Ethiopia hopes Eritrea peace will bring prosperity

Both small and large businesses in Ethiopia, one of Africa's fastest-growing economies despite widespread poverty, would be expected to benefit from the border re-opening.

Ethiopia hopes Eritrea peace will bring prosperity

World Bulletin / News Desk

Eighteen years after the guns fell silent following Ethiopia's bloody border war with Eritrea, the frontier town of Zalambessa is a quiet, rubble-strewn outpost crossed by a road to nowhere.

But change could be on the horizon after the leaders of Ethiopia and Eritrea agreed to re-establish relations, raising hopes that trade will resume and towns like Zalambessa will boom again.

"There's no question," said Tirhas Gerekidan, a hairdresser in the town. "If the road opens, things will change."

But analysts warn that Eritrea, which under President Isaias Afwerki has become one of the world's most closed societies with an unwelcoming business climate, may not share the economic spoils of the new era of engagement.

"The potential for this accord... to revitalise its economy is huge," said Seth Kaplan, a professor at Johns Hopkins University in the United States who has studied Eritrea's economy. "The great unknown is what will Isaias do."

Eritrea, once a province of Ethiopia that incorporated the single nation's entire coastline, fought a decades-long independence war before voting to leave in 1993.

The decision landlocked Africa's second-most populous country -- although Ethiopia continued to export through Eritrean ports until a border dispute erupted into war in 1998.

Last Mod: 21 Temmuz 2018, 13:31
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