Ethnicity and federalism: the case of Ethiopia

This article on ethnicity and federalism in Ethiopia is based on research carried out in 21 African countries, in the former Soviet Union and the contemporary Russian Federation, and in Spain. The ethnopolitical situation in Ethiopia is complex. The federal character of the Ethiopian State is an important form of ethnoterritorial self-determination. Although Ethiopia’s experience shows that the federal system has made little progress in improving the ethnopolitical situation and eliminating interethnic tensions, some positive trends can be detected: the legislative fixation of the states’ constitutional powers; the formation of local self-government bodies. which makes it possible to solve a sizable part of the problems of preserving ethnocultural diversity; the multicultural character of the federal centre; the opportunity for citizens to study their mother tongues and apply them in education; thelegislative fixation of the fundamentals of ethnocultural autonomy by forming special zones and ‘woreda’ in some states. The future of Ethiopia as a federation and its political stability depend heavily on the relations between the Amhara, Tigray and Oromo and on the effectiveness of the government’s attemps to involve ethnic minorities in the federalization process. Ref., sum. in French and Italian. [Journal abstract, adapted]

Title: Ethnicity and federalism: the case of Ethiopia
Author: Ismagilova, Roza
Year: 2004
Periodical: Africa: rivista trimestrale di studi e documentazione
Volume: 59
Issue: 2
Pages: 179-200
Language: English
Geographic term: Ethiopia
External link: https://www.jstor.org/stable/40761737
Abstract: This article on ethnicity and federalism in Ethiopia is based on research carried out in 21 African countries, in the former Soviet Union and the contemporary Russian Federation, and in Spain. The ethnopolitical situation in Ethiopia is complex. The federal character of the Ethiopian State is an important form of ethnoterritorial self-determination. Although Ethiopia’s experience shows that the federal system has made little progress in improving the ethnopolitical situation and eliminating interethnic tensions, some positive trends can be detected: the legislative fixation of the states’ constitutional powers; the formation of local self-government bodies. which makes it possible to solve a sizable part of the problems of preserving ethnocultural diversity; the multicultural character of the federal centre; the opportunity for citizens to study their mother tongues and apply them in education; thelegislative fixation of the fundamentals of ethnocultural autonomy by forming special zones and ‘woreda’ in some states. The future of Ethiopia as a federation and its political stability depend heavily on the relations between the Amhara, Tigray and Oromo and on the effectiveness of the government’s attemps to involve ethnic minorities in the federalization process. Ref., sum. in French and Italian. [Journal abstract, adapted]