Ethiopia, Djibouti May Swap Stakes in Airlines, Ports, Telecoms
By Nizar Manek
Deal politically endorsed while details pending, minister says
Landlocked Ethiopia views tiny Red Sea state as key partner
(bloomberg)—-Ethiopia and Djibouti agreed to swap stakes in strategic public enterprises including airlines, ports and telecommunications companies, as the Horn of Africa neighbors pursue deeper economic integration.
The deal would include exchanges of shares in Ethiopian Airlines Enterprise, Africa’s biggest carrier by revenue, Djiboutian Finance Minister Ilyas Dawaleh said in an interview. Shareholdings in companies such as Djibouti’s Horizon Oil Terminal and the Doraleh Container Terminal, Ethiopian Telecommunications Corp. and Djibouti Telecom SA will also be swapped, he said.
The pact came as Ethiopia’s new prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, made his first foreign visit at the weekend to Djibouti, the tiny state located where the Indian Ocean meets the Red Sea and that’s become a strategic hub for the U.S. and China. Landlocked Ethiopia — which the International Monetary Fund ranks as the fastest-growing economy on the continent — is trying to boost its export-oriented manufacturing, making it reliant on neighboring nations with ports.
Abiy said in a statement on his Facebook page that officials from both countries “underlined the importance of working towards the realization of complete economic integration of the two economies.” He didn’t elaborate.