The Horn of Africa comprises Ethiopia, Djibouti, Somalia, Kenya, Uganda, Eritrea, and Sudan. They belong to the Intergovernmental Agency on Development (IGAD), an interregional organization for development and the promotion of security and trade among member countries, created in 1986. Upon becoming independent in 1993, Eritrea joined IGAD, but declared its suspension of membership in 2007.
Djibouti, Eritrea, and Somalia control the northeastern gate of Africa and the important sea lane of the Red Sea. Hence, the strategic importance of the HOA to both the US and the West is high. The Horn of Africa countries have diverse populations, resources, and historical and geographic background. They also share certain similarities; are interdependent, and face the same destiny. In general, the Horn of Africa (HOA) is neither cohesive nor homogeneous. The region has earned a name for political instability, food insecurity, and proliferation of illegal firearms, an interwoven movement of refugees, internally displaced people, environmental degradation and war. Given a capable leadership, regional cooperation, and positive international attention, these unfortunate faces of the HOA can be altered and the problems are surmountable.
Donor government and agencies generally do not accord Africa adequate attention or resource allocation in spite of its mounting problems. Whenever there are budgetary cuts in donor countries such as the US, the continent will be most affected and resource allocation will sharply decline. The Horn of Africa received undue attention by the superpowers during the Cold War period. It did not benefit economically but remained a dumping ground for military hardware which has contributed to the sorry conditions currently unfolding in Somalia. Now, once again, the region is receiving US attention. The US is concerned about destabilizing forces of religious extremism and international terrorism assumed to train and operate in Somalia.
After the end of the Cold War, there emerged new regimes in Ethiopia and Somalia. A new nation, Eritrea, was born. The civil war between the North and South Sudan came to an end. These mostly positive situations in the region did not last