By Nizar Manek
Ethiopia is considering adding a space force to its defense capabilities in a process to modernize the country’s military.
The changes are part of broader political and economic reforms Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed began implementing after coming to power in April. The landlocked Horn of Africa nation, which hasn’t had direct access to the sea since Eritrea seceded a quarter of a century ago, also plans to build a naval base.
“Considering the context of modern warfare (land, air, seas, cyber and space), a defense force that can readily meet this context is in the process of being built,” Abiy’s office said in a statement emailed Thursday from the capital, Addis Ababa. Its defense-forces law has been revised to include a navy and “will in future also include Cyber Security and Space Force considerations,” according to the statement.
Ethiopia will also rewrite portions of its Foreign Affairs and National Security Policy and Strategy in force since 2002, the state-owned Ethiopian Press Agency reported Friday, citing Foreign Ministry spokesman Meles Alem. The 16-year-old policy will be examined “to make it effective based on the current situation of the world and the internal Ethiopian situation,” it quoted him as saying.
Meles didn’t respond to two calls and two text messages seeking comment.
The government is consulting other nations about establishing a naval base, the Ethiopian Herald reported, citing General Berhanu Jula, deputy chief of staff of the Ethiopian National Defense Force. Abiy announced in June plans to reestablish a navy, which was disbanded in 1996, three years after Eritrea’s independence. Former sworn enemies, Ethiopia and Eritrea this year agreed a rapprochement.
“It is a strategic decision that Ethiopia has to develop maritime power within its proximity,” the paper quoted Berhanu as saying.