Ethnic Federalism and the Developmental State: The Search for Balance in Ethiopia

Girma Mekonnen


Contrary to most Africa states, Ethiopia since 1990s reconfigures the country along ethnic lines. Despite many hopes and expectation, the restructuring of the country under ethnic federalism doomed to consolidate ethnic peace. Besides, the political economy of ‘developmental state’ has become the state ideology following the disgraceful 2005 national election in the country. However,  sporadic ethnic-based conflict and animosities become the rule of the game and pose a serious challenge to the state-building project of replicating East Asian version of developmental state ideology.  The politics of identity and representation, ethnicity and language issues, secession claims, and unsettled regional boundary issues polarised the country and the aspiration of the state to build a democratic developmental state in the Horn of Africa.  The state failure to balance ethnic federalism and developmental state makes the country still one of the poorest countries in the world with a per capita income of $706 and subsistence agricultural economy.

DOI: 10.7176/IAGS/76-03

Publication date:September 30th 2019

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