How Successive Governments, Have Transformed Ethiopia
Lately, Ethiopia has seen in what could be termed as a renaissance in its economic, politics and social activities. Some of them leading to a strengthening of its foreign relations and some others leading to a dispute with its neighboring countries. Here we chose to look at the country’s current situation from the government’s perspectives.
Ethiopia, having its new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali (Dr.), has seen quite a lot of significant changes in almost all areas of the country lately. A country on the verge of civil war in the last 5 years has all of a sudden started to think about the Millennium Goals seriously, made a treaty to make peace with its long rival neighbour country Eritrea, Expanded the country’s political space and released long-time political prisoners, reformed the whole structure of the security sector, established deep diplomacy and foreign relations, the Economy has seen quite a lot of improvement, the Private sector in the country has seen positive changes, solved international forex crisis in the country, gives the private sector a chance to invest, paved the way for good governance and enhanced transparency throughout the country in various sectors, solved social conflicts that would have imminently caused serious consequences in the country’s fate and what is surprising is that each and every one of these changes has happened in just a matter of 10 months or less. So, what are these some big triumphs and events the country has experienced in such a short period of time?
The history of Ethiopia in terms of Geopolitics has never been so good with especially, with its neighboring countries. Recently in 2011, Ethiopia left the world in wonder as it officially stated to build the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) which later would be termed as one the biggest hydroelectric dam on the Blue Nile river. This did not put a smile on the northeastern African countries’ faces especially Egypt, where the majority of the people base their life over the Nile rather this would have caused a series of instability and sense of danger around the region. In June 2013, Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan set up the International Panel of Experts to resolve the issue. Which that much was not of a success until the new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed met the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and resolved the issue ensuring (actually swearing!) that Ethiopia will never try to take advantage of its neighboring countries and of course Egypt. This was quite a millennial achievement on the issue of the country’s affairs that ended its lengthy geopolitical rivalry.
Ethiopian foreign policy has had a lot of run-ins with other countries started from the beginning. Starting with Emperor Tewodros II, who tried to bring modernization through technology to the country from other European countries which were later put off by the British expedition. Long after this event, Ethiopia continued to host a series of war between Italy, resulting in the First Italo-Ethiopian war and later Second Italo-Abyssinian War. Following the war, major foreign treaties were made with Britain, France and of course Italy. Ethiopia continued to make open foreign relations by being a charter member of the United Nations and establishing the Organization of African Union (OAU). In present-day Ethiopia is an economic partner with its neighboring countries including Djibouti and Sudan. Lately, with the arrival of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (Dr.), Ethiopia boasts a good relationship with many countries even with Eritrea, which had previously been in a serious dispute.
In this era of globalization, it is eminent for a continent to get involved with other counterparts let alone a country and Ethiopia is no different in such a case. It is almost impossible to imagine thinking about development without smooth and strong relationships with other countries. The case of Eritrea and Ethiopia can be a good example. Political analysts and Economists are referring to Eritrea as the primary side to benefit from this reviving relation. One that it does not have that much of an international relation except with some Arab countries, compared to Ethiopia, which boasts quite a lot of friendly international connections, Eritrea could benefit in terms of Economic, Political and Social aspects to an extent. Many have predicted this relation could benefit the entire horn of Africa as well as neighboring continents especially those who have a trade relationship with the horn of African countries.
Currently, Ethiopia is working according to its national policy principles and objectives which embodies major ideas such as it should seek and support peaceful resolutions to international disputes, that its economic growth should be bilateral and fraternal with its counterpart country, it should also abide by the international agreements that Ethiopia has sworn upon.
Italy, being one of the first European countries to open a successful diplomatic relationship with Ethiopia, it now continues to grow with other international countries. Ethiopia’s open foreign policy allowed to create a smooth international economic relationship. Primarily, China has been in the country for more than a decade providing various facilities including road construction, railroads, and industries which many scholars did not believe in its implementation doubting that it would better be dubbed as a “neocolonial” relationship. In 2016, Ethiopia began to help the establishment of the central government of Somalia by fighting off Al-Shabab and forming a group known as AMISOM to do so. It also has had quite a role in keeping peace in South Sudan. Many bilateral issues have been peacefully conducted especially with Canada, Great Britain, France, and Italy.
With the coming of the new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (Dr.), who took a peaceful negotiation to resolve the international dispute that lasted for more than two decades with Eritrea resulting to open the floodgates for both of the countries for their international socio and most importantly economic relations to blossom.
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12. National policy principles and objectives. Retrieved from http://www.ethiopia.gov.et/national-policy-principles-and-objectives
13. Gebreleul, Goitom. The Washington Quarterly, pp. 25-37
14. Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Ethiopia’s webpage. Retrieved from http://www.mfa.gov.et/policy-issue
15. Abdul Mohammed, “Ethiopia’s Strategic Dilemma in the Horn of Africa”, Crisis in the Horn of Africa (Social Science Research Council). Retrieved from http://hornofafrica.ssrc.org/Abdul_Mohammed/
16. Bahru Zewde, A History of Modern Ethiopia, second edition (Oxford: James Currey, 2001)