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The Recent Political Situation in Ethiopia and Rapprochement with Eritrea

  • African Governance and Development Institute


The aim of this article is designed to provide an overview of the historical and contemporary relations between Ethiopia and Eritrea as well as to examine the recent geopolitical situation and the perception of local people in Ethiopia. This paper is mainly based on secondary data analysis of the available secondary information and news reports, online articles, academic literature, interviews and discussions. The war between Ethiopia and Eritrea brought political, economic and social security threats to the Horn of Africa. Although the economy in Ethiopia is at the developing stage, recent protests have shaken the country to its core. Since 2015, anti-government protests have been triggered over freedom of the press, land rights, under-represented seats in the coalition parties, and horizontal inequality in economic, political and social affairs among ethnic groups across the country. In this study, it is established that the unrestrained political circumstance of the current regime has created dissension and violence among the public, and thus led to escalating political, economic and security crises in the country. If this issue is not rectified quickly, the peace in the country may be jeopardised. Another issue is that although Ethiopia-Eritrea rapprochement is appreciated, the agreement between the two leaders and their foreign policy orientation is still unclear.
European Xtramile Centre of African Studies
EXCAS Working Paper
The Recent Political Situation in Ethiopia and Rapprochement with
Forthcoming: African Security Review
Amsalu K. Addis
School of Economics and Management Fuzhou University,
Fuzhou, China, P.O.Box: 2 Xueyuan Road, Minhou,
Fujian, Fuzhou,350116, CN
E-mail: ,
Tel: +86 152 8007 6673
Simplice Asongu
African Governance and Development Institute,
P.O. Box 8413, Yaoundé, Cameroon
Tel: +32473613172
Zhu Zuping
School of Economics and Management,
Fuzhou University, Fuzhou, China
Tel: +86-137 0697 6655
Hailu Kendie Addis
Amhara Regional Agricultural Research Institute,
Bahir Dar Ethiopia
Tel: +251-918 711082
Eshetu Shifaw
Wollo University, Department of Geography and Environmental Studies,
Wollo Ethiopia
Tel: +251-912777193
This working paper also appears in the Development Bank of Nigeria Working Paper Series.
2020 European Xtramile Centre of African Studies WP/20/036
Research Department
The Recent Political Situation in Ethiopia and Rapprochement with Eritrea
Amsalu K. Addis, Simplice Asongu, Zhu Zuping, Hailu Kendie Addis & Eshetu Shifaw
January 2020
The aim of this article is designed to provide an overview of the historical and contemporary
relations between Ethiopia and Eritrea as well as to examine the recent geopolitical situation
and the perception of local people in Ethiopia. This paper is mainly based on secondary data
analysis of the available secondary information and news reports, online articles, academic
literature, interviews and discussions. The war between Ethiopia and Eritrea brought political,
economic and social security threats to the Horn of Africa. Although the economy in Ethiopia
is at the developing stage, recent protests have shaken the country to its core. Since 2015,
anti-government protests have been triggered over freedom of the press, land rights, under-
represented seats in the coalition parties, and horizontal inequality in economic, political and
social affairs among ethnic groups across the country. In this study, it is established that the
unrestrained political circumstance of the current regime has created dissension and violence
among the public, and thus led to escalating political, economic and security crises in the
country. If this issue is not rectified quickly, the peace in the country may be jeopardised.
Another issue is that although Ethiopia-Eritrea rapprochement is appreciated, the agreement
between the two leaders and their foreign policy orientation is still unclear.
Keywords: Ethiopia, Eritrea, Protest, Amhara, Oromo, State of emergency, EPRDF
Guerrilla movement, friendship and peace statement
Ethiopia and Eritrea are located in the East African region known as the Horn of Africa. The
Horn of Africa is composed of Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, South
Sudan, and Uganda. Eritrea is bordered to the south by Ethiopia, Djibouti to the east, Sudan
to the west and to the northeast and east by the Red Sea coastline. Eritrea shares a wider
border with Ethiopia. Historically, various parts of Eritrea were ruled by indigenous and
foreign powers including the British, Egyptians, Italians and Ottomans.
The opening of the Suez Canal in 1969 increased the presence of Italians in the horn
of Africa. Eritrea was officially recognised as an Italian colony through the Wuchale (Uccialli)
Treaty and the Addis Ababa Treaty at the time of Emperor Menelik II in May 1889. In 1941,
the British occupied Eritrea. In 1950, the United Nations (U.N.) played a critical rolein
bestowing Eritreans the right to self-determination by providing a choice for independence,
separation, or supported union with Ethiopia and endorsed Eritrea to become a federation
with Ethiopia.
Thus, in 1962, Emperor Haile Selassie officially ceased the federation and
annexed Eritrea to be the 14thprovince of Ethiopia.1
After 30 years, the Ethiopian Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and the
Eritrean People's Liberation Front (EPLF), now the ruling Eritrean Party, fought side by side
in the same year, overthrowing the Ethiopian Mengistu regime.
Eritreans finally became
independent and established their own country in 1993.
In Julyof 1993, which is after the
Eritrean independence referendum, the two countries signed the Treaty of Friendship and
Cooperation. Accordingly, Ethiopia enjoys Assab port duty-free and Eritreans treated equally
as Ethiopian citizens within Ethiopia.
The two leading insurgent groups, the TPLF and the
EPLF, that now govern in Addis Ababa and Asmara respectively, were primarily
opportunistic and tactical friends.
Ethiopia and Eritrea were separated peacefully but they ignored the clear border
For over a century during the Ethiopian Empire and the Italian colonial period,
the two countries continued to use the ambiguous borders.
The borders of the two sides were
not clearly divided.
The small scale clashes between the Ethiopian and Eritrean police patrols
near Badme triggered war and such minor incidents brought much more serious actions.
early 1998, the border dispute tension increased and the two countries broke diplomatic
relations. From May 1998 to June 2000, the ambiguous border led to a dispute between the
two sides. In addition to the ambiguous border, political trajectories, economic
misunderstanding, such as the commencement of an independent Eritrean currency, Nakfa in
1997, the illegal trade involvement of Eritreans, which led to a bitter antagonism are among
other reasons for the war break.5The border war that erupted between the two countries cost
both countries billions of US dollars in Agriculture and infrastructure damage, lost civilians,
and investment opportunities. Simultaneously, the trade between them and the aviation
services of the two countries were also stopped.
Both parties signed an Agreement on the Cessation of Hostilities. To end a violent
conflict between them, a comprehensive peace accord, the ‘Algiers Peace Agreement’ was
signed in Algiers on the 12th of December 2000. The continuation of active hostilities
between both parties was averted due to the peace agreement. However, in terms of ushering
a lasting peace between Ethiopia and Eritrea, the peace agreement has remained ineffective
and could not hamper the unfolding war. Moreover, the peace agreement prevailed in the de
facto ‘no war no peace’ situation, which is no less harmful than an active hostility.5 After
suffering a very large number of casualties and spending millions of dollars on the war, the
final boundary decision has only changed a very small area.4
According to scholars, even as Eritrea acknowledged a town called Badme prior to
May 1998, it was under Ethiopian administration.
However, Eritrea occupied all the
controversial land (Badme) and entered the hinterland of Ethiopia.
In 2002, the Ethiopian-
Eritrean Boundary Commission (EEBC), approved by the United Nations Security Council,
decided that Badme, the main town in the northern core of the war conflict, was to be placed
under Eritrea.
Although the peace agreement was endorsed and the EEBC took its final
decision, both countries could not escape from the no war no peace policy andthey used all
means at their disposal to hamper the normalisation of relations.
However, as of June 2018, the new Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali (PhD)
(Henceforth Abiy) fully accepted the peace agreement and it seems the two nations are re-
approached. The question is whether their allies are firm or tactical and whether the
reconciliation is analysed or just a hasty move still not known. Although Abiy
unconditionally accepted the Algiers agreement and his administration claims it is for good,
many people ask whether this decision is based on established conditions and
The dispute over the border of Ethio-Eritrea is over a decade old. Abiy took office in
April 2018 and is committed to easing tensions with Eritrea and working with the Eritrean
government to resolve the no war no peace situation between the two countries.4Although the
Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki has not expressed his views on this matter, the move by the
Ethiopian prime minister was somewhat unexpected. Nevertheless, whether there is a
majority of public support from the two nations to Abiy’s move is still in question. This study
discovered from discussions and interviews with Ethiopian scholars that several Eritreans,
even those who are against with the present autocratic regime - President Isaias, still see
Ethiopia as a potential menace to Eritrea, not to mention the concern and complaints of many
Ethiopians at the border and its proximity as well as the majority of Tigray people towards
Aby’s action.
In early June of 2019, the Executive Committee of the long-ruling party, the
Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), issued a statement saying that
Ethiopia will fully accept and implement the Algiers Agreement signed with Eritrea and
immediately withdraw its troops from Badme and leave from the hinterland of Eritrea.
relationship between the two countries has been further improved. According to observers,
unlike his predecessors, Abiy seemed committed to fulfilling his inaugural pledge in his first
year. Woldemariam noted, ‘PM Abiy has a more formidable political base than his
According to Asmara News on the 8th of July 2018, Abiy stated in the Eritrean capital
of Asmara that Ethiopia and Eritrea have agreed to resume aviation services, open embassies,
and Eritrea allows Ethiopia, a landlocked country, to use the Eritrean port facilities for
foreign trade.4 It is widely believed that the decision to resume aviation services and port use
and the reopening of embassies and resending diplomatic missions in each other’s country
will play a critical role in boosting the overall economic and political relationship and the
trade of both countries as well as the Horn of Africa. However, as yet there is no apparent
statement made on the re-establishment of diplomatic, economic, social, and trade ties
between the two governments.
According to Reuters on the 11th of September 2018, both leaders visited their shared
boarders and celebrated the Ethiopian New Year together. Furthermore, this media listed on
its website that on the 9th of July 2018, both countries signed a friendship and joint peace
statement in Asmara, declaring the end of hostilities between them and normalising relations.
This agreement assumed to promote national unity and regional stability and reshape the
political landscape in the Horn of Africa.
Ethiopia’s political appearances
Since 2015, Ethiopia has been encountering rising vibrant political protests. Although there
were various protests in the country, this time, the political atmosphere of Ethiopia suddenly
changed into that of turmoil. Growing public dissatisfaction brings unprecedented Amhara,
Gambella and Oromo protests.
According to Záhořík noted among the major causes of the
destabilisation of the political and economic atmosphere in Ethiopia, high internal
displacement in several regions, social inequality, regional discrepancies, the expansion of
Addis Ababa to the nearby region, and ethnic-based politics can be mentioned.
Thus, the
frequencies of protests were increasingly posing risks to Ethiopia’s economic sustainability
and the ruling government’s dream of long-term stability. Nearly every day comes news of a
clash between security services and protesters as well as internal displacement due to inter-
communal conflict which often results in casualties.
Consequently, the ruling government decided to impose and declare a State of
Emergency (SoE)
twice. On the 9th of October 2016, the first SoE was declared for six
months, and the second SoE was immediately proclaimed one day after the unexpected
resignation of the former Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, on the 15th of
February 2018, and lasted three months.
Until the day this SoE was lifted, Ethiopia followed
the ‘command post’.
Clearly, the relevant state organs have the right to decide and declare the
implementation of the SoE in certain areas or in the whole country for a temporary period
depending on the situation. However, in the case of Ethiopia, many people ask whether the
SoE was necessary. Several opposition figures and rights groups believe that the declaration
was just a protection for the long-ruling party, the EPRDF, arising from the aggression of the
national revolutions, to quell multiple anti-government protests, to halt freedom of the press
and speech and to establish an expediential environment for jailing dozens of innocent people,
activists, journalists and members of coalition and opposition political parties.
Several news reports and the Association for Human Rights in Ethiopia on the 9th of
March2018 claimed that many innocent civilians and peaceful protesters were killed and
thousands imprisoned during the SoE.22 Correspondingly, the situation also led to the death
of over 700 innocent citizens and imprisonment of thousands of locals, journalists, and
individuals in opposition figures as well as a few of the coalition party members.
the country is an influential member of both the UN Security Council and the UN Human
Rights Council, the government is often accused of stifling dissent, imprisoning innocent
civilians, journalists, activists, religious fathers, and officials regardless of their immunity as
members of the regional administrative council.22
This study finds out that declaring the SoE impacted the country negatively with
respect to various aspects including trade, tourism and investment incomes. Some investors in
and around Addis Ababa marked that although national and international guarantee were
noted in Ethiopia’s investment proclamation, potential investors perceived that the current
political situation of the country was unstable and economically unsuitable to invest their
capital. Some of them are even downsizing their investment and leaving the country due to
unstable political situations. Moreover, due to the declaration of subsequent SoEs, Ethiopia
lost several investors as well as international aid. Similarly, non-governmental organisations
(NGOs) and many diplomats felt threatened. Several foreign-owned business projects were
attacked by the aggressive protesters. For instance, Shandong Dong, the first donkey abattoir
company in the country, Dangote Cement Plc in the Oromia region and Karuturi Global Agro
Products Plc in the Gambella region are among the victims.
The imposed SoE tarnished
Ethiopia’s image as one of Africa’s fastest-growing economies.
Furthermore, the declaration of SoE also shades the diplomatic activity and security.
As Addis Ababa is the seat of hundreds of embassies, diplomat offices, headquarters, and
export-oriented foreign-owned organisation offices,
the decree of SoE in Ethiopia severely
affects their daily activities. For instance, ‘Internet has been blocked, prohibited to use social
media, freedom of press seized, prohibited to watch and listen to satellite television and
radios, diplomats are not allowed to travel 40 kilometres outside the capital, Addis Ababa,
without official permission, and others’.
Consequently, those who transgress the new
measure of the SoE also ‘risks jail for three to five years’.26
Incidentally, Ethiopias political crisis was not just about elites scrambling for a larger
piece of the pie but also about the lack of power and economic dispensation between
coalitions of four ethnic parties. To illustrate, ‘The EPRDF is a coalition of four ethnic parties
(from the main regions: Oromia, Amhara, Tigray, and SNNPR) dominated by Prime Minister
Meles Zenawi’s Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF)’.
According to certain studies,
‘The largest the Oromo are officially 34.5% of the population. They are followed by the
Amhara (26.9%) and Somali (6.2%). The Tigray people are the fourth largest minority, with
just 6.1% of the population’.
In 1989, although the TPLF/EPRDF formed a coalition of
ethnically-based organizations, to give Ethiopia a wide political scope and legitimacy, in
reality, there are politically and economically segregated regions.
For instance, Afar,
Benishangul-Gumuz, Gambella, and Somali regions are politically administered by EPRDF’s
sister parties and have not much political power as the coalition of four ethnic
Furthermore, all four coalitions are supposed to be equally represented in the ranks
of the party leadership but in reality, TPLF dominates all.28 Besides, these four coalitions
claim to represent their ethnic communities, but except TPLF that steered the EPRDF other
three coalitions, especially, the Oromo Peoples Democratic Organization (OPDO) and the
Southern Ethiopian Peoples Democratic Front (SEPDF),have been considered as ‘weak and
subservient components of the EPRDF’.
Accordingly, the sour relationship among the EPRDF members as well as sister
parties lies in disproportionate and horizontal inequality in economic, political and social
matters, which is the most dangerous issue for the country.18 Several studies in the conflict
literature argue that internal political instability in many countries has been led by economic
inequality, disproportionate shares of public resources and political powers, political
oppression, poverty instability, and hegemony.
As political analysts argue, the ruling party
was largely made up of minority Tigrayans, which is the northernmost of the nine ethnically-
based regions in the country.
Similarly, according to the scholars’ perceptions and as ofthe
16th of January 2017, the Addis Standard posted on its blog that the civilians’ anger was
intensified because of corruption in the political system and disproportionate benefits of the
country’s economy that has gone primarily to a minority ethnic group, Tigray, compared to
other regions.
Accordingly, the state of forcible subjugation, land-grabbing approaches, unfair
economic shares between ethnic groups, and under-represented seats in the coalition parties
in the country’s corridor of power triggered the protesters into aggression and brought
unprecedented anti-government squawking and rebellions across Ethiopia’s two largest
ethnic groups (Amhara and Oromo).This study examined the reasons and based on sources
from several local societies that the anti-government squawking was because the Amhara and
Oromo parties in the EPRDF demanded the end of TPLF’s 21 years dominance in economic
and political systems.
Following restless and flared anti-government protests, releasing the political
prisoners and state prosecutors were initiated by the EPRDF party in its 'deep reform' at the
time of Desalegn. To 'widen democratic space' Desalegn had announced plans to drop
charges against political prisoners and state prosecutors. However, by the time it was unclear
when, how many, and under what conditions prisoners will be released.
It is not new for the
EPRDF to give vague statements and broken promises, especially on the human rights issue,
open political space, political prisoners, election, and state prosecutors since toppling the
Derg dictatorship in 1991.
Since the fall of the Derg in 1991, the TPLF as leader and organiser of the EPRDF
has dominated Ethiopian politics.
Still after over 20 years on power, irrespective of its
ostensible claim that it is under the umbrella of the EPRDF, people of the same origin
monopolistically have held the position of advantage. Likewise, the whole country had been
cash cowed by one specific racial group, the TPLF, while the majority is being treated as
impediments. The work of McCracken offers some thoughtful insights and explicitly
mentions, 'the TPLF is secretly attempting to loot Ethiopia'.
He added, the TPLF/EPRDF
has diverted large quantities of government resources and international aid to Tigray.
the minorities Tigreans are beneficiaries through economic, social and political means since
TPLF took control of both the regional and national governments.
One of the reasons,
according to scholars, is the establishment of the Endowment Fund for the Rehabilitation of
Tigray (EFFORT), which has flooded Tigray with industries.30 EFFORT is a reliable source
of economic, social and political profit company to the region,41 which no government organs
have obtained the right to audit so far.
Generally, the TPLF dominated the EPRDF’s
despotic nature based on divide and rule.
Intelligibly, when political and economic power is
unequally held, human capital accumulation is likely to be suboptimal since groups cannot
make credible, long-term commitments to the elites.
Since Abiy, one of the youngest leaders in Africa, became a prime minister, he has
launched a wide programme of social integrity, economic and political reforms and carried
out an astonishing turnaround in a manner completely different from that of former prime
ministers,23 at least in the first half-year of his office.23
In the first few months, Abiy delivered a powerful inaugural speech in those cities
where the protests were fiercer. He apologised for the killings of peaceful demonstrators that
happened before he came to power and preached unity and ‘Ethiopianism,’ which has never
been adopted by the Ethiopian government in modern times. The prime minister also stunned
Ethiopians describing the measures he would implement regarding the economic privatisation
of sizeable state-owned enterprises, the peace deal with Eritrea, discussing the Grand
Renaissance Dam Project with Egypt’s government and addressing various political
problems.Error! Bookmark not defined.
Generally speaking, in his first half-year in power, he lifted the SoE, made a peace
deal with Eritrea and initiated an earnest and honest dialogue with opposition parties.
Moreover, by intensifying Desalegn’s initiative Abiy accelerated the release of many
conscious politicians and journalists who had been languishing in prison cells across the
country for more than six years.
Notably, some of the journalists, politicians and individual
prisoners who were arrested by the ruling party and denounced as terrorists have been
released recently.45 Among them were Andualem Arage, the Vice President and Press
Secretary of Unity for Democracy and Justice Party, and Eskinidr Nega, a prominent
journalist, who had been jailed and were sentenced to life on terrorism charges since 2011.
Similarly, among several hundred opposition parties that have been released under
Desalegn’s regime, Bekele Gerba, the vice head of the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC),
and Professor Merera Gudina, scholar and politician (chairman of the OFC) can be mentioned.
Would Abiy continue in the path of change in Ethiopia? Will he keep the promises
which he made in his inaugural? Can he resist the internal political and ideological conflict
among the four coalition parties? Can his administration curb the current religious, economic,
and political instability in the country that is mostly initiated by the Oromo extremist? What
would be the upshot of establishing an ally with Eritrea? Had it been examined whether
Ethiopians and Eritreans are happy about the unclear relations and secret agreements between
the two leaders? Had his administration realised when establishing an ally with Eritrea that it
would affect Djibouti’s economy on the bases of port income? Clearly, Ethiopia is a stable
port customer with Djibouti.
The Ethio-Eritrea rapprochement
The diplomatic relations between Ethiopia and Eritrea is arguably very complicated and
problematic but important for the source of regional political, economic and social stability in
the Horn of Africa.5 Eritrea has had volatile, violent, confrontational, problematic and hostile
relations both in neighbouring countries and international arenas.
Eritrea's confrontation and
conflict with Ethiopia, Sudan and Djibouti can be mentioned in the neighbouring countries.
The reasons might be territorial, political and economic conflicts.
The elevation of the tactical and opportunistic relations between TPLF and EPLF
resulted in the Derg regime.
Both parties had their own goals. The EPLF struggles for
Eritreans and TPLF struggles for Tigrayans independence from Ethiopia, but later [TPLF]
framed its war in the wider contexts of democratic Ethiopia.
In April 1993, Eritreans voted overwhelmingly for independence and the
TPLF/EPRDF welcomed Eritrean independence sympathetically.7 Subsequently, for several
years Meles Zenawi and Afeworki, the cousins,7 'seemed to be prepared to put past conflicts
behind them and cooperate on a broad range of economic and diplomatic issues'.
after the bloody war over border boundaries started their bilateral relations had degenerated
and characterised by a no war no peace condition. Subsequently, each side has hosted and
supported opposition parties and rebel movements. For instance, Asmara provided support to
the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) and the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) while
Addis Ababa provided material support to the Eritrea opposition parties.
But then a year before his unexpected resignation Desalegn brings the idea of
diplomatic relations. Woldemariam offers some thoughtful insights and articulated that
although Desalegn shows a signal to shift the country's diplomatic relations with Eritrea by
developing a 'new policy' in order to create a 'sustainable peace', his goal was judged as to
'further isolating Eritrea'.
However, after Abiy came to office although there were many
unclear issues, the relations with Eritrea commenced. After three days of fully accepting and
implementing the Algiers Agreement, Abiy made a historical visit to Eritrea on the8th of July
2018.Error! Bookmark not defined.It was a major event attracting more attention at the
national and international levels. Similarly, the issues between them have been alarming to
the neighbouring countries. Nevertheless, the return of peace, which has brought the two
countries to work together, allowed them to declare an end to their war and acknowledge the
Algiers agreement.
This will indeed make a significant improvement to the social, cultural,
political and economic relationships in the Horn of Africa.
Nevertheless, the deep-rooted
mistrust between Ethiopia and Eritrea escorted confusion on what kind of foreign policy
orientation they have towards each other and as many believe, this issue is now shelved but
not yet resolved.
At the time of his visit to Eritrea, Abiy stressed that the controversy over the border
dispute had led to the collapse of both countries. The effects of the war were drastic for the
entire region and led to several thousands of civilian displacements and it is estimated that
over 100 000 people were killed.
It is widely believed that the beginning of reconciliation
will bring forth greater opportunities for both countries. The two leaders signed a
memorandum of agreement on the9th of July 2018 and believed that this agreement would
further strengthen their trade and economic ties. Ethiopia and Eritrea are engaged in
reconciliation, after two decades in solitary confinement and both nations have been
embarking on a series of activities to establish long-term relationships ranging from
telephone calls to the restarting of Ethiopian flights to Eritrea.
The Horn of Africa has been the subject of a significant wave of regional war for long
and the Ethio-Eritrean war was among them. However, the recent peace and reconciliation of
the two countries have presented new hope and has been appreciated by several scholars and
leaders of the world.
Particularly, the Ethio-Eritrean war broke out regarding the border
dispute concerning Badme. According to Aljazeera’s Awol K. Allo, the cost of the war that
entailed military resources for both countries was in several billion US dollars. Moreover, the
war had devastating effects on natural resources, agricultural products, the ecosystem, and
investment attractions which negatively affected the social, political and economic activities
on both sides.
Before the war, the two countries’ bilateral trade agreements had enabled them to join
the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), and both countries are the
member states of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD). Accordingly,
both countries were involved in each other’s trade and assistance but after the war broke out,
there was an upheaval and the crisis had been rising since then. Although trade exchange
between them continued after the war broke out, it used to take place via a third party and
commodities were extremely expensive for both countries.
Nevertheless, after the recent peace agreement, it is believed that there will be
economic growth and trade development, diplomatic ties, people-to-people and government-
to-government relations will be strengthened in the Horn of Africa. Consequently, the
situation will increase investment inflow and job opportunities, enhance business and capital
goods, improve technology transfer and human resources, raise diaspora inflow and minimise
refugee outflow. While the nature of the trade agreement between the two countries is not
known at the moment, it is possible to predict that both countries’ economic and trade
connections will deepen and strengthen.
For over two decades, peace and reconciliation between the two countries were not
easy to achieve, and the realisation of the Algiers Agreement had been a major issue.
Although the border demarcation and no war no peace condition had been a puzzle over a
decade, without third-party intervention the declaration of peace has been made by both
countries’ governments.
Security and economic challenges
The political system in Ethiopia has undergone significant changes since 2015. It is
remembered that the country was in great danger of collapse and disintegration. It was said
that the ruling party had been composed of four national organisations, but in practice, TPLF
had the strongest influence over others and held several high political positions.
According to many people, Abiy was the first emerging leader of the Oromo ethnic
group. Suspicions among members of the party have become more and more apparent, and
rumours are swirling that the Oromo Democratic Party (ODP) is taking over the higher
political authorities as TPLF did before. It seems this time is for the Oromo ethnic group.
The upcoming national elections may play a significant role in mobilising the
necessary public support for the changes and reforms that Abiy has proposed, but it is
unlikely that a successful election will take place without a consensus among the coalition
parties, between opposition parties and a peaceful environment in the country. This is
because in Ethiopian politics, especially since the EPRDF took power, elections have been
In light of these developments and other reasons discussed in this study, the
upcoming national election is a perception that might convey instabilities, which may
threaten the peace in the country. Would Abiy's administration resolve ethnic tensions and
conflicts and bring a peaceful environment before the planned election? It is difficult to
answer the question of whether the national elections will take place at the scheduled time.
Economic crisis
While Ethiopia can still be at the forefront of GDP from Africa, growth slipped to 8%in 2018
and 2019. Despite the government’s tendency to shrink the government-led economic model,
the country continued to look at European and Western countries for credit and technical
assistance, as well as at China’s financial, technical assistance, and additional investment.
Along with this, the government has begun to transition to the private sector’s
economic management system and is planning to privatise the telecom and logistics sector in
the first round. The government says it will do the work in different phases, and the first plan
is said to be prioritising the improvement of the legal framework and job creation.
Addressing unemployment is a serious problem for Ethiopia to solve since the rate is
By taking lessons from the role of youth (Qeerros and Fano),
who had taken over
the past political system through anti-government protests, Abay said his administration is
focusing its efforts on employment-generating projects and developing major cities. This is
taken as a reference to the recent Financial Times newspaper saying that if we can change
Addis Ababa, we can change Ethiopia.
However, in order to reduce the income inequality
prevailing in Ethiopia and to promote sustainable development, the change must start from
the rural areas of the country where 80% of the population are engaged in agriculture and
agriculture is the foundation of the country's economy.24Besides, concerning employment-
generating projects, there is no single project that has been commenced since Abiy has come
to power. This is a headache to Abiy and his administration.
Although Abiy has done many reforms, the continuation of these reforms is still in
question, while the paths to success are vague and narrow. Thus, his administration should
strive to create a democratic and stable political system centred on diversity in his second
year of power. It is expected that his administration has to work along with the coalition to
have a common vision by restructuring and strengthening the EPRDF or the recent
'Prosperity Party,' so that Abiy’s reform journey will be successful. It is also an assignment
that is expected from his administration to rectify the economic crisis by designing a clear
and strong economic road map.
Above all, Abiy and his administration are expected to face serious criticism for the
deteriorating of the economic, social and security situations. Furthermore, Abiy is expected to
acknowledge that the challenges facing the country are beyond the power of one leader and
this will enable the country to use the assistance of skilled countries. Many participants in the
discussion believe that Abiy and his administration could not handle the Oromo ethnic
nationalists, extremists and the OLF by providing the reason that the army of OLF still did
not disarm.14 The participants in the discussion ask a question to claim their observation is
accurate, where were Abiy and his administration when several banks were robbed in
Oromiaregional state?14 On top of the political instability in the country burglarizing private
and governmental properties,(discussed below)is a total economic disaster.
Security crisis
Last year alone, more than three million people were displaced by ethnic violence, making
Ethiopia one of the most internally displaced countries in the world, and conflicts between
states continue to escalate.
The worst recession has occurred in the Guji Oromia region and
the Gedeo southern region of Ethiopia, where more than one million people have been
displaced, in addition to the destruction of many people’s property. Moreover, according to
several observers Amhara people have been displaced, killed and harassed from all corners of
the country.
It is difficult to deny that Abiy’s actions against the senior leadership and national
security officials on the one hand have created significant public spillovers and, on the other,
increased security vulnerability. In addition to this, it is said that the TPLF and some of the
Tigray people feel a great sense of isolation and violence, especially on the agreement that
Abiy made with Afeworki which provoked anger. Tigray region, the northern part of Ethiopia,
is one of the regions in the country that straddles the border with Eritrea. Thus, the fear of
eruption of war between Tigray and Eritrea is in the mind of many. According to scholars
initially, the TPLF, which is currently ruling the Tigray region, had the intention of
expanding the Tigray borders in Ethiopia so as to establish the 'Republic of Greater Tigray'
according to the 1976 manifesto.
This may be among the reasons that most of the TPLF and
Tigrayansdo not agree with Abiy unconditionally accepting an agreement with Eritrea.
By contrast, the prime minister has been involved in setting up several committees,
including National Reconciliation Commissions and Ministry of Peace to handle regional,
group or ethnical problems. In order to solve the attendant problems once and for all, the
government must strengthen institutions beyond the temporary solution, and especially in
establishing the newly established Ministry of Peace to work towards an inclusive national
reconciliation in the community. Abiy's assertion on the establishment of a border and
identity commission was fiercely opposed by some politicians, extremists, scholars, observers,
and even a civil society group.
The ownership of Addis Ababa is currently another headache that Abiy is facing,
which the Oromo extremists advocate. Accordingly, the Oromo ethnic nationalists and some
of the ODP members claim that Ethiopia’s capital is a part of the Oromia regional state. This
issue escorts an ideal conflict and separation among the coalition parties mainly the Amhara
Democratic Party (ADP) and ODP and causes the emergency of Addis Ababa City Advocacy
group named ‘Baladera Council, where Eskender Nega is the leader.
Incidentally, it is revealed that Orthodox followers and Orthodox churches in the
Oromia and Somali regional states are being attacked by ethnic extremists. Since 2015 as
several local people mention more than 10 Orthodox churches and several mosques have
been burned to ash. By the time this data was compiled, two Orthodox churches had been
burned in the eastern and western Hararge of the Oromia regional state, and the Orthodox
followers and church fathers were known to have led to death, persecution, beatings, and
forced conversion. Thus, political, economic, social, and cultural security even freedom of
religion in Ethiopia is at a greater risk.
Analysis and discussion
This study analysed that the hope of the Ethiopian political renaissance is in danger because
of the power struggle among the Oromo political elites, ethnic nationalists, extremists, and
ethnical based political systems. These situations led to internal displacements, ethnic
conflicts, social, political and economic instability in the country. The unreliable relations
among members of the coalition party, a mass killing tragedy that happened on the high
delegates of Amhara regional state and the non-cooperative movement of TPLF to Abiy’s
administration are additional issues for the current situation in the country. Furthermore, the
action of the extremists and ethnic nationalists group has been shrouded Abiy’s
administration in criticism.
The Amhara and Oromo people revolution attempted to infiltrate the ruling party, the
EPRDF, which was formerly dominated by the TPLF for decades.
Furthermore, the Oromo
Democratic Party(ODP), formerly known as the Oromo Peoples' Democratic Organisation
(OPDO), has been able to create a quick understanding and did not hesitate to cooperate with
the Amhara National Democratic Movement (ANDM), the predecessor to the current Amhara
Democratic Party (ADP), the Oromo political elites, ethnic nationalists as well as the
extremist groups. The reason is that the Oromo political elites and the extremist groups have
the ability to make propaganda and organise the youth in the region and the ADP also has the
ability to cooperate on ditching the dominance of TPLF. Following which, Abiy, who was the
deputy chairman of the ODP, came to power.Error! Bookmark not defined. The
domination of the TPLF in the ruling party has now minimised and the ODP has seized the
opportunity to expand the power structure as had been practiced by TPLF and according to
the political observers, ADP seems tactically and systematically pushed out by ODP and the
Oromo extremists and ethnical nationalists.
As of the 13th of January 2019, the Aigaforum marked on its website that since Abiy
came to power, the Oromo political elites struggle was underway to control power in the
region as well as in the country. Accordingly, the ODP has entered the new political arena
with a few of its members, its regional opposition political parties, the OLF, some political
elites, and the extremist groups with the political agenda. Several of the Oromo political
parties also did not escape the critics of the extremist group. This problem brings a threat to
the federal government, led by Abiy, who is now the chairman of the ODP and the chairman
of the EPRDF,Error! Bookmark not defined. for that, he has double responsibilities for the
corresponding consequences since he came to office. The crisis eventually plunged the gap
between the Oromo political elites and threatened the country's peace and economic survival.
The political turmoil is increasing and there is almost a threat to the rule of law in the country.
Furthermore, according to the Aigaforum the OLF which has been called for
reconciliation and peaceful settlement of the conflict on the 19th of June 2018 speech made by
the prime minister, also found the opportunity to destroy a government’s structure and tried
to govern a few sub-cities in the western Oromia region. Similarly, according to the
Continental Telegraph, FanaBroadcasting Corporate and Reuters news reports on the 15th,
16thand 17thof January 2019respectively, listed on their websites that about 18 private- and
government-owned banks in three Oromia zones were robbed and according to the
rumours OLF was behind the robbery.
A few of the ODP members become divided against
themselves and unwilling to cooperate with their party instead support OLF and the group of
extremists in the Oromo region.
Consequently, the Aigaforum noted that the ODP, which
has tried to slay this issue, has failed and some clashes between the ODP and the OLF also
occurred. The Aigaforum mentioned, concerned Oromo elders, Abba Gadas, intellectuals, and
business persons travelled to Wellega to investigate the matter and tried to bring both
belligerent parties together. Similarly, Abiy accused the OLF of daydreaming to take his
government power by force within three months.
The study analysed that the fearless attitude of Abiy is likely to result in fierce
competition among Oromo extremists and other political parties. This is a devastating event
for the country. The ruling party and the federal government have yet to provide a road map
showing the political and economic agenda. This is because, in the absence of any visible or
feasible plans and an organised policy to promote the country’s economic situation,
unemployment becomes a major source of political instability and can readily turn into a
major threat to socio-economic stability across the country. Currently, Abiy’s administration
is facing inevitable critics and opposition from societies, political elites, opposition parties,
economists and extremists due to its fearlessness. However, it needs strong and strategic
action to get out of this situation.
There have been many comments about the challenges that Abiy may face since
coming to power, and many have speculated that handling of a coalition entailing ethnic
groups with ideological differences can be one of the huge challenges. As has been
prophesized, one of the huge challenges is a tendency for disunity among Amhara (ADP) and
Tigray (TPLF)parties. Nor did Abiy, either as the country’s prime minister or as the EPRDF
chairman, attempt to approach the two parties. Similarly, the hegemonic conduct of ODP and
its ethnical extremists having the intention of holding several higher political authorities is
escalating. This will facilitate the decline of the movement of solidarity and poverty struggle
in the country.
Furthermore, droughts, poverty, political repression, vigilante attacks, rebels, internal
displacement and forced government resettlement have driven Ethiopia’s external and
internal migration until recently.
In 2019, the level of humanitarian need was expected to
remain the same as in the previous year and the country has now over eight million people in
need of humanitarian assistance.
Let alone, as of the 17th of February 2019, the United
Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs listed on its website that only in
central Gondar of Amhara regional state over 45 000 internally displaced people were in need
of urgent humanitarian assistance. Even on the 22nd of October 2019 as per the regions mass
media agency due to low rainfall, a severe drought hit Wag Himrazone and north Wollo in
Amhara regional state; about hundred thousands of citizens in these particular zones are in
need of urgent humanitarian assistance. The prime minister recently said on an interview for
the Financial Times that if he lifts at least 60 million people out of poverty, whether he liked
it or not he will be internationally famous.60 Nevertheless, as yetAbiy’s administration has no
clear economic policy roadmap to let millions out of the poverty circle. As of the 28th of July
2018, the Ethiopian Reporter listed on its website that there had been no declassified
economic policy in Abiy’s administration and solving the unemployment problem that puts
the country into crises had not yet begun. Markedly, when unemployment results in poverty,
it turns into an object of political bargaining.
Incidentally, intending to strengthen regional peace cooperation has implications for
both the security and economic stability of the East African countries. However, if there is no
institutional basis for any kind of regional cooperation, it will never benefit Ethiopia. For
instance, Ethiopia's peace agreement and diplomatic relations with Eritrea have not yet been
established institutionally nor has it been publicised, and whether Eritreans and Ethiopians
support Abiy’s action is still unclear and unanalysed. With this in mind, although conducting
relations with neighbouring governments is essential for Ethiopia, national stability should
come first. Thus, his administration has to contemplate the essence of its nations’ perception
of national stability. If not, what is the national interest of Ethiopia on regional cooperation in
the existence of internal instability?
In fact, political and economic hardship for Ethiopia is basically an internal problem,
not a regional problem. The problem that needs more attention is mainly the domestic
political and economic solution as well as ensuring national peace. Unquestionably, the
diplomatic peace and reconciliation achievements, as well as political and economic
cooperation in the region, should primarily be based on the national interest of the country.
After Abiy came to power, many reforms have taken place. Regardless, there are many ways
in which Abiy’s reform project could go wrong. On the one hand, the emerging issues on the
economic, social and political affairs in Ethiopia. First, on the political front, the coalition
parties have been involved in a power struggle, internal divisions among EPRDF members
are high and ethnic politics (racial federalism) and language-based politics has
intensified.29Additionally, the deep-rooted mistrust between the EPRDF members, under-
represented seats in the coalition parties, the recent Medemer
principle and the idea of the
‘Prosperity Party’ exacerbate the issue. The aim of changing the EPRDF into the united party
called Prosperity Party was fiercely opposed by many politicians, scholars, observers, and
civil society groups. Such a situation may put the country at great risk of spurring various
Second, from the social perspective, the problem of inter-ethnicity continues to affect
the citizens of the country, religious institutes are in danger, population displacements are
traceable to political instability and the people have become refugees in their own country.
Third, on the economic front, it is believed that there is horizontal inequality among the nine
administrative regions.30For instance, according to several scholars since the revolution,
Tigray has experienced vast economic growth that directly helps to develop huge industries
as well as infrastructural facilities in the region.
This asymmetric economic development
and other corresponding issues have led to anti-government violence and social anger.
On the other hand, a diplomatic issue, which is the unclear and mysterious relations
between Addis Ababa and Asmara, is of socio-political concern. It remains a question to
many how Abiy's insistence on the Eritrean leader Afeworki is in line with the interests of the
Eritrean and Ethiopian citizens. As yet, their relationship is unclear to either of the societies
as well as the international political arena, and the intentions of both societies are yet to be
analysed. Moreover, Abiy’s administration has not been able to answer many of the concerns
raised in the country. Some of the concerns raised made by members of civil society and
critics include, whether his administration has the desire to resolve the structural and political
problems facing the country. Whether it is wise for his administration to analyse the problem
of the neighbouring countries instead of facing problems first in its own country? The
question is not about why Abiy’s administration is paying more attention to solving the
diplomatic confrontations and securing diplomatic achievements with the neighbouring
countries but about whether his administration used enough time and effort to solve the
internal problems.
Ethiopia requires a leader who believes in a sturdy democratic government that
provides the basic needs and freedom for the people. Abiy came to power during the most
challenging moments of the country where there were conflicts and turbulences in several
regions, the fear of persecution was mounting, the stability and living conditions of the
capital were fragile, the capital city, Addis Ababa, was at risk, there was the increased
difficulty of maintaining economic stability, uncertainties of peace prevailed in many regions,
foreign currency scarcity was intensified, the reliability and righteousness of national
statements made by the EPRDF regime were dubious, inter alia.
Fortunately, Abiy’s journey bestows hope to the Ethiopian nation and beyond
especially in the first half-year of his office. During his first year in office, he has been
influential in all aspects of peace and development for the country as well as for neighbouring
countries. Most importantly, his promising start in dealing with the peace agreement with
Eritrea has the essential future of both nations with respect to several aspects. As a result, the
2019 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to him. Nevertheless, lawlessness which is still
prevalent in many parts of the country has been characterised by random ethnic conflicts,
identity-based attacks and massive internal displacements. In general, the country is under the
verge of political, economic, and social crises. As a result, some of his political moves have
been judged as reckless and fearless. Thus, would Abiy continue onthe path of change in
Ethiopia? This question remains a concern for most citizens in the country, scholars and
This study posits that there are two groups of thoughts in Ethiopia when it comes to
Ethiopian politics. The first group is constituted by nationalists who have been struggling for
a change of the constitution and abolition of ethnic-based regions and federalism, while
others are ethnic nationalists who have been pushing the agenda of regional separation from
the rest of the country. This is not the issue that can be undermined easily and need not
reckless, sluggish and reluctant actions from the government; rather it requires vehement and
rapid solutions for the sake of the future of the country.
Incidentally, the leaders of the four ethnic parties and the opposition political parties
should collaborate by eliminating their differences to establish lasting democracy, true peace,
and unity in Ethiopia and beyond. This Prosperity Party has to bring forward something good
to the country as well as to the societies that have not practiced during the EPRDF regime.
Besides, it is the responsibility of every citizen to put in more effort to maintain genuine
democracy, peace, and sustainable economic development in the country. If these discussed
issues are left unaddressed, the semblance of peace in Ethiopia currently enjoys may be in
Rosen, ‘Constitutional process, constitutionalism, and the Eritrean experience’.
United Nations, ‘The United Nations and the Independence of Eritrea; See also, Negash
andTronvoll,‘Brothers at War: Making Sense of the Eritrean-Ethiopian War.
Wrong, Ethiopia, Eritrea and the perils of reform; Young, ‘The Tigray and Eritrean peoples
liberation fronts’.
Gebrekidan, Ethiopia and Eritrea declare an end to their war’; Negash
andTronvoll,‘Brothers at War: Making Sense of the Eritrean-Ethiopian War.
Kaleab, ‘No peace no war’.
Trivelli, ‘Divided histories, opportunistic alliances’; Hamilton, ‘Beyond the border war’.
Cornwell, 'Ethiopia and Eritrea'; See also, Kaleab, ‘No peace no war’.
Gilkes and Plaut, ‘The war between Ethiopia and Eritrea’.
Steves, 'Regime change and war'.
Murphy, ‘The Eritrean-Ethiopian war (1998-2000)’.
Jacquin-Berdal and Plaut, ‘Unfinished Business: Eritrea and Ethiopia at War; Murphy,
‘The Eritrean-Ethiopian war (1998-2000)’.
Murphy, ‘The Eritrean-Ethiopian war (1998-2000)’.
EEBC, ‘Eritrea-Ethiopia boundary commission (EEBC)’.
Discussion and interview with some local Ethiopian scholars about the current social,
economic and political crises through social media networks, between August and
Gebrekidan, Ethiopia and Eritrea, longtime foes, meet for peace talks’.
Woldemariam, ‘“No war, no peace” in a region in flux’, 14
Addis and Zhu, 'The political situation, trends and geopolitical implications of Sub-Saharan
and North African countries'.
Záhořík, 'Reconsidering Ethiopia’s ethnic politics in the light of the Addis Ababa Master
Plan and anti-governmental protests'
SoE refers to the occurrence or imminent occurrence of special major emergencies and the
need for state organs to exercise emergency authority to control them and eliminate their
social hazards and threats.
BBC News, ‘Why has Ethiopia imposed a state of emergency?’
The command post was established to oversee and execute the SoE in Ethiopia and
controlled by SirajFegessa, Minister of Defence and head of the Command Post
Agence France-Presse, ‘At least 1,500 arrests in Ethiopian state of emergency’; Greenslade,
Ethiopia uses anti-terror laws to silence critical journalists
Washington Post, ‘Abiy Ahmed pulls off an astonishing turnaround for Ethiopia’.
Addis and Zhu, ‘Assessment of the impact of Chinese and Indian economic activities in
Wubneh, 'Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Africa’s diplomatic capital'
Addis and Zhu, 'The political situation, trends and geopolitical implications of Sub-Saharan
and North African countries',111
Human Rights Watch, ‘Development without freedom’, 13
Plaut, ‘The legacy of MelesZenawi’, 645
Aalen, ‘Ethnic federalism in a dominant party state’; Abbink, ‘Ethnic-based federalism and
ethnicity in Ethiopia’.
YidegandPremanandam, ‘Horizontal inequality and political instability in Amhara region,
Tadesse and Young, ‘TPLF’, 391
Reid, ‘Old problems in new conflicts’; Adugna, ‘Regional economic favoritism and
redistributive politics as a public good’.
McCracken, ‘Abusing self-determination and democracy’; Plaut, ‘The legacy of
MelesZenawi’; Young, ‘The Tigray and Eritrean peoples liberation fronts’.
Human Rights Watch, ‘Development without freedom’; Young, ‘The Tigray and Eritrean
peoples liberation fronts’; Záhořík, 'Reconsidering Ethiopia’s ethnic politics in the light
of the Addis Ababa Master Plan and anti-governmental protests'.
Interview with local Ethiopian societies about the current social and political situation
between July and October
Aglionby, 'Ethiopia to release all political prisoners'; Maclean, 'Ethiopia says it will free all
political prisoners'.
Moore, 'Ethiopia says it will close notorious prison and free some inmates'; See also,
Gudina, 'Elections and democratization in Ethiopia, 19912010'.
McCracken, ‘Abusing self-determination and democracy’; Ylönen, ‘Is the Horn of Africa’s
‘Cold War’ over?
McCracken, ‘Abusing self-determination and democracy’, 203
Ibid, 186
Aalen, ‘Ethnic federalism in a dominant party state’; Adugna, ‘Regional economic
favoritism and redistributive politics as a public good’; see also, McCracken, ‘Abusing
self-determination and democracy’
Gebregziabher and Hout, 'The rise of oligarchy in Ethiopia’.
Gebregziabher, 'Ideology and power in TPLF’s Ethiopia’.
Schemm, ‘Under a new state of emergency’.
Ylönen, ‘Is the Horn of Africa’s “Cold War” over?’;TeminandBadwaza. 'Aspirations and
realities in Africa’.
Reid, 'The trans-Mereb experience’.
Reid, ‘Old problems in new conflicts’
Ibid, 371
Lyons, 'The EthiopiaEritrea conflict and the search for peace in the Horn of Africa', 168.
Lorton, ‘The Ethiopia-Eritrea conflict’; Lyons, 'The EthiopiaEritrea conflict and the search
for peace in the Horn of Africa'; Wrong, ‘Ethiopia, Eritrea and the perils of reform’
Woldemariam, ‘“No war, no peace” in a region in flux’, 420.
Gebrekidan, ‘Ethiopia and Eritrea declare an end to their war’; Kiunguyu, ‘Eritrea’.
Ylönen, 'From demonisation to rapprochement’
Lorton, ‘The Ethiopia-Eritrea conflict’;Woldemariam, ‘“No war, no peace” in a region in
Kiunguyu, ‘Eritrea’;Ylönen, 'From demonisation to rapprochement’; Záhořík,
'Reconsidering Ethiopia’s ethnic politics in the light of the Addis Ababa Master Plan and
anti-governmental protests'..
Allo, 'Ethiopia-Eritrea conflict, 20 years on’.
Sengupta, ‘Ethiopia’s new leader raises hopes. Now comes the hard part’.
Gudina, 'Elections and democratization in Ethiopia, 19912010'; Vaughan, 'Revolutionary
democratic state-building
Qeerroo- youth in Afaan Oromo; Fano - movement of youth for democracy. Both of them
are the national youth movementfor democracy and freedom resistance groups in Oromo
and Amhara region respectively.
Pilling and Barber, ‘Ethiopia’s Abiy Ahmed’.
Gotamo, ‘Ethiopians can’t afford additional ethnic kelils in their country’.
Gebregziabher,'Ideology and power in TPLF’s Ethiopia’; McCracken, ‘Abusing self-
determination and democracy’.
Human Rights Watch, ‘Development without freedom’; McCracken, ‘Abusing self-
determination and democracy’; Plaut, ‘The legacy of MelesZenawi’.
Maasho, 'Ethiopia says launches offensive against Oromo rebels'; Fana Broadcasting
Corporation. 'About 18 banks robbed in three zones of Oromia: Bureau'; Worstall, 'IRA
financing techniques turn up in Oromo, Ethiopia bank robberies.
TeminandBadwaza.'Aspirations and realities in Africa’.
Addis and Zhu, 'The political situation, trends and geopolitical implications of Sub-Saharan
and North African countries';Minwagaw, ‘Ethiopia’.
Minwagaw, ‘Ethiopia’.
Medemer’ meaning togetherness, which some believe is a fresh ideology. Nevertheless, many agree
Medemer is not so much an ideology but suggests the opportunity of forgiveness of past
misdeeds for the sake of common good.
Adugna, ‘Regional economic favoritism and redistributive politics as a public good’;
McCracken, ‘Abusing self-determination and democracy’,
We would like to show gratitude to the National Natural Science Foundation of China(NSFC)
for their research funding support.The authors are indebted to the editor and reviewers for
constructive comments.
Conflicts of Interest
The authors declare no conflict of interest.
Author Contributions
Amsalu K.: conceptualization, conduct the survey, data gathering and analysis, revisions,
development, and proofreading of the article. Simplice A. and Zuping Z.: Supervise,
revisions, development, and proofreading of the article. Hailu Kendie A. and Eshetu S.:
revisions, development, and proofreading of the article.
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship
and/or publication of this article: This paper was supported by the National Natural Science
Foundation of China (NSFC) under grant number: 19AGL017. The funders have no role in
the design, development, and submission of the study to the journal.
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... Never since 1991, when Siad Barre was overthrown by rebel forces, has Somalia had a properly functioning government, having rather been held up as an archetype of failed and fragile states ever since. But even a more stable and richer country like Ethiopia, who has been recording GDP annual growth rates among the highest in the world for ten years now, has been constantly shaken by domestic ethnic tensions and political violence (Lyons, 2019;Addis et al., 2020). This very inability of Horn states to safeguard their own regimes and security interests eventually makes them a space open to foreign influence and competition (Clapham, 2017). ...
This chapter traces the evolution and significance of the presence of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the Horn of Africa. Compared to other areas of Iran’s neighbourhood, Tehran’s power projection in this African subregion has largely remained under-researched. Yet, lately, foreign powers’ renewed interest in the Horn following the latter’s growing geostrategic relevance has contributed to reviving the academic debate related to it. By adopting a complex realist theoretical framework, the aim of this chapter is to explore the reasons why the Horn of Africa is a very coveted spot for many foreign powers, including Iran; which objectives have driven Tehran’s policies in that area; and how its élites have tried to pursue them over the past decades. To do so, after a brief overview of the Horn’s inherent value, the chapter first presents the core dimensions of the strategy Iran has devised to meet its interests there. Then, it moves onto the empirical research proper, consisting in a chronological, in-depth analysis of Iran’s actions in the Horn region, across the four main dimensions which constitute its Horn strategy: political support, military interactions, economic relations, and, to a lesser degree than in other African regions, ideological and soft power penetration. The empirical analysis reveals the complex web of global, regional, and domestic factors behind Iran’s Horn policies and the impossibility to separate the dynamics of Iran’s reach towards the Horn from those of its regional and extra-regional competitors.
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The Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) has led Ethiopia for close to three decades as a core party within the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) coalition. Various ideological claims permeated the consolidation of power by the TPLF, which now seems to be questioned by the new leadership in the EPRDF. This article locates the critical junctures in the history of the party and analyses how those junctures relate to power concentration rather than to ideological shifts as purported by the party. It argues that the circumstances surrounding the ‘shifts’ in ideologies by the TPLF show that ideologies were used to consolidate power within the party and later impose domination at the state level. A thorough investigation of the ideological history of the TPLF is crucial as Ethiopia seems to be standing at a critical ideological crossroad. Through a deep hermeneutic interpretation, the article concludes that leftist ideological threads such as a focus on vanguard rule, party-directed economy, and Stalinist understandings of ethnicity run throughout the ideological shifts of the TPLF. The article synthesizes the cosmetic ideological shifts in the context of a pragmatic party that has been applying market socialism.
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In Africa, China and India are considered to be following a donor–recipient approach and are explicitly criticised for exploiting the continent’s energy resources. This study focuses on the presence of the Asian countries in terms of institutional theory, historical connections, instrumental motivations and political engagement with Africa in general, and with Ethiopia in particular. India offers non-pecuniary value, such as scholarship and technical assistance, whereas China focuses on a wider range of economic aids and non-pecuniary packages; thus, both countries are well positioned in Africa. This study is an exercise audit of the impact of Chinese and Indian economic activities on Ethiopia’s economic growth and examines the period from 1992 to 2016 from historical and contemporary perspectives. This study also includes a case study of members of Ethiopian society’s attitudes towards the presence and prospects of Chinese and Indian investment projects and its perceptions of these projects. Although some long-term developmental impacts remain uncertain, this study argues that the presence of the Asian drivers has favoured Ethiopia in many investment sectors and concludes that the overall impact of the Asian drivers on Ethiopia is beneficial. To collect primary data, individual and group interviews and discussions were conducted.
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The study investigated whether or not misdirection of public resources to a favored region brings material improvements in the lives of the population that is alleged to be receiving the resources. In this study, the region in question is Tigray province in northern Ethiopia. Economic data from the 2016 Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) are examined with a focus on Tigray Region. The neighboring Amhara Region is used as control. Sample data on 1734 households from Tigray and 1902 households from Amhara Region were analyzed without weighting using the statistical software SAS 9.4 and the Geographic Information System software ArcGIS 10.4.1. We found evidence of a statistically significant advantage for Tigray Region in ownership of four modern amenities – radio, mobile phones, refrigerator, and access to electricity by individual households (p< 0.001). However, we did not find evidence of greater wealth in Tigray for the general population when the analysis was rerun based on DHS’ wealth index. On the contrary, the data for sampling clusters in Tigray appeared to show the region as being poorer than Amhara when viewed through the lens of DHS’ wealth index which is a more comprehensive measure of economic wellbeing than owning a radio or possessing a mobile phone. A one-tailed Wilcoxon Man-Whitney U statistic of DHS’ wealth index for Tigray and Amhara Regions showed a statistically significant difference (p < 0.001) with a higher mean score for Amhara Region (1870.3) than for Tigray Region (1761.6) suggesting a better economic standing for the population of Amhara Region than Tigray Region. We also found Amhara Region to be more egalitarian and Tigray Region less so on the scale of livelihoods captured by DHS’ economic indicators. Evidence for this comes from a Geographic Information System (GIS) Kernel Density analysis of DHS’ wealth index which showed what appear to be significant geographic concentrations of both poverty and wealth in Tigray Region.
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This article focuses on the political economy of Ethiopia since the ruling party EPRDF came to power in 1991 and argues that the country has seen the rise of oligarchy during this period. The party claims that its development strategy has reduced poverty, but it is evident that the country’s inequality has been growing in the past decade. The briefing identifies the mechanisms of oligarchisation, most notably privatisation, land expropriation, phoney shareholding and corruption. The conclusion is that Ethiopia’s growing inequality is related to the process of oligarchy formation.
On 9 July 2018, Ethiopia and Eritrea signed a historical agreement pledging to end their mutual animosity and work for peace. The unprecedented rapprochement was facilitated by the new leadership in Ethiopia, merging interests between the two states and external mediation. This commentary looks into Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali’s early reform initiatives and the dynamics of the rapprochement between Ethiopia and Eritrea.
In July 2018, the leaders of Ethiopia and Eritrea signed a historic peace agreement. The emergence of new leadership in Ethiopia was key to the unprecedented coming together between the two countries. This piece briefly discusses Ethiopia-Eritrea relations, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali’s ascent to power and the reconciliation between the two counties. It contends that the agreement is likely to affect the domestic political landscape in each country, while also affecting inter-state relations in the Horn of Africa.
Ethiopia’s acceptance of its long-contested border with Eritrea has opened a path to reconfiguring relationships between governments, political parties and militias.
Ethiopia’s acceptance of its long-contested border with Eritrea has opened a path to reconfiguring relationships between governments, political parties and militias.