As balmy night settles over Djibouti City, the arc lights come on at its growing network of ports as ships are offloaded 24 hours a day and trucks laden with cargo depart westwards into the Horn of Africa interior.
Crossing African borders by land can be an intimidating process (it’s proving an increasingly intimidating process nowadays in Europe and the US also, even in airports). But crossing from Ethiopia to Somaliland at the ramshackle border town of Togo-Wuchale is a surreally pleasant experience.
The Freedom Charter
, which turned 60 this year, envisaged that a free and democratic South Africa would be guided in its relations with the rest of the African continent and the world by a desire to seek “peace and friendship”.
African countries would do well to take their own lead in finding ways to better adapt to and mitigate the changes that climate may impose on future generations instead of relying only on foreign aid.
The refusal by the Ethiopian government to redress grievances harboured by the Muslim community here, which comprises about 34 percent of the country’s 91 million people makes this Horn of African nation vulnerable to extremism.
Africa and Pakistan are now battling outbreaks of polio, threatening the extraordinary progress the world has made in fighting the almost-extinct disease. In the Horn of Africa, there are now 121 reported polio cases. Last year, there were 223 worldwide.
Siddharth Chatterjee has served as the chief diplomat, head of strategic partnerships and international relations at the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the world’s largest humanitarian network, since June 2011.