Ethiopia has been landlocked since Eritrea gained its independence in 1993.
For 30 years it’s been dependent on its neighbors – especially Djibouti – for access to ports and international shipping routes.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has announced that the Ethiopian government is exploring all options to secure a port for the country, including negotiation, “give and take,” and force. In a meeting with investors and businessmen, Abiy said that Ethiopia’s current port costs are unsustainable, and the country must have its own port to reduce reliance on neighboring countries.
The Ethiopian government has already started negotiations with Eritrea, Djibouti, and Somaliland to secure port access. In the case of Eritrea, the government has proposed to give 30% of Ethiopian Airlines to the Eritrean government in exchange for port access. Abiy mentioned that the use of force to secure a port is also being considered but would be a last resort.
The outcome of the negotiations will have a major impact on Ethiopia’s economy and its relations with its neighbors.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed says the high costs are unsustainable.
He’s reportedly said that Ethiopia will secure direct access to a port — peacefully or, if necessary, by force.
What does he mean? And what are the implications for neighboring nations?
Kemal Hashi Mohamoud — Member of the Ethiopian Parliament
Martin Plaut — Journalist specializing in the Horn of Africa and a fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies at the University of London
Kwaku Nuamah — Senior Lecturer and Chairman of the International Peace and Conflict Resolution Program at American University
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