DJIBOUTI, The economic integration which Ethiopia and Djibouti are forging can become a model for the aspired regional integration in East Africa, says Ethiopian Transport Minister Ahmed Shide.

Addressing the Regional Integration and Private Investment in Infrastructure Forum which began in Djibouti Wednesday, the Minister said the two countries had embarked on a number of projects to enhance integration and which were exemplary for countries wishing to enhance integration.

He mentioned some of the infrastructure networks being developed by the two countries to enhance integration, including the 4.5 billion US dollars railway link between landlocked Ethiopia and the port of Djibouti at the entrance to the Red Sea and which is undergoing trial operations currently.

In addition to the Addis Ababa-Djibouti Port railway line, the two countries have launched three road projects to connect with each other, according to Ahmed. Telecommunication linls and provision of potable water are other areas of co-operation between the two countries.

The Minister highlighted Ethiopia’s desire to engage in the development of infrastructure facilities which would allow Ethiopia to enhance its integration with other countries in the Horn of Africa sub-region.

Djibouti’s Minister of Economy and Finance, Ilyas Dawaleh, asserted that his country’s growth depended on the development and stability of its neighbours, particularly Ethiopia, which accounts for more than 90 per cent of the import-export trade handled by Djibouti.

He noted that Djibouti would continue to benefit from the robust economic growth in Ethiopia which boosted import-export transactions executed through Djibouti. Recognizing the importance of co-operating with Ethiopia, he added that Djibouti would sustain activities which would help to connect with Ethiopia through road, railway and power infrastructure.