Recently, speaker of the House of Peoples Representatives (HPR) Honorable Tagesse Chafo has led a parliamentary delegation that participated in the African, Caribbean and Pacific–European Union parliamentary forum. During the occasion the Speaker has explained that Ethiopia is building the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) to respond to its demand for electricity.
Tagesse is not the only Ethiopian government official to clearly explain Ethiopia’s intent in the construction of its infrastructure including the GERD. Indeed, as many other Ethiopian official disclosed earlier Ethiopia has so far been building its infrastructure like electric power dams, road and rail way … etc. to serve its need for socio-economic development and beyond its own local development, it fits into the overall continental efforts of regional integration.
Regional integration is high on the agenda of various parts of the world. For decades, African countries have also been working strenuously on the issue of regional integration. A flagship project in Agenda 2063 is to connect Africa’s capitals and commercial centers through high-speed rail.
Furthermore, Africa has already decided to launch a continental trade area called African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) which aims to interconnect the continent through trade.
One of the factors that contribute to overall integration of a continent or its regions is linkage in infrastructural facilities. Ethiopia has been working aggressively on infrastructural development for the last couple of decades. Accordingly it has been working on roads, electricity, telecom, airports and
railway. Infrastructure development is still a major priority for the country both as an integral factor to boost the local economy as well as to enhance its integration with neighboring countries as well as the continent.
As a country that lies in the epicenter of the region Ethiopia shoulders many relative responsibilities as well as advantages in the integration of the region through infrastructure.
So far, Ethiopia has been working on linking itself with Djibouti, Kenya, Somaliland, Sudan and Eritrea to speed up its connection of roads. It has a well-established connection with its neighboring countries through road, railway, and electricity. The linkage still has to grow up assisted by modern and better facilities.
The infrastructural linkage needs a large sum of investment. Most of the time the infrastructural development faces financial constraints and hamper the progress of integration. For a developing country like Ethiopia such projects are so expensive that they need a considerable collaboration.
However, in addition to the support and loan it obtains from development partners like the World Bank and European Union, Ethiopia has also been financing its infrastructural development from its own resources of local revenue.
Yet, in order to fully achieve the country’s goal of advancing in infrastructure and serving the integration goal of the continent it needs due support from concerned partners. Hence, it needs both financial support as well as diplomatic cooperation to the purposes of its infrastructural development.
The Ethiopian Herald October 19/2019