New Developments in the Horn of Africa and their implication on Illegal Immigration

The Horn of Africa is one of the volatile sub-region due to complex political and economic interactions. It consists of four internationally recognized countries (Ethiopia, Somalia, Eritrea, and Djibouti), and Somaliland which is de-facto State and not yet recognized by the international community.  The geographic proximity of this sub-region to the Middle East and North Africa might make the problems complicated for religious factor interacts with economic and political problems. Such factors have created two new counties- Eritrea and South Sudan in 1993 and 2011, respectively, and a third country seem on the verge of being born for a successionist militia from North Ethiopia has been waging a war for independence since November 2020. If successful, this new country would follow suit Somaliland for the federal government and the international community will not recognize it.  The international community has observed such developments unfolding, but not exerting enough force to stop the problem not to grow further. If the current trend continues the world may expect another landlocked de-facto state that would exacerbate the already fragile problem of the sub-region.

The political and economic implication of these new developments in the on aggravating the immigration problem is immense because over 136 million people live in this sub-region the majority of whom are tragically destitute already. 

In addition, the Grand Renaissance Dam (GRD) that Ethiopia is building on the river Nile (Abay) has become another source of dispute among Ethiopia Sudan, and Egypt. Egypt and Sudan are threatening Ethiopia with militarily to stop the dam. However unlikely this will become another source of instability in the sub-region. In this regard, the majority of the Middle East countries are supporting Egypt for they are members of the Arab League and religious alliance is more significant than any other factors, among others. And this development might create another division with the rest of Africa in the line of religion.

And this development by itself might cause another political crisis as we have witnessed in Yemen which was a proxy war field between Saudi Arabia and UAE on one hand and Iran and Qatar on the other. The international community has already learned enough the implication of failed States from Libya, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, etc. It is not possible to contain problems within territories of troubled countries. The problem is highly contingent on the neighboring countries as we have all seen during the Arab Spring in 2011. 

I also believe the world has enough evidence of how illegal immigration was escalated following the economic sanction on Eritrea, which is home only to 4 million people. It seems repeating the same mistake by imposing the economic sanction on Ethiopia, which is home to 115 million people, with 70% o them 30 years or younger. Even the preliminary sanctions that was imposed on Ethiopia following the alleged atrocities in North Ethiopia during the November 2020 law enforcement measures might pose a substantial implication on aggravating illegal immigration. Any small measure might create a huge hopelessness and frustration on the country’s population which has high young unemployment rate, and on the brink of crisis.

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