3 April 2019

Ethiopia Taking Central Role in Cementing Regional Integration - Scholar

Addis Ababa — The new Ethiopian leadership has registered remarkable achievements in creating peaceful and stable East and Horn of Africa, which is a very significant step to integrate and economically benefit peoples of the countries in the region, Fairfax Africa Fund LLC (U.S) Global Chairman Zemedeneh said.

The new leadership has been taking a central role in consolidating relations and integrating the region, Zemedeneh Negatu told ENA, adding that PM Abiy Ahmed hosted and visited most of the leaders of East and Horn of African countries to push for peace and stability after the peace accord with Eritrea.

According to him, "this is the most important economic and political region in Africa for both Africa and the global community. That is why there is a lot of interest by global partners about the relations between the countries in the region."

Zemedeneh said, "Ethiopia has made a great deal of effort to harmonize and normalize relations in the East Africa region in the last 7 months and the most significant one is the relationship between Ethiopia and Eritrea."

He believes that the peace accord with Eritrea has contributed to regional stability and economic ties. The normalization of relations with Eritrea is indicating economic significance after Ethiopian Airlines resumed flight to Asmara and pretty soon Ethiopians will start using Eritrean ports.

"The very large company that I'm involved with in northern Ethiopia today wastes 45 days to ship products to the port of Djibouti. So once the roads to Masawa Port are ready in the next few months, it will only take half a day shipment. Multiply that by many other economic perspectives," Zemedeneh elaborated.

Besides, Ethiopia has played a central role to mediate countries in the region to facilitate economic integration after Ethio-Eritrea peace accord.

"You cannot have an economic integration with unstable South Sudan or Somalia in the region. So if peace prevails with the current pace, infrastructures such as cross border roads could be developed and Ethiopia can export value added manufacturing products and reliable and affordable hydroelectric energy to countries in the region," he pointed out.

Furthermore, Zemedeneh underlined the dividend of peace in the region to attract investments.

"Speaking from a global multinational investor perspective, they do not like to see a country by country investment as it is very expensive. But when they see the whole region stable, reliable and welcoming, investors could be more comfortable to invest significant sums in one or two of the countries to serve and benefit all," he pointed out.

According to Zemedneh, economic growth of a given country has a positive effect on its neighboring country's economy because of the proximity. "Take a look at Djibouti," he explained. "Ethiopia's economy has continued to make Djibouti's economy grow. It has positively affected and will continue to positively affect other neighboring countries with the way things are progressing now."

As a diplomatic seat of the AU and other regional organizations, and with its dominant economy and role on regional organizations, Ethiopia is striving to stabilize and consolidate relations and economic ties in East and Horn of African region.

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