Ethiopia, Djibouti sign gas pipeline deal

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Ethiopia and Djibouti have agreed to build a pipeline that will carry gas from land-locked Ethiopia to an export terminal in its neighbouring coastal port nation, Djibouti.

Djibouti’s energy minister described the proposed pipeline as the most expensive project ever built in the Horn of Africa, according to Reuters news agency. The deal comes as relations in the region come under the spotlight, following a peace deal signed between long-time border rivals Ethiopia and Eritrea.

Ethiopia, Djibouti sign pipeline deal

Landlocked Ethiopia relies heavily on Djibouti, which provides the country with relatively direct access to the Red Sea and one of the world’s most important trade routes.

Diplomatic relations between the two countries have been strong for many years but Ethiopia has had no viable alternative. A 20-year-long border conflict with Eritrea – off the back of a bitter civil war – ruled out any diplomatic relations with Ethiopia’s closest neighbour. While the constant threat of al-Shabaab in Somalia raising security concerns and piracy off the country’s coast rules it out as a viable option.

However, a landmark peace deal signed between Ethiopia and Eritrea has changed the entire dynamics of the Horn of Africa – not least because it makes Eritrea a new potential trade partner for Ethiopia.

The peace deal has put pressure on relations between Ethiopia and Djibouti, though, which has its own border dispute with Eritrea. Which only adds to the significance of a joint pipeline project between Ethiopia and Djibouti as Horn nations attempt to improve bilateral ties without upsetting existing partnerships in a complex region.

Featured image: By Skilla1st – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=49404679

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.