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Ethiopia – Turkey: Ankara’s ongoing economic and military support

In depth
This article is part of the dossier: Ethiopia’s Tigray: New frontier for regional interests

By Samuel Getachew
Posted on Tuesday, 2 November 2021 12:32

Turkey Ethiopia
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed speak to the media at a joint news conference in Ankara, Turkey, Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2021. (Turkish Presidency via AP, Pool)

For the last two decades, the relationship between Turkey and Ethiopia has been based on economic interest. With Ethiopia’s goal of attracting foreign investment far from its former reality of an economy based on foreign aid, Ankara’s investments to Ethiopia have increased to $2.5bn.

Being one of the top three contributors of foreign direct investments (FDI) to one of Africa’s fastest growing economies – currently in the midst of a year-long war with its northern state that has contributed to its battered economy – Turkey has been one of the major players for the growth of the textile sector inside Ethiopia’s industrial parks.

This is in addition to its contribution to infrastructure projects, including Yapi Merkezi’s involvement in building a railway line worth $1.7bn, named Awash-Kombolcha-Hara Gebaya Railway project. The plan is to build a railway line that stretches from Ethiopia to Tanzania.

Also in this in Depth:

Former enemies, Ethiopia and Eritrea are fighting on the same side in Tigray war

The first reason that Ethiopia’s Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2019 was that he had initiated successful peace talks with the East African country’s existential rival, Eritrea. The benefits of the peace process had been immediately obvious to the region and the international community.

What Somalia stands to gain from Ethiopia’s ongoing Tigray war

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As Ethiopian officials continue to claim that foreign forces have fought alongside Tigray fighters in recent battles in the Amhara region, questions arise about how Egypt could benefit from the ongoing conflict that has claimed thousands of lives. There is also the question of if the Egyptian state has been supporting dissenting forces.

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A year after the Tigray war erupted in northern Ethiopia, there’s growing fear that not only will the union of rebel forces enter the capital Addis Ababa, but the spillover effect risks weakening an already fragile region. But could the chaos within Ethiopia’s borders play into the advantage of Sudan, especially since its coup d’état has once again further destablised the country?