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Somalia, Ethiopia agree to trade fish for miraa

Somalia has agreed on a barter trade deal with Ethiopia that enables them to export fish to their neighbours in exchange for Khat (miraa).

The deal is part of a landmark bilateral agreement signed by the leaders of these two countries on Monday, June 21, 2021.

The agreement appears to be part of a handshake between the neighbouring countries that have not been seeing eye to eye on several diplomatic matters for the past decade.

To kick start the process, Somalia has already transported to Ethiopia a consignment of 5,000 tonnes of fish.

Experts have said the new pact, other than boosting bilateral trade relations between the two countries, will also spur development in the Horn of Africa by creating employment opportunities.

The development comes even as Somalia remains adamant about the ban it imposed on Kenya regarding the khat business between the two countries.

Somalia’s government in March of 2020 banned Kenyan flights transporting khat, popularly known as miraa, into the country, attributing the decision as part of its Covid-19 containment measures.

Defending the move, authorities in Somalia said the consumption of miraa hinders social distancing among its users since it is often used for recreation and socialization purposes.

Before the ban, Kenya used to transport up to 50 tonnes of miraa to Somalia on daily basis valued at 269.5 million.

However, five months later in August 2020, Somalia authorities presented a set of stringent conditions which they insisted had to be met before allowing Kenya to resume miraa exportation into the country.

Miraa is consumed by chewing the plant’s leaves. The plant is said to have euphoric and stimulating effects on its users.

It is also legally used for traditional purposes in some countries in East Africa such as Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, and Djibouti, plus some Middle East countries such as Yemen and Eritrea.