Somalia’s government defends ports agreement with Ethiopia

Somalia’s information minister Dahir Mohamud Gelle has dismissed criticism of his country’s weekend agreement with Ethiopia on a joint investment in four seaports to attract foreign investments.

“The Somali people are very active in East Africa’s economy and have been given many opportunities to invest in neighboring countries.[Somalia and Ethiopia] have agreed to jointly invest in ports in addition to building roads that will ease the movement of goods and services between the two countries,” he said.

Somalia and neighbouring Ethiopia agreed to remove “all trade and economic barriers” during a meeting between Somali president Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed and Ethiopian premier Abiy Ahmed in Mogadishu on 16 June.

According to a joint communique issued after a surprise one-day visit to Mogadishu by Ethiopian prime minister Ahmed, the two sides “agreed to remove all trade and economic barriers and deepen and widen economic linkages by first and foremost, the development of critical infrastructure in particular development of ports and key highways linking the two nations.”

Earlier this month, Ethiopia, which is landlocked, said it is planning to build a navy as part of military reforms.

“We built one of the strongest ground and air force in Africa… we should build our naval force capacity in the future,” Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said.

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