Trouble's On The Horn: Ethiopia in Crisis

South Africa’s Jacob Zuma wasn’t the only beleaguered leader of a major African economy to resign last week. At the other end of the continent, Ethiopian PM Hailemariam Desalegn stepped down amid a deep political crisis that has roiled the East African nation for three years now.


The roots of the crisis combine two things: perceptions of political marginalization among the country’s two largest ethnic groups (the Oromo and the Amhara), and broader frustrations with a political system that has remained deeply repressive even as economic growth soared in recent years. The government’s release of several hundred political prisoners earlier this year failed to defuse the crisis.

Whether Hailemariam’s resignation opens the way for a more inclusive and stable political system — or merely provides the ruling EPRDF with a chance to install a more effective hardliner — is a critical question for the country, and for the region. Ethiopia is one of the world’s fastest growing economies, but it’s in a tough neighborhood — it borders the near-failed state of Somalia to the East and war-wracked Sudan and South Sudan to the West.

More broadly, East Africa has become a critical security focus as jihadist militants from ISIS and other groups transit the region to reach other destinations in North and West Africa. Watch this space closely…

Bonus track: Ethiopia’s most famous musician (unless you count The Weeknd as Ethiopian, which I don’t) is Alemayehu Eshete. He’s been called the Ethiopian James Brown. I’ll let you decide who’s the king of soul, but while you ponder it, kick back and lounge to this.

The Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace launched in 2018 with the commitment of signatories to stand up to cyber threats like election interference, attacks on critical infrastructure, and supply chain vulnerabilities. Last week, on the first anniversary of the call, the number of signatories has nearly tripled to more than 1,000 and now includes 74 nations; more than 350 international, civil society and public sector organizations; and more than 600 private sector entities. These commitments to the Paris Call from around the world demonstrate a widespread, global, multi-stakeholder consensus about acceptable behavior in cyberspace.

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