Horn Leaders Urged to Consider Ethiopia’s Quest for Access to Red Sea
Leaders of the Horn of Africa nations have to consider discussing Ethiopia’s quest for having access to sea as it would increase the physical economic growth of the East African region, the American political-economic analyst Lawrence Freeman told ENA.
Prime Minister Abiy has given geographical, historical, economic backgrounds to initiate discussion about Ethiopia’s right to access sea through peaceful means.
The American analyst stated that access to sea not only reinforces the steadily growing import-export trade of the second Africa’s populous nation, but will also ensure development in the region.
For him, Ethiopia’s quest for coastal access to sea outlets “is essentially correct” as it would enable to increase physical economic growth of the people in the Horn of Africa.
“If people understand more about physical economic growth, they would understand that this is not only very reasonable, but it’s correct. If you want to raise the standard of living for 200 million people living in countries in the Horn, then you would benefit from the trade that could be increased in Ethiopia by having a port on the Red Sea.”
In this regard, the analyst urged leaders of the Horn of Africa nations to have discussion to consider Ethiopia’s quest for having access to sea.
Prime Minister Abiy has suggested potential areas like the Ethiopian Airlines, the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) and other offers for concession, Freeman stated.
This is perfectly reasonable for the growing Ethiopian economy, he noted.
“The Prime Minister is putting these issues on the table now. (He says) let’s discuss how we are going to bring this about. And I think that’s the approach of a statesman and I would agree with it.”
Access to port is critical to accelerate the growth trajectory of the country and contribute to regional physical economic growth.
“If we look at how we increase the physical economic growth of the people in the Horn of Africa, it is going to depend on Ethiopia. Ethiopia is going to be the dominant economic growth center. And this will benefit all the other countries.
“It’s (therefore) natural to work this out. And I believe this is now an important discussion that has been raised by Prime Minister Abiy. This will be worked out over the years ahead,” Freeman noted.
He also stressed the need for discussion about a regional economic approach since there are several ports in the Horn.
Mentioning about distorted media reports that Ethiopia is claiming access to sea using force if necessary, Freeman noted that this is a very divisive policy that has been used in Africa for hundreds of years.
“We need political leaders and statesmen who rise above this and understand that these are political operations. Some are carried out externally or internally. And the purpose is to prevent the development and sovereignty of African nations. I think the leaders of the nations in the region can sit down and discuss how the region will grow economically.”
“If we concentrate on putting forth the long-term economic growth program that benefits all the nations of the region, the leaders would come to agreement.”
We should also be able to counter those media and other internal and external enemies trying to create tensions between the neighboring countries.
There is no objective reason for countries in the Horn of Africa not to work together for common aims.
Discussions should, therefore, be considered among leaders, experts in the area, including economic experts, water experts and transportation specialists on access to the Red Sea, the analyst stated.
Freeman hopes that this can be done through discussion among sovereign leaders of nation states, including presidents and prime ministers, to deal with the problem.