Somalia, Ethiopia to jointly invest in four seaports on the Red Sea
Somalia and Ethiopia announced they were jointly investing in four seaports to attract foreign investment to their two countries, the latest move in a tussle for access to ports along one of the world’s most strategic waterways.
After Somalia’s president Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo hosted Ethiopia’s prime minister Abiy Ahmed for a meeting at the presidential palace in Mogadishu, the two leaders issued a joint statement of pledges to cooperate on everything from the development of infrastructure including roads linking the two countries to expanding visa services to promote cultural exchanges.
The leaders further agreed to invest in logistics and service provision specially to leading ports in the continent that can serve both the Indian ocean and the Red Sea.
Ethiopia’s thirst for access to the sea
The Horn of Africa’s Red Sea coastline extending north of Somalia through Djibouti and Eritrea toward the critical Suez Canal is already dotted with ports owned or run by countries locked in a regional struggle: the United Arab Emirates and its ally Saudi Arabia on one side, and Turkey which backs Qatar on the other.
In March, Ethiopia bought 19 per cent of the stake, meaning Somaliland would retain 30 per cent.
But President Farmajo’s administration did not like being left out.
With Ethiopia accessing the sea and importing 95 per cent of supplies through the Port of Djibouti, the latest move by Premier Ahmed could be seen as a way of securing and widening access to the ports.
On Saturday, the leaders vowed to respect each other’s sovereignty, perhaps in reference to the controversy that erupted in March.
“The two leaders unequivocally stated their mutual respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity, political independence and the unity of both nations and called upon all Somali actors to relentlessly work towards the unity and cohesiveness of Somalia,” they said.