Browsing: Horn of Africa

Ethiopia is one of the richest countries in Africa and even though it cannot match up to the Democratic Republic of Congo in terms of natural resources wealth, the HoA country has abundant deposits of minerals which include gold, platinum, copper, potash and natural gas, and gas. Despite these resources, mining remains a small contributor to the country’s economy. The country also boasts of a vast land mass of an estimated 1.112 million km², almost twice the size of Texas, in addition to a burgeoning population of 113.5 million inhabitants by 2022 estimates. 

In terms of natural resources, 2014 estimates showed that the country’s iron ore deposits were at more than 70 million tonnes with major deposits in Amhara, Oromia and Tigray regions, according to the Geological Survey of Ethiopia. This figure is not conclusive. 

Ethiopia also produces about 300,000 tonnes of mined and marine salt annually. In addition, Ethiopia has potash deposits estimated at one million tonnes per year. 

The country also enjoys the Blue Nile waters where it uses one percent of its estimated annual surface water of 110 billion cubic metres for irrigation and hydropower. The Blue Nile was used to fill the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), a project that was greatly opposed by Egypt and Sudan. Ironically, the US was backing Egypt on this despite its so-called ‘friendly partner’ claim on Ethiopia. 

Trade between the two countries has also suffered from the March 2020 Somalia ban of the importation of Miraa/khat from Kenya. This followed a decision by Kenya to stop issuing visas on arrival to Somalis.

But there could be a silver lining for traders from both countries since in August 2021, Somalia Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Rooble assured that cross border trade between Kenya and Somalia would resume soon.

Prior to the announcement, Rooble held a closed-door meeting with Somali traders in Mombasa Wednesday. The meeting called for the strengthening of the diplomatic relationship between the two countries and the continuous collaboration in different sectors of the economy.