Ethiopia: Moving Towards Deeper Ethio-Djibouti Integration

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Horndiplomat-Recently, Ethiopia hosted the 14th Ethio-Djibouti Joint Ministerial Commission Meeting. The two sides concluded their meeting signing of the list of agreed minutes presented by the experts on the three clusters: Political, Security and Social Affairs; Economic and Commercial issues; and the Port and Transport Sector Cluster. The meeting also agreed to raise the bilateral relations between Ethiopia and Djibouti into new heights.

Ethiopia and Djibouti have been cementing their historic and multifaceted relationships in a level that could serve as a model for other countries in the region. As Ethiopian Foreign Minister Dr. Tedros said during the opening of the Ministerial meeting, Ethiopia and Djibouti are not only neighbouring countries, but also countries who share strong political, economic and cultural bonds. It is true that Ethio-Djibouti relationship has rich history. The two countries are naturally and historically inextricably linked together. The two people share common heritage, historical experiences, same language, culture and traditions. It is only the colonial boundaries that separate the two brothers.

It is apparently clear that the peaceful and cooperative relationships between the two neighbouring countries have been vital factors for effectiveness and sustainability of any efforts at improving regional economic cooperation and integration. True, economic development of the two countries is inseparably tied with the peace and security of the region; thus Ethiopia and Djibouti have been working with unwavering commitment and industriousness to ensure peace and stability in their region. Their contribution of peacekeepers for AMISOM operations in Somalia clearly shows their determination to this end.

The economic interdependence between the two countries is by far significant. Ethiopia shares common economic interests with Djibouti that makes the bilateral relations of utmost importance to both countries. In trade terms, Ethiopia serves as a major export destination for Djibouti. About 95 per cent of the regional export of Djibouti goes to Ethiopia. Ethiopian imports, on the other hand, constitute 76 per cent of total Djiboutian import.

The excellent relations between the two countries buttress the existing strong economic links such as the railway project, road, electricity and other infrastructure developments that connect the neighbours.

The Ethio-Djibouti Joint Ministerial Commission has been very successfully in deepening the multifaceted, social, economic, historical and cordial relationship of the two countries. Since its establishment, the Commission had registered major results over a whole range of areas, including political and security relations, joint military activities, and economic relations especially in trade and port services as well as in social relations, tourism and cultural exchanges. Therefore, exploring the potential of the two countries in all areas of cooperation, they need to expedite the process of economic integration not only between the two countries but also in realizing the vision of the sub-region

Ethiopia and Djibouti had been able to sign numerous protocols and agreements paving the way for continued and mutually beneficial cooperation. It is the best interest of the two countries to work towards the effective implementation of bilateral cooperation agreements signed in the areas of peace and security, port services and trade and infrastructural interconnections.

Ethiopia is an anchor of peace and stability in the troubled Horn of Africa. In addition to its involvement in regional peace and stability, it has been working hard to ascertain regional economic integration. The relations Ethiopia has with Djibouti among other countries are based on trust and a win-win approach. The economic and political relations Ethiopia has with Djibouti could serve as a model for other countries in the region. The strong economic interdependence and cooperation between the two countries could be necessary ingredient for sub-regional integration effort in the Horn of Africa. Thus, Ethiopia and Djibouti need further strengthen their bilateral cooperation to realize economic integration and peaceful coexistence in the region.

SOURCE:ALLAFRICA

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