Ethiopian Wedding

Ethiopian Wedding

ethiopian-karo-tribe-woman

In Ethiopia the Karo people usually enhance a young brides beauty by tattooing and painting her body with different African symbols. In Ethiopia most marriages are negotiated by the two families sometimes with a civil ceremony sealing the simple contract. In those ceremonies a priest may be present. After the marriage divorce is allowed but this must also be negotiated.

The girl in marriage is paid housekeeper’s salary, and is not eligible to inheritance, but children from the marriage are legally recognized and be entitled to inheritance. Priests may marry but not eligible for divorce as well as remarriage. The Wedding procedure starts while using grooms side sending any representative who request the marriage between their parties. Then an appointment is given plus a verdict on the marriage. Before the wedding the Dowry is provided as agreed. On the wedding morning the groom and three to four “bestmens” goes to the brides’ house. At the house the ladies

 

family ceremonially block the entrance on the house. The associates must play strongly and force their way into your house. The first “bestman” contains sprays and perfume everywhere at home while the bride’s family play songs.
Christian marriages, mainly in Amhara and Tigray places, are often arranged from the parents of the special couple with lots of negotiation. According to tradition in addition to culture the bride have to be virgin when the marriage occurs and this is old traditional ritual . Because the bride virginity will be highly valued and pleasure in Christian marriage, with everyone in your house being shamed if the bride is not virgin at marriage.

Ghana marriage is a traditional ceremony

Ghana marriage is a traditional ceremony

The Ghana marriage is a traditional ceremony where the groom accompanied by his family goes to the bride house and formally asks for the bride’s hand in marriage in the presence of friends, family and well-wishers. The traditional Ghanaian ceremony is a necessary common rite of all marriages for all Ghanaian couples. Today in Ghana , a lot of couples perform this alone as a marriage Ghanaian ceremony. All couples in this place try to make their marriage ceremony as much traditionally as they can because this rite is so important for their culture.

The Ghanaian weddings bands starts with the “knocking” (kokako) around the house. In this knocking ceremony the future husband together with his daddy and some elder family members visits the brides house to announce their relationship intentions. Most of the time this ceremony is carried out a week or two ahead of the actual marriage ceremony.

The knocking (“kookoo ko”) comes from the Ghanaian tradition of knocking on the entrance of a house before entering as being a visitor. For the knocking ceremony the groom’s family members brings along two wine bottles on alcoholic drinks, some money and cola to the property to present to this brides family. (Libation is really a traditional form of prayer on the ancestral spirits and God). In way back when, and to date, the drinks are widely-used to pour libation. In those ceremonies when the drinks are presented, spokesman designated through the grooms’ delegation formally requests the bride’s family regarding permission to enter the property and announce their goals. Then if drinks are accepted then it means permission has been granted on the visitors to state their intentions. The spokesperson will explain in the many lyrical language, that this groom, has seen a “beautiful flower” in the house of the brides family that she desires and would like to “uproot” that flower, not necessarily steal, from its keeper, hence they are here to look for the brides hand inside marriage and inquire about what is required in order to make that flower his personal.

In some situations family may ask the groom or his family to come back at a set later date because they like to see:
a) if the family has no genetic disabilities or chronic illness in the family
b) if family has a good reputation in the city and of course good incomings
c) if he has no illegitimate children or girlfriend or has another marriage .
d) if the groom is of good and lovely person and well matched to the new bride

Namibia’s wife swapping

Namibia’s wife swapping

namibia-wife-swap

Wife swapping among Namibia’s nomadic tribes has been practiced for generations. The practice is more of a gentlemen’s agreement where friends can have sex with each others’ wives with no strings attached. The wives have little say in the matter,

Known as okujepisa omukazendu – which loosely means “offering a wife to a guest” – the practice is little known outside these reclusive communities, whose population is estimated at 86 000.
Mainly found in the north-western Kunene region near the Angolan border, the communities are largely isolated from the rest of the country. They have resisted the trappings of modern life, keep livestock, live off the land and practice ancestral worship.

Chaos will erupt if Robert Mugabe dies: concerned Zimbabweans

Chaos will erupt if Robert Mugabe dies: concerned Zimbabweans

AfriJOHANNESBURG – If President Robert Mugabe were to die suddenly, Zimbabwe would be in chaos.

That is that is the sentiment from a group of concerned Zimbabweans, who met in Johannesburg on Monday to discuss the country’s future.

They say they would like to see a National Transitional Authority being established, to manage the transition in the event the ailing 92-year-old Zimbabwean president dies.

Liberation struggle activist, Dumiso Dabengwa says the factions that would remain in the ruling Zanu-PF will likely be at each other’s throats.

Dabengwa is also of the view that a movement akin to the Arab Spring is a high possibility in the country.

Wacth Xoli Mngambi’s full report in the video above.

eNCA

Kidnapping your bride

Kidnapping your bride

 

Sudanese Latuka tribe

‘In the Sudanese Latuka tribe, when a man wants to marry a woman, he kidnaps her. Elderly members of his family go and ask the girl’s father for her hand in marriage, and if he agrees, the father beats the man as a sign of his acceptance of the union. If the father disagrees, however, the man might forcefully marry the girl anyway.’

This is basics of one of the traditions that the tribe follow. I think looking at it in its full form can appear to be quite strange but I would rather dissect it to really give an opinion on it.

So firstly, if a man see’s a girl who he finds attractive and realises he wants t marry her. the way that he proposes is by kidnapping. This is a major contrast to the man bending down on one knee with the ring, but I guess the guy is claiming what he wants. Though this may be all good on the man’s side, because he see’s what he wants and he picks it up and takes it home. This is disturbing on a female part simply because there seems to be no consent or element of choice for the female. She is taken against her free will without have a choice at whether that is the man she wants to marry.  This just magnifies the idea that women are seen as possessions and their wants and needs are not significant in some cultures.

The part that I  do like about this tradition which is seen in most traditions is the family members going to the father of the girl and asking him for his daughters hand in marriage. This to me is one of the most genuine and romantic traditions seen in many cultures. It shows respect in the highest form.  Because marriage is taking the daughter away from her home and making her form a new life in husbands world. It takes the woman and changes her identity through the last name as now being part of the man’s family. Therefore taking her away. Therefore its asking permission and reassuring them that the daughter will be taken care of.

However If the father disagrees to his daughter being married to someone he does not approve of, this is where it all gets messy. Remembering that the daughter has already been kidnapped this now means that they could just keep her regardless of the father’s refusal. and this is very sad to see. That a daughter can be kidnapped and married off without the approval of her family. This brings us back to the sad and horrific part of some tribes where there is lack of equality or system to protect individual lives.

Overall I don’t see this as a positive tradition because the woman has no say and being kidnapped is beyond unromantic. I guess from everything you see and read you can conclude a comparison with how you live and others live.  The way marriage has been presented through general walks of life is through the foundation of love. love being mutual and both people agreeing to be together not forced.

Though this is just one side of the story, I would be interested in hearing the opinions of those women in that tribe and how things really work and how they really feel about it.

Fish in Coconut Curry (Mtuzi wa Samaki)

Fish in Coconut Curry (Mtuzi wa Samaki)

fish coconut curry

 

Ingredients

1 (1 1/4-pound) skinless halibut or other firm white fish fillet
1 1/2 teaspoons Madras curry powder, divided
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 3/4 cups chopped tomato (2 large)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup light coconut milk
4 lemon wedges
Chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

Preparation

1. Sprinkle fish with 3/4 teaspoon curry powder, 3/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper.

2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add fish; cook 4 minutes or until deeply browned on bottom but undercooked on top (fish will finish cooking later in sauce). Remove fish from pan.

3. Add onion and bell pepper to pan; sauté 4 minutes or until tender. Add ginger and garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add remaining 3/4 teaspoon curry powder, remaining 3/8 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/8 teaspoon black pepper, tomato, and lemon juice. Reduce heat to medium-low, and cook 10 minutes or until tomato breaks down, stirring occasionally. Mash tomato with a wooden spoon.

4. Stir in coconut milk. Return fish along with accumulated juices to pan, browned side up. Reduce heat to low; cover and cook 8 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. Cut fish into 4 equal portions. Spoon sauce into individual, shallow bowls; top each with a piece of fish. Serve with lemon wedges and chopped fresh cilantro, if desired.

How to make Chapati (East African Bread)

How to make Chapati (East African Bread)

Chapti

DIRECTIONS

All ingredients should be allowed to come to room temperature if they have been in the refrigerator.
Mix flour and salt in a bowl.
Slowly mix in enough water to make a thick dough.
Mix in one spoonful oil.
Knead dough on a cool surface for a few minutes, adding a few spoonfuls of dry flour.
Return dough to the bowl, cover with a clean cloth, and let it rest for thirty minutes.
Lightly grease (with cooking oil) and pre-heat a skillet or griddle.
Divide the dough into orange-sized balls. Flatten them into six-inch circles. Fry them in the skillet or griddle, turning once, until each side is golden brown and spotted.
Place in warm oven as they are done and serve with butter and any curry, stew or soup dish

 

INGREDIENTS

Nutrition

SERVINGS 6-10

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cooking oil
  • warm water, as needed
Congolese mining sector beset by uncertainty

Congolese mining sector beset by uncertainty

Congolese mining
Congolese mining

With delays in revision to the mining code and no clear date set for the presidential election, the DRC’s miners are waiting anxiously, reports Jessica Moody.

Franck Mwinkeu, logistics manager at Global Mining Katanga in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), laments the impact political and economic conditions have had on the mining sector. He says that “the political system” in the DRC has forced mines to close in recent years.

Despite initiating a wealth of infrastructure and investment reforms and being one of the fastest growing economies in Africa in 2014, recording GDP growth of nearly 9%, the DRC’s investment environment is becoming increasingly troublesome for miners. Copper prices dropped to a six-year low in late 2015, unsettling mining companies in the DRC, which is Africa’s leading producer of the metal.

Political volatility, resulting from uncertainty over when the presidential election, due in November 2016, will be held, and whether President Joseph Kabila will seek to remain in power for a third term, has exacerbated fears that mining investments in the Central African country are no longer viable. The poor investment climate saw American company Freeport sell its mine in Katanga in May, while in September 2015 Glencore put its Katanga project on hold for 18 months.

Delays to the new mining code

Amid the high levels of political risk and dismal commodity prices, the decision by the Congolese government to drop mining code revisions in February 2016 was seen as a much-needed blessing for the mining sector. The proposals would have seen profit taxes increase from 30 to 35%, while royalties on copper and cobalt would have increased from 2 to 3.5%.

Miners had been fiercely opposed to the code revisions, with many companies stating that the increased taxes would make operations unprofitable. The CEO and founder of Randgold Resources Mark Bristow said the code would have been hugely detrimental for the mining industry and lauded the government for failing to pass the revisions.

However, the failure to pass the amendments to the 2002 code, which have been in the pipeline since 2012, is indicative of a deeper, more systemic problem facing the mining sector. The government’s mining policies are volatile and open to fluctuations, leaving miners in a precarious position, particularly in the lead-up to the presidential election.

The government has oscillated frequently on mining policy in recent years. The mines minister announced a directive in April 2013 banning copper and cobalt concentrate exports, only to persistently delay the ban and increase taxes on exports instead. The proposed amendments to the code have also been changed repeatedly. In 2014 revisions to the legislation included a plan to triple copper and cobalt royalties to 6%.

The decision to delay the amendments again, begs the question of when the long-awaited changes will be made. An employee of Katanga Mining, who wishes to remain anonymous, says the political situation in the DRC means the new code “is not on the priority list”.

But miners have no way of knowing when the bill will be passed. The day after the amendments were dropped, the mines minister’s chief of staff, Valéry Mukasa, said “the new draft mining code [was] still with parliament and the ministry could be called to defend it in parliament at any time”.

The timing of the code revisions will now be heavily influenced by the presidential election, with a contested electoral period potentially delaying the process further. “The current political crisis raises further questions around the review process”, explains Charles Pembroke, geopolitical team manager at risk management company Protection Group International.

“Any major defections from the ruling coalition or changes to key political figures involved in reviewing the mining code could prove a major setback”, he says.

What will happen after the election?

The composition of the government after the poll will also affect the code. The participation of Moïse Katumbi, the leading opposition figure, currently looks unlikely, as in June he was convicted in absentia of illegal property selling and sentenced to three years in prison. The move was widely seen as politically motivated, and designed to block him from contesting the election. But should he somehow manage to contest and win it, the code is likely to be more amenable to investors. Katumbi is the former governor of Katanga and has been praised for his efforts to keep taxes low during his time as governor of the province. And as Pembroke says, “Katumbi has extremely good relations with the mining sector.”

Katumbi would likely have to rely, at least in part, on the support of the current ruling coalition, which favours increased mining taxes and government stakes in joint ventures. This means that even under a business-friendly Katumbi government, a review of the mining code and some alterations affecting the mining sector are highly likely to take place. A new government might also come under pressure from international advocacy groups to tighten the transparency requirements within the code, particularly regarding the tendering process and the publication of contracts.

Nathaniel Dyer, Congo team leader at Global Witness says, “it is essential that Congo’s mining law include[s] anti-corruption and transparency rules to ensure that the public can benefit from the country’s rich natural resources”. Kinshasa may be forced to address these deficiencies when the code comes to be passed after the poll.

Further difficulties

Efforts by President Kabila to delay the election could lead to further policy difficulties for mining companies. In 2015 the president divided the country’s 11 provinces to make 26, in an apparent attempt to replace local government officials who did not support his continued stay in power. This has already elevated concerns over duplicated royalty and transport taxes from local and provincial authorities in the mining hub of Katanga – now four provinces rather than one.

Underscoring this problem, in early 2016 the special commissioner of Lualaba province began a campaign to restore the share of taxes levied at the border between Zambia and the DRC that the province lost when it was split from Katanga. To this end, the commissioner is now seeking to persuade mining companies operating in the area to fund the construction of a new road into Zambia.

Political and economic challenges for the DRC look set to worsen in the lead-up to the election, leaving the mining sector exposed to a myriad of challenges over the next 12 months, as mining policies continue to oscillate and uncertainty persists over when the code revisions will be passed and what amendments they will include.

Why North African solar power exports will be a marathon Read more

Why North African solar power exports will be a marathon Read more

Why North African solar power

 

With the opening of a new solar power plant in Morocco and the announcement of a wave of new projects in other North African states, the idea of a North African solar power industry transmitting energy to Europe and each other is back in the news again. But while the idea has potential, a pan-North African solar power sector in its current form seems likely to be met by fractious and nationalistic governments.

Morocco has announced it is on course to build the world’s largest solar power plant after completing the first phase of a new complex near the town of Ouarzazate. The Noor 1 project, consisting of 500,000 solar mirrors, will be joined in 2017 by two other plants, Noor 2 and 3, and a fourth phase is now being mooted. Once the whole complex is complete the solar plant at Ouarzazate will generate 580 MW at peak output. Parts of the complex will also be able to store electrical power using molten sand during the night. It is an electrical generation system perfectly designed to work in a hot desert country like Morocco, but it cost $9bn USD to make.

Morocco is prepared to spend such sums because it is the biggest energy importer in North Africa, already spending over $3bn a year on fuel and electricity imports, while experiencing a growth in power demand of 6.5% a year. With almost complete dependence on imported energy carriers, renewable energy is an attractive proposition for the state domestically regardless of the industry’s nascent export potential. The country is aiming to generate 42% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020 and has a host of initiatives being built. It already hosts Africa’s largest windfarm at Tarfaya, which began commercial operations in January, plus a 470MW hybrid solar-gas plant called Ain Beni Mathar is planned for a location 650km east of the capital Rabat. Now neighbours like Tunisia are scrambling to follow suit with projects of their own.

But while Morocco is the poster child of clean energy, having realised the potential of solar power and other renewables early on, it also encapsulates some of the challenges facing any pan-North African energy export industry. Regional rivalries are intense and often frustrate projects requiring cross-border cooperation in the area. Nothing shows this better than Rabat’s relations with its giant neighbour Algeria, with whom it competes for local hegemony. Despite sharing a joint electrical grid the border between the two has been sealed since 1994, when Algiers shut it in retaliation for Morocco’s introduction of visas for Algerian visitors. Morocco put the visa regime in place as a security measure during Algeria’s civil war from 1991-2002. But despite the war’s end over ten years ago, the border remains closed because Algeria’s President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, in power since 1999, refuses to lift the measure.

The trend in the region is for each state to seek investors for its own renewable energy projects rather than seek a framework for a larger, common cross-Mediterranean transmission system. Thus in Tunisia a partnership between Tunisian investors and British firm Nur Energie called TuNur is focusing on exporting solar energy from there back to the UK only. In Egypt Saudi and South Korean investors are organising a $6 billon solar power project for that country’s portion of the Sahara in the Wadi Gedid governorate. Meanwhile the Algerian energy ministry announced plans to raise its 2030 target for renewable energy capacity from 12,000 MW to 25,000 MW in January 2015, but despite its shared electricity grid with Morocco there are no plans for cooperation between the two neighbours.

Yet a glance at the map of the failed German-backed Desertec project shows that a huge network of solar and wind farms could be built to stretch across the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA) region, connected to Europe via high voltage direct current transmission cables (which only lose 3% of their electricity per 1000km, or 620 miles). Where the plan fails is with current levels of grid interconnectivity between the Maghreb and Europe, and within Europe itself. At present Morocco is the only MENA country connected to Europe (via Spain) and it uses this connection to import electricity during peak demand times, not export it. Even plans for an energy union and better connections between EU member states, sped up by concerns over Russia’s geopolitical use of gas, are at an embryonic stage, never mind the MENA states.

EU plans currently focus on building missing cross-border links between the Iberian Peninsula and the rest of the EU energy market, with a target of ensuring that 10% of each EU member country’s power can be transported abroad by cable by 2020. That gels with the pre-existing infrastructure joining Spain, Morocco and Algeria, and could eventually be used as starting off point for the first phase of a pan-Mediterranean transmission system linking MENA countries with each other and the EU. For this to happen however first the narrow and nationalistic mentality of MENA governments would have to be changed enough to achieve the infrastructural integration and security cooperation required to build and protect such a system.

North Africa is littered with unresolved border disputes and security issues preventing just this, and while local states have failed to manage their own security individually they guard the privilege of doing so jealously. The two natural leaders of the region, Morocco and Algeria, are still politically deadlocked over the issue of the territory of Western Sahara, which Morocco occupies. Meanwhile Algeria still backs the independence-seeking Polisario guerrilla front, though the group has been on ceasefire since 1991. A quarter of a century has passed while this major security issue has sat unresolved by the two governments. Until negotiations and compromise over issues like this become more accepted in MENA politics, gigantic projects like a North African solar industry will continue to be frustrated. In the meantime each state in the region will continue to develop its own solar industry and the expertise to manage it. In the future these separate links may one day form a single chain connecting the region with Europe, as the backers of the original Desertec had envisaged. But industry watchers should not expect it for many years yet.

Neil Thompson

Clearing the jam at Djibouti

Clearing the jam at Djibouti

Clearing the jam at Djibouti

 

Bags of wheat speed down multiple conveyor belts to be heaved onto trucks lined up during the middle of a blistering June afternoon beside the busy docks of Djibouti Port. Once loaded, trucks set off westward toward Ethiopia carrying food aid to help with its worst drought for decades.

With crop failures ranging from 50% to 90% in parts of the country, Ethiopia, sub-Saharan Africa’s biggest wheat consumer, was forced to seek international tenders and drastically increase wheat purchases to tackle food shortages affecting at least 10m people. This meant extra ships coming to the already busy port city of Djibouti, and despite the hive of activity and efforts of multitudes of workers, the ships aren’t being unloaded fast enough. The result: a bottleneck with ships stuck out in the bay unable to berth to unload cargoes, both humanitarian and commercial.

“This is bad for the shipping line and for the customers of the shipping line when they are paying a lot of money for the waiting period,” says Ali Toubeh, a Djiboutian entrepreneur whose container company is based in Djibouti’s free trade zone.  “Vessels that came in February were released in May.”

At the middle of July, 33 ships remained at anchorage including 12 waiting to unload about 476,750 tonnes of wheat – down from 16 ships similarly loaded at the end of June – according to information on the port’s website. At the same time, 15 ships had managed to dock including four ships carrying about 83,000 tonnes of wheat, barley and sorghum.

“We still have a lot of ships carrying humanitarian cargo waiting,” says Aboubaker Omar Hadi, chairman of Djibouti Ports and Free Zones Authority. “We received ships carrying aid cargo and carrying fertiliser at the same time, and deciding which to give priority to was a challenge. If you give priority to food aid, which is understandable, then you are going to face a problem with the next crop if you don’t get fertiliser to farmers on time.”

Hot hard work

Once ships have berthed, however, there remains the challenge of unloading them, a process that can take up to 40 days, according to aid agencies assisting with Ethiopia’s drought.

“I honestly don’t know how they do it,” port official Dawit Gebre-ab says of workers toiling away in temperatures around 38 degrees Celsius with humidity of 52 percent feel more like 43 degrees. “But the ports have to continue.”

The port’s 24-hour system of three 8-hour shifts mitigates some of the travails for those working outside, beyond the salvation of air conditioning – though not entirely.

“We feel pain everywhere, for sure,” Agaby says during the hottest afternoon shift, a brightly coloured vest bound around his forehead as a sweat rag, standing out of the sun between trucks being filled with bags of wheat from conveyor belts. “It is a struggle.”

To help get food aid away to where it is needed and relieve pressure on the port, a new 756km railway running between Djibouti and Ethiopia was brought into service early in November 2015 – it still isn’t actually commissioned – with a daily train that can carry about 2,000 tonnes, Aboubaker says.

Capacity will increase further once the railway is fully commissioned this September and becomes electrified, allowing five trains to run every day carrying about 3,500 tonnes each.

Djibouti also has three new ports scheduled to open in the second half of the year – allowing more ships to dock – while the new port at Tadjoura will have another railway line going westward to Bahir Dar in Ethiopia.

This, Aboubaker explains, should connect with the railway line currently under construction in Ethiopia running south to north to connect the cities of Awash and Mekele, further improving transport and distribution options in Ethiopia.

“Once the trains are running in September we hope to clear the backlog of vessels within three months,” Aboubaker says.

Djibouti lifeline

The jam at the port has highlighted for Ethiopia – not that it needs reminding – its dependency on Djibouti. Already about 90% of Ethiopia’s trade goes through Djibouti. In 2005 this amounted to 2m tonnes and now stands at 11m tonnes. During the next three years it is set to increase to 15m tonnes.

Hence Ethiopia has long been looking to diversify its options, strengthening bilateral relations with Somaliland through various memorandums of understanding during the past couple of years.

The most recent of these stipulated about 30% of Ethiopia’s imports shifting to Berbera Port, which this May saw Dubai-based DP World awarded the concession to manage and expand the underused and underdeveloped port for 30 years, a project valued at about $442m and which could transform Berbera into another major Horn of Africa trade hub.

But such is Ethiopia’s growth – both in terms of economy and population; its current population of around 100m is set to reach 130m by 2025, according to the United Nations – that some say it’s going to need all the ports it can get.

“Ethiopia’s rate of development means Djibouti can’t satisfy demand – even if Berbera is used, Ethiopia will also need [ports in] Mogadishu and Kismayo in the long run, and Port Sudan,” Ali says.

Trucking equation

“The bottleneck is not because of the port but the inland transportation – there aren’t enough trucks for the aid, the fertiliser and the usual commercial cargo,” Aboubaker says, explaining that even with other ports such as Berbera offering more docking options in the future, the problem of not enough trucks matching demand would lead to the same dilemma as now.

It’s estimated that 1,500 trucks a day leave Djibouti for Ethiopia and that there will be 8,000 a day by 2020 as Ethiopia tries to address the shortage. So many additional trucks – an inefficient and environmentally damaging means of transport – might not be needed, Aboubaker says, if customs procedures could be sped up on the Ethiopian side so it doesn’t take trucks 10 days to complete a 48-hour journey from Djibouti to Addis Ababa to make deliveries.

“There is too much bureaucracy,” Aboubaker says. “We are building and making efficient roads and railways: we are building bridges but there is what you call invisible barriers – this documentation. The Ethiopian government relies too much on customs revenue and so doesn’t want to risk interfering with procedures.”

Ethiopians are not famed for their alacrity when it comes to paperwork and related bureaucratic processes. Drought relief operations have been delayed by regular government assessments of who the neediest are, according to some aid agencies working in Ethiopia.

While the port’s food aid bottleneck has highlighted logistical frictions, Ethiopia and Djibouti look set to continue increasing ties and strengthening economic integration as they develop joint projects such as the new railway lines and an oil pipeline between the two countries.

Meanwhile as night descends on Djibouti City, arc lights dotted across the port are turned on, continuing to blaze away as offloading continues throughout the night and heavily laden trucks bound for Ethiopia set out into the hot darkness.

“Ethiopia has a population 100 times larger than Djibouti’s but it only imports and exports six times as much,” Aboubaker says. “Imagine the day that demand matches Ethiopia’s population size.”

James Jeffrey