May 07, 2022 (ENA) Countries in the Horn of Africa have an immense opportunity for economic development if they come up with a common vision and market, Scholars in the region underscored.
A panel discussion, that attracted scholars from the Horn of Africa region and around the world was held today in Addis Ababa Ethiopia, under the title “The Horn of Africa: Security Challenges and Opportunities for a New Era of Regional Cooperation.”
Speaking at the event, scholars of the region said countries in the region must work together in order to effectively expedite regional development by harnessing their existing abundant resources.
Dr Sonkar Gayre from Somalia said East Africa is located in a very geostrategic position where much of the goods bound between Asia and Europe pass through, which he said makes the region a vital trade artery.
The fact that many international powers are competing for this region for their own interest can be harnessed positively only if countries in the region come up with a collective vision where one country respects the interests of its neighbors, he stated.
“We only benefit collectively, if we come up with a collective plan to harness the interests of foreign actors in this region,” he said noting that individually, we all lose if we don’t harness collectively from the geostrategic strategic locations that we are in.
Each country in the region has comparative advantages; he said adding that rather than competing with each other, it is better to align regional comparative advantages.
Speaking on his part, Dr, Fkreyesus Amhazion from Eriteria said the historic interest of the international actors in this region doesn’t seem to subside; rather it is increasing by the day.
“Only if we come together with a common framework and common vision we can leverage our resources, our geostrategic and comparative advantages to ensure the benefits of all of us,” he said.
Dr, Abraham Knol Nyuon, Assistant Professor of Politics, Peace and Security from the University of Juba, South Sudan said most of the Horn countries are currently in internal crisis.
In a bid to solve the economic crisis and deprivation in this region, the countries need to create a common market that benefits them all, he underlined.
According to him, the free movement of goods and common markets are better tools to create a common identity.
Citing continuous drought in the Horn of Africa, Dr, Mowlid Aden, a scholar from Djibouti said climate change is literally impacting the lives of the people of the horn.
Due to the vagaries of climate change-induced drought, food prices are soaring, he said, and added that inflation and price hikes are also creating a big challenge.
To improve the lives of our people in the horn, we need to address these issues collectively to create resilience as countries of the horn, he added.
Avoiding aid dependency and transition to trade and foreign direct investment would help the region in this regard, he elaborated.
People to People’s INC organized the Panel with a view to support a more peaceful and prosperous Horn of Africa region.