Conference on Gulf States Engagement In The Horn

In the past decade and half, we have witnessed changes that have taken place in the global realm of politics and economics which have situated the Gulf States among the emerging global actors such as China, India and Turkey. Pursuant to this new role, they are showing increasing political and economic interest in the Horn. However, this rise of the Gulf States as global political players, particularly, their engagement in the political economy of the Horn, is not adequately researched nor explained in terms of its significance and consequence to the peace and security or the development of the Horn.
The long and short-term implications of this increasingly enhanced Gulf States involvement in the Horn requires to be explored in depth and put in proper perspective. Political influence and economic interests need to be critically assessed along with impact.
In general, the current revitalized relationship between the two regional blocs invokes the following questions:

  1. Given the challenging regional dynamics in the Horn, and in view of the paramount strategic importance of the Red Sea -an asset and liability to the Horn- what does the relationship entail in terms of peace and security in the Horn?
  2. What is the role and impact of the Gulf States in the economic development of the Horn (especially as it relates to their particular interest in the agriculture sector)?
  3. How do the economic incentives (luring with petro dollar diplomacy) sub serve the political interests of the Gulf States?

It is against this back drop of critical questions that InterAfrica Group organized a conference to provide a platform whereby the current relationship between the Gulf States and the Horn would be thoughtfully explored and deliberated. To this end, during the conference three papers that examine closely the issues raised, were presented under the following titles:
1st Role of Gulf States in the Peace and Security of the Horn
2nd Gulf States in the Political Economy of the Horn, and
3rd Gulf States Particular Interest in the Agriculture Sector of the Horn
I am confident the three papers presented by the knowledgeable experts and the proceedings of the conference provided in this publication, will offer vital insights about the ongoing relationship between the two regional blocs. InterAfrica Group hopes that the outcome of the conference will shed light on how best the Horn member countries could utilize the relationship with the Gulf States in a manner that exploits its valuable positive potential. We also expect this publication will provide the basis for further research and discussion on this important agenda for the Horn.
In closing, I wish to thank Mr. Mosses Okello for honoring this conference delivering the opening remarks representing CEWRN/IGAD. Likewise I would like to thank Professor Harry Verheoven, Ms. Lidet Tadesse and Dr. Dagnew Eshete for sharing with us their valuable research papers and expertise. I would also like to express my thanks to Dr. Deredje Alemayehou and Ato Brouk Mesfin for having lead the deliberations on the papers presented as discussants.
Finally, on behalf of InterAfrica Group, I express profound gratitude to the Kingdom of the Netherlands that funded the research and the conference.

Tamrat Kebede
InterAfrica Group Country Director


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