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The Road to Mutual Success: Red Sea Access, Afar Autonomy, and Ethiopia-Eritrea Synergy

Editor’s note : views in the article reflect the views of the writer, not that of borkena.com


Google Map of Ethiopia and the Region

By Daniel Teka


The Horn of Africa stands at a pivotal crossroads of history, geography, and geopolitics. Ethiopia, the most populous landlocked nation in the world, is poised for transformative change. In the spirit of our global interconnectedness and the principles of self-determination, it is high time to advocate for Ethiopia’s return to its historical access to the Red Sea and the establishment of Afar autonomy. This will not only foster regional stability but also unlock untold economic and developmental opportunities for the people of Ethiopia and Eritrea.

Ethiopia’s Historical Connection to the Red Sea

Ethiopia’s desire for access to the Red Sea is rooted in its rich historical connection to this vital maritime route. Throughout much of its history, Ethiopia maintained direct access to the Red Sea. This historical precedent demonstrates that Ethiopia’s quest for Red Sea access is not a novel ambition but rather a return to a time-tested and strategically significant arrangement.

The historical precedent of Ethiopian access to the Red Sea highlights the fact that Ethiopia’s position as a landlocked nation is not a matter of natural geography but rather the result of historical events and political developments. The return of access to the Red Sea is a matter of rectifying historical injustices and allowing Ethiopia to regain its rightful place as a maritime nation.

Empowering the Afar People

In the quest for a comprehensive solution, it is vital to focus on addressing the concerns of the Afar people, who inhabit both Ethiopia and Eritrea. They are a unique community with a rich cultural heritage, long overlooked and marginalized. Granting the Afar people the autonomy to self-govern is a fundamental human right and an opportunity to empower a historically disadvantaged group. Inspired by successful models such as Spain and the Basque Country, Iraq and the Kurdistan Region, and Tanzania and Zanzibar, we propose a new model for a semi-autonomous Afar region under Ethiopia. This model will empower the Afar people to govern their own affairs, preserve their cultural heritage, and foster peace and prosperity. It’s a step towards rectifying historical injustices, fostering peace, and acknowledging the cultural richness of the Horn of Africa.

Eritrea’s Vital Role

Eritrea plays a vital role in Ethiopia’s goal to reach the Red Sea, which was once part of Ethiopia. The strong connections between the people of Ethiopia and Eritrea, based on culture and religion, are deep-rooted. To make this even better, Ethiopia should extend an offer to Eritrea for a share of ownership in Ethiopian Airlines and the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). This offer is grounded in the historical and cultural ties between the two nations and is a win-win proposition. Eritrea can benefit from economic integration and access to valuable resources like free electricity generated by the GERD. Additionally, this partnership opens doors to international connectivity via Ethiopian Airlines, promoting regional cooperation and shared prosperity. By sharing ownership in these assets, both countries can work together to enhance their mutual growth and development.


Ethiopia’s historical rights to Red Sea access, the Afar people’s right to self-governance and cultural preservation, and Eritrea’s opportunity to share in the benefits of the GERD are all components of a vision for a prosperous and interconnected Horn of Africa. By embracing this solution, nations in the region can transcend historical grievances and forge a path toward a brighter future. It’s a step towards a more stable, prosperous, and integrated Horn of Africa where Ethiopia, the Afar people, and Eritrea can all reap the rewards of cooperation, peace, and mutual progress.

Daniel Teka teaches English  at a private school in Addis Ababa.

Editor’s note : Views in the article do not necessarily reflect the views of borkena.com


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  1. Come to the think of it. Our Somali brothers and sisters in the Wabi Shabale river basin have been in dire need of water for decades. Our Tigre brothers and sisters have been suffering for incessant drought for decades in their Tekeze River basin. In the meantime, their populations are growing by one of the highest rates in the world. Soon they will reach at a point where they shoveling around those mighty rivers for sustenance. Then what? You take it from there! I did not make this up. You better start talking to those upright and generous people. Our very dear brothers and sisters are doing something already by the banks of Wabi Shabale. Some innovative guy is said to be shoveling a sliver stream of water from Wabi Shabale around El-Kere area and was able to turn some dusty fallow land into a small haven of mangos, cherimoyas and guava fruit trees. We know our Somali brothers and sisters. They are one of the most resourceful people when they are left alone to live in peace. It is a matter of time before other Somalis in the Wabi Shabale river basin to follow suit.

    Okay my Ogaden Somali brothers and sisters! Alright, my Tigre brothers and sisters! You heard it all. You have not gotten even a pinch of thank you. From here on, I don’t wanna hear you complaining about the lack of water or persistent drought that does not seem to leave you alone. You have Allah bestowed right to live like others with a 24-hour electric power lighting your domiciles. I don’t wanna see you looking up in the skies wondering if the rain is coming or not. I don’t wanna hear it from you anymore!!!

  2. Daniel Teka,
    a). Your conclusion paragraph said it ALL. Thank you
    b). But don’t hold your breath
    c). Current various leaders, who are interested for their own power, will never let Ethiopia go to the Ethiopia that we all
    d). And that is called CLASSICAL TRAGEDY
    e). If you want it in Ethiopian terminology: “MERGEM”
    f). Why is the Good Lord up in Heaven so cruel to Ethiopia ?
    g) Ask those who are on sold ground and practicing animosity among citizens [it makes them happy]
    —————– THE END ———————

  3. This commentary smells exactly what the Amhara elite have come to think. Sad borkena.com accomodates the rather emotional thought of an English teacher in a private school, who’s disconnected from history.

    1) There is no evidence of the historical right of Ethiopia to ownership of the Sea. Ethiopia as a modern sovereign nation/state is an invention of 1900, 10 years after Eritrea. Like all African countries the outcome of European colonialism. What existed before Ethiopia were empires led by war lords.
    2) Eritrea has never been part of Ethiopia. There is a common history involving the Abyssinian and Axum Empires. They don’t cover the entirety of present day Eritrea and Ethiopia.
    3) This worn out idea of looking through the ethnic lense has immersed Ethiopia in endless conflict. Exporting this to Eritrea entails the reversal of history by centuries. Eritrea Afar are primarily Eritrean before anything else. The Afar has already a self autonomy, and their chief/Deglel is located in Rahaita, Eritrea.

    • Why wouldn’t you want a peaceful, mutually beneficial co-operation between Ethiopia and Eritrea when they share many cultural ties! What are you afraid? Are you a citizen of Ethiopia?

    • You said “The Afar has already a self autonomy, and their chief/Deglel is located in Rahaita, Eritrea.” this is ridiculous and misleading statement, not self autonomy even Eritrean government don’t treat us equally with other Eritrean
      As Eritrea AFAR I can say Afar is facing serious margination in Eritrean than Ethiopia ,so Afar deserve real self autonomy in both countries,becouse we are bridge of peace

  4. This is totally false. Ethiopia has never had access to Red Sea but only when the two countries were United at some point, even then in 1952-1962 The UN forced Eritrea federation with Ethiopia by the Resolution 390-A(V). Eritrea had red through there colonization from 1941-1952 The British rule over Eritrea, 1882-1941 Italians colonised Eritrea, 1557 The Ottoman empire made Eritrea one of its colonies and colonised it for 300 years. through all this years Ethiopia has never requested nor had access to Red Sea. You can’t change history so as to benefit your agenda.

  5. Dear Daniel, how in the hell you draw this conclusion of imaginary idea of bringing prosperity to the whole horn of Africa by just adjusting the Ethiopia’s right to access to sea and making reality of Afar people’s right to granting autonomy???? I thought you didn’t see the bigger picture whatsoever.

  6. Some preposterous Eritreans and misguided Ethiopians think Ethiopia desperately needs ports. Abiy is raising this topic mainly to sideline his war in Amhara and Oromia. We have been ok without ports and besides there are several around – Djibouti, Mombasa, Hargeisa, etc. so why worry about Assab ad Masswa which can only ignite another round of war with irritable Eritreans. Come on – we don’t need your fuckin ports and your fuckin threats and posturings – we are Ok with Djibouti and the Kenyan and Somali ports…Calm down…

    • There have been several complaints, from other users, regarding how you use this platform. Your repeated provocative and poisonous remarks towards Eritrea was deleted. You are in the wrong platform in that regard. This platform has a respect for the government and people of Eritrea -as is the case with majority of Ethiopians. Unfortunately, we will have to block you if you continue insulting participants.

      • Every opinion I aired about Ethio-Eritrea past/present/future is the truth! Complainants should have disproved any of my points! Post their complaints & let me expose their lies!

        Ethiopians MUST stand for Ethiopia & expose what Eritrea & Eritreans have been doing to Ethiopia! Eritrea & Eritreans have never been Ethiopia’s friends in my entire life time!

        What do I gain/lose whether you post my opinion or not. Scan your website and you will see that it is an Anti-Ethiopia Propaganda Platform! Isn’t there a difference between opposing Abiy & destroying Ethiopia? Your website is helping Ethiopia’s enemies raze Ethiopia to the round!

        I air my opinion here to counter the volley of lies that agents/descendants/beneficiaries of former regimes post here to return to power without elections. I also often air my opinion with supporting evidence! Is your website for Discussion or Indoctrination Propaganda?

        • You’re entitled to your opinion about borkena’s purpose. There is no need to prove prove it for you. However, Eritreans never complained about your comments. Many of your comments on Ethiopian topics tend to be insulting. This is a final warning.

  7. Why Afar Empowerment? What about creating united Somalia?? Why the Tigray
    referendum is not coming? What about this and that? According to OAU 1962 agreement all African countries must recognize the colonial boundaries. If not war after war is Horn Africa fate. It’s obvious Ethiopia is a big country in horn , not in political consciousness, population wise. So you Ethiopians be exemplary to this region. You can get a port service peaceful from any of your neighbors. Otherwise let us wait and see. Disintegration or integration!!!

  8. Ethiopia and us, Ethiopians, must evolve in our political consciousness. This route is imaginary. Firstly, we must expose and acknowledge that this path takes advantage and manipulates the dignity of the Afar in favor of the desires of Ahmed’s “crown jewel”. That being his desire to achieve port access. It is understood and well documented, through projections and estimates, that Ethiopia could greatly benefit from direct port accesses, reducing costs and further magnifying its economy. However, this aim must be achieved through the war and penmanship of diplomacy, dialogue, partnership, and cooperation. Another senseless war would only hurt the region more, which this route indirectly will result in.

  9. We (Eritreans) do not need a share from your GERD or Ethiopian Airlines. If we want an electricity we can buy it from you and of course it relies on your willingness to sell! and so is for the other facilities you have mentioned. Secondly your projects or national assets (like Ethiopian airlines, GERD and others) you want to share can fall any time due to many reasons. Example The GERD may collapse or destroyed due to natural phenomenon (Earthquake, volcanic eruption, old age) or human made (war, someone who don’t like the dam blowing it up, maintenance error (remember what happened recently in Libya)). And about the airlines. Haven’t you heard that airlines companies collapsing or shutting down due to economic or other reasons? Remember the COVID 19 where many Airline companies were struggling to survive due the travel restriction? Even bad management may be the cause too (like the south Africans where the Ethiopian airlines bought . So now why would you make it like it is a treasure which we Eritreans or other bordering countries can get from Ethiopia. just like if it is a life long asset? By the way Eritrean People and government did not block you the usage of the port! But ownership? don’t even think about changing my map!

  10. Mar. Daniel, nice try but all hallow lies no factual historical evidence except the same lies. Respect the truth and act like a mature rule abiding country and we can work together, we Eritreans and Ethiopians. Ethiopia gas never had access to the red sea legally, a fact.


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