Regional cooperation in the Horn of Africa
By International Institute for Non – Aligned Studies on December 2, 2019
Non-Aligned Movement has emphasised the importance of regional cooperation among the developing nations as an effective means to promote security, stability and economic and social development. NAM believes that South-South cooperation is increasingly critical to bolstering the productive capacities of developing countries and has positive impacts on trade and financial flows, technological capabilities and economic growth.
A recent example of regional cooperation among the developing countries is the regional initiative launched by five Horn of Africa countries–Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia. The initiative was formalized on 18 October, 2019, on the side-lines of the World Bank Group/IMF Annual Meetings in Washington DC.
The five countries agreed on priority projects and programs that will constitute the initiative which is being developed by the countries with support from three developmental partners-the African Development Bank, the European Union and the World Bank.
According to a Communique issued by the Finance Ministers and representatives of Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia, the regional initiative focusses on four key priority areas: 1) improving regional infrastructure connectivity; 2) promoting trade and economic integration; 3) building resilience; and 4) strengthening human capital development. The Communique states that “these initiatives are expected to, inter alia, promote: greater energy trade and thus lower domestic unit costs of electricity and promote energy access; better connect small and medium producers to regional and global markets; allow our countries to take the next steps on digital transformation; increase intra-regional trade, economic diversification and creation of regional value chains; address resilience to weather shocks and mitigate its impact on pastoralists and other vulnerable groups; and help build a stronger human capital base for the jobs of tomorrow. These are innovative and transformative initiatives but taken together, they constitute a package which responds to domestic and regional aspirations of the people”.
The proposals require a financing of $15 billion. The effort will culminate in a financing forum next year to seek investors to realize a package of priorities identified by the five nations which has over the past decade registered some of the highest growth rates in Africa. The Horn of African countries have requested the three development partners for supporting the hosting of a financing forum to raise private and concessional financing to supplement their own domestic resources to finance the priorities. The initiative also commits to meet on a bi-annual basis to take stock of progress with implementation and to use effective national and regional coordination arrangements.
NAM has appreciated the past initiatives by Horn of African countries to foster closer cooperation. At the 18th NAM Summit held in Baku, NAM commended the historic signing of the Joint Declaration of Peace and Friendship on 9 July, 2018 by the President of the State of Eritrea, Isaias Afwerki, and the Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Dr. Abiy Ahmed, and welcomed the commitment by both parties to resume diplomatic ties and open a new chapter of cooperation and partnership, which will result in benefits for both peoples and for the region. NAM also welcomed the 5 September, 2018 Tripartite Agreement among the State of Eritrea, the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and the Federal Republic of Somalia to foster a comprehensive cooperation on political, economic, social, cultural and security issues, their coordination in the promotion of regional peace and security as well as the establishment of a Joint High-Level Committee to coordinate their efforts in the framework of the Declaration.
The four-point joint declaration affirms to “foster comprehensive cooperation that advances the goals of their peoples; build close political, economic, social, cultural and security ties; and work in coordination to promote regional peace and security.”
Thus, through facilitating regional cooperation, the Horn of African countries are committed to the promotion of regional peace and security and build close political, economic, social, cultural and security ties.
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