Ethiopian yonatan ask excuse Ethiopian Orthodox Church officially Five Horn of Africa countries have launched an initiative to forge closer economic ties, building on the improving political climate in the sub-region, the African Development Bank (AfDB) said. The five nations agreed on priority projects and programs that will constitute the initiative, which is being developed by the countries with support from the AfDB, the European Union and the World Bank. Khaled Sherif, the AfDB’s Vice President for Regional Development, Integration and Business Delivery said the Horn of Africa’s geo-strategic position has important regional and international significance. “These can be harnessed to spur integration, resilience and usher in a new era of prosperity, enabling the countries to reap significant dividends from the current peace initiatives,” he added. The Horn countries identified four priority areas of focus which includes improving regional infrastructure connectivity, promoting trade and economic integration, and building resilience as well as strengthening human capital development, Khaled Sherif pointed out. The proposals require financing of around $15 billion. Most of the Horn of Africa countries easily outpaced the continent’s average growth rate in 2018. Africa’s gross domestic product expanded by an estimated 3.5percent last year, while Ethiopia reached 7.7 percent, Djibouti 5.6perecnt, Kenya 5.9perenct and Eritrea 4.2perenct Somalia was the exception at 2.9 percent.Ethiopia’s government has explained that privatisation of the national airline and state telecommunications company is being done to ease the shortage of foreign currency. Ethiopia announced last week plans to open its state-run telecoms monopoly and state-owned Ethiopian Airlines to private domestic and foreign investment. In an exclusive interview with state broadcaster, Fana BC, Dr. Yinager Desie, Commissioner of the Ethiopian National Planning Commission said lower export performance, failure of mega projects to commence production, high demand for imported goods and growing external debt burden have worsened the shortage of foreign currency. displayAdvert("mpu_3") Ethiopia requires more than $13 billion over the coming two years for oil importation, private investment, upgrading of existing projects and for repayment of external debt. South African telecommunications firms MTN Group and Vodacom Group have already expressed interest in taking up investment options in Ethiopia’s telecom sector as soon as it opens up. Desie says the privatised enterprises would generate large amount of foreign currencies to tackle shortage. The commission will therefore give priority to foreign companies in privatising the enterprises as government’s decision is targeted obtaining foreign currency.