The Horn of Africa States: The Purple Sea – OpEd

In a earlier article I penned and entitled “The Horn Of Africa States: The Northern Indian Ocean” and dated October 9, 2023, in Eurasia Evaluation, I famous that “The Northern Indian Ocean might, as a matter of truth, be described as the house of the primary world commerce basin, with all these events enjoying their roles in intensive and expansive buying and selling actions, individuals journey, and the unfold of perception methods”. The events referred to within the article included amongst others the Horn Africans, Egyptians, Europeans, Persians, Chinese language, Arabs, and different Africans. Reference to the Northern Indian Ocean can be meaningless if the Purple Sea isn’t a part of the pure infrastructure, which provides significance to the northern Indian Ocean or the Somali Sea as it’s generally referred to.

In an additional article on the identical topic however wanting on the marine sources of the area, I wrote, “The marine house of the area is huge and wealthy, geopolitically positioned, and handles greater than 20% of worldwide commerce and 11% of West Asia’s oil and fuel. It’s lined by an extended coastal belt of some 4,700 km containing intensive lovely seashores, lagoons, mangrove forests, and naturally, wealthy marine life. The area’s marine sources, sadly, stay unutilized even at mediocre ranges. The area doesn’t notice that the marine sources might contribute a lot in direction of the sustainable improvement of the area. The area’s marine sources are threatened even via overseas invasions that don’t search permission from a few of the governments of the area, which makes the area weak with an lack of ability to guard its sources from non-regional events”. This was in article revealed in on October 16th, 2023, an entitled “The Horn of Africa States: Harnessing The Area’s Marine Assets”.

The Purple Sea, accordingly, touches a nerve within the area when events both native or non-regional point out it or pronounce plans for exploiting its sources together with even entry to it. It’s why the latest Ethiopian trace at in search of an entry to the Purple Sea rang some bells throughout the area. Ethiopia ought to have entry to the ocean, and it has, and it could have extra gates and ports via which it could have easy accessibility to the Purple Sea and even the Indian Ocean. The nerves have been rattled by how this was introduced, which highlighted “By any means”. Certainly, this was an unlucky incident which, as a substitute of bringing the area’s nations nearer solely brought about every of the coastal nations to shrink away from a possible Ethiopian onslaught.

Maybe the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, H.E Abiy Ahmed, was speaking over the shoulders of the area’s leaders to the regional populations, having famous the seemingly pathetic lack of curiosity in a regional strategy to issues of regional significance such because the maritime sources of the area presents, together with its geostrategic location. Nevertheless, one should be aware that Ethiopia’s entry to the ocean within the current context because it was previously, rests on a fancy regional and worldwide framework. Within the current this includes the coastal nations of the area specifically Somalia, Djibouti and Eritrea and worldwide legal guidelines as these of the UN and its varied our bodies versus the previous when Ethiopia needed to take care of the previous Horn African nations of Punt, Macrobia and later the Ottoman Turks and the Europeans. Ethiopia by no means had direct entry to the Sea. One should be aware that Ethiopia is a brand new nation relationship again solely to 1932. Earlier than then, there have been Abyssinia and Axum and others. Historic Axum broke into two components, the province of Tigray in Ethiopia and Eritrea.

Attainable Options for Ethiopia’s Entry to The Sea

There are solely three attainable methods Ethiopia might entry to the ocean with out ruffling the feathers of anybody within the current advanced worldwide state of affairs, the place some solely see chaos, wars, and terror as the one means for the attainment of their objectives, though this isn’t one thing completely new. It has at all times been the survival of the fittest and strongest all through human historical past. This has been the reason for miseries of humanity all through historical past. We don’t hope that the Horn of Africa States, which already suffers from its personal inner idiosyncrasies,  the tribal/clan competitors for energy, would revert to this bestial nature of man. On this respect, we have a look at three attainable options for Ethiopia’s entry to a sea.

1. Bilateral Relations with Nations of the Area and Past

Ethiopia can set up bilateral ties with every of the nations of the area, specifically Somalia, Djibouti and Eritrea. They will even transcend the area to ascertain different bilateral ties with nations like Sudan and Kenya, which their very own coastal belts. Via these bilateral ties, Ethiopia and the involved nations can both make investments collectively within the enlargement of present ports or construct collectively new ports to cater for the wants of Ethiopia and the involved nations. It has already tied to Djibouti, Kenya and Somalia, which will be improved additional.

2. Ethiopia Can Be part of the EAC

Ethiopia can be part of the EAC and therefore profit from the oncoming East African Federation, which might be the most important nation in Africa, with its capital in Arusha. Right here, Ethiopia needs to be ready to lose its sovereignty and turn into a part of a nation of practically half a billion individuals and a territory of some 6 million sq. kilometers. It will have direct entry to each the Indian ocean and the Atlantic Ocean, which the EAF would have, as soon as it’s in place. I doubt Ethiopia would go for this proposition. Its historical past, its future and the pleasure of its individuals wouldn’t permit it to lose its sovereignty or territory, very similar to its neighbors within the Horn of Africa States area.

3. The Horn of Africa States Regional Block

Ethiopia may help forge a brand new regional financial block consisting of the SEED nations, specifically Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Djibouti, which might then allow it to have entry to the lengthy maritime coast of the area of some 4,700 km. Right here there can be no want for wars or pressure however gentlemanly agreements among the many nations of the area, which assist the area transfer ahead collectively within the improvement path. Ethiopia, as the most important nation and the one one landlocked, would have entry to the Purple Sea, the Gulf of Aden, the Somali Sea and the Indian Ocean. This could have a optimistic impression on Ethiopia’s financial system but in addition on the area. This could finish the civil wars inside the nations of the area, the border disputes among the many nations of the area and forge new and stronger relations among the many nations of the area and their populations which have been rising over the previous a number of a long time.

There is no such thing as a nation higher than Ethiopia, at current, to steer the formation of a brand new Horn of Africa States built-in regional block, which ought to assist it obtain its objectives of reaching a middle-income financial system and even higher. Previously, Ethiopia misplaced many alternatives via makes an attempt of deceitful artwork of domination within the area, as a substitute of serving to the area work collectively. Trying to dominate the area has been the hallmark of its overseas coverage which has miserably failed, and it will be higher for the nation to revisit its regional coverage and create and forge a brand new coverage of residing collectively within the neighborhood in peace and prosperity.


The Purple Sea is a crucial waterway and stirs many reactions and feelings. As the most important nation within the area, Ethiopia generally is a pressure of evil or a pressure of peace. It will do itself an enormous favor if it performed the position of the peacemaker within the area versus being a pressure of evil and a demonic troublemaker. An built-in financial area can be the most effective hope for the area, and Ethiopia may help develop and create it. Common conferences of the leaders of the area and arranged by Ethiopia, can be extra useful in stabilizing the area reasonably than destabilizing it, because the latest pronouncements of Ethiopia’s prime minister appears to have achieved.

A harmonious regional block would obtain rather more for Ethiopia. The area and Ethiopia needs to be working in that route, and away from primarily shortsighted safety points. There is no such thing as a manner Ethiopia can have entry to a sea via pressure, thus noting the shortage of foresight in discussing and investing in maritime actions, together with naval forces, as Ethiopia appears to have been engaged in these days. The historic, cultural and ethnic relations among the many populations of the area are a lot stronger and require management, deliberate methods and foresight.