Beyond the surface Historical, political and socio-economic causes of the ongoing conflict in Ethiopia

Melale Hailu

This paper is the final research output of the 6-months international internship that Melale Hailu, Bachelor of Science in Global Studies, Double Minor in Economics and Law & Liberal Arts, University of Richmond, VA, spent at CeSPI in 2021, organized by IES Abroad Italy.

The paper traces the historical, political, social, economic causes of the internal conflict that plagues Ethiopia and casts an ominous shadow on its future. For over an year now the country has been torn by a conflict the outcome of which appears far from certain. What in prime minister Abiy’s intention should have been a blitzkrieg against the TPLF (the Tigray People's Liberation Front, that has long wielded political and economic power in Ethiopia), risks giving rise to an ethnic conflict that might upset the whole country and destroy the national unity project that Abiy himself has always proclaimed as his goal. Understanding the deep roots of this conflict – potentially able to destabilize the whole region – is both a necessary and a very hard task. This paper provides a few starting points for the analysis.

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