Ethiopia Needs Alternative Sea Ports to Sustain Economic Growth: National Security Advisor

Ethiopia needs alternative sea ports to sustain its growing economy, Redwan Hussein, National Security Advisor to the Prime Minister said today. Briefing military attachés and representatives of international partners residing in Addis Ababa on the recent MoU signed between Ethiopia and Somaliland, the advisor noted Ethiopia had access to the sea for centuries but became a landlocked country about 30 years ago. 'We cannot live in the past, but we have to deal with the current predicament Ethiopia is facing,' he said, adding that the Ethiopian population is now 120 million and the economy growing. Therefore, it is impossible to settle only in one outlet where if anything happens the country will face serious problem, he added. 'Now, if you consider what's happening recently with regard to Houthis attack in the Red Sea and we lose the access to Djibouti, if something happens in Djibouti, then this country is finished,' Redwan elaborated. The advisor stated that the country has no other alternative and tha t is why the government has been working and trying to reach out to partners to understand the predicament that Ethiopia is facing. 'We are of course okay with one access in Djibouti for the last 30 years because the economy was so small. But now we are witnessing challenges as Ethiopia's economy is growing from all corners of this country. One outlet is (therefore) not enough to sustain the economy. We need to come up with alternatives.' For that to happen, he added that Ethiopia does not need to invade any country. 'We are saying we can do it in win-win business fashion. But we need outlets, and then we have been urging our partners to help us in that fashion.' Moreover, the advisor pointed out that Ethiopia has been contributing a lot to pacify the region and Africa. And then it needs to secure its interests and also contribute positively for the pacification of the region. 'We cannot be simply rendered as non-existent.' Redwan further stated that with respect to Somalia, Ethiopians are the ones who ha ve been paying the ultimate price more than anyone, not just paying money but also lives to the stability of the country for decades. 'Now if it was okay to die on land to save Somalia, why would it be a problem to get access to sea? .... There is something that cannot be very much understood. It is quite baffling that they are complaining because we are about to get access to the sea. There is something that we have to reconcile on that matter.' He explained that it is not a matter of survival for many other countries that have come from hundreds and thousand miles away because they can have other areas and other outlets. For them is a matter of keeping their interests, but for us it's a matter of survival. 'We cannot survive unless we have some access to this base. It is for our survival one, and for us to be able to contribute positively for the peace and security of the region. We cannot just ignore this.' Redwan noted that the recent MoU which grants Ethiopia access to the Red Sea on lease basis wa s a possible expectation. 'We are not taking away anybody's land. We are just leasing land like everybody in Somaliland, not only us. But there are also countries that have already bases; and there are others which are lining up to get access in Somaliland.' A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for Partnership and Cooperation that includes wide scopes of cooperation in social, economic, political and military fields was signed by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and President Muse Bihi Abdi on January 1, 2024. Source: Ethiopian News Agency