“A scramble of external powers and local agency in the Horn of Africa”, Aleksi Ylönen (CIDOB, Barcelona)

The Horn of Africa rarely makes international media headlines. Issues such as the Tigray conflict, extreme drought conditions and the Nile waters dispute have gained occasional global attention, but consistent and contextualized coverage is often missing. Nevertheless, the Horn is a strategically important and dynamic African sub-region that has been subject to the interplay of foreign interests and local forces for centuries. Despite recent efforts to propel economic development, external players in the Horn of Africa have often engaged in rivalries that have had destabilising consequences for the wider region. Their involvement in the Horn of Africa has mostly been adventurous and self-serving without much concern for the repercussions of their actions. Meanwhile, local state and non-state actors have taken advantage of foreign interests to strengthen their position. This analysis suggests that external actors should tone down their rivalries and engage more responsibly in the Horn of Africa to encourage local players to work for mutual benefit.

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