The Horn of Africa has been suffering from conflict and instability for a long time, but recent positive developments have brought hope for a better future. The 14th Ordinary Summit of IGAD in Djibouti is a good example of this renewed spirit of cooperation and progress in Africa.
The return of Eritrea to the IGAD family is a significant moment that marks the end of hostilities between Ethiopia led by TPLF and Eritrea, and it also represents Eritrea's re-entry into the regional organization.
During the summit, Eritrea resumed its participation in IGAD, took its seat, and demonstrated Eritrea is willing to collaborate with all member states to revitalize IGAD and promote peace, stability, and regional integration. Eritrea emphasized the importance of prioritizing development in fostering regional peace and security, adopting a coordinated approach to external relations, ensuring effective self-financing, and maintaining fidelity to IGAD's rules for the organization's strength and success.
There is a renewed sense of hope in IGAD following the downfall of the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) in Ethiopia. The TPLF had been using IGAD to further their own and Western agendas for over 20 years.
The countries in the region are working together to promote integration, security, and economic cooperation. They also explore various transportation methods to connect their nations, such as highways, railways, sea, and air travel. Kenya's President William Ruto recently signed agreements for visa-free travel with Eritrea and Djibouti and advocated using local currencies in trade. President Ruto said,
“We are all struggling to make payments for goods and services from one country to another because of differences in currencies. And in the middle of all these, we are all subjected to a dollar environment.”
The main topics discussed were Sudan and the signing a new IGAD treaty. Following the summit, Djibouti's President, H.E Ismael Omar Guelleh, assumed the role of IGAD Chairperson after Sudan's term ended. The IGAD Heads of State and Government signed and adopted the IGAD Treaty at the summit.
At the summit, Eritrea highlighted that IGAD should take the lead in addressing the crisis in Sudan. Since the conflict began on April 15, 2023, it has resulted in significant pain and suffering. Countless lives have been lost, thousands have been injured, and more than 1.4 million people have been displaced. This is a challenging situation for all those affected.
The IGAD's responsibility is to urge all parties to stop fighting and opt for peaceful dialogue. If the conflict in Sudan persists, the consequences for the region and the world could be disastrous.
The IGAD Treaty was recently adopted, which affirms the organization's status as a Regional Economic Community and aligns it with similar organizations. The IGAD Heads of State and Government signed the Treaty during the summit, following the Directive of the 13th Ordinary Session of the IGAD Assembly held in November 2019.
The Horn of Africa has been plagued with civil wars, political unrest, and border disputes, leading to instability. However, there has been a recent shift towards cooperation among the nations in the region. This newfound spirit of collaboration brings hope for the future as they work towards shared prosperity and common goals, resulting in an African Renaissance with great potential.
The 14th Ordinary Summit of IGAD in Djibouti marks significant progress for the Horn of Africa. The renewed cooperation and collaboration among regional nations is a positive change from previous conflicts. This African Renaissance brings hope for a better future for everyone.