Horn of Africa

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Mar 22, 2022, 5:22

The Easternmost peninsula of Africa is aptly named the Horn of Africa as it resembles the shape of a rhino horn on the map. The horn points to the Indian Ocean. The Horn of Africa is a term also used for the countries located at the end of the Red Sea. It is the sub-region of East Africa and is sometimes referred to as Somali Peninsula. The Horn of Africa includes Somalia, Djibouti, Eritrea, and Ethiopia. Some definitions also include Sudan, South Sudan, Kenya,

The countries referred to as the Horn of Africa demonstrates a diverse cultural, social, and socioeconomic character. The Horn of Africa has around 115 million people who speak around 130 different languages. The main languages include Amhara, Tigray, Somali, and Oromo. The Horn of Africa is also believed to be the birthplace of humanity, with the remains of 3.2 million-year-old australopithecine remains, which were discovered in 1974.

Horn of Africa - Center of Global Attention

The Horn of Africa has been constantly receiving global attention for several years. The region has some of the best natural diversities. The region is rich in forests, lakes, and rivers. However, these are not the reasons for the Horn of Africa gaining global attention. This is attributed to the food crisis, high child and maternal mortality rates, disease contractions, large-scale migration, armed conflicts, and conflicts over the natural resources of the region.

  • The country of Ethiopia was hit by the worst famine from 1983 to 1985.
  • Ethiopia erupted into a civil war in 1991.
  • Due to the recent pandemic, the Horn of Africa was further challenged. The executive secretary of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), Workneh Gebeyehu, mentioned that the focus of the Horn of Africa was to work on reinstating peace and security.
  • South Sudan is the most unstable country in the Horn of Africa.
  • There are several international security actors from the U.S., Europe, the Gulf, Middle East and Asia that are currently active in the Horn of Africa.
  • The latest climate shock and failure of rain for 3 years have resulted in drought conditions in Ethiopia’s Somali region.
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The Horn of Africa, India, China

India needs to draw attention to the conditions and power dynamics playing in the Horn of Africa as India would have a direct bearing on its security. The Horn of Africa has been growing interest for India due to several socio-political reasons.

The growing presence of China in Horn of Africa countries has become a major concern for India. China had built its overseas military base in Djibouti in 2017. China has already made several investments in the oil industry and continues to be a major economic and diplomatic partner for Sudan. The continuous and steady growth of China in the Horn of Africa region is a major concern for India.

India has provided medical and food assistance to the Horn of Africa countries several times. India has opened embassies in Eritrea and Djibouti. Indian President Ramnath Kovind also visited Ethiopia and Djibouti. India is set to open a military base in Seychelles for better control in the Western Indian Ocean.

India Provides Aid to the Horn of Africa Countries

India is known for its serving capabilities. India has been optimistic through difficult times and has provided help to several countries. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Indian government has made several moves that indicate building positive relations with the Horn of Africa. Some of the efforts in this direction include:

  • Providing food assistance to the Horn of Africa through Indian Naval Ship "Airavat". The ship carried 270 metric tonnes of food which included rice, flour, and sugar.
  • Indian Naval Ship Kesari was deployed for COVID-19 relief provision. "Mission Sagar" included medical supplies and 580 tonnes of food or the island nations,
  • Relief efforts were launched for Mozambique and Madagascar in 2019 and 2020 respectively.

Many countries, including India, are making sociopolitical decisions that will help them strengthen their presence in the Horn of Africa countries. The main source of concern for India is the growing presence of China in the region. Any unfavourable situation that arises in the Horn of Africa countries may have a direct impact on India. As a result, India is working to expand its presence in this region.

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FAQs on the Horn of Africa

Q.1. What is the Horn of Africa?

The Easternmost part of Africa is referred to as the Horn of Africa.

Q.2. Which countries are included in the Horn of Africa?

Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Djibouti are included in the Horn of Africa. Some definitions also include Sudan, South Sudan, and Kenya.

Q.3. When was the country of Horn of Africa, Ethiopia hit by famine?

Ethiopia, a country in the Horn of Africa was hit by the worst famine from 1983 to 1985.

Q.4. Why has the Horn of Africa received global attention?

The Horn of Africa has attracted global attention for several reasons which include poor living conditions, worst famines, unstable governments, civil war, armed conflicts, diseases, and large-scale migration.