Former foes Ethiopia and Eritrea declared intention to cooperate on developing ports on Eritrean Red Sea coast, Ethiopia’s state broadcaster said, the day after the leaders met and agreed to normalize relations after a 20-year military confrontation.
“In their meeting, the leaders agreed to restore ties and resume flights by the carriers of both countries. In addition, they agreed to participate in the development of ports,” the state-owned Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation said.
Ethiopian government spokesperson Ahmed Shide said that the re-opening of two critical roads leading to the ports of Assab in Eritrea’s south and Massawa in the north would benefit the whole region.
“The unfolding developments will not only benefit our peoples, but the entire Horn of Africa region will be a part of these developments,” Shide was quoted as saying in an interview published on the Eritrean information ministry website.
At present Massawa port at Red Sea has been receiving a substantial Chinese investment to enlarge and develop infrastructure. A contract of $400 million covering a construction period of 40 months since 2014 the Phase I Massawa New Port Project included design and erection of 70,000t bulk cargo terminals and a 50,000t multi-purpose terminal; construction of the corresponding port area and incoming road.
Ethiopian rapprochement with Eritrea opening an access to Red Sea ports is becoming a part of larger strategy of African governments assisted by China planning future trans-African transportation corridors, and opening a competition between Djibouti as an paramount African trading gateway, and two Eritrean ports Massawa and Assab.