Feature: “A geographic constraint makes it impossible for 150 million people to live in captivity” – Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed
In a recent televised speech, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed called for Ethiopians to openly discuss the issue of the Red Sea. He emphasized that access to the port is essential for Ethiopia’s survival and development. The PM presented a map showing the country’s strategic position between the Red Sea and the Nile, highlighting the interconnectedness of these bodies of water with Ethiopia. He pointed out that if the Nile is an existential issue for Egypt and Sudan, it is only fair for Ethiopians to discuss the Red Sea openly. The PM expressed his frustration that even parliamentarians consider discussing the Red Sea taboo. He emphasized the importance of negotiations and peaceful resolutions in securing access to the port.
PM Abiy Ahmed also proposed the joint utilization of the Red Sea by Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, and Somalia for the greater peace and prosperity of the region. He argued that if these countries were united, it would create a powerful nation comparable to Russia, China, or America. The PM explained that Ethiopia’s claim to access the port is based on geographical, historical, ethnic, and economic reasons. He highlighted the fact that Ethiopia provides water to all its neighboring countries but receives no fresh water in return. He emphasized the need for fairness in resource utilization to avoid future conflicts.
The PM firmly stated that the use of force is not an option in gaining access to the port. Instead, he advocated for open discussions and negotiations. He proposed potential benefits Ethiopia can offer in exchange for port access, such as shares of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, Ethiopian Airlines, and Ethio-telecom. The PM emphasized that discussing the Red Sea is not a luxury but a matter of Ethiopia’s very existence, especially considering the country’s projected population growth.
PM Abiy Ahmed concluded his speech by highlighting the economic benefits of gaining access to the Red Sea, citing a UN study that states access to the sea can contribute up to 25-30% of a country’s GDP. He emphasized that investing in port access can significantly boost Ethiopia’s economy. The PM called for leaders of neighboring countries to engage in discussions for both immediate and sustainable peace.
He expressed his belief that open dialogue and mutually beneficial agreements are the key to avoiding future conflicts and building a prosperous region.