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Ethiopia has Several Options for Peaceful Access to the Sea

There is no doubt that Ethiopia’s lack of direct access to the sea has constrained its ability to cater for its large population and hindered economic growth and development. Politically, being landlocked limits Ethiopia’s geostrategic options in the Horn of Africa and beyond. The Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia Transport (LAPSSET) corridor with Kenya – which is still in its early phases – could also be a game-changer in the region if built to completion. Ethiopia is one of the fastest growing economies on the continent. It also has a large population, estimated at around 126 million and projected to grow at about 2.7% a year. This indicates a big market and many needs to be met. Economic development became central to fiscal and economic planning and projections in the period between 2000 and 2012. But lack of direct coastal access became a notable obstacle to Ethiopia’s efforts to achieve middle-income status via export-oriented industrialisation.