As China steps up its engagement in Africa amid lagging vaccination rates and tensions in Ethiopia, USIP’s Joseph Sany says U.S. policy must avoid a narrow, competitive mindset: “[China] is doing what a major superpower does … [the United States] must address African interests, not impose American interests.”
After months of war and amid an intensifying humanitarian crisis in Ethiopia’s northern region of Tigray, the Ethiopian government unilaterally declared a “humanitarian cease-fire” on June 28. If Ethiopia wants this truce to end the war it needs to persuade Tigrayan forces, which have so far vowed to keep fighting, to agree to a deal. As a prelude to wider negotiations, the odds of ending the conflict would improve if confidence building measures are urgently undertaken and five key areas of a truce expanded. U.S. and international partners can promote these steps while recognizing that Ethiopians must own any cease-fire process.
Facing numerous technical difficulties, the National Election Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) delayed parliamentary elections from June 5 to June 21, postponing the vote for the second time. Some major opposition parties are boycotting, and no voting will take place in civil war hit Tigray or in several other areas facing insecurity. Elsewhere, deficiencies in election administration have meant voting has already been postponed in many constituencies, and some of the logistical arrangements to underpin the vote are still to be implemented. Although there are risks of electoral violence, any incidents are unlikely to be especially significant in a context of high levels of ongoing political violence.
USIP’s Women Preventing Violent Extremism (WPVE) program aims to shape national policies and community approaches to countering violent extremism in the Horn of Africa and the Sahel. USIP does this by empowering women-led organizations and building local capacity that fosters collaboration between community-level activists and national-level policymakers.