The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between Ethiopia and Somaliland has far-reaching benefits for the region beyond the signatories and manifests Ethiopia’s continued commitment towards regional economic integration, Ethiopian Ambassadors to Canada, US, and China said.

In an exclusive interview with ENA, Ethiopia’s Ambassador to Canada, Fitsum Arega said that Ethiopia has been massively investing in various infrastructure which benefits its neighbors and the entire region as well.

He added that massive investment is now paying off to the efforts of achieving the goals of Agenda 2063, particularly economic integration.
Ethiopia has been working with its neighbors on railway connection, roads, and providing potable water, and electricity, Fitsum said.

The ambassador also noted “the MoU between Ethiopia and Somaliland is a continuation of efforts that we had started decades back to integrate with the region and mutually benefit. So, the MoU is historic and Ethiopia’s economy is growing and we would like to have more access sea ports.”

Through bilateral and multilateral discussions, Ethiopia will pursue for what has already started, he emphasized.

The MoU poses no threat to any country, he said, and stressed “when the dust settles, all the concerned countries will understand Ethiopia’s aspiration to grow along with the region; Ethiopia’s cooperation through integration.”

The African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA) is one of the instruments that Ethiopia has massive potential to utilize from and ensure mutual economic development and growth with all African countries, he elaborated.

“Ethiopia will continue to have more sea ports access like Djibouti port, Berbera port and even Lamu port in Kenya and other ports within the Red Sea. Ethiopia will continue to network through infrastructure as well as ports. So, it is for the benefit of the entire region to grow together,” Ambassador Fitsum underscored.

Ethiopia’s Ambassador to the US, Seleshi Bekele said on his part that Ethiopia as one of the major countries in Africa and the second populous in the continent requires access to sea.

The neighboring countries can benefit immensely from Ethiopia’s various sectors including power supply, potable water, transport and logistics connectivity, he said, and added “so that is already a fertile ground for economic integration and regional integration.”

Ethiopia also plays pivotal role in maintaining peace and stability in the region.

“Ethiopia’s view is always to protect the peace and security of the region. To this effect, the country contributes not just by words but by deeds, with blood. That is very crucial. There is no intention of destabilizing anybody or take the right of anybody else. It is just to share whatever wealth we have and collectively grow within the region,” Ambassador Seleshi pointed out.

“So, the neighboring countries instead of antagonizing each other must work and prosper together. The MoU, therefore, has a clear meaning that Ethiopia is not imposing anything; but it is to understand each another between Ethiopia and Somaliland; so, it means both of us has interest and that could be nurtured through dependable legally-based type of relationship,” Seleshi explained.

Ethiopia’s Ambassador to China, Tefera Derbew said on his part that Ethiopia needs sustainable and reliable port access in order to sustain the fast-growing economy.

“Access to the sea will also actually benefit the neighboring countries. Africans are trying to integrate their economy through the AfCFTA; their aspirations are similar and complimentary. So long as we agree on this basic issue, the MoU between Somaliland and Ethiopia will benefit the people of Ethiopia and the neighboring countries,” Tefera stated.

He added that all the neighboring countries should support Ethiopia’s noble cause for mutual economic development and prosperity of the region.