• Ethiopia After Meles

    By International Crisis Group. August 2012. Despite establishing strong international partnerships for counter-terrorism and development, Ethiopia's political system has grown increasingly unstable, something that is likely to be tested with the passing of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. Twenty one years of strict single party rule by the EPRDF, centered on Meles, and the unfinished strategy of ethno-federalism have left Ethiopia's transition in a precarious position. Increasingly repressive policies and centralized politics have closed any legitimate means to express grievances, leading to growing popular discontent, as well as radicalization - with serious implications for the region. Going forward, Meles' Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), which dominates the EPRDF, may choose to defuse tensions by becoming more inclusive or employ greater levels of repression in response to growing protests. While the latter course may be favored by the increasingly influential security forces, maintaining stability within Ethiopia's complex political landscape will be more difficult without Meles' stature and political acumen. Download the Article: [PDF]
  • Mapping Digital Media: Digital Media, Conflict and Diasporas in the Horn of Africa.

    By Iginio Gagliardone and Nicole Stremlau. Open Society Foundation, December 2011. Ethiopia’s internet and information technology has been tightly controlled by the government, especially since the controversial 2005 elections. This has kept technology access among the lowest on the continent - only 7 percent of Ethiopians have mobile phones and only 0.75 percent are Internet users. Blogging and other new media content filtered by Ethiopian censors, however, still find their way into Ethiopian radio and newspapers. Moreover, even while the government tries to suppress new technologies it recognizes their potential. It has invested heavily in an extensive video conference network that is deployed in schools and government agencies and has promised affordable and fast internet to its citizens. This ongoing tension between government efforts to tightly control the expansion and use of information technology and widespread demand for access will likely escalate as the government debates whether to link to a new fiber optic system being installed along the East African coast. Download the article: [PDF]
  • Ethiopia: Assessing Risks to Stability

    By Terrence Lyons. Center for Strategic and International Studies, June 2011. Through the use of patronage networks and targeted suppression of opposition groups, the ruling party in Ethiopia, the EPRDF, has consolidated a firm but potentially brittle hold on power. Its control is vulnerable to internal divisions, which are likely to widen with the death of Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi. Economic volatility could also be destabilizing since the party has justified its authority on strong economic growth.  Ethiopia’s unstable neighbors, Eritrea, Sudan, and Somalia, may further contribute to internal instability both directly and since some opposition groups within Ethiopia are supported by neighboring states in the region pursuing irredentist claims. Download the article: [PDF]