The peace treaty signed by Ethiopia and Eritrea last Sunday is a milestone on the path to reconciliation. King Salman had invited the parties to the signing ceremony in Jeddah; Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and UN Secretary General António Guterres were also in attendance.
Ethiopia – hope through reforms
This was all made possible thanks to Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Dr Abiy Ahmed Ali, who was elected in April. Abiy has also caused a sensation on the domestic front with his considerable appetite for reform. The first few months of his term of office were marked by gestures of reconciliation vis à vis the political opposition at home and abroad. The release of imprisoned politicians and journalists was met with relief in the country. Internet and media restrictions were lifted and a state of emergency in the country was brought to an end ahead of schedule at the beginning of June. Formerly armed opposition groups are now laying down their weapons and returning from exile. Abiy is open to foreign investment in state owned enterprises to help tackle economic problems in the rapidly growing country.
Despite all of the euphoria, the challenges of the coming years should not be underestimated. Freedoms for the opposition and civil society must be guaranteed by law. Inter ethnic conflicts, which have increasingly erupted in recent months, must be defused. What is more, millions of young people are in search of employment and prosperity. Germany stands at Ethiopia’s side in the efforts to overcome these challenges.
The Regional Director for Africa visits Addis Ababa and Asmara
Dr Ackermann, Head of the Federal Foreign Office’s Directorate General 3, responsible for Africa, travelled to Ethiopia and Eritrea on 17 and 18 September to pledge Germany’s support for the ongoing peace process and to gain a first hand impression of Abiy’s reforms. In talks with the African Union, which is based in Addis Ababa, he also discussed the situation in the Horn of Africa, funding for peace operations in the region and Germany’s future role in the UN Security Council.
The Horn of Africa is changing. The chances of lasting stability in the region have improved dramatically thanks to one man’s political determination.