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Ethiopia

CrisisWatch Ethiopia

Unchanged Situation

Ruling coalition decided to become single party, ethnic Sidama voted in referendum to create new federal state, and Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan committed to resolve dispute over Nile waters by mid-Jan. Three of four regional parties in ruling coalition 16 Nov voted in favour of merging to become one national party called Prosperity Party; fourth party, Tigray People’s Liberation Front, opposed move, while affiliated ruling parties from five other regions set to join. Residents of Sidama Zone in south 20 Nov held referendum on whether to turn region into semi-autonomous federal state; electoral board 23 Nov said 98.5% voted in favour and turnout was 99.7%. Ethnic violence erupted at Woldia University in Amhara region in north 9 Nov, leaving two students dead, and spread to other universities in Amhara and Oromio regions; another student killed at Dire Dawa University in east. FMs from Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan in Washington 6 Nov agreed to hold four technical meetings, with World Bank and U.S. as observers, in bid to reach agreement by 15 Jan on filling and operation of Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on Blue Nile River.

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Reports & Briefings

In The News

30 Oct 2019
[In Ethiopia] as political space has opened and [the majority's] control has weakened all sorts of latent disputes over power, resources, identity and territory have surfaced. Financial Times

William Davison

Senior Analyst, Ethiopia
23 Oct 2019
[Ethiopian] Prime Minister Abiy and his Oromo Democratic Party risk losing significant amounts of support in Oromia unless relations with [political opponent] Jawar and his loyalists are swiftly repaired. Business Standard

William Davison

Senior Analyst, Ethiopia
19 Jul 2019
The decision by top Sidama administrators [in Ethiopia] to accept a belated referendum meant the zone didn’t self-declare and so a major confrontation was avoided yesterday. Reuters

William Davison

Senior Analyst, Ethiopia
18 Jul 2019
After today’s violence, the Sidama situation looks like another major challenge for a government already struggling to manage this transition and create conditions for elections next May. Reuters

William Davison

Senior Analyst, Ethiopia
24 Jun 2019
It doesn't appear to have been a concerted national coup attempt [in Ethiopia]. It's not obvious what the motivations were for anyone to assassinate the chief of staff. CBC

William Davison

Senior Analyst, Ethiopia
24 Jun 2019
Instead of benefiting from the fruits of democratic reforms, Ethiopia is currently dealing with instability from a very tricky transition. The Irish Times

William Davison

Senior Analyst, Ethiopia

Latest Updates

EU Watch List / Global

Watch List 2019 – Second Update

Watch List Updates complement International Crisis Group’s annual Watch List, most recently published in January 2019. These early-warning publications identify major conflict situations in which prompt action, driven or supported by the European Union and its member states, would generate stronger prospects for peace. The second update to the Watch List 2019 includes entries on Colombia, Ethiopia, Iran and Libya.

Briefing / Africa

Time for Ethiopia to Bargain with Sidama over Statehood

Southern Ethiopia’s largest ethnic group, the Sidama, is set to declare a new regional state on 18 July. To reduce conflict risks, the Sidama should resolve sensitive issues before forming the entity, while the government should urgently organise a constitutionally mandated referendum on the question.

Statement / Africa

Restoring Calm in Ethiopia after High-profile Assassinations

The shocking murders of five high-ranking officials have exposed the gravity of Ethiopia’s crisis. To mitigate risks, politicians should refrain from doing or saying anything provocative, while the federal government and ruling elites take urgent steps to heal deep and dangerous internal rifts.

Report / Africa

Bridging the Gap in the Nile Waters Dispute

Ethiopia is building a mighty dam on the Blue Nile, promising economic benefits for both itself and Sudan. But Egypt fears for its freshwater supply. The parties should agree on how fast to fill the dam’s reservoir and how to share river waters going forward.

Also available in العربية
Report / Africa

Managing Ethiopia’s Unsettled Transition

Ethiopia’s charismatic new prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, has generated great excitement with initiatives breaking with the past. But he faces challenges as formidable as his promises are bold: he urgently needs to halt communal strife, smooth the road to elections and boost the ailing economy.

Our People

William Davison

Senior Analyst, Ethiopia
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