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Quarterly ForecastsJun 29, 2020 | 00:02 GMT
2020 Third-Quarter Forecast
While many of the trends identified in our annual forecast remain slowed down by COVID-19, their pace is picking up as countries carefully emerge from lockdown.
SnapshotsMay 7, 2020 | 17:41 GMT
Ethiopia’s Tigray Region Defies Federal Election Plans
On May 4, Ethiopia's Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) announced plans to organize regional elections in Tigray despite a federal decision to postpone the ballot due to COVID-19. In March, the government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed moved to delay August national and regional elections to contain the spread of the virus and has not yet announced a new date. The Tigray government's decision to follow through with the federally postponed elections thus highlights the widening rift between the northern region and Addis Ababa, and could lead to renewed tensions between federalist and ethnic opposition groups in the country.
AssessmentsJan 7, 2020 | 10:30 GMT
Lava rises to the top inside Erta Ale volcano in the Afar region of northeastern Ethiopia. The Ethiopian volcano is home to the world's oldest continuously active lava lake, known as the "Gateway To Hell."
Unlocking the Power of Potash in the Horn of Africa
Following their recent peace deal, Ethiopia and Eritrea are seeking to take advantage of the region's newfound foreign investment interest by tapping into long-ignored natural resources under their soil. One of the most promising resources is potash, a mined salt containing water-soluble potassium that is most often used in fertilizer. High-grade potash reserves split between Ethiopia and neighboring Eritrea are likely worth well into the hundreds of millions of dollars, if not much more. And with global fertilizer demand set to skyrocket in the years ahead, the opening of the region's market couldn't come at a more opportune time. But whether the two countries will be able to turn that promise into profit remains far from certain, as foreign investors may deem the countries' political futures too murky -- and the security challenges still too steep -- despite the possible returns.
On GeopoliticsNov 14, 2019 | 09:00 GMT
Supporters of Jawar Mohammed, a member of the Oromo ethnic group and high-profile opposition activist, gather outside Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's home following rumors that his security forces had tried to orchestrate an attack against Mohammed.
A Make-or-Break Moment Nears for Ethiopia's Political Transformation
Since rising to power in April 2018, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has already overseen several impressive victories -- the opening of Ethiopia's media and political environments being hailed as one of his biggest. His efforts to "achieve peace and international cooperation," including opening Ethiopia's relations with long-time enemy Eritrea, even earned him the Nobel Peace Prize in recent weeks. But unfortunately for Ethiopia's new leader, no amount of accolades will protect him from the bitter campaign his regional rivals are gearing up for ahead of elections slated for May 2020.
AssessmentsJun 26, 2019 | 10:00 GMT
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed meets with fellow African leaders in January 2019.
Is Abiy's Liberalization Push Too Much, Too Soon for Ethiopia?
The past year been one of historic transformation in Ethiopia, to say the least -- thanks, in large part, to the country's new youthful prime minister, Abiy Ahmed. After taking office in April 2018, Abiy and his political allies hit the ground running with sweeping political and economic reforms aimed at freeing the country from its former authoritarian regime. For some, this change hasn't come quickly enough. But others worry that this push is perhaps too much, too soon. And as the dust settles on a June 22 coup attempt in the country's Amhara region, the possibility that Abiy has opened a Pandora's box looms ever larger. While widely heralded, the recent loosening of Ethiopia's draconian media and political restrictions has also exacerbated endemic interethnic conflict. Abiy's promise to hold free and fair elections in 2020, meanwhile, has brought new, more hard-line regional parties to the fore who are now looking to compete
AssessmentsFeb 5, 2019 | 10:00 GMT
The long-closed border between Ethiopia and Eritrea is open, and both countries are seeing possible economic and security benefits bloom.
Can Ethiopia and Eritrea Keep the Peace, or Will History Repeat Itself?
After a costly war in 1998 and two subsequent decades of animosity, Eritrea and Ethiopia formally agreed to settle their differences with a historic truce in September 2018. The former enemies have since basked in the peace, with their improved relations opening the door for increased trade and investment and new transport routes. But trade and security problems loom on the horizon -- carrying the risk of once again souring relations between the Horn of Africa neighbors.
AssessmentsDec 31, 2018 | 10:00 GMT
Passengers pose for a selfie inside an Ethiopian Airlines flight on July 18, 2018. The trip was the first commercial flight between the Ethiopian and Eritrean capitals in two decades.
2018: The Year Abiy Ahmed Started to Put Ethiopia's House in Order
The Horn of Africa giant has had a whirlwind 2018. A leadership change in Addis Ababa paved the way for Abiy Ahmed to become prime minister. Energetic, young and ambitious, the new head of state is pursuing a whole host of projects, ranging from a broad ethnic reconciliation campaign to temper internal instability to brokering a peace deal with erstwhile foe Eritrea. The economic front has also been full of activity, as Abiy has promised to reform the country's top-heavy economy by partially privatizing major state-owned companies like EthioTelecom, Ethiopian Airlines and others. As Ethiopia enters a new year full of new challenges, here's a look back at some of the articles that dominated Stratfor's coverage of the rising giant in 2018.
SnapshotsNov 12, 2018 | 19:37 GMT
Ethiopia: How Military Purges Further the Prime Minister's Plans
Ethiopia's government moved quickly over the weekend to wrest control of the country's armed forces from members of the Tigray ethnic minority. Reports indicate that over 160 generals have been relieved of their positions in Ethiopia's armed forces. Meanwhile, more than 60 senior figures from the Ethiopian National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) and the Metals and Engineering Corporation (METEC), a military-run business, were arrested on charges of corruption and human rights violations. The terminations and arrests mark the latest signs of change in Ethiopia as Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed forges ahead with a major reform campaign.
AssessmentsOct 12, 2018 | 09:00 GMT
The harbor in Massawa shows some of what Eritrea has to offer to investors as a transportation hub and tourism magnet.
Eritrea Creaks Open the Door as Fears of War Recede
Massive political and economic changes in Ethiopia are having an impact far beyond the regional heavyweight's borders. Nowhere have these changes been more evident than in Eritrea, Ethiopia's erstwhile, decades-old nemesis. As renewed ties between Addis Ababa and Asmara deepen, transport arteries are once again open, bilateral trade is up and cost-prohibitive natural resources are in play. All of this begs the question: is Eritrea a frontier market worth digging into?
AssessmentsSep 18, 2018 | 09:00 GMT
Since taking office, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has pushed ambitious reforms and local and regional reconciliation.
Ethiopia's Ambitious Leader Reaches for the Stars
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed governs like a man running short on time. After less than six months in office, the youthful leader 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.
AssessmentsSep 7, 2018 | 09:45 GMT
The peaks of the Simien Mountains tower over the landscape of Gondar, Ethiopia. Ethiopia's new prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, is building on his country's historical and geopolitical advantages to bring it back to prominence in, and perhaps beyond, the surrounding region.
Where Is Ethiopia Headed? Signs Past and Present Point the Way
Ethiopia is a rarity in Africa. It has existed in a coherent form for more than 2,000 years and largely escaped European colonization. The country's lineage -- which traces back to the kingdom of Aksum in the first century and to its advantageous location between the ancient trade routes of Rome and India -- makes it stand out on the map. And its recent push for reform and strategic partnerships in the Horn of Africa provides a more timely reason to explore Ethiopia's geopolitical environment.
ReflectionsJun 29, 2018 | 07:59 GMT
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed addresses a rally behind protective glass in Addis Ababa on June 23.
Old Threats to New Leaders in Ethiopia and Zimbabwe
Hand grenades were thrown during the final moments of two rallies in Africa on June 23: at a huge gathering for Ethiopia's new prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, and at an election rally for Zimbabwe's president, Emmerson Mnangagwa. On the surface, there are clear parallels between the two attacks: Two new and ambitious African leaders and their supporters were targeted by reactionary forces. However, the attacks, their likely perpetrators and the motivations behind them fit into more specific contexts. And perhaps most crucially is the outcome: The failed assassination attempts will not slow the men they were intended to kill. According to both governments, Abiy will press forward with Ethiopia's economic and political openings as will Mnangagwa with Zimbabwe's July 30 elections.
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