For a populous nation as Ethiopia on record as Africa’s second biggest only behind Nigeria, imports are as important to its economic growth as are the goods it also exports chief amongst them, coffee.
Ethiopia is, however, landlocked with five neighbours who have access to the sea Sudan, Kenya, Djibouti, Somalia and Eritrea.
As things stand now, Djibouti handles roughly 95 percent of all inbound trade for Ethiopia, a nation of 105 million and an economic power in East Africa.
One of the first significant steps Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed took when he assumed the premiership in April 2018 was to acquire stakes in ports in neighbouring countries.
His trips to Kenya and Sudan saw the respective government report of port deals with the Lamu and Port of Sudan respectively. Then came the peace deal with Eritrea in July 2018.
The normalization of all relations between the two former enemies also brought to the fore the economic impact of the July 9 peace deal which gives Ethiopia access to Eritrean ports.
At the time it questioned how long Djibouti’s ports will be to Ethiopia when especially the Eritrean route becomes active. Many economic watchers said it will take some time for the dependence on Djibouti to ease.
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That reality shot to the fore earlier this week when the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa almost run out of fuel because a road connecting Ethiopia and Djibouti had been blocked – blocked by protesters.
Protesters were demonstrating against violence and a government order for local militias to pull out from disputed areas and be replaced by federal soldiers.
“The region’s leadership, local elders held discussions that resulted in a solution and the end of the blockade,” federal police spokesman Jeylan Abdi told reporters. A witness in the area confirmed the measure.
The resolution means that Addis Ababa’s fuel supply will return to normalcy as would the import and export of essential supplies via the sea route.
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Thousands bid fare well to Mugabe..
Zimbabwe’s founder Robert Mugabe was honored as an icon, principled leader and African intellectual giant at a state funeral on Saturday, after a week of disputes over his burial threatened to embarrass President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Mugabe led Zimbabwe for 37 years, from independence until he was ousted by the army in November 2017, by which time he was viewed by many at home and abroad as a power-obsessed autocrat who unleashed death squads, rigged elections and ruined the economy to keep control.
He died in a Singapore hospital on Sept. 6 aged 95, far away from a country he left polarized by a raging political rivalry between its two largest political parties, ZANU-PF and the opposition MDC.
His remains will be interred in a mausoleum at the National Heroes Acre in the capital Harare in about 30 days, his nephew said on Friday, contradicting earlier comments that a burial would be held on Sunday.
On Saturday, Mnangagwa walked behind the casket carrying Mugabe’s body as it was wheeled into the center of Harare’s National Sports Stadium and placed on a podium decorated with flowers so that heads of state could say their farewells. Senior army generals and Mugabe’s wife and children followed, as a brass band played.
The 60,000 seater stadium was only half-filled.
In a tribute to his predecessor, Mnangagwa said Mugabe stood in defense of Africans. He urged the West to remove sanctions that were imposed during Mugabe’s rule.
“We who remain shall continue to hear his rich, brave, defiant and inspiring voice … encouraging and warning us to be vigilant and astute,” Mnangagwa said in a speech.
“A giant tree of Africa has fallen. Today Africa weeps.”
Mnangagwa and the ruling ZANU-PF party wanted Mugabe buried at the national shrine to heroes of the 15-year liberation war against white minority rule. But some relatives, expressing bitterness at the way former comrades ousted Mugabe, had pushed for him to be buried in his home village.
Walter Chidhakwa, who spoke on behalf of Mugabe’s family, said Mugabe was an icon who was determined and unflinching in pursuing policies like land reform and later the black economic empowerment program.
Mugabe left behind a country wrecked by hyperinflation, dollarization and deeply entrenched corruption.
But many Zimbabweans also remember Mugabe as their country’s liberator from white minority rule and for broadening people’s access to education and land
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