Category Archives: Politics

Somaliland Has More Freedom Than Ethiopia, Djibouti And Somalia, Says US Report

(afrika-times.com) In its recently-released annual report, Freedom in the World 2021, the watchdog said Somaliland scored 43 on the 100-point Freedom House Index, while Ethiopia scored 19, Djibouti scored 26, Eritrea scored 2 and Somalia also scored 7 on the 100-point Freedom House index.

US-based independent watchdog Freedom House has asserted it’s latest report that the Somaliland enjoys more freedom than other Horn of Africa’s countries like Ethiopia, Djibouti, Eritrea, and Somalia.

Ethiopia freedom score: Somaliland Has More Freedom Than Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti And Somalia,
Djibouti freedom score: Somaliland Has More Freedom Than Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti And Somalia,
Somalia freedom score: Somaliland Has More Freedom Than Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti And Somalia,
Eritrea freedom score: Somaliland Has More Freedom Than Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti And Somalia,
Somaliland freedom score: Somaliland Has More Freedom Than Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti And Somalia,

The US was rated 86 on the index, closely followed by India at 75.Germany and France scored higher than the US as Freedom House expressed concern over the state of affairs in America.Interestingly, the Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir enjoys more freedom than Pakistan and Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (PoK) contrary to allegations leveled by Imran Khan-led government in Pakistan.

Jammu & Kashmir scored 49 on the 100-point Freedom House Index, while Pakistan scored 39 and PoK a paltry 28. The report also labeled PoK as “not free” in terms of freedom enjoyed by its residents and the functioning of local institutes.While the report termed Pakistan as “partly free”, it labeled India a “free” country alongside the US, several European nations, Japan, Australia, South Africa, and several Latin American countries.“Elections in Somaliland have been relatively free and fair, but years-long delays have meant that elected officials serve well beyond their original mandates.

Journalists face pressure from authorities, and police have employed excessive force and engaged in arbitrary detention. Minor clans are subject to political and economic marginalization, and violence against women remains a serious problem,” the report said, adding that “Somaliland’s political rights rating improved from 5 to 4 due to the holding of a long-delayed presidential election.”On the electoral process, the Freedom House had said in its report in 2018 “The president is directly elected for a maximum of two five-year terms and appoints the cabinet.

The electoral mandate of incumbent president Ahmed Mohamed Mohamoud “Sillanyo” of the Peace, Unity, and Development Party (Kulmiye) expired in 2015, but the presidential election due that year was not held until November 2017.

Muse Bihi Abdi, the Kulmiye candidate, won the contest with 55 percent of the vote, followed by Abdurahman Mohamed Abdullahi of the opposition Wadani party with 40 percent and Faisal Ali Warabe of the For Justice and Development (UCID) party with 4 percent.International monitors identified some irregularities in the process—including unstamped ballot papers and underage voting—and there was an outbreak of violence while results were being finalized, with police firing on pro-Wadani protesters amid suspicions of fraud. However, the observers concluded that such problems did not significantly affect the final result, which Wadani ultimately accepted in the public interest.Score Change: The score improved from 0 to 3 because Somaliland held a competitive presidential election, ending a two-year period in which the chief executive lacked an electoral mandate.”Be the first to know – Follow us on Twitter @SaxafiThe Freedom House report with a focus on “democracy in retreat” said in 2018, freedom in the world recorded the 13th consecutive year of decline in global freedom. Domestic attacks on key institutions—the judiciary, the media, and electoral mechanisms—are undermining the foundations of democracy, the report said.It said at the same time, a global assault on the norms of democracy, led by an increasingly assertive China, challenges their spread around the world. Only by strengthening democracy at home and standing together in its defense around the world can democracies protect their values and preserve their ability to expand freedom globally, the report said.

It also said that the internet and other digital technologies have become ubiquitous as a means of accessing information, communicating, and participating in public debates. Consequently, technology and social media companies play an increasingly important role in sustaining—or weakening—democracy.

Author: Africa Times News

Horn Of Africa Is The Most Militarized Region On Earth

The combination of external actors has made the Horn the most militarized and complex security region, housing the largest number of foreign military bases in the world. The massive presence of six foreign military bases in Djibouti, and more in Sudan, Somalia and Somaliland, underlines the strategic importance of the Horn. Dawit W. Giorgis, a visiting scholar at the African Studies Centre at Boston University.

Horn Of Africa Is The Most Militarized Region On Earth

The Horn of Africa is witnessing far-reaching changes in its external security relations. It is simultaneously experiencing an increase in the build-up of foreign military forces – on land and at sea – and a broadening of the security agendas pursued by these external actors.

The combination of these factors has made the Horn the most militarized and complex security region, housing the largest number of foreign military bases in the world. Though Egypt and Yemen are not in the Greater Horn, they are however part of the security complex of the Red Sea arena. It is known as the “choke point,” because much of the world’s commerce goes through this maritime route. At one point, when Somali pirates ruled the sea, the area was identified as the most dangerous naval zone in the world, notoriety now claimed by the Gulf of Guinea.

Those who control the Horn of Africa control a significant chunk of the world’s economies. The massive presence of six foreign military bases in Djibouti, and more in Sudan, Somalia and Somaliland, underlines the strategic importance of the Horn.

This situation would have inspired or forced the countries of the Horn to be more united and have common strategic and security policies. Each of these forces has a stake in the development of events in the Horn and an agenda that puts their interests at the forefront.However, there are notable rivalries between the countries of the Horn of Africa, which has not enabled the forging of the necessary harmony in their relationships.

Eritrea and Djibouti have not put their border conflict of 2007 behind them. However, they agreed to normalize their relationship two years ago, although Djibouti still considers Eritrea an enemy, considering a recent statement in relations to the prosecution of a pilot that allegedly tried to run away to an “enemy” territory.But a conference call between the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and East African countries on March 30, 2020, was made to forge a regional plan to combat the Novel Coronavirus pandemic.

Four presidents from Somalia, Uganda, Kenya and Djibouti were joined by the prime ministers of Ethiopia and Sudan and the first vice-president of South Sudan. Eritrea did not participate, because its membership has not yet been regularized since it left IGAD in 2007.

This is while Kenya-Somalia relations have escalated in the last few years. It stems from the security concern related to the terror group Al-Shabaab and the maritime border dispute between the two states.

The terror group has been continuously launching attacks across the border at Kenyan military outposts and against civilians in the area.The maritime boundary dispute between Nairobi and Mogadishu further complicates the relationship between the two. Somalia instituted proceedings against Kenya before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) about their maritime boundary in the Indian Ocean, on August 28, 2014. The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has approved a request by Kenya to delay the public hearing of its maritime boundary case with Somalia.

The case is still pending.Taking the matter further, Kenya has started negotiating the withdrawal of its forces the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) by 2021, making Ethiopia carry the bulk of troop contributions of the five countries that will remain.

These are bad signals of souring relationships, which can contribute to the overall destabilization of the fragile region.Neither are Ethiopia and Sudan on the best of terms. The borders between the two countries are the scene of occasional fighting, with recent skirmishes having turned deadly. It is unnecessary and preventable incidents that only add to the burden of stress the two countries have on their very sensitive and fragile relationship.“It is not clear exactly what triggered a flare-up of this long-standing border dispute,” stated the International Crisis Group (ICG). “Sources suggest that Sudanese security forces may have responded to incursions by Ethiopian troops.”Sudan is in the unique position of being a member of the Arab League, which makes it close to Egypt, but a generally close ally of Ethiopia as well. It has to play high stakes diplomacy not to be seen as siding with either.

Despite enormous pressure from Egypt and the United States, Sudan has held its ground. The bold and calculated decision manifested this in voting against other members of the Arab League on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).Sudan expressed “reservations” that the resolution does not serve its interests and might lead to confrontations between the Arab League countries and Ethiopia. This support of Sudan should not be taken for granted though. Last week, Sudan called for the United Nations Security Council`s intervention regarding Ethiopia’s plan to fill the Dam.“While acknowledging Ethiopia’s right to utilize its natural resources, Sudan has stressed the need for consultation and cooperation among the three countries to avoid the harm lower stream countries could suffer as a result of Ethiopia’s activities,” read Sudan’s memorandum to the Security Council.Concerning the GERD, Sudan highlighted the benefits and threats that could follow the construction. It acknowledged the benefits the Dam could have in helping manage periodic flooding and in raising Sudan’s capacity to generate electric power.“On the other hand, Sudan claimed that the construction of the Dam could change the flow line of the river and that it could affect Sudanese citizens negatively if the design, construction and filling works are not followed daily and closely.”This should be of great concern to Ethiopia, especially considering that a new regional organization with suspect motives – Council of Arab and African States Bordering the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden (CAASBRSGA) – has already been established on January 6, 2020. Although Egypt first initiated the idea, it was later taken over by Saudi Arabia.Its members are the coastal states of the Red Sea, including Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen (the internationally recognized government), Sudan, Eritrea, Djibouti and Somalia.

The stated goals of this new organization are to improve cooperation and coordination among the members in matters related to politics, economy, culture, the environment and security. The Council is an unnecessary organization and one loaded with an Arab and Egyptian agenda. The Arab League is installing its subsidiary branch closer to home.“One of the most important issues is the one of membership. Currently, the criteria to be a member of the Council are to be a Red Sea coastal state.

This is the criterion defended by Egypt,” wrote the Middle Eastern business and financial news outlet MENAFN. “This position seeks to keep Ethiopia outside of Red Sea affairs, a position not shared by many of the members, who believe that despite its lack of access to the sea, Addis Ababa is a key player in Red Sea affairs. The reason for this absence is the litigation that Egypt and Ethiopia maintain over the construction of the Renaissance Dam in the Nile.”The stated goals of the Council include matters related to the Nile, an issue vital for Ethiopia. The strategy of Egypt and its allies is to choke Ethiopia through myriad projects. Ethiopia must vigorously fight such moves, but it does not seem that the Ethiopian government is aware of the dangers. At the same time, it flirts with the very countries that are active partners on the other side of the debate.

There has been a flurry of activities between South Sudan and Egypt as well since the crisis between Ethiopia and Egypt intensified over the GERD. Some of these activities are suspicious.

South Sudan had submitted its application in 2018, for a second time, to join the Arab League. There have also been diplomatic moves led by Egypt within the Arab League emphasizing the importance of South Sudan joining the organization, given Juba’s strategic geographical position serving as the Arab gateway to Africa.

With steadily and warmer relations with Ethiopia’s new neighbor, South Sudanese President Silva Kiir and Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi have exchanged visits followed by several others at ministerial levels.Bringing South Sudan into the Arab League completes the strangulation of Ethiopia by Sudan, Eritrea, Somalia, Djibouti and Eritrea.

Seen together with the Council on The Red Sea Coast, the threats directed at Ethiopia are real and severe.This is the result of the failure of Ethiopia`s diplomacy.

Its fractured unity and volatile internal security situation have resulted in establishing a fertile ground for Egypt and other extremist and hostile forces to recruit people and spread propaganda that will further destabilize the country.Ethiopian diplomacy suffered a big blow when the 23 Arab League members, except Sudan, supported the draft resolution prepared by Egypt.

This must have been a clear sign that there was little effort from Ethiopia’s side.“The draft agreement proposed by the United States and the World Bank is fair and serves the interests of the three countries,” affirmed The Arab League.Somalia and Djibouti, Ethiopia’s “close allies,” voted for it. Eritrea, an observer, said nothing.

Although its president, Isaias Afwerki, has come out as an elder statesman and mentor of Ethiopia`s Prime Minister, we have yet to see him as “a friend in need, a friend indeed.”This diplomatic spat is occurring in a region that should otherwise be banding together to address challenges that affect every member.

Besides the COVID-19 pandemic, the UN Food & Agricultural Organization (FAO) has warned East African countries about the outbreak of the desert locust, which has already placed around 20 million people in acute food insecurity in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Uganda and Tanzania.

Ethiopia and the region are facing three-pronged attacks: pandemics, possible famine and regional and internal security challenges. A vital organ in such a time would have been IGAD, which until 1996 was preceded by the establishment of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Drought & Development (IGADD) was initiated in the mid-1980s.This was after Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda took action through the United Nations to establish an intergovernmental body for development and drought control in their region in 1983 and 1984.

The Assembly of Heads of State and Government met in Djibouti in January 1986 to sign the agreement, which officially launched IGADD with its headquarters in Djibouti. Eritrea became the seventh member after attaining its independence in 1993.

Then the focus was drought and food security.The recurring and severe droughts and other natural disasters in the decade beginning 1974 caused widespread famine, ecological degradation and economic hardship in the Eastern Africa region.

Although individual countries made substantial efforts to cope with the situation and received generous support from the international community, the magnitude and extent of the problem argued strongly for a regional approach to supplement national efforts.IGAD has never solved any political crisis. But it serves as a forum where leaders can meet and discuss their shared concerns.

However, IGAD can only be what its members want it to be. It can be an excellent tool if external agendas do not subvert it.

Members must first be committed to peaceful resolution through bilateral negotiations.

Creating other layers of organizations for the Horn will not help achieve any of the development, security and cooperation goals, but merely makes IGAD redundant. The regional body must be supported and reinforced to be a relevant organization. The spirit of cooperation needed here is one that President Isaias, Somalia’s Mohamed Farmajo Abdullahi and Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) showed when they agreed on a joint plan of action for this year after the third edition of a tripartite summit in Asmara. This was in February 2020.

The alliance also adopted a new Joint Plan of Action for 2020.The plan focuses “on two main and intertwined objectives of consolidating peace, stability and security, as well as promoting economic and social development,” as Yemane Gebremeskel, Eritrea`s Information Minister, explained.“They also agreed to bolster efforts for effective regional cooperation.”On the security front, the leaders formulated a strategy to combat common threats, such as terrorism, arms and human trafficking, and drug smuggling. These efforts are leading “to some sort of Horn of Africa coalition,” even a “Cushitic Alliance,” according to the East African newspaper.Such an alliance will overlap with the mandate of IGAD.

It remains ambiguous what is in the minds of these leaders. But to an outsider, this looks like more of a problem than a solution.How can the three countries, in exclusion of Djibouti, Sudan and Kenya, forge an alliance that can bring peace to the region?Beyond the long-term ambition of Saudi Arabia and the UAE to control the Horn of Africa, the immediate goal of Egypt is to secure its interest on the Nile. Many Ethiopians are expressing their anger and showing patriotism through a rhetoric of war.

War in this politically charged, highly militarized strategic region would be destructive beyond our imagination.

If anyone “wins,” it will only be at enormous cost. Even that will be a preparation for the next round of war.The case of Egypt needs wisdom and patience.

War should be the ultimate exercise to defend the sovereignty and territorial integrity of any country. Heroes are those who prevent war and not make war.

There is an attempt to resuscitate discussions between Sudan, Ethiopia and Egypt, but tripartite talks should not be the preferred way for Ethiopia. This case is about the Nile and the rights of the Nile Basin countries. Sudan is not a reliable partner in this case for Ethiopia.

The issue is best served if brought before the Nile Basin countries and not a tripartite meeting where the odds do not favor Ethiopia.The only viable option for Ethiopia and Egypt is to bring back their case to Africa, call an emergency meeting of the heads of state of the Nile Basin countries and continue the dialogue and, if necessary, bring it to the level of the African Heads of State.

But before this can be done, the Ethiopian government has to do the legwork by approaching each of the Nile Basin countries and presenting its case and a possible solution that will serve the interests of both Egypt and Ethiopia. These discussions should be led by knowledgeable people that understand the intricacy of the problem at hand.

In the meantime, unilateral actions on both sides should be avoided as much as possible.The foundation for stability in the Horn begins with bilateral efforts to solve their differences in the face of mounting political, security and pandemic crisis. It is not patriotism not to compromise but is expressed best when the crisis between countries are solved through bilateral negotiations, including compromise.Give and take is the essence of diplomacy. But leaders need to know what to give and what to take. This requires a grasp on history and debate.

The building blocks for sustainable peace in the region begin with a capacity of each leader to discern the truth and not to mistake information as knowledge.

For the latter, leaders have people who have a sense of history and can see the big picture through the lenses of current affairs.The fact that the Horn of Africa is the most militarized region on earth is not a coincidence. Let us encourage our leaders to take stock of the situation on the area and trek carefully in this treacherous minefield: what the Horn has become.

Author Publisher: @shakiressa

ICJ should now drop Kenya-Somalia case

Kenya and Somalia will reportedly share equally any revenue from the maritime triangle under a Qatar-brokered deal 

The International Court of Justice in the Hague has been hearing arguments over ownership of the maritime triangle

ICJ should now drop Kenya-Somalia case

Kenya and Somalia have reportedly agreed to share equally any oil revenues from the disputed maritime triangle

The deal was brokered by Qatar and prompted the recent resumption of diplomatic relations between Somalia and Kenya. Two years ago Qatar bought blocks in the maritime triangle from Italian oil company ENI that had been issued by Kenya.

This is a win-win for all concerned. Somalia cannot afford to fall out with Kenya as there are so many links between the two countries. For its part, Kenya has a weak case as the unfair maritime convention states that any sea border should run perpendicular to the coastline.

And it is a big win for Qatar as it demonstrates that the tiny Gulf nation has diplomatic muscle and economic clout.

But the International Court of Justice must now wind up the long-running case over the maritime triangle. If Kenya and Somalia have agreed to leave the matter pending and to split 50-50 any oil and gas revenues, there is no need to pursue a legal case that will only divide the two nations and threaten the stability of the region. 

Somalia cuts diplomatic ties with Kenya over Somaliland

Photo: kenyan president uhuru kenyatta and somaliasomaliaSomalia president mohamed abdilahi farmajo, somalia cuts diplomatic ties with Kenya over Somaliland,

Somalia on Tuesday morning announced it is cutting diplomatic ties with Kenya, in the latest escalation of a spat between the two, and following the invitation of Somaliland leader Muse Bihi to Nairobi.

Somalia cuts diplomatic ties with Kenya over Somaliland

Osman Dubbe, the Somali Minister for Information declared the news on national TV a few minutes to 2am in the morning, breaking tradition of countries making such pronouncements during the day.

Photo: somaliland and kenyan flag, Somalia cuts diplomatic ties with Kenya over Somaliland,

Dubbe said Kenya had “constantly interfered” with Somalia’s internal affairs and that Nairobi was violating Somalia’s sovereignty.

He said Kenyan diplomats in Mogadishu will have seven days to leave the country. But this came just a week after Mogadishu actually expelled the Kenyan ambassador to Somalia, Lucas Tumbo, and recalled theirs to Nairobi, Mohamud Ahmed Tarzan, following a similar complaint of interference.

Somalia had also submitted a complaint to regional bloc, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), to include the spat with Kenya during the upcoming virtual summit on Dec 20 on Tigray.

Kenya though, became the second country in a year after Guinea, with which Somalia has cut ties over the Somaliland issue.

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Spokesperson’s Office
State House, Nairobi

14th December 2020

Press Release

Bilateral talks between Kenyan and Somaliland delegations

Kenya hosts Bihi

But as Mogadishu moved in the night, Nairobi was hosting Bihi for bilateral talks with President Uhuru Kenyatta. Both sides on Monday said they had agreed on a number of issues and would continue discussions on Tuesday on business and security cooperation.

With the cutting of diplomatic ties, it means the Kenyan embassy in Mogadishu and Somalia’s mission in Nairobi will be shut and their officials sent back home. But both countries, based on Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, will remain obligated to offer visa and other travel and immigration services to nationals of each other.Advertisement

In fact, each country will remain obligated to protect premises owned by either side on their host territories.

However, despite having legal obligations to protect citizens of each other, the actual protection of each other’s nationals may be granted to a third acceptable state.

It was unclear by Tuesday morning what will happen to military cooperation between Somalia and Kenya which has sent troops to the country under the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom). Legally, it is Amisom to make a decision about troop movements, but in consultation with the UN and troop contributing countries.

About 350,000 Somali refugees also live in Kenya, most of them in camps in Dadaab and Kakuma. Kenya will have to continue protecting them, under the international humanitarian law.

What may be exposed, however, are the properties owned by Somalia businesses and politicians in Nairobi.

Officials in the Kenyan capital said on Tuesday morning they had not yet received any formal communication from Mogadishu on the severing of ties.

Afrika-times.com

Kenya maintained its recognition of SOMALILAND as newest country in africa

President Uhuru Kenyatta is hosting his Somaliland counterpart Muse Bihi Abdi amidst worsening relations with Somalia.

Kenya maintained to its recognition of somaliland as the newest country in africa, uhuru kenyatta meets with somaliland president muse bihi abdi

KENYA 🇰🇪 MAINTAINED ITS RECOGNITION OF SOMALILAND AS NEWEST COUNTRY IN AFRICA

The visit by the leader of the self-declared country seeks to give Kenya a platform through which Nairobi can have presence in Hargeisa, as it has no diplomatic presence in Somaliland

President Abdi jetted into the country for a three-day state visit yesterday and was received. Official invitation from uhuru kenyatta

This visit comes after Somalia President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, also known as Farmaajo, imposed restrictions on Kenyans hoping to travel to the country. At the same time, there has been a maritime dispute that saw Somalia file a case against Kenta at the International Court of Justice in 2014.

Mogadishu has accused Nairobi of meddling in its upcoming elections by allegedly putting pressure on the leader of Jubaland region, Ahmed Mohamed Islaam Madobe, to pull out of poll agreement brokered two months ago.

Mogadishu expelled Kenya’s diplomat to Somalia Maj Gen (rtd) Lucas Tambo and recalled its ambassador to Kenya, Mohamud Ahmed Nur ‘Tarzan’, over claims of Nairobi’s continuous interference in its internal affairs.

“President Kenyatta, on Monday, is scheduled to host President of Somaliland for talks on mutual interests and discuss diaspora issues as they seek to deepen trade ties,” reads a press release by the Foreign Affairs ministry.

Uhuru, according to the ministry’s brief, will be seeking stronger relations between the two countries to bolster security, economic and social

“Somaliland is an important partner in the Horn of Africa region in the fight against terrorism and particularly Al-Shabaab,” the statement read.

This file photo taken on May 18, 2016 shows a woman holding a flag as soldiers and other military personnel of Somalia’s breakaway territory of Somaliland march past during an Independence day celebration parade in the capital, Hargeisa. [AFP]

“ takes cognizance of the political and economic stability of the region and is keen to enhance and broaden trade in goods and services, as well as investment as the cornerstone for long-term development cooperation with the region.”

The ministry also disclosed that Uhuru would be seeking intensified cooperation in banking and financial sector to accelerate investment opportunities for both parties. Kenya Airways flights connecting Nairobi and Hargeisa to enhance trade and movement is carefully being explored, the statement said.

Other issues on the table include information sharing on security, particularly in countering terrorism in the Horn of Africa. “Kenya and Somaliland will work together to actualise these aspirations,” the statement read.

This is the first official visit to Nairobi by President Abdi since he took over Somaliland in 2017, and the second by a Somaliland leader following a similar one by President Kahin Riyale Kahin in 2009.

Such differences are not new to Kenya. Tanzania cancelled landing rights for three Kenyan airlines — Kenya Airways, Fly540 and Safarilink Aviation — after Kenya insisted Tanzanians arriving in the country had to be quarantined for 14 days.

The actions by the two countries have recently stalled business ventures for Kenyans over ‘bad’ policies by Nairobi.

While receiving President Abdi together with his delegation, which includes uhuru kenyatta and the members of the Cabinet, Munya said today’s talks between the two leaders would be of mutual interest.

Somaliland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said President Abdi left Hargeisa on Sunday and would meet Kenyan officials for bilateral talks.

Somalia has had issues with Kenya over miraa (khat) export. The country has since banned Kenyan miraa from its market.

The matter resurfaced last week after a delegation of farmers’ representatives travelled to seek audience with Somalia officials. However, they were met with a list of demands, including a tax charge of $4 per kilo.

The farmers were also told to report to the Kenyan authorities that they would only be allowed to sell miraa in Somalia if flights from Mogadishu are not forced to stop in Wajir for security checks.

Somalia officials say Kenya should treat their country as an equal partner.

In 2016, Mr Munya, then Meru Governor, caused a diplomatic storm after he ‘offered recognition’ of Somaliland if they were assured a steady miraa market.

KENYA MAINTAINED ITS RECOGNITION OF SOMALILAND AS NEWEST COUNTRY IN AFRICA

ILHAN OMAR’S MINNEAPOLIS DISTRICT — WHERE PAID WORKERS ILLEGALLY GATHER ABSENTEE BALLOTS FROM ELDERLY SOMALI IMMIGRANTS

A ballot-harvesting racket in Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar’s Minneapolis district — where paid workers illegally gather absentee ballots from elderly Somali immigrants — appears to have been busted by undercover news organization Project Veritas.

https://nypost.com/2020/09/27/project-veritas-uncovers-ballot-harvesting-fraud-in-minnesota/amp/

ILHAN OMAR’S MINNEAPOLIS DISTRICT — WHERE PAID WORKERS ILLEGALLY GATHER ABSENTEE BALLOTS FROM ELDERLY SOMALI IMMIGRANTS

One alleged ballot harvester, Liban Mohamed, the brother of Minneapolis city council member Jamal Osman, is shown in a bombshell Snapchat video rifling through piles of ballots strewn across his dashboard.

“Just today we got 300 for Jamal Osman,” says Mohamed, aka KingLiban1, in the video. “I have 300 ballots in my car right now . . .

“Numbers don’t lie. You can see my car is full. All these here are absentee ballots. . . . Look, all these are for Jamal Osman,” he says, displaying the white envelopes.

“Money is the king in this world . . . and a campaign is driven by money.”
https://921f541719f74a54745c2cf505972067.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html?n=0

The video, posted on July 1, was obtained by Project Veritas and included in a 17-minute video expose released Sunday night.

Under Minnesota law no individual can be the “designated agent” for more than three absentee voters.

The allegations come just five weeks before a presidential election plagued with predictions of voter fraud. Both President Trump and Attorney General Bill Barr have warned that the increased use of mail-in ballots, due to COVID-19 concerns about in-person voting, are vulnerable to fraud, especially when unsolicited ballots are mailed to all voters in certain states.

Project Veritas’ investigation in Minneapolis will pour gasoline on the fire, only 48 hours before Trump debates Joe Biden in the first presidential debate Tuesday, addressing topics including election security.

“Our investigation into this ballot harvesting ring demonstrates clearly how these unscrupulous operators exploit the elderly and immigrant communities” said James O’Keefe, founder and CEO of Project Veritas.

The alleged involvement of Ilhan Omar, a controversial member of the Squad, and frequent Trump target, is claimed on camera by two people in Veritas’ investigation, including whistleblower Omar Jamal, a Minneapolis community leader and chair of the city’s Somali Watchdog Group.

He claims Mohamed is “one of” Ilhan Omar’s “many people.”

“It’s an open secret. She will do anything that she can do to get elected and she has hundreds of people on the streets doing that,” he told Veritas in an on-camera interview last Tuesday.

“It’s not only her. It’s all this DFL [Democratic-Farmers-Labor] machine [that’s] in . . . the state of Minnesota . . .

“The regulations, if you ignore that and you let corruption and fraud become a daily business and then tough luck, the country will not exist as they [Americans] know it.”
https://921f541719f74a54745c2cf505972067.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html?n=0

Also implicating Ilhan Omar’s campaign in the scheme is an anonymous Minneapolis-based former political worker, who told Project Veritas that, before Minnesota’s primary elections, August 8, ballot harvesters “took every single ballot” from elderly people in a Minneapolis public housing complex — the Charles Horn Towers.

“Knock on the door and say, ‘your ballots come? Give it to me.’ ”

She alleges Ilhan Omar’s long-serving staffer, campaign deputy district director Ali (Isse) Gainey, was “coordinating everything.”

Gainey, “who is working in Ilhan’s campaign, is the one who is managing the voting place. They bring them. They line them. They put the open ballots in there and then they take them in and say, ‘Here,’ and the people mark [the ballots] . . .

“They have perfected this system,” she said. “They will tell you we are applying for your ballot. They take a picture of your social security and your driver’s license. They have a database. When the ballot comes, they track it. Sometimes, they make fake emails. They track the ballot. Then they come and pick up the ballot, unopened . . .
https://921f541719f74a54745c2cf505972067.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html?n=0

“They don’t give a s–t about any Somali . . . The DFL wants to win this state at all costs . . . and the victims is the Somali people.”

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She also alleged that young people and women were paid for their ballots before last month’s Minnesota primary.

“Cash, cash, cash. They were carrying bags of money. . . . When you vote and they mark you off, then you get in the van, they give you the cash.”

Federal laws forbid paying someone to vote or register to vote, or intimidating voters.

Jamal, who has worked with Minnesota’s Ramsey County Sherriff’s Office on deradicalization education, helped Project Veritas investigators unveil what he calls “ongoing election fraud” which victimizes his community. He secretly recorded conversations with alleged ballot harvester Mohamed and a member of the DFL, Minnesota’s version of the Democratic party.

In one call, Mohamed allegedly explains ballot harvesting: “You request for the ballot. It will be sent to your house. You will fill it out and then send it.”

Omar asks: “So they request for the elderly?”

Mohamed says: “Yes, they request for them.”

Omar: “And it is taken away from them?”

Mohamed: “Yes, it is taken away from them.”

In another call, Mohamed says: “I’m working for Jamal Osman [who is] running for city council in Minneapolis. That’s my young brother.”

Osman, a member of the DFL, won the Ward 6 race for Minneapolis City Council in August.

Another grab from Mohamed’s Snapchat with the time stamp 1:59 am, July 2, shows a man brandishing a wad of about 30 ballots with the words “OFFICIAL ABSENTEE BALLOT” on the front of envelopes. “Two in the morning, still hustling,” he says.

Project Veritas’ investigation raises serious concerns about the security of mail-in ballots, and intimidation of vulnerable voters.

While FBI Director Christopher Wray told the Senate last week, “we have not seen, historically, any kind of coordinated national voter fraud effort in a major election,” troubling examples have arisen in recent months.

In Paterson, New Jersey, two officials were charged with election fraud last month after hundreds of mail-in-ballots were discarded. In Pennsylvania, nine military ballots from the 2016 election, most for Trump, were found in a dumpster, it was revealed last week.

A ‘Supreme’ marriage

There is much to admire about Amy Coney Barrett. But let’s start with her marriage.

In her speech in the Rose Garden Saturday to accept the president’s nomination to the Supreme Court, the 48-year-old mother of seven paid tribute to her husband of 21 years, Jesse Barrett.

“At the start of our marriage, I imagined that we would run our household as partners.

“As it has turned out, Jesse does far more than his share of the work. To my chagrin, I learned at dinner recently that my children consider him to be the better cook!

“For 21 years, Jesse has asked me every single morning what he can do for me that day. And though I almost always say, ‘Nothing,’ he still finds ways to take things off my plate.

“And that’s not because he has a lot of free time. He has a busy law practice. It is because he is a superb and generous husband, and I am very fortunate”.

It must be disappointing for leftists that this is not the “Handmaid’s Tale” nightmare they like to paint of faithful Christian marriages, but a respectful partnership, with mutual generosity and love, between a woman who does not deny her femininity and a man who has not sacrificed his masculinity.

Successful marriages are not celebrated enough, and yet they are everything to a healthy society.

ILHAN OMAR’S MINNEAPOLIS DISTRICT — WHERE PAID WORKERS ILLEGALLY GATHER ABSENTEE BALLOTS FROM ELDERLY SOMALI IMMIGRANTS

Shakir essa
Shakir Essa is a digital video creator

https://mobile.twitter.com/shakir_essa

Somaliland rejects proposed visit by Ethiopia PM, Somali president

1024x538_1021479Somaliland rejects proposed visit by Ethiopia PM, Somali president
©AfricaNews
2 hours ago
Somalia

Somaliland has rejected a planned joint visit by Somali president Mohamed Abdulahi Farmaajo and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

A high-ranking official in Somaliland had confirmed a proposed visit to Hargeisa by Abiy and Farmaajo on the initiative of the PM. Hargeisa is capital of Somaliland, an autonomous region of Somalia.
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Voice of America journalist and author of “Inside AlShabab,” Harun Maruf posted a tweet that said Somaliland’s chairman of House of Elders Suleiman Mohamoud Aden as saying PM Abiy Ahmed was “pushing for a joint visit to Hargeisa by him and Somalia President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo.”

It is the first concrete report of an information that started making the rounds on Twitter on Saturday evening when a post to that effect was made by one Khaalid Foodhaadhi.

A meeting between leaders of Somalia and Somaliland in Addis Ababa was brokered by Abiy last week after the 33rd African Union summit.

The Somali presidential spokesman confirmed that the “ice-breaking” meeting had indeed taken place between Farmaajo and Somaliland’s Muse Bihi.

Days later, Farmaajo made a public admission over excesses by the Siad Barre regime in the late eighties against Somaliland. An admission that received largely good comments on social media.

The planned joint visit to Hargeisa has also received positive traction as many people on social media see it as a positive first step towards finding an amicable solution to the longstanding rift between Somalia and Somaliland.
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Bihi, Farmajo Meeting To Feature In Ethiopia PM’s Talks

Bihi, Farmajo Meeting To Feature In Ethiopia PM’s Talks
14th February 2020
MAP
The expansion of the Somaliland Port of Berbera and the meeting between Somaliland and Somalia leaders will be among the discussions points between Ethiopia Prime Minister Aby Ahmed and the United Arab Emirates leadership this weekend.
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Ethiopia Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed landed in Abu Dhabi on Thursday evening for a round of talks with the hosting government over trade partnerships and efforts to find peace in the horn of Africa.
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Abiy was received at the Presidential Airport by Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, and Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Crown Prince’s Court.

Sheikh Abdullah welcomed Abiy and discussed relations and co-operation between the two countries and ways to tackle issues of mutual interest.

Abiy is accompanied by his wife, Zinash Tayachew, Dr Hirut Kassaw, Minister of Culture and Tourism, Adanech Abebe, Minister of Revenues, and Muferiat Kamil, Ethiopian Minister of Peace.

Ethiopia and the UAE have partnered with Somaliland in the expansion of the port of Berbera which once completed will be the biggest in the region.

UAE’s DP World is expanding the port at a cost of USD 442 Million and is also expected to set up an economic free zone complement the growth of the Port of Berbera as a regional trading hub.

Somalia has been against the expansion of the port claiming Somaliland has no right to enter any international agreements.

Somaliland separated from Somalia in 1991 and declared its own independence. The two countries have been at loggerheads since then.

But early this week, the Ethiopian Prime Minister brokered a meeting between Somaliland president Musa Bihi and Somali president Abdullahi Farmajo in Addis Ababa, talks that lasted for an hour.

Ethiopia and the UAE believe that a lasting solution between Somalia and Somaliland is vital for their interests in the horn of Africa.

This is Abiy’s second trip to UAE in less than one year.

UAE was one of the Gulf nations Abiy visited last year as part of pooling regional support, especially for economic reforms. The Crown Prince also visited Addis Ababa in 2018.

Ethiopia – UAE relations have been on an upward trajectory over the course of 2018.

Over the last decade, the UAE has gradually increased its presence in the Horn of Africa, using development and humanitarian projects to boost its prominence.

It has significantly invested in ports, logistics and trade developments, to secure its port empire across the strategic Bab el-Mandeb Strait by the Red Sea, to profoundly boost its international trade and regional soft power.

The Emirati-owned company DP World’s opening of a port in Djibouti in 2008 signalled a developing presence in the relatively then-untouched Horn of Africa.

Ethiopia has served as a key platform for growing UAE influence, where Abu Dhabi alongside Saudi Arabia helped broker a peace deal with Eritrea, after a two-year state of war between the two states.

It has since continued to shower Ethiopia with aid, also carrying out key development projects. The UAE had also built an oil pipeline between Eritrea and Ethiopia, and Emirati companies have increased investment particularly in Ethiopia.

Such moves are also an attempt to compete with Turkey, Iran and Qatar, whose increasingly positive ties with east African states are met with unease by Abu Dhabi.

A setback for the UAE’s political ambitions in the Horn of Africa, however, are its ties with Somalia who have grown closer to Turkey, a key Emirati rival.

In response, the UAE has focused its support on Somalia’s autonomous regions.

The UAE and Ethiopia last February agreed to cooperate to turn Somaliland into a “major regional trading hub,” which helps the UAE’s ally Ethiopia gain greater trading access, and subsequently boost the UAE’s own trading and economic capabilities.

Furthermore, its alliance with Ethiopia, which also invests in Somaliland’s Berbera port, has helped the UAE gain greater control over it.

The UAE has also attempted to build a military and naval base in Somaliland.

Spread of Wahhabism was done at request of West during Cold War – Saudi crown prince

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Spread of Wahhabism was done at request of West during Cold War – Saudi crown prince
Published time: 28 Mar, 2018 11:58
Edited time: 18 Apr, 2018 15:56
Spread of Wahhabism was done at request of West during Cold War – Saudi crown prince
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. © Hamad I Mohammed / Reuters
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The Saudi-funded spread of Wahhabism began as a result of Western countries asking Riyadh to help counter the Soviet Union during the Cold War, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told the Washington Post.
Speaking to the paper, bin Salman said that Saudi Arabia’s Western allies urged the country to invest in mosques and madrassas overseas during the Cold War, in an effort to prevent encroachment in Muslim countries by the Soviet Union.

Read more
3yrs of civilian deaths in Yemen don’t hold US & allies back from selling arms to Saudis – Amnesty 3yrs of civilian deaths in Yemen don’t hold US & allies back from selling arms to Saudis – Amnesty
He added that successive Saudi governments had lost track of that effort, saying “we have to get it all back.” Bin Salman also said that funding now comes mostly from Saudi-based “foundations,” rather than from the government.

The crown prince’s 75-minute interview with the Washington Post took place on March 22. Another topic of discussion included a previous claim by US media that bin Salman had said that he had White House senior adviser Jared Kushner “in his pocket.”

Bin Salman denied reports that when he and Kushner – who is also Donald Trump’s son-in-law – met in Riyadh in October, he had sought or received a greenlight from Kushner for the massive crackdown on alleged corruption which led to widespread arrests in the kingdom shortly afterwards. According to bin Salman, the arrests were a domestic issue and had been in the works for years.

He said it would be “really insane” for him to trade classified information with Kushner, or to try to use him to advance Saudi interests within the Trump administration. He stated that their relationship was within a normal governmental context, but did acknowledge that he and Kushner “work together as friends, more than partners.” He stated that he also had good relationships with Vice President Mike Pence and others within the White House.

The crown prince also spoke about the war in Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition continues to launch a bombing campaign against Houthi rebels in an attempt to reinstate ousted Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi as president. The conflict has killed thousands, displaced many more, driven the country to the brink of famine, and led to a major cholera outbreak.

Although the coalition has been accused of a large number of civilian deaths and disregard for civilian lives – an accusation which Riyadh denies – the crown prince said his country has not passed up “any opportunity” to improve the humanitarian situation in the country. “There are not good options and bad options. The options are between bad and worse,” he said.

The interview with the crown prince was initially held off the record. However, the Saudi embassy later agreed to led the Washington Post publish specific portions of the meeting.

Reported by:Shakir Essa

ETHIOPIA TAKES LAND BACK FROM INVESTORS WHO PROMISED JOBS AND FAILED

Ethiopia
Ethiopia has revoked a total of 412.6 hectares of land held by investors, including Ethiopian-born Saudi billionaire Mohammed Hussein al-Amoudi for failure to create jobs and develop the city, as promised when the lands were awarded to them, head of Addis Ababa Land Bank Tesfaye Tilahun told the Voice of America.

The investors had promised to create jobs for the youth and develop Addis Ababa by building industries, hotels, a media center and other complexes in the busy city which has over 4 million residents.

“All they did was make a fence around thousands square feet of land and left it for years. That is all they did. Instead of building the city, they gave the city a bad image, making it a place of waste collections,” said Tilahun, while explaining why 95 individuals and businesses lost their licenses.

Of the 412.6 hectares of land, 55 were associated with Mohammed International Development Research and Organization Companies (MIDROC), a private company that belongs to Ethiopian-born Saudi billionaire Mohammed Hussein al-Amoudi. In 2005, MIDROC leased about 33,000 square feet of land in the heart of the capital, agreeing to build a city center there but only evicted locals and built a huge fence round the land.

Prior to the lease revocation, MIDROC has had a coarse relationship with Addis Ababa residents who have accused the company of polluting the environment and refusing job opportunities to locals, leading to a protest in the Oromia region of the capital because of the fear of losing their farmlands to MIDROC.

This week alone, 19 Ethiopian government agencies and 18 companies related to African diplomats or governments also had their licenses revoked.

Kenya is on course to renewing its $1.5 billion standby credit facility with the International Monetary Fund

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Kenya is on course to renewing its $1.5 billion standby credit facility with the International Monetary Fund after signing a deal with selected banks to release close to Ksh1 trillion ($10 billion) in loans to the private sector despite the prevailing rate caps.

This comes after parliament rejected the National Treasury’s attempts to repeal the interest rate caps, leaving the government exposed in its renewed negotiations with the IMF for a facility that is designed to cushion the economy against external shocks and raise its credibility in the eyes of international lenders.

The EastAfrican has learnt that the National Treasury has made a renewed commitment to free credit to the private sector, now with rate caps in place, and to reduce the fiscal deficit to as low as five per cent in the next fiscal year (2019/2020) from 7.2 per cent in the last fiscal year (2017/2018) as part of the new conditions to return to the IMF programme, which expired in September 2018.

The EastAfrican has further learnt that the government’s progress in promoting financial inclusion also helped it win back the confidence of the IMF to restore the country to the latter’s two-year precautionary facility programme.

A government official privy to the negotiations told The EastAfrican that the agreement, which was signed last week between the Central Bank and top five banks to start lending to micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises was in compliance with the IMF’s new conditions.

The five commercial banks–KCB, NIC Group, Commercial Bank of Africa, Diamond Trust Bank and Co-operative Bank–and the Central Bank, last week launched the pilot phase of a mobile loan product targeting MSMEs.

The five banks have set aside close to Ksh1 trillion ($10 billion) to lend to the MSMEs.

Under this programme MSMEs will receive unsecured loans ranging from Ksh30,000 ($300) up to Ksh250,000 ($2,500) with repayment profiles of one to 12 months, at an interest of nine per cent per annum compared with the current controlled rate of 13 per cent, considering that the Central Bank Rate is now fixed at nine per cent.

“Small and mid-size enterprises are the lifeblood of any economy, but many have struggled to secure the necessary financing to continue operations in the current economic climate,” said CBK governor Patrick Njoroge.

“IMF has always been against the rate caps because banks have not been lending to the MSMEs and have always concentrated on lending to the government and other corporates, when they consider less risky,” the source said.

“We have now talked to the banks to start lending to the MSMEs and with banks agreeing to lend to the private sector, IMF has problems with the rate caps,” added the source.

Inclusion

According to the source, the government’s significant progress in attracting the majority of its adult population into the formal financial system also played a big part in softening the hardline stance of the IMF.

Barely two weeks ago, Kenya’s National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich told Reuters in London that Kenya expects to finalise a deal with the IMF on a new standby credit facility in two months and that the fund was not insisting on the removal of interest rate caps as a precondition for a new deal.

“We are looking at a similar arrangement to what we had before. We have everything on the table and I would estimate that it won’t take us more than two months,” he said.

Ethiopia political interest has completely changed



 

This news drafted from ethiopian government foreign website:

 Ethiopia’s national interests have been completely redefined and re-evaluated since 1991, providing a new focus on the countrys internal vulnerabilities and problems, political and economic. The Foreign Policy and National Security Strategy identifies the major threats to Ethiopia and indeed to its survival: economic backwardness and the desperate poverty affecting a large majority of the population. The strategy also emphasizes the need for democracy and good governance and for the establishment of a democratic structure and government at all levels throughout the country. It underscores that without these Ethiopia would be unable to survive as a country and its very existence would be in doubt. Considerable progress has been made in the last six years, but more remains to be done. 

With regard to bilateral relations, the policy clearly stipulates that Ethiopia will pursue engagement with all other countries on the basis of the principle of mutual interest and respect. Relations with all neighbors over the last two decades have been a testament to the seriousness with which the country has adhered to these principles. Ethiopia believes that whatever differences countries may have, issues of common concern can only be addressed on the basis of constructive engagement, of dialogue and in a manner that allows for a win-win outcome for all. 

Ethiopia relationship with Egypt is one of the many bilateral relations that the government of Ethiopia has been working hard to develop along these principles. Ethiopia and Egypt, of course, have a long relationship, dating back several thousand years. Apart from the cultural and historical ties that have bound them together for centuries, both countries have been closely involved in the cause of African unity over the last five decades. Central to any relationship however has been the River Nile which has been the strong bond tying the two countries and their peoples together for millennia. The Nile can and indeed should be a source of cooperation and mutually beneficial relations between Ethiopia and Egypt in a whole number of ways. This has not, however, always been the case. Indeed, the issue of the use of the Nile water has often been a major sticking point in the relationship, a major stumbling block to any sort of robust bilateral link that might have enhanced the interests of both countries. 

Robust ties are, of course, exactly what both countries need to deal with another major interest of concern to both – the issue of security and a response to extremism and terrorism, something which has equally affected both. Surprisingly, perhaps, it is also something that neither Ethiopia nor Egypt have properly explored. Yet security, internally, as well as regionally in both the Horn of Africa and North Africa, is vital to both states. Ethiopia and Egypt have some of the largest populations in Africa; both have been affected by substantial terrorist atrocities. Producing an adequate response to terrorism is not just in their own interests. Both states have responsibilities to their regions and to Africa and the Africa Union in this regard. Equally, both have a heavy responsibility to avoid exacerbating, even inadvertently, the dangers posed by terrorist activity.

There are a number of causes why such co-operation has not been developed, and the major reasons revolve around the issue of the Nile. Indeed, all Egypts relations with Ethiopia over the last century or so have largely revolved around this more than anything else. Successive Egyptian governments have sought to ensure their continued control of the Nile water, and because of this it has not been possible to establish a regime for the river based on mutual agreement. Certainly, upper riparian countries, including Ethiopia, for a long time suffered from a lack of sufficient resources to develop their legitimate claims to usage of the Nile water. The policies pursued by Egypt on this did not help the confidence of the upper riparian countries towards this issue. There is a strong conviction in Ethiopia, which has been well-founded, that efforts have been made to prevent Ethiopia from accessing support for the purpose of obtaining the necessary financial support for hydro-electric projects, even where these projects would pose no harm whatsoever to Egypt. 

Ethiopia attaches great importance to its relations with Egypt, over the Nile as in the area of security. It accepts that Egypt has legitimate interests in the use of the Nile River. Equally, it sincerely believes that the only way any controversy over the use of such a common resource can be settled is through dialogue and the principle of equitable utilization of the water, without causing significant harm to others. This is why Ethiopia has so strongly supported the Nile Basin Initiative and now the Nile Basin Cooperative Framework Agreement, negotiated among the Nile riparian countries over the last ten years. The upper riparian countries have time and again reassured the lower riparian countries, Egypt and Sudan, that they have not any interest in harming them or indeed any other country. Ethiopia strongly believes the Cooperative Framework Agreement is a formula for a win-win outcome for all. 

Unfortunately, despite changing political and economic dynamics in the region, there are still those who want to set the clock back. It seems that concepts such as cooperation, dialogue and equitable utilization are anathema to such people. It appears some still believe in saber-rattling and diplomatic maneuverings to promote their own interests at the expense of all others. It should be noted however, the realities that held Ethiopia back in the past from utilizing the Nile water have changed and changed forever. Ethiopia is not only stable; it is no longer completely dependent upon third parties to make some use of its resources, including the Nile. Everybody will now be better served by constructive discussions and dialogue so that all potential in the relationship between Ethiopia and Egypt can be put to good use.  

In fact, today the challenge that Ethiopia faces in its bilateral relations with Egypt is no longer as problematic as it has been. There are signs that attitudes are changing. There appears to be a growing realization that neither threats nor covert efforts against this or that riparian country can be successful. For example, bilateral economic relations between Ethiopia and Egypt are growing steadily, and can be expected to increase sharply in the future. Dialogue between the two governments is becoming more regular and more frequent. Both continue to face enormous challenges over the need to deal with extremism and terrorism. There can be no doubt of the value that a common approach would have.  There are real possibilities for both parties to develop a sense of mutual trust that would further enhance understanding and cooperation. It is of course only such approaches that can bring the required and desired results and contribute to the enhancement of mutually beneficial relations between the two countries.

Report by: Mgubi mbili

Africa Times team;

South Africa


l.p.

2 Canadian women freed from Somaliland prison say they endured extreme abuse Maymona Abdi, 28, and Karima Watts, 24, arrested in January, released in April

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Two Canadian women freed from a prison in Somaliland say they endured extreme abuse “bordering on torture” while they were detained for two months overseas.
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Maymona Abdi, 28, and Karima Watts, 24, originally from Ottawa, arrived at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport on Sunday. They were arrested by police on Jan. 19 for allegedly drinking alcohol in the Somaliland city of Hargeisa. They were held without trial and released on April 23.
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Consuming alcohol is illegal in Somaliland, a self-declared republic still internationally considered to be part of Somalia. The women disputed the charge, but were detained at the Koodbuur Station Women’s Prison in Hargeisa.
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Canadian women released from jail in Somaliland
“I feel a lot of relief. It’s been really hard,” Abdi told reporters at the airport shortly after their arrival. “I’m super tired and anxious.”
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Maymona Abdi
Maymona Abdi spent more than two months in jail in Somaliland (CBC)
Abdi said she thinks they were released because of media coverage of their plight. She said Canadian consular officials did not help them as much as they needed.

According to their lawyer, Mubarik Mohamoud Abdi, the women signed confessions under duress, hoping to avoid being detained. They were sentenced to 2½ months in jail and 40 lashes. He said the prosecution in the case did not prove before the court that the women drank alcohol.
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‘Name a place where it isn’t dangerous to be us’
In a prepared statement that she read aloud, Abdi said people have asked them why they went somewhere as dangerous as Somaliland. She said the two felt an obligation to help women facing violence.

“Name a place where it isn’t dangerous to be us. Where is it safe to be a woman? In reality, it is women on the ground, who look like us, who are sacrificing everything.”

Her family retains property in Somaliland, according to Abdi’s mother Fahima Hassan.
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According to Jason Jeremias, a human rights activist based in New York City, Abdi was working to intervene in the protection of women at extreme risk of gender-based violence, but they did not go as official representatives of a non-governmental organization.

Karima Watts
Karima Watts stands in Toronto’s Pearson International Airport on Sunday. (CBC)
Abdi said she and Watts were subjected to extreme emotional and psychological abuse as well as “physical retaliation” in prison. She said they were denied medical aid, legal counsel and, at times, food and water.

According to international human rights conventions, that denial constitutes torture, she said.

“We burdened our struggle in silence,” she said. “For two months, while we were being detained, the world had no clue where we were and what we were being subjected to.”

Silence enables violence, she added. “We will stand up for each other as women wherever we face violence,” she said.

Jeremias, who is connected to the organization the Price of Silence, spoke up on their behalf, drawing attention to their case, she said.

Don’t give up fight for human rights, she says
Abdi, whose sister is in Toronto, said she plans to go to the hospital to be assessed. She said they also have to decide where they are going to live.

She added she would like Canadians not to give up the fight for human rights and to remember many people around the world are suffering in silence.
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“I want them to know, there’s people out there that go through things but nobody really knows,” she said. “Be aware of it. Open your eyes.”

Maymona Abdi and Karima Watts
Watts, left, and Abdi take a break after Abdi spoke to the media in Toronto. (CBC)
Shirley Gillett, project co-ordinator of I Do! Project in Toronto, said she believes the charge of consuming alcohol was trumped up. The project works with survivors of forced marriage and those at risk of forced marriage.
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Gillett said Abdi, who lived in Vancouver before heading overseas, has done work with the project. She said Abdi contacted her after she had arrived in Somaliland.

“They’ve been through a lot of stress. They’re exhausted as well. They were living in conditions that were deplorable, to say the least,” Gillett said.

“We’re just relieved that they’re home. We’re just looking to getting them to good health, supporting them in any way they can.”

Avoid all travel to Somalia, Ottawa says
In a statement earlier, Hassan had said: “Maymona and Karima were born and grew up in Ottawa, Canada, as best friends. When Karima’s mother died, she became our daughter.”

Canadians are urged to avoid all travel to Somalia, according to the Canadian government in a travel advisory that was last updated on April 25.
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“If you are currently in Somalia despite this advisory, you should leave immediately,” the travel advisory reads.

“The security situation in Somalia is extremely volatile and the threat of domestic terrorism is high, particularly in south-central Somalia and in the capital, Mogadishu.”
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Shirley Gillett
Shirley Gillett, project co-ordinator of the I Do! Project in Toronto, says she believes the charges were trumped up. (CBC)

Reporter: Shakir Essa

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

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.