By M.A. Egge

The entire Horn of Africa countries with sea shores are competing for the land-locked Ethiopian market which has a population of over 120 million people, an issue that has made Somalia gnash its teeth with bitterness and chagrin upon seeing Somaliland strike a MoU understanding with Ethiopia.

This sentiment was expressed by the Information, Culture and National Guidance minister Hon. Ali Mohamed Hassan, who is also the government spokesperson, during an Afur buffet, a breaking-fast session during the Holy month of Ramadan for the ministry’s staff held at the headquarters.

Incidentally, this was an unprecedented luncheon thrown for the staff members since the nation re-asserted its sovereignty 33 years ago.

Underscoring the fact that the neighbouring countries competed for the sea route for the massive land-locked Ethiopian market, the minister pointed out that such was the reason Somaliland entered a MoU with its neighbouring country hence the former Somali present Abdillahi Farmajo offered Ethiopia four ports along its cost.

He went further in underpinning Somalia’s hypocrisy upon seeing the Somaliland-Ethiopia MoU that bitterly coaxed Somali president Hassan Sheikh to declare “freely give Ethiopia both commercial port and a navy base if they forsook Somaliand”.

The minister said that it was the Ethiopian potential market that gave Somalia the jitters to see the MoU Somaliland brokered to their chagrin.

The minister spoke about the need for countries in the Horn of Africa to take advantage of the market in Ethiopia, which is a land-locked country.

“The world is in competition, and business is in competition. Everyone wants to create jobs for their people. We (Somaliland) have signed an agreement with Ethiopia and geographically we our cities are in more proximity to Ethiopian major centers than our contemporary neighbours”.

He said Somaliland out to pursue and safeguard its national interests as justifiably possible.

On the other hand, the minister praised the ministry officials who organized a buffet thrown for the ministry’s employees hence noted that of the media fraternity operating in the industry, 70% of them were in the public sector.

He urged them to be steadfast in their duties and propagate patriotism and cohesive nationhood in defense of the country.