Ethiopia’s Quest to Access to Sea Pivotal to Regional Economic Integration: AAU Interim President

Addis Ababa, December 25/2023 (ENA)- Neighbouring countries should view Ethiopia’s quest to access to sea as a means for sustainable security and robust economic development of the region, Addis Ababa University Interim President, Samuel Kifle said.

In an exclusive interview with ENA, Samuel said that Ethiopia’s quest for access to international sea and ports is a life-long question in its history, civilization, nation formation and state building.

Ethiopia’s economy is one of the largest in Africa and of course the first in east Africa, he said and added “we have huge population and young population growing at fast rate; and this implies that we need to have a robust economic growth where ports play critical role not just for the economy but also for the sustainable security of the region,” Samuel elaborated.
Access to the sea affects Ethiopia’s economy and security, he stated, and pointed out that the issue is critical concept that intellectuals have to have a discussion on and do intellectual discourse explaining why Ethiopia is asking for port development.

The Interim President emphasized Ethiopia’s access to the international sea fosters regional integration based on shared interests.

“Our quest is about equity, about fairness, about moral issue that we continue to supply fresh water to our brothers but our brother’s keep us away from ports is not a fair issue. They have to view it as a quest for a cooperative development, a quest for sustainable peace in the region, a quest for robust economic growth. This is a quest for justice as well and our brothers and sisters in neighbouring countries have to view the question from this point of view,” Samuel elaborated.

People in Ethiopia share similar culture, language and faith with peoples in Eritrea, Djibouti, Somalia, Kenya, and Sudan, he said, and stressed “but Ethiopia being one of the suppliers of fresh water from all its rivers except Awash River is not getting any water from anyone else.

Furthermore, the interim president pointed out that all our rivers are crossing borders to our brothers even though Ethiopia gets no drop of water that comes from Kenya, Djibouti, Somalia, Eritrea, Sudan or South Sudan.

“We are not asking for using somebody’s port; we are asking a real access that is owned and operated by Ethiopians. Historically, we used to have it; we lost it due to some historical reasons and this is time to reclaim a historical right of Ethiopia to a port. And that port has to be negotiated, secured and has to be linked to what Ethiopia aims to have as a prosperous nation and for regional integration– as one of the ultimate objectives we have to achieve,” Interim President Samuel.

Various intellectual and academia discussions are taking place on Ethiopia’s legitimate quest for access to sea based on international law.

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