Landlocked Ethiopia is planning to build a navy, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said during a briefing of the heads of the countryâ€™s National Defence Force, Bloomberg has reported.
â€œFollowing the efforts made to build capacity of our national defence, we built one of the stronger ground and air forces in Africa,â€ the ruling party-funded Fana Broadcasting Corp. reported Abiy as saying on Friday. â€œWe should build our naval force capacity in the future.â€
Two calls to the mobile phone of Abiyâ€™s national security adviser, Abadula Gemada, didnâ€™t connect.
Ethiopia currently has a civilian Ethiopian Maritime Training Institute on Lake Tana. It trains more than 500 marine engineers and electro-technical officers each year and plans to increase this to more than 1,000 officers annually, according to its website.
Abiyâ€™s government in May agreed to develop Port Sudan on the Red Sea and agreed with Djibouti to swap shares in state-owned ports, airlines, and telecommunications. It also agreed to acquire land at Kenyaâ€™s Lamu Port for â€œlogistical facilitation,â€ according to a joint communiquÃ© issued after a meeting between Abiy and Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta.
Earlier this year, Ethiopia took a stake in a port in Somaliland, a semi-autonomous part of Somalia that aspires to statehood and borders Djibouti. Somaliland will host a naval base for the United Arab Emirates (UAE).