Sovereign access to a seaport for Ethiopia will facilitate regional economic development in the Horn of Africa (HoA), and other countries in the region should consider Ethiopia’s economic growth as their own.
The Ethiopian Press Agency quotes Haramaya University economics lecturer, Frezer Tilahun, as saying: "Keeping Ethiopia landlocked will aggravate the volatility of the HoA and further intensify the current rampant migration, poverty, inflation, terrorism and conflict in the region.
“It is important to grow together, having mutual agreements and understanding under the give and take principle."
Ethiopia's access to the sea is of paramount significance to create a substantial number of jobs, deter illegal human trafficking and reduce poverty.
Furthermore, since poverty is a cause for various conflicts, access to the sea has a capacity to bring sustainable solutions. Tourism and fishing would play a crucial role for Ethiopia's economic growth by offering new jobs, he explained.
Most of Ethiopia's basic commodities come from abroad and their price is soaring due to the cost of port rent. Also, the rules and regulations of port-owning countries have been resulting in delays of commodities, quality problems and price increments. In the long run, it will cause inflation, the expert added.
"When we ensure access to the sea, we will facilitate smoother trade with timely transit of commodities by overcoming unnecessary bureaucracies."
From an internal perspective, Ethiopia's sovereign access to the sea would enable robust transit of import and export goods and greatly improve the country's economic growth by minimising port charges that are further exacerbated by congestion and checkpoint bureaucracies.
It would also contribute to the national GDP and help to import critical commodities, including fertiliser and construction materials, and create a favourable environment to attract foreign direct investment, he concluded.