The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between Ethiopia and Somaliland is a gear changer that shifts things in favor of the entire Horn of Africa, Political Science and International Relations Professor Brook Hailu said.

In an exclusive interview with ENA, the professor said the MoU signed between the two sides is a historical breakthrough.

“What makes it very remarkable is that it is based on the consent and goodwill of the Somaliland government. They have thoroughly talked about it, discussed it among themselves, and decided to grant access to the sea to Ethiopia.”


That means a lot to Ethiopia because the country has been landlocked for over 30 years.

“I would call it (the agreement) a gear changer to shift things in favor of Ethiopia, Somaliland, and the entire region of the Horn of Africa.

According to him, nothing is for free in this world. It is based on give and take, and there will be some shares of Ethiopian Airlines to be handed over to the Somaliland government.

Ethiopia: On Course To Recognizing Somaliland’s Statehood
Ethiopia’s prime minister Abiy Ahmed and Somaliland president Muse Bihi are shaking hands after they signed the MoU in Addis Ababa on 1 January 2024.

He believes that this needs to be taken as a model of cooperation among all Horn countries. Some countries, like Ethiopia, are landlocked, but most of them have coastal land.

Thanks to this agreement, Ethiopia will now have access to develop its own commercial port and its own military naval base, which will empower it in a positive sense to play its expected role, the professor elaborated.

“The more Ethiopia has access to and resonance in the Horn region, the Red Sea, and the Gulf of Aden, the more it will play a conducive role, and I would say a good role towards maintaining peace and security not only for itself but for all other neighboring countries.”

The professor noted that this is a very historical milestone decision and agreement made between the two sides, and I do hope it will have resonance.

Ethio-Somaliland MoU Gear Changer In Favor Of Horn Of African Countries: Professor Brook HailuHe pointed out that this will be followed by other neighboring countries, as they have also benefits in allowing Ethiopia access to the sea. By engaging in this, they will get economic benefits. So, it is a win-win situation.

Asked about why some countries oppose the MoU, he said, “I think that is being shortsighted. The reality is that Ethiopia needs a few kilometers of sea access, and it did not get this by force. Ethiopia has a strong military, muscles, and mind. But it doesn’t push around other countries. … For thousands of years, Ethiopia has been one of the most peaceful countries.”

Therefore, I think this is really farsighted. But there are historical enemies of Ethiopia who don’t like to see the peaceful situation develop and who are always alarmists of Ethiopia, he added.

Professor Brook expressed his hope that other countries will follow in the footsteps of Somaliland, which concluded an agreement based on mutual benefits.

It is to be recalled that Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and President Muse Bihi Abdi signed a MoU for partnership and cooperation between Ethiopia and Somaliland in Addis Ababa on January 1, 2024.