July 2, 2023 (NAGAD, Djibouti): The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) has launched Djibouti-Ethiopia railway caravan for the promotion of regional integration to enhance the multifaceted ties between the two countries in the areas of migration and mobility, business and investment, tourism, people to people relationships and diaspora engagement, at Nagad Station, Djibouti.
On the official launch, the IGAD Executive Secretary, Dr Workneh Gebeyehu said that under the auspices of IGAD, the Government of Djibouti and the Embassy of Ethiopia in Djibouti marks a significant step towards promoting regional integration and further fostering enduring friendship and cooperation between Djibouti and Ethiopia.
“This railway was upgraded to standard-gauge during my tenure as Minister of Transport of Ethiopia. I am happy to have contributed to IGAD’s core mission of regional integration as a minister. Now, I am even happier as Executive Secretary to be at the helm of IGAD continuing the journey of this train.” he said.
He further emphasized that the IGAD remains committed to wholeheartedly supporting our Member States to implement existing legal and policy frameworks.
Dr Workneh reminded “One remarkable testament to this inter-dependence is this Ethio-Djibouti railway, which has been connecting our two countries for 106 years. This railway has not only facilitated economic and social growth, but through positive migration and human mobility, has also brought the people of Djibouti and Ethiopia closer together.”
Ambassador Berhanu Tsegaye, Ethiopian Ambassador to Djibouti, as well as to IGAD, Mr. Siraj Omar Abdulkader, Secretary General of the Ministry of Interior of Djibouti took part in the press conference before the train’s departure.
Berhanu Tsegaye, Ethiopian Ambassador to Djibouti, said: “This joint expedition is of great importance as it provides a platform for meaningful dialogue, collaboration and exploration of our common heritage, historical significance and cultural diversity.
He added: “I sincerely appreciate the generous support and tireless work of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), which demonstrates their commitment to regional integration.
In her introductory remarks Madam Fathia Alwan, Director for Health and Social Development, IGAD, explained that the mission will symbolically link our two capitals, Djibouti-city and Addis-Ababa, as well as a network of intermediate urban centers and economic zones all located in one of the most strategic geographical areas of our sub-region. “Being myself the daughter of a railway worker, I will seize this opportunity to extend all my greetings and salute the memory of our veteran railway’s workers, “Les Cheminots du Djibouto-Ethiopien”. She added.
The five days railway mission brought together Djiboutian and Ethiopian participants, most of whom are executives from public institutions, as well as IGAD experts to exchange and discuss the advantages and challenges of multifaceted cooperation between the two countries, in all sectors of economic and social life.
The IGAD Executive Secretariat has mobilized all financial support for the implementation of this large-scale public diplomacy campaign.
This initiative is the result of close collaboration between IGAD and the Embassy of the Federal and Democratic Republic of Ethiopia accredited in the Republic of Djibouti as well as to IGAD.
The IGAD Ethio – Djibouti Train mission is in line with IGAD’s Vision 2050 where the regional organization in its first phase prioritizes structural transformation of the region through commercialization and expansion of resilient green and blue economies, and sustainable utilization of the natural resources.
The special relationship that Ethiopia and Djibouti are enjoying and their interdependency with each other are linked to the historical railway corridor that is connecting the countries for more than a century.