By Leonel Moumini |
Another strong sign of development in the Horn of Africa: the press office of the President of Djibouti has announced the visit to Djibouti on Saturday the 7th of the Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn. Ismail Omar Guelleh, President of the Republic, will host him for a period of three days. This will be the first official visit by a sitting Ethiopian Prime Minister to Djibouti.
“The first visit of an Ethiopian Prime Minister to Djibouti marks a milestone in the relationship between our two nations,” said President Guelleh. “Djibouti and Ethiopia are strong, strategic partners. We share the same values, culture and economic vision. Our success as economically, politically and socially rich nations are dependent on each other and we will use this visit to continue to identify ways to integrate and grow our economics to create prosperity and security in East Africa.”
The visit of the Prime Minister will allow the two leaders to discuss the economic and social-integration program developed by the two countries, and to identify new ways to extend their cooperation and mutual assistance. The regional cooperation against terrorism, a major challenge against the Shebab threat, against which the two countries constitute the backbone of democracies, will also be an important matter.
This historic visit will create new standards for the regional integration, which means a long-term guarantee of stability in the region. In this sense, the two countries have engaged in large joint projects, among them the electric railway line linking the two capitals, Addis Ababa and Djibouti, whose completion is expected in early 2016. The two countries have also concluded an electrical interconnection agreement of US $ 2 billion, which will democratize electricity by reducing its costs – and will remove the minor breakdowns that sometimes affect the Djibouti network thanks to the transmission line that will allow Ethiopia to export up to 75MW of electricity to Djibouti.
To strengthen ties between the two countries, the Ethiopian Prime Minister will speak for the first time to the Djiboutian nation, through its parliamentary representatives, when he will address the National Assembly. It enshrines the increasingly important role of Djibouti as a natural logistic hub of the region: under the influence of the policy pursued these last years, Djibouti has developed its main natural resource, which is its geographical and strategic placement. The two countries have become interdependent: Djibouti ports provide 90% of Ethiopian exports; Ethiopia represents 95% of regional exports of Djibouti and provides 76% of its imports – in a market that is thriving more and more each year.
Synergistic economic relations between Djibouti and Ethiopia have boosted economic growth in the region. According to the forecasts of the World Bank, the growth rate in the MENA region (North Africa region with Egypt, which includes Djibouti and Ethiopia) is expected to reach 6.5% in 2015.
The announcement has come shortly after Djibouti announced the establishment of a universal health-insurance system. Djibouti has also provided for the investment of several billion US $ for transport and telecommunications: four new ports, two airports, two new free zones, numerous rail and modern road projects, and the installation of high-speed broadband access by optical fiber. These measures will strengthen the economic growth of the two countries, which are developing a growing synergy.
For the story, Bill Gates announced in early December that Djibouti and Ethiopia had a major role to play in the development and opening of Africa. He told Ventures “I do see potential in countries like Djibouti and Ethiopia. Both countries already have a strong connection with China in agriculture, and an ambitious and long-term economic policy. Unfortunately, many other countries on the continent do not have the same success factors, especially those that are landlocked and are very low in infrastructure.” The famous philanthropist knows his topic.