Horn of Africa

Drought plagues Horn of Africa for 4th time in a row!

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Horn of Africa

Sudan, Eritrea, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Somalia, and Somaliland are the six (five sovereign and one de facto) states that make up the Horn of Africa (Source)Ethiopia, Sudan, and Somalia are the region’s largest states in terms of population and geography. 

In terms of population, Ethiopia has over 115 million inhabitants (2020) and is the second-most populated country in Africa after Nigeria. It also has the fastest expanding economy on the continent, with a 6.3 percent growth in FY2020/21. However, it is also one of the poorest, with a per capita gross national income of $890. 

In the 1980s and 1990s, the region was in chaos due to civil wars in Ethiopia, Somalia, and Sudan, as well as inter-State violence between Eritrea and Ethiopia. At the turn of the century, the Horn of Africa appeared to be stabilising, with Ethiopia emerging as an economic growth engine. However, the Horn’s insecurity has resurfaced.

S.NoHorn of Africa Countries
1Sudan
2Eritrea
3Djibouti
4Ethiopia
5Somalia
6Somaliland (de facto)

Northeast Africa has a peninsula called the Horn of Africa. It is the fourth largest peninsula in the world and is in the most eastern part of Africa. 

It starts at the southern edge of the Red Sea and goes hundreds of kilometres into the Guardafui Channel, Gulf of Aden, and the Indian Ocean. The equator and the Tropic of Cancer are both the same distance from the Horn of Africa. 

The Horn is made up of many different places, including the highlands of the Ethiopian Plateau, the Ogaden desert, and the coasts of Eritrea and Somalia. The Horn of Africa is the part of Africa where SudanDjibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Somalia are located. 

The area has been through imperialism, neocolonialism, the Cold War, ethnic strife, intra-African conflict, poverty, disease, famine, and much more.

The Horn of Africa is also called the Somali Peninsula. It is mostly made up of mountains that were raised when the Great Rift Valley formed. The Great Rift Valley is a crack in the Earth’s crust that goes from Turkey to Mozambique and separates the African and Arabian tectonic plates. The Horn is made up of many different places, including the highlands of the Ethiopian Plateau, the Ogaden desert, and the coasts of Eritrea and Somalia.

Droughts in eastern Africa: Back to back 2022

Large parts of Ethiopia, Somalia, and Kenya are going through a very bad drought right now. About 16.7 million people don’t have enough food to eat. That’s more people than live in both Austria and Switzerland together.

Four successive rainy seasons have now failed since late 2020, a climatic occurrence not witnessed in at least 40 years. This weather-related drought has caused the soil to lose moisture, dried up waterways, and killed millions of animals.

Every year, there are two times when it rains in the Horn of Africa. Different parts of the region get rain at different times, but in general, the “long rains” are from March to May, and the “short rains” are from September to December. This year, the March-May rains started late and then didn’t come at all. This was especially bad in the equatorial parts of the region, where the long rains make up 70% of the annual total.

There isn’t much hope that things will get better soon. Forecasts say that the rainy season from September to December could also fail. This would make a five-season drought more likely than ever before.

The ongoing humanitarian crisis in Africa region caused by the drought raises important questions about the Horn of Africa’s ability to get food and water in the future. According to the most recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – IPCC, global warming will hurt food systems in the region by shortening growing seasons and making water stress worse.

Horn of Africa
Horn of Africa

The Geography of the Horn of Africa

It is primarily made up of mountains that were uplifted as a result of the formation of the Great Rift Valley, a fissure in the Earth’s crust that runs from Turkey to Mozambique and marks the separation of the African and Arabian tectonic plates. The Horn includes diverse areas such as the Ethiopian Plateau’s highlands, the Ogaden desert, and the Eritrean and Somalian coasts. The Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden, and the Indian Ocean all wash up on its shores.

  1. The Great Rift Valley
  2. The Ethiopian Plateau
  3. Ogaden desert
  4. Danakil Desert

Countries that make up the Horn of Africa

Sudan, Eritrea, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Somalia, and Somaliland are the six (five sovereign and one de facto) states that make up the Horn of Africa.

What is the importance of the Horn of Africa to India?

East Africa has become increasingly important to India for political, economic, and security reasons, particularly in the Horn of Africa sub-region. 

  1. Proximity to Oil-Producing Region: The Horn of Africa is strategically vital due to its proximity to the Middle East’s oil-producing region. Approximately 40% of the oil produced in the Middle East passes through the Red Sea shipping channels.
  2. Maritime RoutesDjibouti is the major point on this shipping route. Because of this, countries such as the United States, France, and China have military bases in Djibouti. With India’s growing reliance on sea routes of communication for economic expansion, Delhi proclaimed that its national interests extended beyond the Subcontinent to “Aden to Malacca.”

China’s involvement in the Horn of Africa

Natural Resources

In Ethiopia, China is interested in gold, iron ore, precious stones, chemicals, oil, and natural gas. Since Beijing’s initial entry into the business in 1995, South Sudan, a supplier of petroleum products, has seen continuing investment from Beijing. 

Maritime Interests

Djibouti, in East Africa, is the only place outside of China where China has a military base. In 2022, China gave hints that it might be willing to develop the coast of Eritrea, which would connect to its investments in Ethiopia, which is landlocked. The U.S. thinks that China wants to build another military base in Kenya and Tanzania so that it can have more troops in the area.

What are the recent Chinese projects?

China is growing its presence in East Africa. One of its biggest initiatives was the full sponsorship of the African Union headquarters in Addis Abeba for USD 200 million. China has also invested in Kenya’s Mombasa-Nairobi train link and has already completed railway projects in Sudan. It also has a robust military hardware business in Ethiopia and has completed more than 80 infrastructure projects in Somalia, such as hospitals, roads, schools, and stadiums. China is funding 14 infrastructure projects in Djibouti.

East Africa country Ethiopia is one of the top five African countries that China invests in, and it also owes nearly USD 14 billion in debt. Kenya owes 67 percent of its bilateral debt to China. Eritrea was promised help from China worth USD 15.7 million in 2022.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the Horn of Africa is a strategically important region that has a direct impact on India’s security and well-being. India should therefore pay more attention to the current conditions and power dynamics there. Additionally, India should work to strengthen its relationships with countries in the region, such as Ethiopia and Djibouti, in order to better understand the dynamics at play and protect its interests.

India would do well to take a more active role in looking into and talking in-depth about the complicated problem with the governments in Eastern Africa, the African Union, and others involved so that it can make a real contribution to solving it, including the current Africa drought. 

FAQ

Which country is called the Horn of Africa?

Sudan, Eritrea, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Somalia, and Somaliland are the six (five sovereign and one de facto) states that make up the Horn of Africa (Source)

How many countries are in horn Africa?

five sovereign and one de facto states: Sudan, Eritrea, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Somalia, and Somaliland makes the region of Horn of Africa

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