H.E Shinzõ Abe, The prime minister of Japan, h.e. Dr. Abiy Ahmed, The Prime Minister of the federal republic of Ethiopia.
H.E. Antonio Guterres, the Secretary-General of the UN; H. E. Musa Faqi chairman of the African Union Commission; vice president of the Republic of South Sudan H.E. James Wani Igga; H.E. Mohamud Ali Yusuf, the foreign minister of the Republic of Djibouti; h. E. Osman Saleh the foreign minister of the state of Eritrea, h.e Monica Juma, the foreign minister of Kenya, distinguished guests, ladies, and gentlemen,
It is a great honor for me to be addressing you in this special Seventh Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD 7) in the beautiful city of Yokohama in Japan. I express my gratitude to His Excellency Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the Government of Japan for hosting TICAD 7 and, by extension, thank the people of Japan for the warm hospitality extended to me and my delegation.
The Horn of Africa is truly unique in its geography, people and history. The Horn is also strategic to global trade, natural resources, security and connectivity in this age of global interconnectivity and interdependence. Yet, for too long in the past, the Horn region was held captive by insecurity, mistrust, and lack of common vision for peace and development. Now, we have finally woken up to the need to reverse this history and look forward together to a brighter common future built on mutual respect, trust, and advancing cooperation in all areas of mutual benefit for the prosperity of the whole people of the region.
As part of my long-term vision, I made it clear in my campaign that Somalia, once again, must return to playing a key role in the Horn by initiating and championing the reconciliation efforts. This was, and remains, important for stability and progress not just for Somalia but also across the region which depends on effective cooperation and collaboration with one another for common prosperity.
We are glad that our two brotherly states of Eritrea and Ethiopia re-established bilateral ties. This was complemented by high-level visits between Somalia, Eritrea and Ethiopia in which after much discussion a Memorandum of Understanding was signed by all three nations which committed us to further enhancing our socio-economic, political and people to people relations. Today, these discussions are proudly joined by Djibouti which is a valuable member of the Horn of Africa region and one which will also play an integral role in the achievement of our common goals of security, stability, political connectivity, and social and economic cooperation.
The Horn of Africa region offers unrivaled opportunities for economic development and growth if we can further strengthen the political, social and economic ties between the concerned countries and our global partners. Somalia has one of the longest coasts in the world and is able to facilitate trade across the Horn region. Ethiopia has a growing middle class and a population that can support the ambitions of Horn of Africa entrepreneurs and foreign investors while Djibouti and Eritrea are the gateways to the Horn itself. Together, our countries can, and must, capitalize on our potential and enhance our new but hard own cooperation. Indeed, the Horn of Africa states are not alone in working together towards a better future for their countries and people because we have many friends who are supporting us all along the way for the interest of peace and security in the wider world and we thank them.
We thank the Government of Japan and, in particular, the leadership of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe who has shared his vision for Japan’s positive engagement and support towards peace and stability in the African continent. This support will no doubt also complement existing and planned common Horn of Africa regional efforts to capitalize on common opportunities while confronting the challenges of the region together. The most important guiding principles for the Horn of Africa region now are similar to that of TICAD and include partnership, innovation and regional cooperation initiatives.
I am confident that this Special Conference on Peace and Stability in the Horn of Africa and its Neighboring Region on the margin of the TICAD 7 today will provide an opportunity for us all to exchange views on the current situation in the region, to identify common challenges and for all of us to reiterate the political will and commitment to further accelerate peace efforts.
I thank you