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Ethiopia

CrisisWatch Ethiopia

Unchanged Situation

Resolution Opportunity

Political violence and counter-insurgency operations continued in Oromia region, parties manoeuvred ahead of elections tentatively set for Aug, and Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan reported some progress in talks to resolve dispute over Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on Blue Nile River creating opportunity to strike comprehensive agreement in Feb. Security forces early Jan launched counter-insurgency operation against armed opposition faction Oromo Liberation Army in western Oromia, where govt reportedly blocked internet and mobile phone usage. Clashes erupted at Haramaya University in eastern Oromia 11 Jan between security forces and students reportedly protesting counter-insurgency operations in region, some students injured. Residents in Amhara regional state in north late Jan took to streets to protest alleged kidnapping in Oromia of up to 27 students from Amhara. Authorities reportedly arrested at least 75 supporters of opposition parties in Oromia late Jan. After Jawar Mohammed, ethnic Oromo activist and prominent critic of PM Abiy, 30 Dec joined opposition party Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC), OFC, Oromo Liberation Front and Oromo National Party 3 Jan formed Coalition for Democratic Federalism. Electoral board 15 Jan tentatively set 16 Aug as date of general elections. Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan made some progress in GERD talks in Addis Ababa, Khartoum and Washington, agreeing 31 Jan in Washington on various aspects including filling and operation of dam during drought and instructing technical and legal teams to prepare comprehensive agreement for signature by end Feb.

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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

Commentary / Africa

Mitigating Risks Ahead of Ethiopia’s Pivotal Elections

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy has implemented important reforms but the changes have uncorked social tensions long bottled up by an authoritarian state. In this excerpt from our Watch List 2020 for European policymakers, Crisis Group urges the EU and its member states to bolster efforts to prevent violence around the elections and support the government’s reforms.

Commentary / Africa

Preventing Further Conflict and Fragmentation in Ethiopia

High-profile assassinations, intercommunal violence and the question of Sidama statehood have endangered Ethiopia’s transition to a multi-party democracy. In this excerpt from its Watch List 2019 – Second Update, Crisis Group urges the European Union and its member states to support a parliamentary vote and assist with economic reforms.

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.

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William Davison

Senior Analyst, Ethiopia
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