By Sachin Kumar
The project of integration of Horn of Africa has received an enthusiastic response from various stakeholders, said the former president of the Republic of South Africa and Chairperson of the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel, H E Thabo Mbeki, yesterday. He was delivering a lecture at Doha Institute for Graduate Studies on ‘Peacemaking in the Horn of Africa and the Strategic Dialogue with the Arab Gulf States.
He said that the Horn of Africa is an important region of the African continent, partly because of its location and also because of the size of the population. The region has a population of around 260 million people. Located in the Eastern part of the continent, the Horn of Africa consists of Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Djibouti, Somalia, South Sudan and Uganda.
“What has encouraged the panel is the in each of the countries we visited there has been a very enthusiastic response to the project,” Thabo Mbeki said.
“The Horn of Africa is important for the continent in itself, it is important for the continent in the context of its relations with other countries outside the continent and it is important with regard to its own relations with rest of the continent. It is a strategic area,” said Thabo Mbeki. Thabo Mbeki met yesterday with HH the Amir.
H E Thabo Mbeki, speaking at the Doha Institute for Graduate Studies. Pic: Qassim Rahmatullah/The Peninsula
The former President of the Republic of South Africa said that during the meeting they discussed relations between Qatar and the African Union and a number of issues of common concern.
“We are talking to each country and want to know what they think about the project of integration of Horn of Africa. We have been to four countries so far – Rwanda, Djibouti, Somalia, Kenya, Uganda and later this month we will meet Sudan and South Sudan, Ethiopian and hopefully Eritrea. We are trying to finish all of these countries this month,” Thabo Mbeki said. He said that there are certain countries in the gulf that are already involved in one way or the other.
“It would not be possible to get an elaborated view of what should happen in terms of the process of the integration of Horn of Africa, without taking into account of the views of the countries from outside of the horn which is present in the horn,” he said.
“The task is to finish the visit of various countries and get their views and perspectives about what they should think to happen with regard to the process of the integration of the Horn of Africa,” Thabo Mbeki said.