22 July 2016

Ethiopia, Djibouti Advancing Integration Process

Both countries enjoy strong relations and explore potential in all areas of cooperation which will expedite the process of economic integration not only between them but also in realizing the vision of the sub-region.

Ethiopia and Djibouti are working to elevate the integration process between them by taking the lead in infrastructural interconnection, which is said to be exemplary to the rest of the regional countries. The 14th Ethiopia-Djibouti Joint Ministerial Commission Meeting was held here yesterday.

Opening the meeting , Foreign Minster Dr. Tedros Adhanom said that both countries enjoy strong relations and explore potential in all areas of cooperation which will expedite the process of economic integration not only between them but also in realizing the vision of the sub-region.

Dr. Tedros said that a number of results have been achieved in various spheres with important milestones especially in joint mega projects since the last edition of the meeting. "The Sebeta-Doralleh Standard Gauge Railway Project is expected to commence operation in the next couple of months, while a four billion mega gas project has been launched."

In addition, the Djibouti-Awash Oil Pipe Line Project, which will commence soon; the potable water supply for the city of Djibouti, to be completed soon; and the the construction of Tadjourah-Woldia-Makale Standard Gauge Railway and road projects, which are showing encouraging progress, are also among them. "This will further simplify all forms of cross-border transportation whilst providing mutual benefits and serving as a strong foundation for economic integration."

Moreover, Dr. Tedros pointed out that the Joint Ministerial Commission has registered major results in a whole range of areas, including " joint military activities, political security, economic relations especially in trade and port services as well as social , tourism and cultural exchange."

Djiboutian Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister Mahamoud Ali Yusuf on his part said that the agenda of integration should be pushed forward and lifted up to new heights while he also highlighted the two countries' integration process in terms of the framework of the whole continent.

He said the integration process is identified as a role model for the realization of the Horn of Africa Corridor, which stands for the establishment of an economic and free trade zone comprising not only Djibouti and Ethiopia, but all African countries as well. "This should become one of the continental integration process in the framework of AU Agenda 2063."

Furthermore, Ali Yusuf pointed out on the need for keeping working to ensure peace and security in bilateral and multilateral levels.

The meeting also highlighted the need for focusing on the implementation of regular contact and strict adherence to the already agreed meetings to address challenges identified between sector counterparts.

Foreign Minister Dr. Tedros said that the mechanism should be used not only to address the day-to-day encounters, but also to deliberate on the long-term integration agenda. To this end, he added, a committee that would only focus on the agenda of integration will be formed. "And its agenda will be to compliment the hardware integration, which is progressing really well, with the software integration that is necessary to realize true integration."

Concerning the hardware side of the integration, infrastructural link between Ethiopia and Djibouti, things are going so well that it could be exemplary for regional countries, whilst we are working on software integration as well, Ministry Spokesperson Tewelde Mulugeta said.

He also said that the software aspect of the integration includes harmonizing policies, formulating conducive mechanism on things such as customs. "It is when we fulfill both aspects that we can approach to full integration."

The event was concluded with the signing of the agreed minutes.

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