Ethiopia: Decisive Move Towards Full-Scale Economic Integration

The flags of Ethiopia and Djibouti.

With regard to port ownership, as the import-export transactions and the economy expand it is a right step for Ethiopia to come to the drawing board.

Ethiopia and Djibouti are like no others neighbors. The all-round relation between both countries is going from good to better. They are in the period of rosier economic cooperation. It has been a while since the relation appeared to be strategic with win-win approach on the go.

As it may sound a paradox to many people, the relations between the two countries are not only about accessing port or about importing fresh foods. The relation is more than these specific causes. Both countries have people bound together by history, culture, religion and more than anything else, by blood. Thus, the economic relation has ample reasons to thrive.

The relation is gaining momentum time and time again, Not long after Ethiopia and Djibouti entered agreements, for their foreign and economic cooperation ministries to come up with a proposal to jointly develop and manage a port, just recently, one of the largest free trade zones in Africa was inaugurated in Djibouti port.

This facility is expected to offer comprehensive solutions to the services, trade and manufacturing industries. This is not only beneficial to Ethiopia but to the whole Continent. Laden with many opportunities, recent developments define strategic partnership that does not only speed up but also ensure full-scale economic cooperation between both countries.

With regard to port ownership, the agreement in principle is a mammoth step that ushers in a new era of cooperation that is already in the making with the re-installation of Ethio-Djibouti railway. It is a remarkable turnaround in expediting the economic integration between the two closest neighbors, said Dr. Belete Belachew, a Researcher at Center for Dialo gue, Research and Cooperation.

With this agreement, the two countries are reaching the zenith of bilateral ties that is reciprocal. If Ethiopia is able to have its share in port development, the confidence of investors will further grow and trade will be expedited. With such developments, the country intends to ensure swift and competitive logistic services where its trade investment activities take place smoothly.

Full economic integration between both countries cannot be attained all of a sudden but there is a possibility to do so given the expanding infrastructural development,said,

As import-export transa ctions expands, it is a right step for Ethiopia to come to the drawing board and strike such a deal to be able to have its share in Djibouti's port developments, as to him.

But before implementing such significant agreements, at the behest of the two leaders, experts will surely work hard on the technical procedures and details underscored, noted Dr. Belete, adding that the agreement will be materialized sooner than later given the neighboring countries' history of cooperation

"Ethiopia's infrastructural development attracts integration in the region and the overall economic cooperation with Djibouti should be seen in terms of regional integration framework," he asserted. To attain this, both countries ought to develop additional far-sighted strategies to transform their cooperation to a new level," Ethiopian Foreign Relations Strategic Studies Institutes Deputy Executive Director Mogos Tekelemichael stressed.

"Developing port includes the installation of infrastructural facilities and providing logistic services. This is important for Ethiopia's products to be competitive in terms of price quality at international market."

Neighboring Countries and IGAD Affairs Director General Amb. Mohamoud Dirir, for his part, indicated that it is a right step to agree in principle to engage in major investments such as port.

To him, the destiny of these two fraternal peoples is intertwined through history.

"It is a long tested tie that has never witnessed any negative aspect. It has always been a positive partnership on the basis of mutual trust and underst anding

To sum up, there is a meeting of minds between the leaders of the two countries in that the growing economic partnership can also be cemented further on the basis of mutual gains.


Youngest fleet in the skies

As a leading pan-African airline, Ethiopian is making headlines day in, day out by procuring state-of-the-art aircrafts that enable it meet the ever growing and dynamic customers' expectations.

Even in the face of the declining performance of other notable airlines, owing to rising fuel price, Ethiopian has managed to sustain in the business keeping on its long-time and yet profitable path.

Most recently, Ethiopian has received the largest B737 MAX fleet in the Continent on July 2, 2018. The new aircraft is the most advanced with 15 percent less fuel consumption, as Group Chief Executive Officer Tewolde G/Mariam told this reporter. "The aircraft is more environmental friendly which minimize carbon emission than the earlier types."

The acquisition of the modern machine could be interpreted from many angles. For instance, it helps the airline to stand competitive in the market; it shows the airline's adaptability to ever changing technology and even the company's determination to overcome climate change. Let's see how these realities are true with a few examples.

As a non-oil economy, Ethiopia suffers from the outflow of hard currency to purchase fuel. Reports have it that the country allocates around 90 billion Birr for fuel importation annually. And this aircraft cuts fuel consumption by 15 percent which amounts to the investment of a meaningful portion on other development issues. By the way, most fleet of Ethiopian are young--i.e., it uses modern aircrafts which could cut fuel consumption. "Today, we are glad to include the B737 MAX 8, the latest in Boeing's single-aisle series, in our young and modern fleet family with an average age of less than 5 years," as Tewolde indicated. This adds into the airline's competitiveness in the aviation market.

Boeing 737 Max 8 New Air Craft

The second issue is adaptability to technology. In this regard, it is worth mentioning what Tewolde has said: "We have been pioneering aircraft technology throughout our 72 years of history."

As he said it outright, the airline was the first in Africa in operating most advanced fleet. "Ethiopian fleet includes ultra-modern and environmentally friendly aircraft such as Airbus A350, Boeing 787-8, Boeing 787-9, Boeing 777-300ER, Boeing 777-200LR, Boeing 777-200 Freighter, Bombardier Q-400 double cabin with an average fleet age of five years. In fact, Ethiopian is the first airline in Africa to own and operate these aircraft."

In addition to this, 30 aircraft has already been ordered, and five of them will arrive next month, according to information obtained from the airline.

On the other hand, Ethiopian air lines encourage the participation of private investors in the air craft industry areas; this gives another opportunity to visitors who come for the trade and tourism.

Most importantly, the airline is also assisting other African airliners in their effort to stand competitive in the airline business. As Africa is not connected via land, at this time, air connectivity plays huge roles to integrate the continent in trade and investment.

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