Ethiopia/ Eritrea Border Dispute
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Ethiopia/ Eritrea Border Dispute. Presentation: Chief Directorate East Africa. Background to the border dispute. In 1998 war commenced between Ethiopia and Eritrea over the border, the town of Badme was a contentious issue. More than 80 000 people died during the 3 year war.

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Ethiopia eritrea border dispute

Ethiopia/ Eritrea Border Dispute

Presentation: Chief Directorate East Africa

Background to the border dispute
Background to the border dispute

  • In 1998 war commenced between Ethiopia and Eritrea over the border, the town of Badme was a contentious issue.

  • More than 80 000 people died during the 3 year war.

  • The war ended in 2000 with the signing of the Algiers Agreement.

  • The Agreement made provision for the Ethiopia - Eritrea Boundary Commission (EEBC) to be established.

  • Both countries agreed to accept the Boundary Commission’s findings as “final and binding”

  • On 13 April 2002, the EEBC presented their findings and allotted Badme to Eritrea.

  • Ethiopia has called for the negotiations to be reopened whilst Eritrea wants to EEBC decision to be implemented without delay.

Ethiopia eritrea border impasse
Ethiopia – Eritrea border impasse

  • The border impasse continues between Ethiopia and Eritrea

  • Situation of “no war, no peace”.

  • On 4 October 2005, Eritrea imposed a ban on UNMEE flights over Eritrean airspace.

  • On 23 November 2005, resolution passed allowing for sanctions to be implemented.

  • On 7 December 2005, Eritrea expelled all UN peacekeepers from the United States, the European Union, Russia and Canada.

  • UNMEE mandate extended to 30 September 2006

  • In May 2006, the UNMEE’s was reduced to 2300 troops

Ethiopia eritrea boundary commission
Ethiopia – Eritrea Boundary Commission

  • The third round of talks scheduled for 15 June 2006, postponed till 24 August 2006.

  • Eritrea failed to attend because they believe the Boundary Commission’s decision should be bounding.

  • The 37th meeting of the Military Coordination Commission (MCC) was held on 30 July 2006, in Nairobi, Kenya.

  • The Officer-in-Charge of the UNMEE expressed hope for the speedy resolve of the impasse.

  • Both Ethiopia and Eritrea raised concern over the cut in UNMEE personnel.

  • Eritrea called for increased international involvement in resolving the impasse.

Recent developments
Recent developments

  • On 8 August 2006, Ethiopian Brigadier General Kemal Geltu, defected to Eritrea with 150 troops.

  • Ongoing defections with both Ethiopia and Eritrea sponsoring opposition movements in Asmara and Addis Ababa respectively.

  • Eritrea reintroduced travel restrictions on 1 June 2006, including diplomats.

  • Allegations that Eritrea has been supporting the Supreme Islamic Courts in Somalia

  • Ethiopia supporting the Transitional Federal Government in Somalia

  • Eritrea involves as peace broker between Government of Sudan and the Eastern Front Rebels

Brief statistics
Brief Statistics

  • Population: 74,777,981 (2006)

  • GDP: US$ 9 Billion (2005)

  • GDP per Capita: US$116

  • GDP growth rate: 8.9% (2005)

  • Inflation rate: 11.6% (2005)

  • Military expenditure: $295.9 million (2005)

  • Hunan Development Index: Ranked 170th (2003)

  • FDI: US$ 545.1 million (2004)

Brief statistics continued
Brief Statistics (continued)

  • External Debt: US$ 5.101 billion (2005)

  • Main export partners: Germany, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Djibouti, Italy, USA

  • Main import partners: Saudi Arabia, USA, UAE, India, Germany

  • Life Expectancy: 49 years (2006)


  • Area: 1,130,000 sq km

  • Borders: Djibouti, Eritrea, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan

  • Natural resources: Small reserves of gold, platinum, copper, potash, natural gas, hydropower

  • Agricultural Products: Coffee, khat, leather, gold, oilseeds and flowers.

  • Industries: food processing, beverages, textiles, leather, chemicals, metals processing, cement

Ethiopia introduction
Ethiopia: Introduction

  • Capital: Addis Ababa

  • Head of State: President Woldergiorgis

  • Head of Government: Prime Minister Meles Zenawi

  • Form of State: Federal State

  • Official languages: Amharic, Oromiya, Tigrinya, Arabic

  • Membership: AU (secretariat in Addis Ababa), IGAD, Comesa

History and background
History and Background

  • Only African nation never colonised

  • Brief Italian occupation from 1936-1941.

  • Emperor Haile Selassie dominated Ethiopian society from 1916-1974.

  • The emperor was overthrown by the “Derg” regime, led by Mengistu Haile Miriam.

  • The “Derg” regime was toppled by Meles Zenawi’s Ethiopian Peoples Revolutionary Democratic Front in 1991.

  • Eritrea seceded from Ethiopia in 1993

Recent political development
Recent Political Development

  • Last parliamentary elections held on 15 May 2005

  • The Ogaden National Liberation Front, Oromo Liberation Front and the Sidama Liberation Front continue to seek autonomy from the Federation.

  • Border demarcation with Eritrea still outstanding.

  • Oppression of political parties is rife.

  • Ethiopian invasion of Somalia

Economy of ethiopia
Economy of Ethiopia

  • Unemployment rate: 25% to 30%

  • Major industries: chemicals, metal, cement, textiles, food processing.

  • Major Exports: coffee, gold, leather products, oilseeds

  • Major Imports: food, petroleum, machinery, motor vehicles.

Social situation
Social Situation

  • HIV/Aids poses major health challenge.

  • The government has developed the National Response Strategic Framework to combat HIV/AIDS.

  • Food security remains a problem.

  • The recent floods during August 2006 resulted in at least 626 deaths across Ethiopia.

Bilateral relations with south africa
Bilateral Relations with South Africa

  • General Co-operation Agreement between Ethiopia and South was signed in March 2004.

  • Joint Ministerial Commission (JMC) to be established in terms of Co-operation Agreement.

  • JMC senior officials meeting was held in Pretoria in May 2005.

  • Exports from SA to Ethiopia: R149, 797 million (2005)

  • Exports from Ethiopia to SA: R23, 370 million (2005)

  • Ethiopia not being full member of the World Trade Organisation poses a challenge to the finalisation of a trade agreement with South Africa

Ethiopia eritrea border dispute

South African Companies in Ethiopia

  • Africon Ethiopia;


  • Plessey;

  • Bull Information Technology;

  • Global Technology (Pty) Ltd;

  • CSIR (Port Elizabeth);

  • South African Bottling Company (SABCO);

  • Ropack International;

  • Cortec (Pty) Ltd.

Way forward
Way Forward

  • South Africa should continue to engage Ethiopia within the framework of the General Co-operation Agreement signed in 2004

  • Launch of Joint Ministerial Commission planned for 2006

  • Seek constructive ways of engaging the political leadership to normalise relations with Eritrea.

Ethiopia eritrea border dispute

State of Eritrea

Presentation: Chief Directorate East Africa

Brief statistics1
Brief Statistics

  • Population: 4,786,994 (2006)

  • Gross Domestic Product: US$ 924.6 million (2004)

  • GDP per capita: $900 (2005)

  • GDP growth rate: 2% (2005)

  • Inflation rate: 15% (2005)

  • Military Expenditure: US$ 220.1 million (2005)

  • Human Development Index: Ranked 161th (2003)

  • Foreign Direct Investment: US$ 30.0 million (2004)

Brief statistics continued1
Brief Statistics (continued)

  • External Debt: US$ 695 million

  • Main export partners: Sudan, Italy, Djibouti, Germany

  • Main import partners: United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Italy, Germany

  • Imports from South Africa: R 25 547 000 (2005)

  • Exports to South Africa: R 485 000 (2005)


  • Area: 124 320 sq km

  • Borders: Djibouti, Ethiopia, Sudan

  • Natural Resources: Oil, gas, fish and base metals

  • Agricultural Products: Wheat, barley, maize, millet, sorghum

  • Industries: Food processing, beverages, clothing and textiles, salt, cement, commercial ship repair

Eritrea introduction
Eritrea Introduction

  • Capital: Asmara

  • Head of State: Isaias Afewerki

  • Form of State: Unitary State

  • Currency: Nakfa

  • Member of following organisations: United Nations, African Union, IGAD, Cotonou Convention, COMESA and the League of Arab States.

  • The People’s Front for Democracy and Justice is the only legal political party operating in the country.

History and background1
History and Background

  • 1998 border war between Ethiopia and Eritrea commenced.

  • War ended in 2000 in which 70 000 people died.

  • Despite the signing of the Algiers Agreement and the border commission decision reached, the border impasse continues.

Economy of eritrea
Economy of Eritrea

  • Exports: 64.5 million (2005)

  • Imports: 662 Million (2005)

  • Agriculture sector employs 80% population

  • Privatization and free market is encouraged

  • Heavily dependent on Foreign Aid.

  • GDP per sector Agriculture: 10.2% Industry: 25.4% Services: 64.3% (2005)

Social situation1
Social Situation

  • Eritrea has nine ethnic groups.

  • Tigrinya and Arabic most frequently used languages

  • No tensions between Christians and Muslims.

  • HIV/Aids prevalence is about 2.87%

Technological situation
Technological Situation

  • Internet access available in most parts of the country.

  • Railways and highways undergoing reconstruction.

  • Ports of Assab and Massawa operational.

  • Telephone system inadequate

  • Mobile cellular service available.

Bilateral relations with south africa1
Bilateral Relations with South Africa

  • Diplomatic relations established in 1995

  • Late Minister Nzo visited Eritrea in 1998

  • South Africa opened an Embassy in Asmara in October 2004

  • 9 SANDF Officers currently deployed in Eritrea/Ethiopia as part of UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE).

  • More than 1600 Eritrean students studying at South African universities.

Way forward1
Way Forward

  • South Africa should continue to support diplomatic efforts by the UN, AU and EU aimed at to resolving the the border impasse.

  • Continue to explore business opportunities