By Mohamed Ahmed (AWAD)
Addis-Abba-As a new year kicks off, Somaliland and Ethiopia are bracing for a new era of bilateral relations with both countries expected to push for enhanced cooperation in many frontiers. In fact, the countries have so much to cherish and lofty opportunities to seize in the year 2023. As we welcome the New Year, the peoples of both nations have already been tied by geographic, cultural, and economic values, and are set to witness an elevated tie having ample alternatives of mutual benefits in store.
It is important to note that the bilateral relations of Somaliland and Ethiopia time and time again have been making good progress and achieving better outcomes. It becomes apparent that Ethio-Somaliland relations in a number of instances have been making remarkable progress in the context of social, political, economic, diplomatic, and security issues.
Apart from bringing political instability, security cooperation, and fostering people-to-people ties into being, Somaliland and Ethiopia have been playing a huge role in assisting the progress of regional and political harmony in the Horn of Africa. In the same manner, the two nations have been collaborating in combating human trafficking, exchanging intelligence information, and fighting common threats in an effort to stabilize the volatile region.
In the aftermath of the commitment of the governments of the two nations, the trade relations between Somaliland and Ethiopia are on the way up more important than ever. In the current circumstances, Somaliland imports, potatoes, wheat, onion, coffee, fruits and other things of a similar kind from Ethiopia. A case in point, in the year 2021, Somaliland managed to import Fresh Vegetable/ Fruits amounting 63,490 Tons.
In the current circumstances, the Ethiopian Birr is circulating in the Somaliland shopping areas along bordering regions where the two nations have been working in close collaboration in furtherance of smoothing the path of business activities. In the general run of things, around 500 people cross the Wojaale Board. The Wojale City which lies on the border of the two nations also hosts 17 Ethiopian and 4 Somaliland operational banks.
In light of the current situation, Ethiopian Airlines has been playing a huge role in connecting together the people of the brotherly nations by delivering excellent customer service. By the way, the number of daily flights by Ethiopian Airlines is twice a day and 3 flights a day during peak season.
Apart from granting educational scholarships to Somaliland students, the number of our students in Ethiopian higher learning institutions has been many a time and oft on the rise. In good truth, four Ethiopian universities in the present climate have been giving service in Somaliland such as Admas, Alpha, Unity and New Generation. It is worth mentioning that Ethiopia and Somaliland are mutually dependent on the issue of trade, people-to-people ties, culture, and other issues.
Following our commitment and hard work, the relations between the two nations have been showing improvement and pointing forward in the right direction. As Ethiopia is a strong ally of Somaliland in crucial aspects of growth, the two nations have been taking steps forward and our efforts have been coming to fruition.
It is an incontrovertible fact that the bilateral relationships between Somaliland and Ethiopia have been playing a huge role in expanding peace, security, regional economic and political cooperation in the Horn of Africa. The other thing is that aside from serving as a regional hub and main getaway for Ethiopia and other nations, the Berbera Port has been playing a massive role in breathing new life into the cross-border trade and transit goods between the two nations.
Somaliland has been busy over the past decade upgrading and enhancing its infrastructure, like ports, highways, and corridors to serve landlocked countries. It has also been modernizing and updating the soft infrastructure, like striking a transit agreement with Ethiopia, and other trade-related agreements.
Recently, the Somaliland government signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Ethiopia to buy electricity as the latter has huge hydropower potential.
By Mohamed Ahmed (AWAD)
Ambassador of Somaliland To The Federal Republic Of Ethiopia.