June 16, 2022 (ENA) East African countries should prioritize peace and stability in order to accelerate regional economic integration, African Affairs Director-General Fesseha Shawel said.
The director-general at Ministry of Foreign Affairs told ENA that most of the countries in the East African region are in transition and it is important that they prioritize peace and stability before striving for regional integration.
“There is some instability in the region because it is in transition, and what has to be priorized both for Ethiopia and (the East Africa) region is effectively ensuring peace and stability.”
According to him, regional integration requires willingness of all countries to cooperate and needs effective integrating organization.
In the case of the East Africa region, there is IGAD. But the region has not ensured peace and security. This may not be true to all the countries, yet peace and stability are needed in most, Fesseha elaborated.
The director-general further said Ethiopia is undertaking confidence building measures and making peace efforts at home; and it is in a better situation when compared to last year.
Somalia has recently elected a president, Kenya will hold election in August, South Sudan is implementing peace agreement, Sudan is in transition with difference on border and GERD with Ethiopia, Eritrea has made peace with Ethiopia but peaceful consolidation should be done with other neighboring countries to facilitate regional integration.
Fesseha noted that Ethiopia has economic and financial connections with neighboring countries, including bank branches in Djibouti and South Sudan. Its road and railway projects also extend across many neighboring countries to strengthen regional economic integration.
The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is not only intended to supply electricity for Ethiopia, but also for neighboring countries.
Thus, the director-general concluded that many of the countries in East Africa should give priority to solving current pressing challenges, including peace and security internally and with others, as well as other obstacles to facilitate regional economic integration where people and goods can move freely across borders for a beneficial regional integration.