Addis Ababa: December 11, 2015 – The formal entry of Ethiopia into the Northern Corridor Integration Projects initiative is likely to reshape the regional economy and politics, creating a new trading bloc.
In the 12th Head of States meeting on Thursday in Kigali, Rwanda, Ethiopia applied to join Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan and Uganda, in the initiative, which is slowly transforming into more than just an infrastructure oriented group.
Ethiopian Foreign Minister Tedros Ghebreyesus said his country on Thursday submitted a letter to join the initiative after being an observer for six years.
“The northern corridor projects have been practical and successful due to the political will demonstrated by its leaders,” said Dr Ghebreyesus.
Started by presidents Paul Kagame (Rwanda), Yoweri Museveni (Uganda) and Uhuru Kenyatta, the initiative developed as a way to improve trade between the three countries.
The coming together of the three presidents was seen as a protest at the slow integration in the East Africa Community, with the initiative seeking fast-tracking of much of the agreed protocols in the EAC.
Only Tanzania and Burundi are not members of the initiative. The admission of South Sudan, which is yet to be accepted as member of the EAC despite applying, also cements speculations of a splinter group.
Tanzania, on the other hand is still an observer of the NCIP proceedings.