Ethio-Somalia Relations: Somaliland Deal and Shifting Alliances

On 7 March, Somalia and Turkey signed a deal on cooperation in the exploration and production of hydrocarbons. The deal aims to bolster the capacity and expertise of the Somali ministry in the development of hydrocarbons. This will aid Somalia in generating raw energy sources such as oil and gas. Additionally, on 8 February, Turkey and Somalia inked an oil and gas cooperation deal in Istanbul, strengthening their bilateral ties. These agreements, coupled with a recent defence pact, underscore Turkey’s growing influence in the Horn of Africa.

The agreements also aim to alter the geopolitical dynamics, especially regarding Ethiopia’s efforts to secure access to the sea through Somaliland through the Memorandum of Understanding signed on 1 January. Along with Turkey’s involvement, President William Ruto has proactively initiated diplomatic discussions. President Ruto’s efforts have led Ethiopia and Somalia to tone down public rhetoric, signalling constructive dialogue facilitated by Kenya. This, reported by The East African, aims to ease tensions and serves Kenya’s strategic interests in fostering regional stability and enhancing commercial ties.

Key Judgement 1. Ethiopia and Somalia will likely tone down their public rhetoric against each other in the next 6 months, following President Ruto’s diplomatic interventions.

Key Judgement 2. Turkey’s oil and gas cooperation deal with Somalia likely bolster Turkey’s long-term presence in the Horn of Africa.

Key Judgement 3. Recent disputes between Ethiopia and Somalia will shift Turkey and the UAE’s interests in the Horn of Africa and the wider Red Sea.

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