EU to hold conference to foster peace, development in Eastern Africa

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The European Union (EU) confirmed that it plans to hold a major regional economic conference for eastern African countries to foster peace and promote sustainable development in the region.

While speaking in Mogadishu during celebrations to mark Europe Day, the EU charge d’affaires to Somalia, Fulgencio Garrido Ruiz, said the conference, organized jointly with the World Bank and the Ethiopian government, will be held in July in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

Ruiz said that the focus of the conference would be to address regional infrastructure in the energy and transport sectors; trade, including the development of the financing sector, value chains and the regulatory environment; and human capital development through the improvement of education and skills.

“The conference comes amid good progress in relations between Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Somalia, paving way for even greater cooperation,” said Ruiz.

The thawing of relations among Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea has seen restoration of diplomatic relations with Ethiopia and Eritrea re-opening embassies in each other’s capitals.

Ruiz said the historic agreement between Ethiopia and Eritrea, and the tripartite bringing both countries together with Somalia offer unprecedented opportunities and open a pathway to a new era of cooperation.

“Transforming the region will not only require political commitment and leadership, but also sound economic strategies to keep pace with the expectations of the people of the region,” he added.

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