Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende visited the Horn of Africa between 25 and 29 October. ‘The region is facing armed conflict, humanitarian crisis and political instability. It is in Norway’s interest to support measures which can contribute to stability and development,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.
In South Sudan five million people are suffering from humanitarian crisis after armed conflict broke out in December 2013. Somalia still faces major challenges including armed conflicts, humanitarian crisis and mass displacement. Kenya is preparing for next year’s presidential and parliamentarian elections, while Ethiopia recently introduced a state of emergency because of unrest and demonstrations in several parts of the country.
‘Norway is actively engaged in close dialogue with authorities in the Horn of Africa. We contribute with humanitarian aid and long-term development support, as well as business sector engagement where this is possible. The region has great potential, but there are major political challenges and millions of displaced people who need a durable solution to their situation,’ said Mr Brende.
After meeting governments in South Sudan and then in Kenya, where he also met Somalia’s Prime Minister, Mr Brende ended his visit in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on 28 and 29 October. Here he had meetings with the African Union and with Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn.
‘Ethiopia is an important partner country for Norway, and has for a long time represented stability and development in an otherwise unstable region. I wish to continue our dialogue also in challenging times. I am worried about the unrest and about the state of emergency which has now been introduced. It is important that the situation does not deteriorate. Half of Ethiopia’s 100 million citizens are young people who want jobs, freedom of expression and the opportunity to participate in politics,’ said Mr Brende.
Norway will be closely following Ethiopia’s future development and planned political reforms. Norway and Ethiopia have broad cooperation on issues including climate, education and human rights.