New Kebri Dahar International Airport officially began serving the state and the country

(Ahmed Deeq Hussein)

Kebri Dahar is one of the oldest towns in the Somali Regional State of Ethiopia.  For many years, it served as a key military garrison—since 1931, when the first military camp was established to serve fascist Italy that invaded Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa.

Kebri Dahar was first designated a full blown district in 1934. However, both under the Haile Selassie and the Dergi regimes, it remained a mere military garrison with no developmental projects initiated. In view of its military strategic and geographical location, Kebri Dahar was left to remain a center of military operation both for internal control of Somali—Ethiopians and for monitoring the long border between Ethiopia and its neighbor to the east.

It is only the current Ethiopian government that seems to be giving more attention to other socio-political aspects of the area by building more infrastructures such as asphalt roads, telecommunication facilities, and higher education learning centers such as colleges and university institutions. Focusing on development as opposed only to military infrastructure is in line with the country’s developmental policies, goals and strategies.

Photo – Kebri Dahar International Airport [Credit: Ahmed Deeq Hussein]

Kebri Dahar is among four city administrations of the Somali regional state of Ethiopia, and it is about 990 km to the east of Addis Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia. In the last few years, the city has become home for asphalt as well as all-weather roads, telecommunication projects, a new commercial bank, three hospitals including a military hospital and one that is currently under construction and in the final stages of completion. Besides, there is a huge drug distribution hub that should keep, store, distribute and supply sensitive drugs to health facilities of 4 zones.

In addition, the city has five elementary schools, two high schools, three college campuses including a Teacher Training College, a Polytechnic College and a Health Science College.  Also, a detailed project proposal for the completion of Kebri Dahar University is shovel-ready and construction is expected to start soon.  Then various construction companies have secured the final bid and already started construction of University.

The new and improved, renovated and upgraded Kebri Dahar Airport is aiming to attain “international status”. Upon meeting the international standards airport designation, the airport, with its technical experts and resources will alleviate the air travel needs that have been missing in the Somali region for many years. The Kebri Dahar project has been successfully accomplished and was inaugurated as of June 4, 2016. Although the Federal government’s assistance in this project has been beneficial in many ways, all the capital budgeted for this project comes from the Somali Regional government (DDSI). The bulk of the source of the budget is solely from the region’s revenue; specifically collected surplus tax income. This makes the Somali region a unique model region. The Kebri Dahar Airport officially began flights as of October 14, 2016.

Therefore, the Ethiopian-Somali region has successfully realized that the international standard airport at Kebri Dahar is by far one of the most substantial development projects for the region to date. This indicates a gargantuan leap and an increase in the carrying capacity of the Ethiopian-Somali region to implement mega projects on its own in terms of logistics, resources, and materials like heavy machineries and professional expertise (man power). Ironically, the engineers were young people from the region who graduated from the universities in the country.

A total of 560 million Birr budget is being spent on the construction of airport – that was from domestic resources i.e. a surplus revenue income of the Somali-inhabited region. The facility has 2.6 KM runway concrete asphalt, 60 meter width and modern standard terminal ground plus two others. The airport has the capacity to accommodate Boeing 737 airplanes according EBC (Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation).

Kebri Dahar Airport is the 3rd standard airport for the Somali region and 23rd in Ethiopia. The country has a plan to increase standard airports up to 30, according to the Growth and Transportation Plan II (GTP II), said Dr. Workneh Gebeyehu Transportation Minister.

Photo – Ahmed Deeq

Potential Transportation Hub

As we know, transportation is one of the key factors that drive a region’s economic growth especially when there is a reliable and efficient transportation system. This is mainly due to the fact that a well-developed transportation system provides adequate access to the region which in turn is a necessary condition for the efficient operation of manufacturing, retail, labor and housing markets, as stated in Dr. Mustapha Muktar’s, article: Impacts of Transportation on Economic Growth.

Transportation is a critical factor in the economic growth and development. It is a wealth creating industry on its own. Inadequate transportation limits a nation’s ability to utilize its natural resources, distribute foods and other finished goods, and integrate the manufacturing and agricultural sectors and supply education, medical and other infrastructural facilities. There is the need therefore, to maintain and improve the existing transportation system and build new infrastructures for increased national wealth. The national wealth is the Growth Domestic Product (GDP) which is an indicator for measuring the rate of economic growth.

Inauguration proceedings event

Kebri Dahar Airport was officially inaugurated on June 4, 2016, by a retinue of leaders including HE Dr. Debretsion Gebremichael, the Deputy Prime Minister, Coordinator of the Finance and Economic cluster and the Minister of Communication and Information Technology, H.E Abdi Mohamoud Omer, Ethiopian Somali Regional State President and H.E Dr. Workneh Gebeyehu, the Transportation Minister.

Photo – Inauguration of Kebri Dahar Airport [Credit:Ahmed Deeq Hussein]

At the inauguration ceremony, President Abdi briefed the participants how the region remained challenged in terms of peace and security in the past for many years. He noted that there were no good transportation facilities both on the ground and in the air; basic services including health care, education and water were ineffective and insufficient due to the overwhelming insecurity threats. He addressed—the region faced critical shortage of water in most of the region. Thus, when peace and security stabilized, the regional state made provision of water its 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th priority agenda so as to improve water access for the people of the region. The president mentioned that the region ensured reliable peace and security through region’s special force (Liyu Police) together with the national defense force.

HE Dr. Debretsion expressed his grateful thanks to the Ethiopian Somali Regional State and the people of the region. He acknowledged that the region has realized significant progress during recent years in road constructions, telecommunication, water and other basic services. He added the region has stabilized its security on its own through the creation of the special security force which in turn started to accelerate developmental projects that would ultimately contribute to the country’s Growth and Transformation Plan II.

Dr. Debretsion maintained that the people of Somali region will keep their airports secure and that the Ethiopian Airport Enterprise will also play its vital role in functionalizing and maintaining air transportation services. He also noted that the National Government will remain committed to providing any possible support.

On his part Dr. Workneh Gebeyehu, the Transportation Minister mentioned how transportation infrastructure is critical to the sustainment of economic growth, and how it is a pathway to improving the living standards of the regions’ residents. Therefore, he concluded by saying that the Somali Regional Government (DDSI) has become a poster child for improving its communication and transportation infrastructure by building or modernizing new and existing facilities. The region has become an exemplary model and a leading beacon for the rest of regions to copy. What the Somali region has been doing is in line with the country’s developmental policy, strategies and plans like (GTP II).

During the ceremony, Somali region’s president handed over airport certificate of ownership to the Ethiopian Airport Enterprise, likewise; Ethiopian Airport Enterprise awarded a Certificate of Appreciation to the President of the Ethiopian Somali region. Realizing the completion of Qabri Dahar Airport has been the result of the dedicated leader, HE Mr. President Abdi Omar and his administration, whose commitments, efforts, creativities, innovations and positive thinking consequently created an impressive development that will benefit millions for the foreseeable future.

Kebri Dahar Airport is a major legacy project for President Abdi Omar.


* Ahmed Deeq Hussein is an independent writer, based Jigjiga, the Somali Regional State (DDSI) can be reached via this email

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  • በደርግ ግዜ 14 ክፍለ ሀገራት ነበሩ እነዚህም
    1. ኤርትራ ክ/ሀገር …..ዋና ከተማ አሥመራ
    2. ትግራይ ክ/ሀገር…..ዋና ከተማ መቀሌ
    3. ቤጌምድር (ኋላ ደርግ በ1980 መዠመሪያ አካባቢ) ወደ ጎንደር ቀየረዉ…….ጎንደር
    4. ወሎ ክ/ሀገር…..ደሴ
    5. ጎጃም ክ/ሀገር….ባህር ዳር
    6. ወለጋ ክ/ሀገር….ነቀምቴ
    7. ሸዋ ክፍለ ሀገር……..ዋና ከተማ አዲስ አበባ
    8. ሀረርጌ ክፍለ ሀገር….. ዋና ከተማ ሀረር
    9. ሲዳሞ ክ/ሀገር …….ዋና ከተማ አዋሣ
    10. አርሲ ክ/ ሀገር……ዋና ከተማ አሰላ
    11. ባሌ ክ/ሀገር …..ዋና ከተማ ጎባ
    12. ጋሞጎፈ ክ/ሀገር…..ዋና ከተማ አርባ ምንጭ
    13. ከፋ ክ/ሀገር ……ዋና ከተማ ጅማ
    14. ኢሉባቦር ክ/ሀገር….ዋና ከተማ መቱ

    • ኤርትራ ተገነጠለች ሀገር ሆነች ብር ሣይሆን ናቅፋን አማርኛ ሣይሆን ትግረኛና አረብኛን ብሄራዊ ቋንቋ በማድረግ በራሷ ባንድራ አዲስ አፍሪካዊት ሀገር ሆነች
    • የቀሩት አስራ ሦስቱ በዘጠኝ ብሄርን መሠረት በደረገ ክልሎች ተዋቀሩ፡፡
    o በዚህ ዉስጥ 10 ቁጥር ላይ ከለዉ አርሲ ክፍለ ሀገር ሌሎቹ በሁለትና ከዚያ በላይ ክልሉች ተከፋፈሉ፡፡ ቀድመዉን በቆዳ ስፋታቸዉ ትልቅ ና በብሄር ስብጠራቸዉ ብዛሃነት የሚታይባቸዉ እንደ ሸዋ፣ሀረርጌ፣ ሲደሞ ክፍለ ሀገር የዚህ መገለጫዎች ናቸዉ፡፡
    ሸዋ ክፍለ ሀገር
    1. ኦሮሚያ፡- ሰሜን ሸዋ-ሰላሌ(ፊቼ)፣ምሥራቅ ሸዋ (አዳማ)፣ ደቡብ ምዕራብ ሸዋ (ወሊሶ)፣ምዕራብ ሸዋ (አምቦ)፣ፊንፊኔ ዙሪያ ዞን (ፊንፊኔ) ፣ አዲስ አበባ (ፊንፊኔ) እዘህ መሃል ነዉ ያለችዉ) ምዕራብ አርሲ (አርሲ ነጌሌ፣ሻሸመኔ ና ዙሪያዋ፣ ሻላ፣ሲራሮ)
    2. ደቡብ ብ/ቤ/ብ ክልል፡- ጉራጌ (ወልቅጤ)፣ ስልጤ (ወራቤ)፣ ሀዲያ (ሆሣዒና)፣ከምባታ ና አላባ
    3. አማራ፡- ሰሜን ሸዋ (ደብረ ብርሃን)
    4. አፋር፡ ዞን-3
    The current regions vs former provinces because of the nature of formation
    1. The state of Tigray: Mainly formed from former Tigray province+wolkayit awraja from Gonder+Raya azebo from wollo
    2. The state of Afar: Mainly formed from former Harargie and Wollo provinces, +pocket areas from Tigray and Shawa provinces because of nature of new formation of the state.
    3. The state of Amhara: Principally formed former Begemidir (Gonder),Gojam and wollo provinces + pocket area of shoa as it is seen above North shoa (Debera birhan).
    4. The state of Oromia: Mainly formed former Shawa, Harargeh, Arsi,Wollega, Iluabbor,Bale, Kafa (the current Jimma zone) provinces and also Sidamo (the current Gujji and Borena zone).
    5. The state of Somalie: Mainly formed from Hararge (Ogaden area), Bale (Elkare area) and small part of sidamo (Liban zone).
    6. The of Benishangul/Gumuz: the areas cut away from Wollega and Gojjam, The region is said to be formed by five native ethnic groups but the proportion of the sum of Oromo and Amhara close 60%
    7. The state of SNNRP: Principally formed from former Sidamo (Sidama, Wolaita and Gedeo zones ), Shawa (Gurage,Silte,kambata and Hadia zones alaba woreda), Gamogofa small parts of Kafa and Iluabbor provinces of the former regime.
    8. The state of Gambella: One sub-province of former Ilubabor kiflehager (mattu or Gore)
    9. The state of Harari: principally Harar town +18 rural kebeles Harar town is considered the second religious center of Islamic world next to Mekkah. Hararis are only 8% percent of the total population of Harari region but jointly administer with Oromos (around 70%)
    So where is the demand of Gondere about wolkait? If it is because of administration system Humera was under should be under new system, the formulae doesn’t work and groundless but it is possible to oppose ethnic federalism-it is this administration system that annexed to Tigray. Tigray also given land to Afar, Iluabbabor to Gambella so what? So it is good to be reasonable.
    Federalism in its general form, it is not bad, countries like America, Canada, Australia and Europe have adopted and proved its relevance. Even it is the pills now proposal on progress for the countries in crisis like Iraq, Syria etc. In Ethiopia also the constitution is well written but the real application still requires a lot of work and improvement. Federalism is not top down but bottom up, decentralization, taxonomy, identity, autonomy etc

  • የአዲሱ ካቢኔ ሹመት ና ምልከተዎቼ
    1. አዳዲስ ፊቶች፡- የጤና፣የመስኖናኤሌክትሪክ ና የባህል ሚንስትሮች 3ቱም ከዚህ በፊት የማይታወቁ አዳዲስ ፊቶች ናቸዉ፡፡ Indeed, reading from their profile they are also highly professional. This is good beginning but it may not always work. As to me the professional back ground is not only sufficient, the appointee must have proven track record in relation to his/her assignment. I said sometimes it may not work because some times less educated people with high commitment may perform better. Profession + commitment= leads to high productivity.

    2. የጠቅላይ ሚንስተር አማካሪ የሚበለዉ ነገር መፍረሱ ደስ ብሎኛል፡፡ ጠቅላይ ሚንስትሩ ምክር አያስፈለገዉም ሣይሆን ማነዉ የሚያመክረዉ የሚለዉ ነዉ? በተለይ የፖሊሲ ጥናትና ምርምር አካባቢ እጅግ ባጣም በሙያቸዉ የተካኑ በላሙያዎች ብመደቡ ቆንጆ ይሆናል፡፡This is the area that needs high level technocrat.

    3. ቆንጆ ሥነ ምግበር ያለቸዉ ሰዎች መጥተዋል፡፡ ለምሣሌ ሦስት ግዜ የሚንስተር ቦታ ማግኘት የቸለችዉና የአሁኗ የሴቶች ሚንስተር ተጠቃሽ ነዉ፡፡ ግን የሴቶች ተዋጽኦ አንሷል፡፡

    4. ፓርቲዎቹ በተለይም ኦህዲድ ና ደህዲን ፍጹም የመታደስ ዝንባሌዎችን አሣይቷል፡፡ በተለይ ኦህዲድ በክልልም ሆነ በፌድራል ደረጃ መሠረታዊ ለዉጥ ማድረጉ ይታያል፡፡ የትግራይ ነጻ አዉጭ ድርጅትም በሃያ አምስት አመቱ የዉጭ ጉዳይ ሚኒስተርነትን ለኦህዲድ ለቆ በኦህዲድ ተይዞ በነበረዉ የኢኮኖሚ ሚኒስተርነት ና ከአማራዉ የግብርነዉ ሚኒስተርነትን ተረክቧል፡፡ ብአድኖች እንደገነ ወደ ገቢዎች ሚኒስተርነት … ደግማዊ መላኩ ፋንታ? ከተማና ቤቶች ልማት ሚኒስተርነት እንደዚሁ Again I read from the Amhara group did not make so much change …I feel may be fluency in Amharic gave them confidence otherwise the state of Amhara is nothing better than the others. May even worth need reform than other states.

    5. ዉጭ ጉዳይ ሆነ የተበለዉን የኦህዲድ ሰዉ በቲቪ ያየሁት ባህር ዳር ላይ አንድ የፌድራል ፖሊስ ሰዉ ገድሎ እራሱን ከጠፋ በኅላ ነዉ፡፡ ሰዉየዉ የትራንስፖርት ሚኒስተር ከሆነ በኋላ በቴሌብዠን ብቅ ይላል፡፡ ይሁንና ግን ቦታዉን ያገኘዉ ኦሮሞ ወክሎ በመሆኑ የትራንስፖርት ሚንስትር በፊት የሠረባቸዉ መስሪያ ቤቶች እሱ ወክየዋለሁ የሚለዉ ህዝብ ከሥርዓቱ ጋር ለ25 ዓመታት የነበራዉ እልህ አስጨራሽ ትንቅንቅ ስናነጽር መገረመችን አልቀረም፡፡ … በአንድ ወቅት አባዱላም እንዲህ ዓይነት ችግር ገጥሞት እንደ ነበር የቅርብ ግዜ ትዝታችን ነዉ፡፡ አሁን ግን ያለምንም ማንገራገር ከኦህዲድ የአባዱላን ያህል ተቀባይነት ያለዉ ሰዉ ያለ አይመስለኝም፡፡ ስለዚህ እንደ ሀገር ዉጭ ጉዳይ ሚኒስተርነትህ እንደ ክልል እንደ ኦህዲድ ምክትል ልቀመንበርነትህ አኩሪ ሥራ ከሰራህ ሰዉ የሚለዉ ነገር ምንም አይደለም፡፡ Big prize for him personally, wow I never expected! Why he shy away from TV unlike his other compatriot.

    6. ሌላዉና አስገራሚ የአፋርና ሱማሌ የኮንትራክንና ትራንስተፖርት ሚንስተር መሆናቸዉ ብቻም ሣይሆን ወጣት መሆናቸዉ ለኔ ግርምትን ፈጥሮብኛል፡፡ በተለይ የአፋሯ ሴት መሃንዲስ …It is big breakthrough for both pastoralists. The other big surprise for me is less representation of Muslim in general Oromo Muslim in particular especially at federal level, which represents nearly 50% of the total population of the region and above 25% of the country. Why? I hope it wouldn’t create some sort of friction inside the Oromo sects and pray stick to I am Oromo first! Ideology and moving forward as African Giant!

    7. ስለ ተመጣጣኝ ዉክልና ህገ-መንግስቱ ምን ይላል? ሙስሊሞች በቁርዓን ይመራሉ፣ክርስትያኖች በመጽሃፍ ቁድስ ይመራሉ፡፡ እንደ ሀገር ዜጋ ደግሞ በህገ-መንግስት ይመራሉ፡፡ የጋራ ሰነዳችን ምን ይላል? ትልቅ ጥያቄ ነዉ፡፡

    Article 39 Rights of Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples
    1. Every Nation, Nationality and People in Ethiopia has an unconditional right to self-determination, including the right to secession.

    2. Every Nation, Nationality and People in Ethiopia has the right to speak, to write and to develop its own language; to express, to develop and to promote its culture; and to preserve its history.

    3. Every Nation, Nationality and People in Ethiopia has the right to a full measure of self-government which includes the right to establish institutions of government in the Territory that it inhabits and to equitable representation in state and Federal governments.

    In reference to Federal this can be applicable figure
    1. ኦሮሞ (Oromo)…..40%
    2. አማራ (Amhara)….22%
    3. ሱማሌ (Somalie)…. 7%
    4. ትግሬ (Tigiray)….. 6.5%
    5. ሲዳማ (Sidama)…..5%
    6. ጉራጌ(Gurage)……..2.5%
    7. ወላይታ (wolaita)…..2.3%
    8. ሀዲያ (Hadia) …..2%
    9. አፋር (Afar)……..2%
    10. ጋሞ (Gamo)……1.4%

    This is the top ten representing close to 90% of the total population of Ethiopia. The sum of the remaining is 10%. Demand for equitable representation both at federal and defense gives sense, if only above figures are respected. Refer article 39. Suppose if there are 30 political appointees needed 12 from Oromo 6 from Amhara 3 from Somalie 3 from Tigray 2 from sidama etc The same is true in Defense (የሀገር መከላከያ ሠራዊት) ግን ይህ ሆኗል ወይ? ደርግ ወደ መዉደቂያ አካባቢ ከሻዕቢያ፣ህወሃትና ኦነግ ጋር በለንደን ድርድር አድርጎ ከተመለሠ በኋላ አማራ ዶምነሽን አለ ተብሎ ስጠየቅ አማረ የሚባል ህዝብ የለም ብሎ ማብራርያ ስሰጥበት እንደነበራ እነስተዉሣለን፡፡
    አምሃራ ማለት ቃሉ የህብራይስጥ ስሆን ትርጉሙም በተራራ ላይ የሚኖር ህዝብ ማለት ነዉ ብሎ …ደጋኛዉ ኤርትራዊ፣ትግሬዉ፣ጎንደሬዉ፣ወሎየዉ፣ጎጃሜዉ፣ኦሮሞዉ፣ጉራጌዉ፣ሲዳማዉ፣ከፋዉ ወ.ዘ.ተ አማራ ነዉ? ብሎ በዚሁ ተራ ስዘራዝር ሠምተናል ምን ዓይነት ዶምነሽን? አሁንስ? በርግጥ ሀገር ቤት እያለ አንዴም ስለብሄሩ ያልተናገረዉ ሰዉዬ ሀራሬ ደርሶ የሀገሯን የፖለቲካ ትኩሣት አቅጣጫዉን በማያት ይመስላል፤ በአባቴ ኦሮሞ ነኝ በእናቴ መንዝ ነኝ ብሎ ቁጭ አለ፡፡ ስሜም መንግስቱ ኃይለማሪያም አያና ነዉ፡፡ በርግጥም ስሙ ትክክል ነዉ …ግን ሰዉየዉ አይደለም የሩህሩሁን ኦሮሞ ደም ሣይሆን የዲያብሎስ ደም ነዉ ያለዉ…በኢህአፓ፣መዕሶን፣መጫናቱላማ ና በኦነግ ስም ስንት የኦሮሞ ወጣቶችን ደም እንደ ፈሰሰ ቤት ይቁጠራዉ፡፡ ያም ሆነ ይህ የኔ ጥያቄ አሁንስ ዶሚኔሽኑ ቀርቷል ወይ?
    What every ethnic group entitled is article 61ማንኛዉም ብሄር በፌድረሽኑ ይወከላል፡፡ ዝርዝሩን ቀጥሎ ይመልከቱ
    Article 61
    Members of the House of the Federation
    1. The House of the Federation is composed of representatives of Nations, Nationalities and Peoples.

    2. Each Nation, Nationality and People shall be represented in the House of the Federation by at least one member. Each Nation or Nationality shall be represented by one additional representative for each one million of its population.

    3. Members of the House of the Federation shall be elected by the State Councils. The State Councils may themselves elect representatives to the House of the Federation, or they may hold elections to have the representatives elected by the people directly.

    Article 47
    Member States ofthe Federal Democratic Republic
    1. Member States of the Federal Democratic Republic of
    Ethiopia are the following:
    1) The State of Tigray
    2) The State of Afar
    3) The State of Amhara
    4) The State of Oromia
    5) The State of Somalie
    6) The State of BenshanguUGumuz
    7) The State of the Southern Nations, Nationalities and
    8) The State of the Gambela Peoples
    9) The State of the Harari People

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