In the centuries-old Eritrean port of Massawa, the streets are so quiet that pedestrians’ footsteps can be heard echoing off the buildings in its crumbling old town. Decades of conflict, sanctions and isolationist policies have seen trade shrivel up, with the harbour still lined with bombed-out buildings from Eritrea’s war of independence from Ethiopia, achieved in 1993. But the cranes, berths and bars of Massawa are primed to bustle again after the Horn of Africa neighbours declared peace earlier this month, setting the stage for goods from landlocked Ethiopia to once again pass through this key port on the Red Sea. As hotels eye renovations and new flights and trade routes are announced, Eritreans hope the newfound peace will breathe life back into the economy of one of the world’s most isolated nations. “No people, no customers, no nothing,” said Yohannis Primo Gebremeskel, owner of the Grand Dahlak Hotel. Despite being the fanciest accommodation in town, Yohannis said he gets few visitors and an entire 120-room wing of his hotel sits unused. “It’s good that we are together (again),” he said, after an extraordinary peace process in a region suffering numerous intractable conflicts. “For Ethiopia and also Eritrea, it is… Read full this story
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