World News The Horn Of Africa States: Future Governance – OpEd Part I

Posted by: Berhane Habtemariam

Date: Thursday, 09 February 2023

By Dr. Suleiman Walhad

February 8, 2023

A week from today, there will be a summit in Dubai, hosted by the UAE Government and entitled “Shaping Future Governments.” The summit will last from February 13th to February 15th, 2023, and would be attended by State leaders, the UN, the IMF, the World Bank, and many other important participants. Is this a new 1884 Berlin Conference type, which set up the colonization of Africa and division of the continent among European countries or is it another 1944/45 conferences, which set up the United Nations and the current World Order? Is there a feeling that the United Nations and its many organizations are failing? 


There is certainly unease as the world inches towards unfathomable problems. There is the continuing civil strives in the Horn of Africa States, the terrorism and the instabilities in a region where between ten percent and twenty percent of the world’s global trade passes through and there is the European war in Ukraine where NATO and Russia are glaring at each other. The Arab issue of Palestine and Israel remains another flash point and after the COVID-19 pandemic, the world’s food basket remains unsettled and incomplete aggravated by the troubles in many parts of the world. The ongoing bad feelings between the United States and China in the South China Sea and Taiwan adds another dimension and the Koreas are not that far off.

It appears the center has been shaken and is no longer at ease. Education, healthcare and social services which in many countries seemed to have been assured is no longer assured and the general emphasis on development and progress seems to be a thing of the past. Survival and taking advantage of one state against another seems to be the primary tasks of governments and the lofty goals of the United Nations and its organizations on  sustainability, connectivity, communication and stability remain just lofty goals.

The state which is hosting the conference, the UAE has played its part in many of the problems of the Horn of Africa States and the military contracts which it is attempting and, perhaps, persuading the Federal Government of Somalia, basically, for Somalia to give up its sovereignty to the UAE is a clear indication that diplomacy these days is all lies and the UAE should perhaps refrain from all the ill intentions and illegal activities it is involved in the Horn of Africa States region. It would probably be rewarded with all the things it is seeking in a different format, in a win-win contract.

Many of the international organizations that used to carry weight in the past no longer carry the same weight and hence their effectiveness is no longer generally accepted. Many countries read them as politically motivated organizations that feed on the weaker nations which they proclaim to be assisting, but which they prepare for bigger nations to feed on them and perhaps a perfect example is the huge funds which are pledged to poor countries which never reach those for which they were intended.

It is hoped that the leaders who would attend the Summit of Dubai would come up with practical solutions and not fancy words and statements that would not be implemented. The Summit, indeed, is innovative and pushes the clock back to the years just after World War II, when there was a search for an equilibrium for the world. It is always good to think and act positive in the face of calamities, both natural and man-made and it is hoped that the thinking process of the leaders who would attend the conference would not just use it just like the many other conferences that they attend, away from the toils of their daily lives.


It is not clear whether there would be Horn of Africa States attendance of this conference, but it would perhaps be beneficial for them to present the case of the region to the world. The region saw a dismal year 2022 with the only positive thing, having been the peace agreement with some Ethiopian rebel groups.  It is hoped that the leaders of the region would work harder to have the region perform better than the year past.

Dr. Suleiman Walhad

  * Dr. Suleiman Walhad writes on the Horn of Africa economies and politics. He can be reached at

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