Professor Ayele Bekerie: Ethiopia Should Invest in Somalia Now (VOA)

Above: Ethiopian soldiers on a truck following a farewell
ceremony which took place in the presidential palace,
Mogadishu, Somalia, Tuesday, January 13, 2009.
(Farah Abdi Warsameh / AP)

By Adanech Fessehaye

Sheikh Sharif’s moderate position and inclusive strategies as Somali’s new president is to be commended, said Dr. Ayele Bekerie, an assistant professor in Cornell University’s African studies program. Ayele was interviewed by Adanech of the Amharic service on Friday.

Ayele said the new president’s conciliatory role at the Africa Union meeting is good news for the region and that he sounds willing to work with Ethiopia. Ethiopia should reciprocate by helping Somalia and by putting investments in the country.

Ayele also talked about remarks made by the new AU chairmen, Mummer Qaddafi, regarding efforts to promote a pan-African policies.He cautioned such a movement should be approached with care. He also noted the irony of Qaddafi’s desire to be known as “king of kings” after his own successful efforts many years ago to overthrow a Libyan monarch. Read more Horn of Africa News at VOA.

About Dr. Ayele Bekerie:

Ayele Bekerie, an Assistant Professor at the Africana Studies and Research Center of Cornell University, is the author of the award-winning book “Ethiopic, An African Writing System: Its History and Principles” (The Red Sea Press, 1997). Bekerie’s papers have been published in scholarly journals, such as ANKH: Journal of Egyptology and African Civilizations, Journal of the Horn of Africa, Journal of Black Studies, the International Journal of Africana Studies, and the International Journal of Ethiopian Studies. Bekerie is also the creator of the African Writing System web site and a contributing author in the highly acclaimed book, “ONE HOUSE: The Battle of Adwa 1896-100 Years.” Bekerie’s most recent published work includes “The Idea of Ethiopia: Ancient Roots, Modern African Diaspora Thoughts,” in Power and Nationalism in Modern Africa, published by Carolina Academic Press in 2008 and “The Ancient African Past and Africana Studies” in the Journal of Black Studies in 2007. Bekerie appears frequently on the Amharic Service of Voice of America and Radio Germany. He is a regular contributor to Tadias Magazine and other Ethiopian American electronic publications. His current book project is on the “Idea of Ethiopia.”

13 Responses to “Professor Ayele Bekerie: Ethiopia Should Invest in Somalia Now (VOA)”

  1. 1 Mary Feb 21st, 2009 at 12:26 pm

    Indeed Ethiopia needs to understand smart diplomacy. Ethiopia’s brief military adventure into Somalia was a spectacular failure and a stupid war. Helping to stabilize Somalia through investment is smart foreign policy. Whatever happened to the talent pool of the high caliber Ethiopian foreign policy professionals of the days of the Emperor?

    One untold legacy of the current regime is already secured. In mere 18 years, it has managed to tarnish Ethiopia’s global image in every conceivable area. It will take the next generation of Ethiopian leaders another 4 to 5 decades of remaking and managing that image to get back to the level it was in the early 1960s. What a shame.

  2. 2 Ahmed Feb 21st, 2009 at 1:03 pm

    Ethiopia may seem militarily powerful in the Horn of Africa, but it is economically weak & poor country, unable to feed its own people. So, before even thinking about investing in a hostile Somalia, it needs to focus on the historically dysfunctional past and its nine regions.

  3. 3 Dr.Abdi Adan Feb 21st, 2009 at 4:21 pm

    The only thing Somali people and region need is that Despotic Ethiopian government will leave Somalia and Somali people alone. Please mind the needs of Ethiopian people who desperately need basic human needs such as food, education and health care. Leave us alone and mind your business and stop exploitation of our clan division and bring more weapons into Somalia, remember Ethiopia as clan is more vulnerable than Somalia.

  4. 4 hayelom Feb 21st, 2009 at 11:01 pm

    Somalia under the fundamentalist rule is the one who started words of war and did terrorist activities along the border with the help of Eritrean dictator. Under this circumstance Ethiopia did punish and broke the back of the fundamentalist who wage jihad on Ethiopia. Every one has to know is Ethiopia didn’t create the havoc which Somalia is in, they did !

    When it comes to investment in Somalia , I don’t think Ethiopia has much to offer.

  5. 5 ORESTE MAZZI Feb 22nd, 2009 at 4:37 am

    Dear Sirs,

    If some investors are interested I have a project proposal for a very interesting investment that involves the economies of both Somalia and Ethiopia.

    Contract me, Oreste Mazzi Italy –

  6. 6 JOSEPH JAMENE Feb 22nd, 2009 at 9:33 am

    The proposition that Ethiopia should come to a mutual economic relationship with Somalia, draws it’s basic logic from the fundamental observation that the stability of all nations depend on the over all economic, social and political visions of people of all cultures and ethnic formations.

    The educated class of Somalia, be it in their homeland or in the diaspora, be it with the frame of such states as Puntland or Somaliland or the clan system as is common in all Somalia, have always expressed reservations about Ethiopia and it’s leaders as well as thinkers.

    The very fact exists that Ethiopia is always open to the options of diverse routes to the great sea and waters of international commerce and that the human conditions of nations such as Eritrea and Somalia get equal importance in it’s military and political thoughts.The very fact exists that as global food and energy prices hit record index, nations around Ethiopia could look to central Ethiopia as a vital source of human security.

    All of us could agree that long term Ethiopian military presence in Somalia stands as a source of high cost to human life and total economy. Rather the modern concept of war and peace calls solutions and conclusions to be made in matters of hours and days. A ten-days war could cost a country billions of dollars as much as the residence of an army for a couple of years in such nations as Somalia. The target of any war determines the costs of war.

    All of us should agree that “a group” stood as the major target of the Ethiopian presence in Somalia. All Somali thinkers could also understand that and support the very fact most nations saw the Ethiopian presence as positive, though such nations as the United States of America seem to fail to pay the massive costs to the Ethiopian economy. As moderation comes to leadership to Somalia , trade and mutual respect are natural.

  7. 7 Somalilander Feb 23rd, 2009 at 12:48 am

    Nothing to say just the usual Ethiopians speaking of their fears for Somalia and the Somali people. We are going no where people. You have to learn to live with us sooner or later.


  8. 8 Ayele Bekerie Feb 23rd, 2009 at 3:35 pm

    Dear Readers,

    It is unfortunate that the details of my suggestion regarding relations between Ethiopia and Somalia were not made available to the readers. VOA briefly outlined in English a long interview I gave in Amharic. My point is the peace gesture of President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed of Somalia towards Ethiopia is historic and significant. I am therefore calling for the transformation of the gesture into mutually beneficial economic activities, such as building interstate roads and railways, cooperating in water and agro-industrial activities, and establishing cultural links. It is also important to remember that once peace prevails in the region, it is not that difficult to attract investors both from within and without. Readers may be interested to read my essay entitled “When the Lowlanders Make Peace with the HIghlanders in the Horn of Africa. It was first published in 2007 by ‘Ethiopia First.’


  9. 9 lisa Feb 24th, 2009 at 8:49 am

    Somalia should learn to live peacefully with its neighbors and should stop fighting first and realize that war is not the answer.

  10. 10 The III Apr 26th, 2009 at 3:23 pm

    Both sides of the argument need to understand and every one for that matter failed to emphasize is that this is not between Ethiopia and Somali. This needs to be crystal clear in all our discussions: as it is, since 1991, Ethiopia is not represented in any dealings, it should be articulated that it is between the EPRDF regime and the various similar juntas of Somali that all these dealings and operations are taking place. Neither the Ethiopian people nor the Somalia’s have given any mandate whatsoever for their dictators who are brutalizing them. Every pundit I here and read through out the web is talking about this and that as if everything is normal. No, you should be referring EPRDF or the counter equivalent of the Somali’s. Whoever you are, whereever you are, and whatever you talk unless you understand and referred your points and subjects as so, you are argument does not making sense.

  11. 11 Salem Jun 24th, 2009 at 1:06 pm

    I think the only motive I see here for Ethiopia is to divide and use the people of Somalia. How ccme Ethiopia care so much about Somalia than it cares about Ethiopia or its people. Meles needs to worry about Ethiopia first then he can worry about other nations. Somalia must be united against this dirty trick that has been played on us. They fought 2 war with us in the past and now they are in our land and killing our people. It is a lip service but their real gaol is to divide the people and make sure they don’t get united. We were in a process of resolving our difference in 2006 before they invaded Somalia, peace were privialed but they decided to disrupt the peace, because they don’t want to see peace they want us to be divided. It is such a shame to see a neighboring country works tirelessly to destroy us. What did we do to them anyhow, why they don’t leave us alone? We were helping them during their bad time in the liberation but all they do to us is destroy. We are only good to them if we are not united.

    Ethiopia – leave us alone and we will resolve our problem – STOP. We are brothers and Sister and one people, we don’t need Ethiopia to resolve our problem – we will work on it – leave us ALONE – STOP -LEAVE Somalia people alone.

  12. 12 mr.abdi wahab Oct 14th, 2009 at 1:56 pm

    As we know Ethiopia and Somalia have not had good relations since 1977. Despite the conflict, both of these countries are poor and Ethiopia is the poorest in Africa. So how can it be possible for Ethiopia to invest in Somalia?

    I believe Ethiopia will never accept strong government in Somalia because it is afraid of Somalia. In my conclusion, I am advising Ethiopian authorities to stay out of Somalia’s politics. Otherwise, Melez Zenawi will regret it.

  13. 13 Layla Sheikh Apr 23rd, 2010 at 8:20 pm

    Despite the conflict, both of these countries are poor and especially Ethiopia is the poorest in Africa. So how can it be possible for Ethiopia to invest in Somalia is the first question? And the second question most Somalis are asking each other now is how come Ethiopia cares so much about Somalia instead of caring for its people? Whether Ethiopia has good intentions towards helping Somalia or not, Somalis perceive that the Ethiopian government is playing dirty tricks on them. It is such a shame to see neighboring countries work tirelessly to destroy each other. It would take less time to work together peacefully, but of course, that will not happen until there is equal justice for all.

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