STRATFOR – After less than six months in office, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has presided over impressive internal ethnic and political reconciliation, has established peace with Eritrea and has begun ambitious economic privatization efforts. The changes have come so quickly that many question whether they are sustainable. And while there are many limitations to just how much Abiy can accomplish, it’s very possible that he will establish a new level of stability and economic opportunity in the East African country of 100 million people.
The wave of support for Abiy emerged from massive protests against the government in 2016. At that time, an angry and increasingly educated youth population shut out from the top-heavy economy, began expressing its discontent across the country — from the large and marginalized region of Oromia across the highland core to Amhara. The growing destabilization heaped pressure on Addis Ababa’s governing elites. Led by hard-liners within the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, a critical source of power in Ethiopia’s ruling coalition, Addis Ababa turned to repression, cracking down on all kinds of dissent. Nevertheless, the protests persisted well into 2017, forcing the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), the ruling coalition, to begin internal deliberations about how it needed to adjust its strategy. […] CONTINUE READING