Ethiopia’s Foreign Policy Dilemma and its Relation with Neighboring Countries.
2. Would future relations with Djibouti remain amical?
Since the Ethiopia-Eritrean border war, Djibouti remained the main gateway for nearly 95% of Ethiopian trade whose port usage allegedly contributed, at least partially, for the border conflict between Djibouti and Eritrea that Qatar mediated. Despite fraternal ties, Djibouti intermittently abused its monopoly by increasing port service fees, often abruptly, which forced Ethiopia to look elsewhere for alternative.
On the other hand, increasing militarization of Djibouti by foreign military forces undermines not only Ethiopian hegemony on regional security but also increases vulnerability that Djibouti’s patrons could exploit. Ethiopia was particularly overwhelmed when Saudi and Emirates pressed both Djibouti and Eritrea to severe abruptly their ties with Qatar, the country that mediated and served as peacekeeper between the two. Qatari’s positive influence in Djibouti, Eritrea, and Sudan prompted Saudi to secure a military base in Djibouti, get closer to the Yemen conflict, and curb Qatar’s growing regional dominance.
As the undeniable beneficial of the Ethiopian-Eritrean hostility, Ethiopian agreement with Eritrea, if implemented, will end Djibouti’s monopoly with adverse consequences. If Ethiopia begins using other ports and/or find better prices, declining yearly revenue (~$2 Billion) from Ethiopia will poses serious Economic and political challenges as the combined revenue from U.S., France, Japan, Italy, and Saudi will never compensate Djibouti’s loss. If the loss persists, Djibouti’s authoritarian regime, in power since 1999, would inevitably face increasing social upheaval due to extreme poverty, poor social services, and abysmal political rights and civil liberties
After losing a legal battle and political fallout, Djibouti expulsed Emirate’s DP World and their relations deteriorated, including canceling a project to build a military base, following which Emirates moved to Berbera (and Eritrea) in search of alternative port with an alleged Ethiopian mediation. Djibouti then offered China an unknown stake in the Doraleh port from which Ethiopia has unspecified percentage of share and counter offered Djibouti with an optional stake in the Ethiopian government owned key assets, including Ethiopian Electric Power and Ethio Telecom but the status of which remain unknown.
As China and Ethiopia own shares in Djibouti’s port, previously leased by DP World, the probability that Emirates, a key mediator in the Ethio-Eritrean peace deal partly to revenge Djibouti, is unlikely to return to Djibouti, and will continue modernizing Eritrean and Somaliland’s ports vying for Ethiopian market.
Abiy [ deleted ] maneuvered the rivalry and gained shares in Berbera and Djibouti ports that would effectively diminish vulnerability. As Ethiopia diversifies access to the sea, Djibouti would either reduce its exorbitant port prices or face the threats posed by declining revenue, the effects of which could lead to an inevitable revolution against its authoritarian regime. If Djibouti defaults on the Chinese loan that it incurred on its port and railroad, deteriorating economic conditions will irritate its relation with Ethiopia and China and, if persisted, Djibouti would be subject to Chinese unfiltered manipulation, including losing its ownership on critical assets.
Therefore, Ethiopia should carefully weigh the full spectrum of the effects of its port diversification vis-à-vis the interests of its partners: China, Djibouti, Eritrea, and Emirates as well as France if Ethiopia cooperates in building its planned Navy.
https://borkena.com/2019/11/01/must-rea ... -sinishaw/
The author of this article is a dumbass, Ethiopia needs Djibouti more than Djibouti needs Ethiopia, It has no other alternative than to depend on Djibouti, besides, Djibouti has unexploited natural resources and small population.