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Info - What we need to know about Ethiopia


It is important to note that there are plenty of similar situations between Ethiopia and the Iraqi, Syrian and Lebanese situations. It is also noticeable that the same regional and international players can be depicted.

  • Ethiopia has been a state since the 4th century
  • The Italians and the French tried during the 18th and 19th centuries to colonize it but failed
  • Population 110 millions composed of 80 different ethnic groups of which the most important by order are the Oromo, the Amharic, the Tigray, the Dabub, the Afar, the Somali, etc…
  • Its location on the red sea is considered as extremely strategic
  • It is the source of the Nile river
  • Due to the above 2 points Ethiopia is considered as the pillar of the area
  • It is presently considered as an ally to the U.S. and Israel (Because of the Jewish community existing in Ethiopia and the emigrants that came to Israel from this country). Israel considers Ethiopia as a country of the periphery in its foreign policy.
  • Ethiopia’s empire stretched at a certain point in time to our area and shrunk with time and wars. Hela Selassi, who was an emperor, was overthrown by the communists in 1970, the latter regime was kicked out in 1992 and replaced by the actual federal system after accord among the different ethnic groups hence Ethiopia is called Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.
  • In 2000 Eritrea separated from Ethiopia.




  • Hailemariam Desalgn prime minister from 2012 till 2018, submitted his resignation as Prime Minister of Ethiopia and Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) chairperson on 15 February 2018 in response to the fallout from mass protests and unrest in 2016. His resignation was accepted on 11 March 2018, but he stayed in office as caretaker Prime Minister until 2 April 2018. Hailemariam is the first ruler in modern Ethiopian history to step down; previous leaders have died in office or been overthrown. He said he wanted to clear the way for reforms.
  • On April 2, 2018 Abiyot (Abiy) Ahmed Ali half Oromo half Amharic (Abiy is a devout Protestant, born of a Muslim father and an Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church Christian mother) succeeded Hailemariam, Abiy is the third chairman of the ruling EPRDF from the Oromo Democratic Party (ODP), which is one of the four coalition parties of the EPRDF. Abiy is also an elected member of the Ethiopian parliament, and a member of the ODP and EPRDF executive committees.
  • Upon being elected, Abiy was widely praised for launching a wide programme of political and economic reforms. He was also awarded the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize for his work in ending the 20-year post-war territorial stalemate between Ethiopia and Eritrea.
  • In his briefing to parliament of 18 June 2018, Abiy announced that he would set up a commission aimed at reviewing the divisive system of ethnic federalism, which he said was failing to adequately deal with the proliferation of localized disputes over which particular ethnicity was entitled to control certain towns and districts, potentially paving the way for sweeping constitutional reform.
  • During this time, political and ethnic unrest have also increased in Ethiopia - marked by heightened episodes of violence, the increased prominence of neftenya ideas, and an armed conflict against the Tigrayan People's Liberation Front (TPLF) - Ethiopia's previous ruling party.
  • Ethiopia is a country of various religious groups, primarily Christian and Muslim communities. Both inter-religious and intra-religious divisions and conflicts were a major concern, where both the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church and the Ethiopian Islamic Council experienced religious and administrative divisions and conflicts. In 2018, Abiy was given a special "peace and reconciliation" award by the Ethiopian Church for his work in reconciling rival factions within the church.
  • Economically: In June 2018, the ruling coalition announced its intention to pursue the large-scale privatization of state-owned enterprises and the liberalization of several key economic sectors long considered off-limits, marking a landmark shift in the country's state-oriented development model and a straight forward fight against corruption. State monopolies in the telecommunications, aviation, electricity, and logistics sectors are to be ended and those industries opened up to private sector competition. Shares in the state-owned firms in those sectors, including Ethiopian Airlines, Africa's largest and most profitable, are to be offered for purchase to both domestic and foreign investors, although the government will continue to hold a majority share in these firms, thereby retaining control of the commanding heights of the economy. State-owned enterprises in sectors deemed less critical, including railway operators, sugar, industrial parks, hotels and various manufacturing firms, may be fully privatized.
  • The Tigrayan Conflict: The internal political power shift has created fears for Tigrayans, and already simmering anti-Tigrayan sentiments have led to violence from barricading roads and forcibly stopping traffic to looting and attacks on Tigrayan homes and businesses in the Amhara (and Oromia) regions. Tens of thousands Ethiopian Tigrayans have been displaced from their homes (or killed), due to ethnic based violence, since Abiy assumed office.
  • The Tigray conflict is an ongoing armed conflict that began in November 2020 in the Tigray Region of Ethiopia, between the Tigray Regional Government that is led by the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF); and the Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF). There are also several credible reports that the ENDF is being supported by special forces from Amhara, and a military alliance with Isaias Afwerki's Eritrean Forces.
  • Hostilities between the central government and the TPLF escalated after the TPLF rejected the central government's decision to postponing August 2020 elections to mid-2021 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, accusing the government of violating the Ethiopian constitution. The TPLF carried out its own regional elections, winning all contested seats in the region's parliament. In response, Abiy redirected funding from the top level of the Tigray regional government to lower ranks in a bid to weaken the TPLF party. Soon after, the Ethiopian central government began full scale infantry and airborne warfare in the Tigray region sparking a civil war.
  • “The central matter of the civil conflict, as claimed by Abiy, is an attack on the Northern Command bases and headquarters in the Tigray region by security forces of the TPLF, the province's elected party”; though such a claim is contested. It is also purported that the entire Northern Command at first defected to the TPLF, provoking a skirmish with Ethiopian loyalists. The conflict rapidly turned into a full-scale conflict.
  • The Ethiopian Government announced on December 7th 2020 that they had captured Mekelle, the capital of Tigray, completing their 'rule of law operations'. However, there are reports that guerrilla-style conflict with the TPLF continues.

Foreign Policy:

  • Since taking power Abiy has pursued a policy of expanding landlocked Ethiopia's access to ports in the Horn of Africa region. Shortly before his assumption of office it was announced that the Ethiopian government would take a 19% stake in Berbera Port in the unrecognized Republic of Somaliland as part of a joint venture with DP World.In May 2018, Ethiopia signed an agreement with the government of Djibouti to take an equity stake in the Port of Djibouti, enabling Ethiopia to have a say in the port's development and the setting of port handling fees.
  • Two days later a similar agreement was signed with the Sudanese government granting Ethiopia an ownership stake in the Port of Port Sudan. The Ethio-Djibouti agreement grants the Djiboutian government the option of taking stakes in state-owned Ethiopian firms in return, such as the Ethiopian Airlines and Ethio Telecom.This in turn was followed shortly thereafter by an announcement that Abiy and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta had reached an agreement for the construction of an Ethiopian logistics facility at Lamu Port as part of the Lamu Port and Lamu-Southern Sudan-Ethiopia Transport Corridor (LAPSSET) project.
  • The potential normalization of Ethiopia-Eritrea relations likewise opened the possibility for Ethiopia to resume using the Ports of Massawa and Asseb, which, prior to the Ethio-Eritrean conflict, were its main ports, which would be of particular benefit to the northern region of Tigray. All these developments would reduce Ethiopian reliance on Djibouti's port which, since 1998, has handled almost all of Ethiopia's maritime traffic.
  • The dispute between Egypt and Ethiopia over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam has become a national preoccupation in both countries. During the Egyptian revolution Ethiopia started the construction of the dam. Abiy has warned: "No force can stop Ethiopia from building a dam. If there is need to go to war, we could get millions readied."
  • The murder of activist Hachalu Hundessa, singer and political icon, ignited violence across Addis Ababa and other Ethiopian cities, Abiy hinted, without obvious suspects or clear motives for the killing, that Hundessa may have been murdered by Egyptian security agents acting on orders from Cairo to stir up trouble. An Egyptian diplomat responded by saying that Egypt "has nothing to do with current tensions in Ethiopia". Maybe Abiy was just looking for a scapegoat that can unite Ethiopians against a perceived common enemy.