Since November 2020, the Ethiopian army and units led by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) have been facing each other in a warlike conflict in the federal state of Tigray. But despite the soon announced success of the “law enforcement operation” and the arrest of many TPLF leaders, the fighting continues. In the meantime, more than 60,000 people have fled to Sudan. Human rights violations and possible war crimes are being reported from the part of the country that is still partly sealed off. And Tigray is not Ethiopia’s only conflict region.
Elections are to be held throughout the country on 5 June 2021. In order to be able to start with a national party beyond ethnic borders, Prime Minister Abiy has transformed the former rallying movement EPRDF into the “Prosperity Party”. The TPLF, which was the driving political force in the state from the early 1990s until Abiy became prime minister, did not join the new party. Critics of Abiy fear the further concentration of state power in the centre, and international observers also see the arrest of high-ranking opposition politicians as a departure from Abiy’s policy of opening up and democratisation. At the same time, the policy of the heavy hand has helped Abiy gain new popularity in the country.
Against this background, how realistic is it that the election will be held and what are the chances of the Nobel laureate winning it? To what extent is constitutional reform necessary and can it prevent the Balkanisation of the multi-ethnic state? What role can Germany play in conflict resolution, stabilisation and peaceful development in this important region?
These and other questions were at the centre of the discussion to which the German-Ethiopian Association and the German Africa Foundation cordially invited you.
Dr Uschi Eid, President, German Africa Foundation
Prince Dr Asfa-Wossen Asserate, Author and Chairman of the Board of Trustees, German Africa Foundation
Prof Belachew Gebrewold, MCI Management Center Innsbruck
Mehret Haile, Consultant
Dr Gerrit Kurtz, Research Fellow, Conflict Prevention and Diplomacy in Africa, DGAP
The event took place within the framework of the Online Ethiopia Forum of the German-Ethiopian Association from 19 – 20 March 2021.