UAE and Its Relations with the Horn of Africa

This article briefly describes and investigates the relationship of Unit-ed Arab Emirates (UAE) with countries of the Horn of Africa, main-ly Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan. With a very brief sketch of the historical and religious ties, it focuses on the underpinnings of the foreign policy of the UAE in the Horn of Africa. It also discusses the implications of the recent noteworthy changes in the Horn of Africa, particularly the impact of the Yemen crisis on the UAE’s relations in the region, attempting to discern shifts in the UAE’s interventions in the Horn of Africa, and further explains implications suggestive of shifts in its foreign policy and re-lations in the region. The conclusion of the paper, in the form of rec-ommendations, distils those areas of review regarding UAE foreign policy, and what the UAE needs to do in order to establish robust and mutually beneficial relations with the Horn of Africa.

Relational Context: History, Religion, Economy

The Middle East and the Horn of Africa belong to the same reli-gious, historical, trade and migration sphere of influence. Proximity to the Red Sea, history, cultural and religious legacies, trade, remit-tances, migration, and security closely link the Horn of Africa and the Middle East. Three Abrahamic religions, namely Islam, Christianity, and Judaism bind the two regions. The holiest sites of Mecca, Medi-na, and Jerusalem are traditional pilgrimage destinations for the vari-ous religious adherents in the region. Nevertheless, these ties have done little to foster constructive partnerships.
The Horn of Africa was, and is, still the subject of global competition between Christianity and Islam, extensions of Western colonialism and OttomaWhen it comes to political and security crises in the Horn of Africa, the UAE, acting as a junior partner, tends to closely follow the pattern of Saudi Arabia foreign policy directives and initiatives.n-Egyptian expansion, a US-EU led Western World and Chinese rivalry, the Arab-Israeli conflict, Iranian versus Saudi-led Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) enmity. The GCC countries have also used the Horn of Africa as a bat-tleground for proxy wars, the expansion of extremist version of Islam and eco-nomic competitions. Vio-lent extremist ideology under the cover of Islam has its roots and fi-nancial source in the GCC.

The Red Sea and the Nile River too play critical roles in the relations between the Arab world and the Horn of Africa. The link with the Horn of Africa extends to trade on livestock, charcoal and other ex-ports to the UAE and other GCC countries. Similarly, UAE exports large quantity of merchandise to the Horn of Africa.
The UAE is now heavily investing in seaport management, manufac-turing and agriculture in the Horn of Africa. An additional bond comes from the diaspora from the Horn of Africa residing in UAE. The GCC countries host large business and diaspora communities as well as migrant laborers from the Horn of Africa, more so from Su-dan, Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea.

UAE’s Four-Pillared Foreign Policy in the Horn

The four pillars underpinning the foreign and domestic policies of the UAE are trade, tourism, counterterrorism (countering the rise of Muslim Brotherhood movements), and checking Iranian regional domination. Islam is not treated as a state doctrine that dictates the policies of the UAE. In contrast, following Saudi Arabia, the other Gulf States have a Sharia-led foreign policy. Saudi’s foreign and do-mestic policies revolve around Sunni Wahhabism, as a host to Muslim holy sites and the best interests of the ruling Kingdom. Similarly, the core of the foreign policy of Qatar and Kuwait resides in religion and the continuance of their respective monarchies and regional influ-ence.

Nevertheless, in regional politics and relations, the UAE appears to follow the lead of Saudi Arabia. Three issues serve as the glue among the GCC countries: fear of Iranian politics and religious sect, uphold-ing absolute monarchies and unconditionally opposed to any demo-cratic dispensation, and the need for their individual and collective security bolstered by the support of the United States. The UAE’s alignment and alliance with Saudi Arabia, derives from the commonly shared fear of Iran (Iran is a non-Arab country and follows the Shia branch of Islam, whereas GCC countries are all Arab monarchies practicing the Sunni branch of Islam). Furthermore, the UAE has border issues with Iran since independence, including a dispute with Iran about the ownership of islands in the Arabian Gulf (or the Per-sian Gulf depending on which side is speaking).

Due to its security imperatives, despite many intermittent challenges, the GCC survived as a relatively cohesive regional organization.

The UAE’s socio-economic policy embraces globalization. The UAE also aspires to serve as a manufacturing hub by purchasing agricultur-al products from Africa and the rest of the world, then processing, packing and selling such products for global consumption.The UAE competes against Qatar’s increasing global trade and influ-ence. While Qatar will host the football World Cup, Dubai will be similarly hosting the World Trade Exposition. Furthermore, Dubai aims to become a global tourism hub by doubling the current 10 million visitors per annum. The UAE’s trade in Africa has increased, but mainly with the East African Community, such as Kenya, Tan-zania and Uganda. Unlike UAE, Qatar’s engagement focus more on politics and less on trade and investment. But in the political front too, UAE competes with Qatar, particularly in Sudan, Somalia, Eri-trea, and Egypt. Qatar is a small country with a big diplomatic role in the Horn of Africa. Qatar has played an even more prominent role in the mediation in Darfur, Djibouti–Eritrea Conflict, and has given di-rect support to states and non-state political actors in Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Eritrea and Ethiopia. Between 2011-2015, Qatar signif-icantly reduced its engagement with Eritrea, as it boosted its diplo-matic and economic engagement with Ethiopia.

The UAE follows a pragmatic secular foreign policy. Allying with the Saudi Arabia, UAE, in Libya and Egypt, has supported the armies to crack down on the fundamentalists. In contrast, Qatar boldly sup-ported the Islamist groups and faced harsh diplomatic excommunica-tion from the GCC. In the late 1990s, the UAE even took measures against its own citizens, including religious clerics associated with Al-Islah, a group allied to the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, who were the instigators of the attempted assassination of Hosni Mubarak of Egypt. The 9/11 al-Qaida attack on the USA triggered a second wave of measures against Al-Islah. A third wave of measures was tak-en after the 2011 so-called “Arab Spring”. Indicative of the non-religious motivations for such self-preserving action of the rulers, measures were not limited to the remnants of Al-Islah, but were also directed against western think tanks and other independent organiza-tions that were inclined to support democratization.

For security reasons, members of the GCC are close allies with USA. USA maintains strategic military base and access to resources in the Middle East. The US Fifth Fleet maintains a permanent presence in Bahrain. UAE employs the Saudi-led GCC and security pacts with USA for countering Iranian threats. Since 2015, UAE-Israel relations have also improved significantly, as demonstrated by the GCC’s will-ingness to allow the opening of an Israeli trade office in Abu Dhabi.

GCC, as most multilateral territorial organizations, originate mainly out of perceived external threats and security concerns, and therefore seek collective security arrangements. Similarly, the GCC is a bulwark against an Iranian threat. GCC countries have been engaged in a proxy war with Iran in Yemen, and against Islamic State (IS) in Syria and, to an extent, in Libya and Egypt. All attempts to unite Arabs failed and the Arab world settled for the League of Arab States (LAS), which is headquartered in Cairo. Due to its security impera-tives, despite many intermittent challenges, the GCC survived as a relatively cohesive regional organization. The caliphate of the IS pos-es a threat to the GCC, particularly to Saudi Arabia, and also to Iran, albeit unequally. While to Iran, IS presents threats at the level of both religion and state survival, to Saudi Arabia and the GCC, IS threatens the existence of the monarchies.

In addition to the common front fighting against Iranian dominance, GCC countries are under absolute monarchs who totally reject any kind of democratic dispensation in the region as well as in the Horn of Africa.

The UAE strongly shares and supports Saudi Arabia’s antagonism to any movement of democratization in the region and the Horn of Af-rica. The monarchs of these two countries and their GCC partners consider that any democratic dispensation in the region could dislo-cate and threaten the main pillars of their power. In this regard, the antagonism of UAE to any popular democratic political processes in Egypt, Sudan, Somalia, and Eritrea are made abundantly clear.

The UAE and the Yemen Crisis

President Barack Obama’s doctrine of ‘leading from behind’ left the Middle Eastern countries to deal with their own peace and security challenges. Similarly, his rapprochement with Iran on the Nuclear Deal increased the real or perceived vulnerability of the GCC coun-tries to Iranian dominance in the region. This suddenly created a leadership vacuum in the region. To fill this vacuum, a power strug-gle emerged between regional powers, mainly Saudi Arabia (leading the GCC), Iran and, to an extent, Turkey. In addition, the Russians also sought to extend and cement their influence in the region.

The UAE remains active in the Saudi-led coalition conducting mili-tary intervention in Yemen against the Iran supported Shia Houthis. The Saudi-led coalition forces, including the UAE, are concerned that the Houthi movement in Yemen may turn into a Hezbollah type of organization. Far from Sunni vs Shia hostility, the Houthis are cur-rently supported by their former nemesis ex-President of Yemen, Ali Saleh. The UAE has formed partnerships with regional states such as Sudan and Eritrea. UAE further goes sub-national to cultivate rela-tions with clans in Yemen that have disapproval of Iranian role in the region. Furthermore, the UAE also makes use of mercenaries from Latin America to fight in Yemen.

Horn of Africa and the Yemeni Crisis

Amidst the Saudi-Iranian proxy conflict, the Horn of Africa has be-come additional battlefield for dominance in addition to the ones in Yemen, Syria, and Libya. UAE foreign policy with regards to the Horn of Africa, suffers from lack of percolation as it tends to cherry-pick countries and does not study the interconnected clusters in the region as a whole. Displaying a very reactive and pragmatic approach,the UAE has responded to security threats or economic opportuni-ties in the region in a short-term and fragmented manner. For this very reason, when it comes to political and security crises in the Horn of Africa, the UAE, acting as a junior partner, tends to closely follow the pattern of Saudi Arabia foreign policy directives and initia-tives. The UAE’s position in the recent crises in Yemen, as well as in conflicts in Somalia, Eritrea and Sudan demonstrates this position.

In a bid to gain diplomatic and military support from the Horn of Africa, the Saudi-led military coalition in Yemen (fighting the Iranian supported Houthi rebels) has solicited and gained varied degrees of support from states such as Eritrea, Sudan, Somalia, Egypt and more recently from Djibouti and Somaliland. In exchange for financial support, Eritrea has provided terrestrial, marine, and air support for UAE’s soldiers, while Sudanese armed forces have also participated in the military coalition. With similar arrangements, Djibouti, Somalia and Sudan have recently signed agreements with Saudi Arabia and frozen their diplomatic ties with Iran. Ethiopia’s inaction with regard to the Saudi-led coalition in the Yemeni conflict and Sudan’s inter-vention in the war on the side of the coalition does not sit well with the security exigencies mapped out by the Sana’a Forum.

UAE and Djibouti

In the Horn of Africa, the UAE has big footprints in Djibouti through its Dubai Ports, as subsidiary of Dubai World Company and recently through its armed forces. Strategically located in Bab el-Mendeb connecting Africa, Middle East, Europe and Asia, the ports of Djibouti, Doraleh, Tajoura offered business opportunities for UAE. Since 2006, Dubai Ports managed and invested on the Ports of Djibouti and Doraleh, making especially the latter the most modern container terminal in Africa with a portal screening container for nu-clear and radio-active materials. With the political fallout between President of Djibouti Mr Ismail Gelleh and Mr Abdourhman Boreh who led the Djibouti Ports Authority and brought the investment of Dubai Ports, the role of Dubai Ports in Djibouti begun to diminish. When UAE refused to extradite Mr Boreh to Djibouti, in 2014, Du-bai Port concession was terminated by the Government of Djibouti. In 2015, the UAE froze its diplomatic, business and military ties with Djibouti after it protested the mistreatment of one of its diplomats at the hands of Djiboutian senior military officials. Hosting the Chinese Navy, Doraleh has put UAE in competition with the Chinese invest-ment in higher capacity container port (1.2 million containers) oil ter-minal transit shipment with railway and pipelines connectivity with Ethiopia. Exceedingly profitable, the take-over of Doraleh Port by China was a pain-ful loss to Dubai Ports and, by extension, to UAE. UAE withdrew from the manage-ment of the Port of Djibouti, closed its consulate, abandoned its plan to establish military base in Djibouti. It, in return, moved to the Port of Berbera in Somaliland.

Since early 2016, Djibouti and UAE have resumed their diplomatic relations after mediation by Saudi Arabia, leading Djibouti to severe its relations with Iran. Despite official announcement of withdrawal from the management of the Ports, Dubai Ports still have significant investment and business in Doraleh Container and Oil Ports run by Horizon, a sister company of Dubai Ports.

UAE and Eritrea

Since Eritrea’s struggle for independence from Ethiopia, the UAE has supported the former. Through the Abu Dhabi Development Fund, the UAE is one of the top five aid donors to Eritrea. In 1993, Eritrea opened Embassy in the UAE and ten years later it opened a consulate in Dubai. Trade has increased significantly, and Eritrea has established Business Councils in the UAE that aim to promote in-creased trade between the two countries. It is estimated that there are more than 5000 Eritreans living in the UAE, most of them wom-en.

The rancorous relations and diplomatic rift between UAE and Dji-bouti was manna for Eritrea. Eritrea swung from supporting Iran and the Houthis to leasing port of Assab as military base for UAE. With the Yemen crisis and the beginning of the Saudi-led military intervention and bombings, Eritrea has co-opted to serve as a launching base for the Saudi-led campaign against the Houthis. Eri-trea has not only made available its air space, land, air fields and mari-time resources, but also ground troops for the Saudi-coalition. Eri-trea has also reportedly deployed ground troops as part of the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen to fight the Houthis.The Saudi and UAE foothold in Eritrea is likely to outlast the Yemeni conflict.

Eritrea, during its courtship of Iran was, at one time, actively sup-porting the Houthis. Afewerki’s visit to Iran in May 2008 illustrated Eritrea’s side in the proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran. In 2015, Eritrea changed its alliance by abruptly leaving the Iranian camp and joining the Saudi-led coalition. Out of desperation to end its diplomatic isolation, Eritrean leader, President Isaias Afewerki, once oscillated between supporting Iran or Saudi Arabia. The main factor for this perfidious and desperate change of sides had every-thing to do with Eritrea’s financial starvation and diplomatic isolation for more than a decade by its neighbours and the international com-munity for its spoiler role in Somalia, border conflicts with Ethiopia, Djibouti and Yemen. By this unprincipled, but fortuitous change of position, Eritrea not only enhanced its diplomatic standing with the GCC, but more essentially gained some cash rewards and in-kind support. The UAE has a 30-year lease guaranteeing its usage of the port of Assab. Eritrea enabled the Saudi-led coalition to gain im-portant geopolitical and geo-economic position in the Red Sea. Many observers see the Saudi and UAE foothold in Eritrea as likely to out-last the Yemeni conflict. Viewed with UAE’s taking on lease of a for-mer naval base in Berbera in Somaliland, these activities, the observ-ers argue, are a first step in a bigger plan of establishing a naval base network on the coastal areas of the Horn of Africa.

UAE and Ethiopia

UAE investment in Ethiopia amount to USD 363 million investing in manufacturing, in pharmaceuticals, aluminium, and agricultural processing. However, these are dismal compared with UAE invest-ments in neighbouring countries such as Egypt and Sudan. Since 1991, despite encouragements and efforts from Ethiopia for the UAE to invest in Ethiopia, the UAE had had not responded ade-quately. Nevertheless, in the past decade, total trade has increased from USD 123 million to USD 935 million. In the same time frame, Ethiopia’s export constituted less than 8 percent of the total tradable volume. While Ethiopia’s export to UAE has increased nine fold, its import from UAE has increased eight fold. This is partly attributable to Saudi Arabia’s previous decisions to discourage any investment in Ethiopia.


Rough relations between Saudi Arabia Ethiopia goes back many years in the history of their relations and is explained by the incomp-atibility of positions on bilateral and regional issues. There were, mo-ments, however, when relations looked up. As in the 1991 first Gulf War where Ethiopia took strong stand at the United Nations Security Council against the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq, the clear position of Ethiopia towards the Libyan civil war in 2011 brought GCC coun-tries, and in particular the UAE and Qatar, closer to Ethiopia than they were before, but fundamentally their relationships with Ethiopia are far from being robust. UAE’s close relationship with Eritrea adds another geopolitical reason for the unfavorable relations between UAE and Ethiopia, especially since the Ethio-Eritrean war of 1998-2000.

Yemeni crisis and convergence of sources of financial support for Eritrea benefit the cash-strapped Eritrean army and the country’s economy. Such support may ultimately encourage Eritrea to continue to project animosity against Ethiopia. For Ethiopia, this constitutes an alliance of GCC states with its arch foe Eritrea, and a disruption of Ethiopia’s policy of military containment and diplomatic and eco-nomic isolation, which it had pursued against Eritrea. Eritrea has used its good relations with the UAE to escape its diplomatic isola-tion. Protesting the lack of consultation, Ethiopia has expressed its concerns and disapproval about the agreements and financial support provided to Eritrea by the UAE and other member states of the GCC. Despite the various efforts of Ethiopia, UAE’s high-level dip-lomatic and official state visits and consultations are yet to be con-ducted.

UAE and Somalia

The UAE’s engagement with Somalia dates back to the early devel-opment of Somalia’s coastal communities. During the first Gulf War, Somalia under General Siad Barre, sided with the West and the GCC countries. This brought both diplomatic rapprochement and financial support. After 1991 and the collapse of central state in Somalia, the UAE, like the other GCC countries, attracted Somalian business and trade. Most of the influential business people and political leaders lived in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Viewed through the busi-ness prism, the UAE believes a stable Somalia will be an excellent trading partner and port service provider. Increasingly, rhetoric has become reflective of a genuine interest in trade and investment rela-tions between the UAE and Somalia, and similarly with Djibouti and Sudan. UAE also aims to avoid the rise of Muslim Brotherhood to power in Somalia. In recent years, the Yemeni crisis has also brought Somalian shift in alliance from Iran to Saudi-led GCC countries. With support from several think tanks, the UAE has also convened several consultative meetings for public officials and businesspersons about the stability of Somalia.

In the past decade, Dubai Ports World and other business-oriented companies have invested in several developmental and humanitarian projects. UAE leased the port of Berbera, in Somaliland, immediately after its diplomatic row with Djibouti. Unlike Assab, which the UAE took on lease for military purposes, Berbera is leased purely for com-mercial reasons.

Close to a million members of the Somalian diaspora live in GCC countries, the biggest concentrations being in Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar. Concentrating on Deira, part of Dubai, close to 100,000 Somalis from the diaspora are politically and economically active in Somalia. They send remittances to their families, engage in exports (mainly livestock, meat, charcoal and fruits), and import consumer items as well as services such as aviation and shipping operations be-tween Somalia and the UAE. The Somalia diaspora community in the UAE has also influenced the business involvement of the UAE in Somalia.

With involvement in the management of ports of Assab, Berbera, Mogadishu, Kismayu and Djibouti, UAE aims and has already estab-lished a maritime and ports network within the Red Sea area.

UAE and Sudan and South Sudan

Sudan had rough relations with UAE (for that matter with all GCC countries except Qatar). Since 1992, where diplomatic relations froze for almost a decade until 1999, Sudan was considered the strongest ally of Iran, the arch foes of Saudi-led GCC countries. The rap-prochement begun with the closure of Iranian non-diplomatic activi-ties in Sudan in 2014. The demise of Muslim Brotherhood govern-ment in Egypt led by ex-President Morsi also played a role in this rapprochement where Sudan abandoned looking to Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood for inspiration. It is to be recalled that Sudanese Presi-dent Al Bashir has his support base both in the Sudanese Muslim Brotherhood (elements of National Islamic Front) and the military.Paradoxically, Sudan is now ideologically also aligned with UAE and Saudi Arabia, which declared Muslim Brotherhood as terrorist groups. Sudan also supported the 2011 Libyan uprising and even sent troops to fight against Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, who was supporting rebel groups in Sudan aiming to topple President Bashir. However, Sudan is still accused of ties with Islamic groups in Libya such as Ansar al-Sharia. At least tactically, Sudan under President al Basher is ready to closely work with UAE, while UAE questions Su-dan’s commitment to the relations.

UAE has very limited presence in South Sudan. Here worth men-tioning may be is South Sudan where UAE traders and investors were active until the civil war that erupted in December 2013. The UAE has also helped in opening a South Sudan Embassy in Abu Dhabi.

Conclusions and Recommendations

UAE’s foreign policy pillars are trade, tourism, counter-terrorism, and the containment of Iranian regional influence. Contrary to Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Kuwait, the UAE’s political economy is not fuelled by religious imperatives. This distinguishes the UAE from Saudi Arabia and the rest of the states of the GCC, where Islam, in its Wahhabist form, constitutes a pillar of the State. Given the tradi-tion of tolerance to religious diversity and traditional religious teach-ings, countries in the Horn of Africa dread any external religious in-terference even those that come with business opportunities. In the Horn of Africa, the UAE’s foreign policy devoid of hidden religious agenda has a superior chance of establishing a sustainable partner-ship with the Horn of Africa than the other GCC countries.

Nevertheless, to establish solid partnership, the UAE and countries of the Horn of Africa need to rethink and reset their relations on two major fronts: economic relations and security cooperation. On the security front, the UAE needs to reformulate its foreign policy imperatives. The UAE’s sound stance on the separation of religion from foreign policy is beneficial for both the UAE and the countries in the Horn of Africa. For example, UAE’s involvement in Somalia is limited to commerce, thus not regarded as competitive with the regional efforts of the Inter-Governmental Agency for Development (IGAD) or even the African Union (AU). Nevertheless, UEA’s blind subservience to Saudi Arabia on matters affecting the Horn of Afri-ca’s peace and security issues negates its well-considered foreign poli-cy imperatives on trade, tourism and counter-terrorism.

In this regard, the UAE needs to work closely in partnership with IGAD to formulate and implement a joint IGAD-GCC dialogue on peace and development. Such a dialogue could serve as a regular con-sultative forum to ensure stronger cooperation between the countries of the GCC and the Horn of Africa on all peace, security and eco-nomic cooperation. Such initiatives could focus on development, la-bour mobility, combating transnational threats and international crimes, including piracy, terrorism, violent extremism, trans-border crises, human trafficking, trade in narcotics, money laundering, illegal trade in arms and other threats to regional and international peace and security.

European Union Special Representative for the Horn of Africa, Alex-ander Rondos claims a pattern of strategic realignment by the coun-tries of the Horn with players in the GCC is influencing their domes-tic politics, upsetting relations among them, and creating entirely new challenges for the region. He advises the Horn of Africa and their governments to navigate a delicate path to spare themselves and their region from what he calls “the vagaries of strategic clientelism” and recommends three actions to achieve this: nurturing pluralism and participatory politics, build-ing a real regional integration based on economic incentives and security coopera-tion, and managing the temptation of ex-ternal interference. Lingering conflicts in the Horn (between Ethiopia and Eritrea, Sudan and South Sudan, Djibouti and Eritrea) and the war in Yemen need to be resolved to ensure a secure neighborhood that would not serve as a ground for proxy wars between bigger rivals and a recruit-ment boon for religious extremists.

On the economic front, the countries of the Horn of Africa will do well to make best use of UAE’s focus on trade, investment and tour-ism to build a broader long-term, sustainable and favourable partner-ship. The Horn Africa presents an opportunity for trade and invest-ment due to the size of its population. In the Horn of Africa, the cur-The UAE needs to work closely in partnership with IGAD to formulate and implement a joint IGAD-GCC dialogue on peace and total population of 226 million will surge to 400 million by 2050. This will be more than half the total population of the Sub-Saharan Africa. More than 55 per cent of the population will be young (below 20 years of age). Annually, 2% of the youth will be connected via mobile telephones and the Internet, adding millions of the region's inhabitants to the more technologically conversant and connected generations. With this, rise in income, and a surge of an emerging middle class is expected to increase the overall demand for consump-tion. This is expected to increase mixed migration to various destina-tions within Africa and elsewhere, including the Middle East.

Depending on the governance and development of the region, this population increase may create social instability (demand for jobs by the youth) or present new opportunities for development and enter-prise (as the middle class expands). The United Nations estimates that the rate of urbanization in Africa is 3.5% per year, the highest rate in the world, resulting in the rapid growth of urban conurbations throughout the continent. Equally, UAE and other actors could help in ensuring that these trends in the Horn of Africa lead to positive developments of mutual benefits. The Horn of Africa could benefit immensely from business and invest-ment opportunities in the UAE and other GCC countries, particular-ly in livestock and related products and resources as well as other are-as of cooperation.

UAE needs to invest in agriculture and livestock. The Horn of Africa has one of the largest livestock populations in the World. It also ex-ports leather goods, oilseeds, minerals, agricultural products and flowers; and is also engaged in tourism, construction and real estate. With some investment in the agriculture, skilled labour, and livestock sector, the Horn of Africa could supply the GCC countries with am-ple supplies of agricultural produces, skilled labour, meat and dairy products. With sufficient investment in industry and infrastructure (for transportation), the GCC countries could access organic meat and dairy products from nearby Horn of Africa countries.

For the Horn of Africa, investment in these sectors would not only bring foreign currency that is much needed in the regional economy,Trained labour migration could be another area of mutually benefiting cooperation.but would also fundamentally create jobs for the youth and improve the livelihood of the population dependent on farming, livestock, and labour. As the owners of most of the livestock in the Horn of Africa are either farmers or pastoralist communities, trade and investment in these areas may eventually lift millions of families out of poverty, in-directly contributing to human security in the Horn of Africa.

For the UAE and the Horn of Africa, trained labour migration could be another area of mutually benefiting cooperation. While avoiding the depletion of highly skilled human resources required for the de-velopment in countries of origin, labour migration could assist the governments in the Horn of Africa in their effort to reduce poverty. Clearly, while there is a brain-drain for highly skilled migrants, there is no ‘labour drain’ given the more than tens of millions unemployed and underemployed labour force in the Horn of Africa. Most of these are ready and even eager to go to training courses of any kind. The UAE and the Horn of Africa can take the initiative to foster a stronger collaboration in skilled labour mobility including the protec-tion of their rights.

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