One year after the inauguration of Abiy Ahmed as Prime Minister, Ethiopia continues to be the world’s most exciting democratic breakthrough. Since his appointment, Prime Minister Abiy has initiated a series of broad economic, legal, and political reforms; appointed well-respected human rights leaders to key, independent government commissions; and encouraged the return of and met with opposition parties and exiled journalists and activists.
However, these reforms are fragile. Increasing ethnic tensions and conflicts with slow government responses, a struggling economy, slow implementation of electoral reforms and incomplete government messaging threaten the transformation.
Will Abiy usher in a new Ethiopia? Global Risks Insights analyst William Charnley asks:
If nothing else, The World Bank’s commitment of $1.2bn in support Ethiopia’s budget is a major signal of confidence for the countries reforms. Indeed, Abiy’s political and social changes are certainly creating an environment of stability that stimulates foreign investment. If Abiy’s reforms are successful, Ethiopia will be well on its way to achieve its goal of becoming a middle income country, on par with Nigeria and Kenya.
In a panel discussion at the National Endowment for Democracy (above), Seife Ayalew, Yoseph Badwaza, Kassahun Follo and Obang Metho examine the success, opportunities, and challenges of Ethiopia’s democratic transformation at this one-year anniversary.