Ethiopia has been a linchpin for stability in the Horn of Africa — and the political and economic reform process initiated by Prime Minister Abiy sparked optimism that the country could also become an anchor of democratic governance and continued peace. But a year after violence erupted in northern Ethiopia, hostilities continue to escalate toward civil war and conflict is metastasizing in other parts of the country. The formation of a new government in early October has yielded little progress toward a cease-fire while emergency food assistance is only reaching about one percent of the population in need. And in just the last week, airstrikes were carried out in the regional capital of Tigray and intense fighting spread into the neighboring Amhara region.
While recent elections saw one of the largest turnouts in the country’s history, polls did not take place in some regions and key political leaders were jailed. Prime Minister Abiy has signaled plans to launch a national dialogue and there are other efforts to build a national consensus on the political structure of Ethiopia. However, the country’s polarization — further deepened by the war— has created significant challenges in putting together an inclusive, genuine dialogue.
On November 2, USIP hosted Ambassador Jeffrey Feltman, U.S. Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa, for an address to take stock of the Biden-Harris administration’s policy toward Ethiopia and pathways toward halting violence and renewing the promise of reform, peace and prosperity.
Continue the conversation on Twitter with #USPolicyEthiopia.
Ambassador Jeffrey Feltman
U.S. Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa
Lise Grande, moderator
President and CEO, U.S. Institute of Peace