Ethiopia’s claim that it has a ‘natural right’ to directly access the Red Sea, and its dreams of building a ‘great power’ in the region, should worry all Africans.
On October 13, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed raised eyebrows in the region and beyond by forcefully asserting that gaining low-cost, permanent access to a Red Sea port is “an existential matter” for his landlocked country.
“By 2030 [the population of Ethiopia] will be 150 million,” he said in a televised address to parliament. “A population of 150 million can’t live in a geographic prison.”
Ethiopia lost all its Red Sea ports and became the world’s largest land-locked country in 1993, when Eritrea gained independence following a 30-year war of liberation. Since then, Ethiopia has been fully dependent on its neighbours – especially Djibouti – for access to ports and international shipping routes.[…] CONTINUE READING