The Horn of Africa States: The BRICS Story (Part II) – OpEd


And the bells rang and BRICS announced one of its key goals of its 15th Summit in South Africa, which involved its expansion. This was, indeed, historic as six new members were officially invited to become new members by January 2024. This expanding bloc is expected to play a significant role in shaping a new world order that has been the goal of many nations over the past decades when unilateralism was found to be lacking and not good enough for international cooperation in matters concerning human development and sustenance on earth.

And the Horn of Africa States is blessed as one of its members, namely, Ethiopia, was one of the six invitees to join BRICS next year. The others include Argentina, Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. The new members are expected to bring new vigor to the 15-year-old grouping of nations that have found international norms being abused and messed up by powerful nations of the world.

Ethiopia, a member of the Horn of Africa States region, is the second most populous nation in Africa and is expected to contribute to the development of the group for an inclusive and prosperous new global order.

Some two dozen other countries have applied to join the BRICS and mostly they are from what is generally referred to as the global South. Perhaps countries of the north would also join in the future to assist in the formation of a new world order that gives sufficient space and leeway for all countries and peoples to develop and contribute to the wellbeing of the earth and its peoples, including sustainable development across the globe, which is not tilted to one side. A burden camel is never loaded on one side only!!

Ethiopia has been growing at a fast pace over the past two decades and its growth level after the pandemic of COVIC-19 remains at a high rate of 5%. It indeed, maintains relations with many countries both West and East, but certainly, its trade and economic ties with India and China have been growing at a strong pace for many years now.

This membership of BRICS would no doubt help it attract more investments and this would pull the region up in the medium and long run. This would also help Ethiopia open up to new frontiers of finance as an alternative to the IMF and World Bank financiers, which are generally accused of overreach and limited opportunities for developing economies.

Ethiopia is a founding member of the African Union and plays host to the organization. It also hosts the UN Economic Commission for Africa and accordingly plays a significant role in Africa’s multilateral affairs. This should be a positive element in Ethiopia’s favor as a member of BRICS. Addis Ababa, indeed, is touted as Africa’s capital.

Ethiopia’s membership also puts the Horn of Africa States on the map again. The region is located is a geostrategic position enjoying a coastal belt of some 4770 km and a youthful population of some 157 million living in an area of nearly 1.9 mm square km. It does, indeed, present a vast space for investment both maritime and otherwise. The region is the source of the Blue Nile and home to the GERD, one of the largest dams in Africa, which makes Ethiopia and the region poised to receive industrial investments and other investments, on a large scale, at least for the intrepid investors.

There would be no miracles in the short term as Ethiopia and the region must work hard to put down the fires blazing in many parts. These ethnic-based conflicts have marred the region for some decades now and it is time the region started to put their heads together to find viable solutions for the ethnic virus. It is perhaps the only way it can attract massive investments and financing even from the New Development Bank of BRICS.

One thing is, however, clear. Ethiopia is starting to think differently and act differently. There seems to be no reliance on parties that only take and never put anything tangible back except for almost expiring foods that are being cleared from warehouses. Ethiopia should be pulling other members of the Horn of Africa States along, to enable it to carry out a sustainable development path that hat is not being pulled down.

Dr. Suleiman Walhad

Dr. Suleiman Walhad writes on the Horn of Africa economies and politics. He can be reached at [email protected].

One thought on “The Horn of Africa States: The BRICS Story (Part II) – OpEd

  • August 25, 2023 at 12:47 pm

    Yes, it is becoming more and more clear that Ethiopia is a key strategic partner for International and regional development, peace and security. Her selection to be a member of BRICS is indicating nothing but confirmed again that the country is emerging gloriously.


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