Editorial: Ethiopia Has Unlimited Role To Play For Regional Integration

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Being at the epicenter of the Horn of Africa region Ethiopia is more convenient to play a significant role in speeding up the integration of the Horn of Africa region economically and socially. So, as it has been doing so far, it needs to see all the enabling situations and manipulate them for this end as integration is not a matter of choice or luxury but of success and survival.
As usually said unity is a strength. Countries in the Horn of Africa also have a huge amount of natural resources. But like many other parts of the world using these resources is more plausible and meaningful when they act together.
Ethiopia is also endowed with many enabling factors that contribute to realizing the integration goal. The first is its foreign policy. The foreign policy clearly states its keen interest to ensure peace and stability not only at home but in the region, as well as mutual economic benefit.
As a result of the country’s foreign policy, it is also now able to attract the attention of neighboring countries that they are now taking the initiative to connect themselves with Ethiopia through infrastructure. For example, Sudan has recently indicated interest to extend railway line to Ethiopia. Somaliland also has indicated readiness to work in collaboration with Ethiopia in the development of ports.
In addition to the bilateral benefits these infrastructures have, the country’s initiation to link with Ethiopia manifests the confidence they developed on forming a close partnership with Ethiopia. This is an opportune moment which both sides have to take in order to foster their cooperation and speed up their integration.
Previously Ethiopia used to take the lead in the proposal and implementation of such transboundary infrastructure to neighboring countries. As a result, it has been extending road, railway and electricity infrastructure to neighboring countries so far.
Regionally, it is well experienced in maintaining the peace and stability through either directly confronting threats as well as promoting people to people relations and diplomatic means. The fact that Ethiopia shares both geographical border and ethnic composition of people in the region adds its responsibility to take all the necessary actions towards enhancing regional cooperation and linkage.
Historically too, Ethiopia has been playing a big role in the unity, peacekeeping and other continental matters. It is among the few countries of the continent who were active participants in the foundation of the Former Organization of African Unity (OAU), African Cup of nations, peacekeeping activities, among others.
Just as Ethiopia gives significance to its strong relations with neighboring countries, it is also a reliable and important developmental partner as witnessed by all the neighboring countries. Its growing economy, population size, and strategic location are likely to encourage and simplify the relationship between the countries. If it discharges its regional responsibility, it means that it is playing a similar historical role as is the formation of the OAU since strong regional level linkage will lead to the successful realization of the desired continental integration, i.e Agenda 2063 of African Union.
On top of that integration is likely to empower the regional countries to come out competent globally by joining their resources and development potentials. Since they cannot escape from the impacts of globalization, early readiness is an indispensable option to sustain.
Hence Ethiopia should always keep up its ongoing endeavor of bringing the region together and take the opportune moment to realize its peace and development goals.

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