 Italy 35580.39 32354.72 99 42000.28 100
103 UAE 38756.57 37728.2 100 43211.3 101
104 NewZealand 40429.89 41536.53 104 47487.16 102
105 Japan 41498.26 38175.17 101 47640.65 103
106 Israel 42520.91 41840.48 105 50825.49 104
107 UnitedKingdom 44617.91 39901.32 103 53548.03 105
108 France 44857.76 39889.51 102 53625.24 106
109 Belgium 48540.49 44112.05 106 58460.56 108
110 Canada 48651.49 45080.67 107 55542.25 107
111 HongKong 50164.08 46064.78 109 59466.59 109
112 Germany 50815.83 45275.83 108 62229.67 110
113 Finland 51647.6 46393.24 110 62589.18 111
114 Austria 53807.81 47860.47 111 64806.86 112
115 Netherlands 55453.01 48485.41 112 67414.58 113
116 Sweden 56305.87 52958.5 113 75053.39 118
117 Australia 57171.87 55680.85 114 67846.35 114
118 Singapore 62004.74 57494.65 116 73585.83 115
119 Denmark 62204.32 57359.54 115 74401.73 117
120 Qatar 64788.74 60693.81 118 77778.58 119
121 USA 65132.9 59792.04 117 73856.17 116
122 Iceland 78031.79 73477.01 120 95854.63 120
123 Ireland 79773.38

: Afrika times: Shakir Essa

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Saudi Arabia with UAE and Turkey with Qatar Are Playing a Dangerous Game in the Horn of Africa

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The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has been expanding its role in the Horn of Africa. Along with other Gulf powers, it is broadening its ties to the region. Strategic rivalries, including those within the Gulf Cooperation Council pitting the UAE and Saudi Arabia against Qatar, often motivate Gulf powers’ increasing influence.

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Why does it matter? The influence of, and competition among, Gulf states could reshape Horn geopolitics. Gulf leaders can nudge their African counterparts toward peace; both the UAE and Saudi Arabia helped along the recent Eritrea-Ethiopia rapprochement. But rivalries among Gulf powers can also sow instability, as their spillover into Somalia has done.

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What should be done? The UAE, whose Horn presence is particularly pronounced, should build on its successful Eritrea-Ethiopia diplomacy. It should continue backing Eritrean-Ethiopian peace, encouraging both parties to fulfil their commitments. Abu Dhabi should heal its rift with the Somali government, and thus help calm tensions between Mogadishu and its peripheries.

I.Overview

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has emerged in recent months as an important protagonist in the Horn of Africa. Through political alliances, aid, investment, military base agreements and port contracts, it is expanding its influence in the region. A recent manifestation came in the summer of 2018, when Eritrea and Ethiopia announced – after a flurry of visits to and from Emirati officials – that they had reached an agreement to end their twenty-year war. Emirati and Saudi diplomacy and aid were pivotal to that deal. Elsewhere, however, Gulf countries have played a less constructive role. Competition between the UAE and Saudi Arabia, on the one hand, and Qatar on the other, spilled into Somalia beginning in late 2017, aggravating friction between Mogadishu and Somali regional leaders. Abu Dhabi’s relations with the Somali government have collapsed. As its influence in the Horn grows, the UAE should build on its Eritrea-Ethiopia peace-making by continuing to underwrite and promote that deal, while at the same time looking to reconcile with the Somali government.

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An array of calculations shapes the UAE’s actions in the Horn. The Gulf port cities have a long history of ties with Africa, centred around maritime trade and dating to the era before the Emirates united as a nation-state. From 2011, however, Abu Dhabi began to look at the countries along the Red Sea coast as more than commercial partners. Turmoil in the Middle East, Iran’s growing regional influence, piracy emanating from Somalia and, from 2015, the war in Yemen combined to turn the corridor’s stability into a core strategic interest. The 2017 Gulf crisis, which saw Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt cut ties with Qatar, pushed leaders on both sides of the divide to double down on their alliances, including in the Horn. Since then, the UAE has nailed down diplomatic relationships and extended its reach, particularly along the Red Sea.

 In places, Gulf rivalries have been destabilising. 

In places, Gulf rivalries have been destabilising. In Somalia in particular, the UAE, perceiving the Somali government of President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed “Farmajo” as too close to Qatar and keen to protect years of investment, has deepened its relations with the governments of Somalia’s regions, or federal states. Importing the Gulf crisis into Somalia has contributed to tensions between Mogadishu and the federal states that over recent months have threatened to boil over. Elsewhere, however, Abu Dhabi’s peace-making is evident. The UAE, together with Saudi Arabia, provided critical diplomatic and financial support to help Eritrea and Ethiopia take the first steps toward a rapprochement that could prove enormously beneficial for wider Horn stability. Both Gulf monarchies also appear to have contributed to an easing of tensions between Ethiopia and Egypt.

The UAE, along with its fellow Gulf monarchies, is investing in the Red Sea and Horn of Africa for the long haul. Ideally, its successful Eritrea-Ethiopia diplomacy would provide the basis for that engagement. To that end, it should consider the following:

  • Keep underwriting Eritrean-Ethiopian peace, including by releasing the aid it has promised and pressing Asmara and Addis Ababa to follow through on the September agreement they signed in Jeddah;
  • Seek to end its debilitating spat with Mogadishu, with the understanding that warmer Abu Dhabi-Mogadishu relations are likely a prerequisite for overcoming divisions between President Farmajo’s government and Somali regional leaders. The UAE could encourage allies in the regions to reconcile with Mogadishu and take steps to facilitate their doing so, for example pledging to inform Farmajo’s government of its activities in the federal states, from training security forces to developing ports.

II.The UAE’s Long Involvement in the Horn

When the Eritrean and Ethiopian leaders signed the September agreement, Saudi Arabia and the UAE’s role in brokering it was in full view. The ceremony took place in Jeddah, on Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea coast. The two African leaders sat in an opulent room under the gaze of a metres-high portrait of the founding Saudi king, Abdulaziz. The current king, Salman, looked on, flanked by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the Emirati foreign minister, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed. The traditional regional powerbrokers – Western countries, the UN and the African Union (AU) – were absent.

The Eritrean-Ethiopian rapprochement, as well as a flurry of other Horn of Africa diplomacy, has greatly boosted Gulf states’ visibility as geopolitical actors along the Red Sea. Saudi Arabia and the UAE are now central to conversations about the future of a region still suffering strife and instability. With Washington seemingly in retreat, the Gulf countries appear intent on playing a major role. As one Gulf official put it: “If you look at the future of Africa, it’s clear – China is in. The Arab countries are in. The U.S. is not”. The larger questions are what each Gulf country aims to gain and how each intends to use its newly acquired leverage.

 The UAE itself has a long track record of engagement across the Red Sea. 

The UAE itself has a long track record of engagement across the Red Sea. It hosts large diasporas from Horn countries, some of which were integral to its founding in 1971. Arabic-speaking Sudanese civil servants helped build nascent ministries, and members of the diaspora still swap stories about how President Omar al-Bashir was once Khartoum’s military attaché in Abu Dhabi. Dubai, meanwhile, is the banking hub for many Somali businesses.

The Emirates’ history as a trading coast also informs its contemporary economic outreach. The UAE’s model of economic diversification is built around its role as a logistics hub and regional headquarters. It is a model premised on freedom of maritime navigation, including through Bab al-Mandab, the narrow passage from the Gulf of Aden to the Red Sea, and the Strait of Hormuz. Analysts often describe both bodies of water as chokepoints because they are easily closed to oil tankers and other cargo ships. Having cooperative, even like-minded governments along the Red Sea corridor is a strategic priority. Africa is also a natural theatre for trade and logistical ambitions. It comes as no surprise that one of the Dubai-based logistics giant DP World’s first contracts abroad was in Djibouti, where it began to develop Doraleh port in 2006.

III.The Arab Uprisings and a New Emirati Stance Abroad

The 2011 Arab uprisings vested the Red Sea with strategic importance for the UAE beyond core economic interests and led Abu Dhabi to view that corridor, as well as places as seemingly far-flung as Jordan and Libya, as its “neighbourhood”. Those uprisings transformed the Middle East from a zone of entrenched autocracies into a web of conflicts that political Islamists associated with the Muslim Brotherhood, whom the UAE and Saudi Arabia view as enemies, initially seemed to be winning. Abu Dhabi, in particular, views groups affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, which have traction inside the Emirates, as an existential threat. Their ascendancy as far away as North Africa alarmed the Emirates, particularly as conflicts across the Arab world increasingly appeared interlinked, with events in one place shaping those elsewhere.

A growing sense of danger bred a more interventionist foreign policy. The UAE, like Saudi Arabia and Qatar, funnelled support to allies in Libya, Egypt and elsewhere. To explain these actions to citizens at home – used to an economically focused UAE – Emirati leaders invoked an argument still oft-repeated in policymaking hallways in Abu Dhabi: you can’t be safe if your neighbourhood is at war.

Egypt’s future took on particular importance after its first democratic election in modern history brought a Muslim Brotherhood leader, Mohamed Morsi, to the presidency. After Morsi’s ouster in a coup that the UAE and Saudi Arabia lauded and may have actively encouraged, Abu Dhabi and Riyadh, together with Kuwait, poured billions into the new government’s coffers. Abu Dhabi also kept a keen eye on the security of the Suez Canal, including when the scale of piracy in the Red Sea, the canal’s southern gateway, jumped in the mid-2010s. Seeing a risk to its oil shipments and cargo containers, the UAE took an active role in counter-piracy initiatives. In Somalia, it trained a marine police force in the semi-autonomous region of Puntland and began experimenting with counter-terrorism operations against the Islamist Al Shabaab insurgency. The country became a Petri dish of learning for UAE special forces, which Western defence officials describe as the most capable in the Gulf today.

IV.The Yemen Catalyst

By 2015, the tumult in the Middle East – the Islamic State’s rise, Libya’s collapse, the Syria inferno, instability in post-coup Egypt and fear at what some Gulf leaders saw as Iran’s increasing influence across the region – created a siege mentality in some Gulf monarchies. In that context, Saudi Arabia and its primary partner the UAE led a military intervention in Yemen to roll back Huthi rebels loosely allied with Tehran. The Huthis had ousted the president and taken control of the capital and much of the country in late 2014 and early 2015.

In its anti-Iran drive, Riyadh sought assistance from past allies Sudan and Eritrea, both of which had strengthened ties with Tehran while all three countries were under international sanctions. Beginning in the 1990s, Sudan had built its defence industry with Iranian assistance and know-how; Eritrea had offered use of its port, Assab, to the Iranian navy. In 2014, however, both countries ejected Iranian diplomats. A year later, both agreed to contribute troops and resources for the Yemen war.

At the outset of the Yemen conflict, the UAE and Saudi Arabia were alarmed by Huthi rebels’ gains around Bab al-Mandab, raising the possibility that an Iranian-allied group would control such a chokepoint. They prioritised retaking Yemen’s western and southern coastlines. The UAE took de facto responsibility for operations in Yemen’s south and quickly found itself in need of a naval and air base along the Red Sea. The natural candidate was Djibouti, where DP World had built the port. By then, however, Abu Dhabi’s relationship with Djibouti was souring over allegations of corruption related to DP World’s contract (DP World disputes the allegations). Officials from the two countries had a falling-out in April 2015, when the UAE, with DP World’s infrastructure, sought to use Djibouti as a military launching pad into Yemen.

The Saudi-led coalition turned to another port, Eritrea’s Assab. Riyadh signed a security agreement also that April to use Assab, leaving Abu Dhabi to carry out the deal’s terms. By September, the Emirati military was flying fighter-bombers from the Eritrean coastline.

The dispute with Djibouti left the UAE uneasy about its reach along the Red Sea corridor. Abu Dhabi worried that it could not rely on allies in the Horn – even in cases where it felt existential questions were at stake. As UAE-backed Yemeni forces pushed northward along the Red Sea coast, Abu Dhabi sought to expand its strategic depth. DP World and the Emirati military each penned an agreement to develop Berbera port in the self-declared republic of Somaliland. A subsidiary of DP World later signed a contract with local authorities in the Somali federal state of Puntland to develop Bosaso port. The attitude, as one Emirati official put it, became “fill space, before others do”.

V.The Intra-Gulf Crisis

The June 2017 Gulf crisis brought yet more urgency to the scramble along the Red Sea corridor. Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt cut ties with and imposed an embargo on Qatar.

Among the reasons the UAE in particular cited for breaking ties with Qatar was Doha’s alleged betrayal of the Saudi-led coalition efforts in Yemen. The Qataris had sent few personnel to the war theatre, but Abu Dhabi accused them of having revealed the location of a UAE-led operation to al-Qaeda, resulting in Emirati casualties, though they provided no evidence to support that allegation. (Qatar at the time declined to respond to this specific claim, and urged the UAE to provide evidence. ) After they imposed an air and naval blockade on Yemen, Riyadh and Abu Dhabi continued to claim that Doha was working actively against Saudi-led efforts, particularly through the media.

Also at the outset of the Gulf crisis, both sides began a frantic diplomatic push to secure allies, including among countries in Africa. In the Horn, competition was particularly fraught, given this subregion’s strategic value and proximity to Yemen. Djibouti and Eritrea both issued statements of support for the Saudi alliance, prompting Qatar to withdraw 400 observers it had stationed to monitor a border dispute between the two.

In Somalia, Farmajo, who had assumed office only months before the Gulf crisis, reportedly faced intense Saudi and Emirati pressure to cut ties with Doha. Although the president insisted that he wanted to remain neutral, for Abu Dhabi, widespread reports that he had received Qatari funds before his election belied that claim, as did his post-election appointment as chief aide of a former Al Jazeera correspondent with links to Doha. In April 2018, Somali authorities seized from a UAE plane almost $10 million in cash that Abu Dhabi said was intended to fund training of security forces that had long been underway but which Mogadishu alleged would be used to fund its political rivals.

In the aftermath of the spat, Abu Dhabi withdrew some officials from Mogadishu, evacuated a military training camp and shuttered a hospital. The UAE also shored up its alliances with leaders in Somalia’s federal states and the breakaway republic of Somaliland. It stuck to previous port agreements in Berbera and Bosaso, as well as a military base agreement for Berbera, and reportedly is discussing the development of Kismayo, in Jubbaland federal state, over the Somali federal government’s objections. The Gulf powers’ backing of rival factions – notably Emirati support for the governments of Somalia’s federal states and Qatari support for Farmajo – has exacerbated existing tensions between Mogadishu and the regions to the point of near-conflict.

The dust-up in Mogadishu is often described by officials in Abu Dhabi as a “wake-up call” – the most blaring signal that the UAE’s interests were imperilled along the African side of the Red Sea. For Abu Dhabi, the timing was inauspicious as well. Emirati-backed Yemeni forces had been gearing up for an offensive to move toward the Huthi-controlled port of Hodeida – an operation that was to rely heavily on assets parked across the sea in Assab. If past alliances with Djibouti and Somalia could turn on a dime, perhaps other seemingly assured relationships – such as with Eritrea – could do so, too.

VI.The Ethiopia-Eritrea Peace Deal

As the UAE’s relations with the Somali federal government soured, a new prime minister emerged in Ethiopia whose reformist economic views appealed to Abu Dhabi. Both countries had already begun laying the groundwork for closer ties some years ago. In March 2013, the two agreed to form a joint commission to discuss economic, political and other cooperation. In April 2018, the selection by Ethiopia’s ruling coalition of a new and charismatic prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, paired with Abu Dhabi’s desire for a new partner in the Horn, catalysed a quicker alignment. As Abiy spoke of privatisation and development to unleash the potential of the Horn’s most populous country, the UAE saw a strategic and investment opportunity. Among the many constraints on Ethiopia’s growth has been its lack of sea access and consequent reliance on Djibouti as the sole outlet for its exports. The UAE’s newly signed port contracts could help. In March 2018, DP World announced that Addis Ababa would take a 19 per cent stake in the Berbera port’s development.

Now, with an energetic partner and a cornucopia of potential commercial opportunities lying in wait in Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia, Abu Dhabi launched a series of meetings and mutual delegations in a bid to forge strong ties with Abiy. Abu Dhabi’s and Riyadh’s relationships with Eritrea positioned them well to help facilitate rapprochement between Asmara and Addis Ababa, once leaders in those capitals were ready. Abu Dhabi pledged $3 billion to Ethiopia, an amount that puts the country on par with Egypt as a recipient of UAE assistance. The two Gulf countries assured Eritrea, meanwhile, that they would help lobby for the lifting of international sanctions in the coming months. If sanctions go, Assab – which has been modernised for military sorties but not for container ships – will almost certainly be the next port to go to market for commercial development.

 As seen from the Gulf, the Ethiopia-Eritrea peace deal has both economic and strategic layers. 

As seen from the Gulf, the Ethiopia-Eritrea peace deal has both economic and strategic layers. Amid the UAE’s strategic setbacks in Djibouti and Somalia, the Ethiopia-Eritrea deal in many ways cements Abu Dhabi’s role as a player in Horn politics. In the weeks since the agreement was announced, Ethiopia’s prime minister also has helped spearhead efforts to improve relations with Somalia, which may in turn help smooth the rough patch between Mogadishu and Abu Dhabi – though for now little suggests rapprochement will come any time soon.

Both Abu Dhabi and Riyadh also appear to have helped behind the scenes Prime Minister Abiy’s efforts to improve relations with Egypt, another old foe. Abiy visited Cairo in June and publicly reassured Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi that Ethiopian development projects – notably the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, which Egypt fears could severely curtail its supply of Nile water – would not harm Egypt. Sisi has also taken a conciliatory approach, saying he recognises that there is no military solution to the dispute. At the same time, Saudi Arabia has helped start a dialogue between Eritrea and Djibouti over a decade-long border conflict. Though that dialogue is still in its early days, after an initial meeting between the two countries’ leaders in Jeddah in September 2018, Djiboutian President Ismail Omar Guelleh told Saudi media that relations had “entered the normalisation phase”. In a sense, both Abu Dhabi and Riyadh are creating facts on the ground in the Horn. In the process, they are becoming forces that cannot easily be ignored.

The payoff could be enormous for regional integration, infrastructure development and connectivity across the Red Sea. Just with regard to ports, the Horn remains one of the most underserved areas of the world relative to population, with a single modern multi-use deep-water port at Doraleh, in Djibouti.

Yet because competition with adversaries also drives the push into the Horn, risks are at least as prominent as opportunities. The contrast between the roles played by the Gulf powers in Ethiopia and Somalia is instructive. At one moment, Gulf involvement in the Horn, even if motivated in part by rivalry between two Middle East axes, can move things in the right direction, as it has with Abiy’s push for peace with Eritrea. At another, those same rivalries can destabilise and divide.

VII.Conclusion

The UAE signals repeatedly that its engagement with Africa is here to stay. In 2018, it is opening an additional six embassies on the continent, adding to the more than a dozen already there. As one Emirati official put it: “We need to diversify and strengthen our relationships outside our own region. If we only pay attention to the Middle East and North Africa, we will be bogged down in crisis. We could miss a lot of opportunities around the globe”.

While credit for the Ethiopia-Eritrea deal lies primarily with the leaders of those two countries, clearly Gulf powers, especially the UAE, played an important role in helping push forward the initial steps of a rapprochement that could be significant across the Horn. The deal demonstrated that the UAE and Saudi Arabia can play important peace-making roles. Abu Dhabi and its peers can encourage regional economic integration and help give leaders in the Horn the extra boost, including both political and financial support, they might need to make peace. Such was the story of Eritrea and Ethiopia – two countries that saw domestic interests in making peace but needed the right economic and diplomatic assurances from abroad.

The months ahead will be crucial for the success of that deal. Abiy faces enormous hurdles in his quest to reform the economy and consolidate political support. Eritrea’s reopening to the world will undoubtedly encounter unexpected challenges. For the Jeddah deal to succeed, Riyadh and Abu Dhabi will need to work proactively to keep the parties on track. They can begin by promptly following through on their aid commitments.

 Despite the bright spot of Eritrea-Ethiopia peace-making, intra-Gulf competition colours Emirati involvement across the Horn. 

Yet despite the bright spot of Eritrea-Ethiopia peace-making, intra-Gulf competition colours Emirati involvement across the Horn. Whether the killing of Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Saudi Arabia’s Istanbul consulate will lead to some form of rapprochement within the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), as some reports suggest might happen, remains unclear. But even if so, the Saudi-UAE alliance is still likely to view actors such as Qatar and Turkey as competitors in strategic theatres like the Horn. Moreover, while for now Tehran’s influence is largely limited to the Yemeni side of the Red Sea, Riyadh and Abu Dhabi’s engagement in the Horn is likely to remain informed by their determination to ensure Iran does not regain a foothold, including by winning back its former allies Sudan and Eritrea.

The damage that external rivalries can inflict on the Horn was made clear in Somalia, where friction among Gulf powers, and in turn between the UAE and Farmajo’s government, has exacerbated pre-existing tension over how power and resources are divvied up between the capital and the regions. Abu Dhabi says that it wants a stable Somalia, but the country is likely to remain volatile unless strong Emirati ties to Somali regional leaders are paired with a reconciled UAE relationship with Mogadishu. Abu Dhabi could pledge to inform Farmajo’s government of its activities in the federal states – whether training security forces or developing ports – and ensure that its investment and aid benefit the country and not only its regions. The UAE also might encourage its allies in the federal states to repair their own ties to Mogadishu.

Abu Dhabi faces a choice in how much its Middle Eastern rivalries shape its Horn engagement. If competition remains a primary driver, results will almost certainly be mixed. In some places the UAE may still help bridge divides, even if partly motivated by shoring up its own influence at the expense of rivals. Elsewhere, however, competition could put Horn governments in a difficult spot, forcing them to choose between the two Gulf axes or exacerbating local conflicts in new ways. Ultimately, zero-sum competition in the Horn risks upsetting both the internal politics of the region’s diverse states and the balance of power among those states. Outside powers may win short-term gains, but over time everyone stands to lose from greater Horn instability.

Ethiopian-led mediation kicked off in Nairobi to resolve over a 62,000 square miles of disputed maritime between Kenya and Somalia

Nairobi — An Ethiopian-led mediation process kicked off in Nairobi Wednesday to resolve the latest diplomatic row between Kenya and Somalia over a 62,000 square miles triangle of disputed maritime territory in the Indian Ocean.

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Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi arrived in the country Tuesday night accompanied by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia for talks with President Uhuru Kenyatta.

There was no official statement from State House or Foreign Affairs Ministry on the arrival of the two leaders or their mission, but sources in the offices confirmed they were in the country over the maritime dispute.

Ahmed and Kenyatta are said to have discussed the matter briefly on the margins of the Kenya-Ethiopia high level trade forum in Addis Ababa last weekend, in a diplomatic strategy employed by Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma and her Principal Secretary Macharia Kamau.

Ahmed’s intervention is the latest in a raft of measures adopted by Nairobi in a bid to amicably resolve the dispute with Somalia.

PS Kamau accused Somalia of unilaterally selling off oil and gas blocks in the disputed maritime territory at a London auction on February 7 while announcing the drastic measures.

Screenshot_2019-03-06-05-01-46-1MFA had termed the move “unparalleled affront on Kenya” vowing that the “illegal grab” will not go unanswered.

“This outrageous and provocative auction deserves and will be met with a unanimous and resounding rejection by all Kenyans as well as all people of goodwill who believe in the maintenance of international law and order and the peaceful and legal resolution of disputes,” Amb Kamau said on February 16, during a news conference at the ministry’s headquarters in Nairobi.

Kenya particularly faulted Mogadishu for engaging in the London auction in total disregard of ongoing mediation processes and a boundary delimitation case at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) filed by Somalia on August 28, 2014.

Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Juma told Capital FM News last Wednesday the ministry had drawn the attention of United Nation and African Union Security Councils to the unfolding maritime border dispute.

Juma said the envoys were briefed to provide clarity on the matter.

“We briefed them on the situation between ourselves and Somalia, provided the facts to both councils and to draw their attention to the situation,” she said of the session she held on February 22 attended by among other foreign envoys Britain’s Nic Hailey and France’s Aline Kuster-Menager.

CS Juma however said Kenya was open to negotiation to find an amicable solution to the maritime dispute that sparked a diplomatic tiff between the two nations.

“We are committed to resolving any disputes in a negotiated manner and we’re hopefully that we’ll find the solution to the problem between ourselves and our brothers next door because our destinies are interlinked,” CS Juma said.

The contested area has four of the 24 oil blocks that have traditionally been under Kenya’s Exclusive Economic Zone until Somalia’s legal challenge in 2014.

“The massage we’ve received from across the world is encouragement to resolve the matter amicably and therefore this is the process that we would prefer,” she said.

Kenya had challenged the admissibility of Somalia’s case at the ICJ in September 2016 on grounds that the court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the application.

ICJ however dismissed the objection in February 2017 clearing the way submissions by the two parties.

The court fixed June 18, 2018 as the date by which Somalia was to file its submissions in court with Kenya given until December 18, 2018 to file its rejoinder to Somalia’s written pleadings.

Somalia has anchored its case on Article 15 of the Convention of the Law of Sea adopted in 1982, Kenya saying the disputed area was in fact under its jurisdiction before the convention was enacted.

 
 

 

Mkimimbo Dugo: Nairobi Kenya

©Allafrica

Ethiopia faces political crisis, parties need to focus on common grounds and discuss differences

 

 

 

Addis Ababa — Political parties have to resolve differences at roundtable discussions since violence is an existential threat to stability and peace, representatives of political parties said.

politicsparties-620x310-1In an exclusive interview with ENA, Arena Party Chairman Abraha Desta said “power should be in the hands of the people, and for this to happen there must be peace and stability. We should, therefore, prioritize these.”

According to him, “there is no democracy, election and development in the absence of peace.”

Therefore, he added, his party is strongly opposed to anything that disrupts peace.

Arena Party Chairman Abraha urged social media activists to refrain from getting involved in anything that jeopardizes the social bondage and strive to enhance people-to-people ties.

Arena Party is working to ensure peace and security as only united and prosperous Ethiopia can be ascertained in the prevalence of peace, he added.

Ethiopian Unity Patriots Front Peace Negotiator Head, Getaneh Zeleke said “parties need to focus on common grounds and discuss differences.”

He called on all parties to patiently negotiate till they come to agreement and work together.

“Despite their different political agenda, they should come together in the spirit of united Ethiopia, and that cannot be realized unless they sit down and discuss,” Getaneh pointed out.

According him, the Ethiopian Unity Patriots Front is ready to help the government in bringing peace and stability.

Oromia National Party Public Relations Head, Liben Wako said “our party firmly believes that there is no other choice than peaceful struggle.”

According to Liben, “there is no doubt that the existing security problems will end and the public will be crowned with victory.”

He stressed that political parties should play their due role to shape the new generation

 
 

Eritrean President isaias afawerki will soon visit to Djibouti

Addis Ababa, December 6, 2018 (FBC) -Djibouti’s foreign minister on Wednesday said Eritrean President Isaias Afeworki will pay a visit to his country “soon”.

Djibouti and Eritrea have been maintaining high level contacts after Ethiopia’s recommendation for a region-wide thaw was accepted across the board.

“We don’t have a date yet, but the two presidents will exchange visits soon,” Mahamoud Ali Youssouf told Anadolu Agency in an exclusive interview as he attended Ethiopian Day organized on the sidelines of the ongoing 2nd Djibouti International Trade Fair.

etiopia-eritrea-somalia

“The two presidents met in September and I met my Eritrean counterpart. We will build on that momentum. Confidence should be built,” he said.

“Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed is launching initiatives that create conducive environment for the reconciliation and he broadened the scope of the stability and prospect for peace in the region,” he said.

Youssouf said, “This has to be acknowledged and recognized [because] the prime minister has been instrumental in the new momentum.”

He described the region as the most volatile in Africa.

“In comparison with other regions in Africa, this region [the Horn of Africa] has been trapped in a number of crises; some of them internal like the case in Somalia, and some external like the case between Eritrea and Djibouti.

“I think that we needed a visionary leader who could think regional and see the opportunities for countries to come together, plan together, and work for the benefit of the people of the region,” Youssouf added.

“We are very optimistic, he said, “Because we have seen the first signals of the development of the situation. In the future we will see more of it.”

Relations between Eritrea and Djibouti have been tense since the 1980s due to land claims.

In June 2008, the two countries fought a three-day war after Djibouti claimed that Eritrean forces dug trenches on its side of the border.