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Ethiopia and Horn of Africa Conference

Ethiopia and Horn of Africa Conference

Washington DC

May 9 -10

Concept note and suggestions for a two day workshop on Ethiopia

a.) Theme

1.  Horn of Africa and Ethiopia: current despair and prospects for a stable, democratic and prosperous future
2.  Democracy and good governance for stable horn of Africa
3.  Creating a conflict-free development environment in the horn of Africa

b.) Objectives:

1, Raise awareness on national and regional issues (Lack of democracy and good governance, ethnic politics, fundamentalism,)
2. Redirect the attention and focus of the international community to address the real causes of instability in the region

I. The current state of Ethiopian politics and society is arguably the most uncertain in the country’s recent history. The following factors have contributed to the current situation:

a) The state of the ruling party and regime
First, we have a very  confused and internally incoherent ruling class (party) especially since the death of their strongman
With the death of the dictator, the ideas that glued the various wings of the ruling party have started to unravel as each tries to gain dominance in the government and the loot that they hope to collect with their political dominance
The ruling party’s foreign backers seem to have doubts about the regime and its stability
The economy is not going as well as the ruling clique wants others to believe and this has started to create noise especially among the poor
The issue related to the country’s borders, especially with Sudan, is creating instability and anger among a very critical boarder population
The level of corruption in the country has reached a point bordering highway robbery, which is simply unsustainable
b) On the part of the opposition in general and the organized opposition in particular
Injustice and the complete collapse of the justice system (as an independent judiciary) combined with the brutality of the regime has led to a new consensus that accepts all inclusive struggle as a legitimate and timely form of struggle
There are now serious organizations involved in it and the public is seeing them as a solution to their current predicament
The role of ESAT and its ability to present itself as a legitimate contender that breaks the monopoly of information in the country. This has enhanced the possibility of mobilizing the population for a unified struggle.
All these issues combined with the inherent weakness of the ruling party has made change a real possibility for the first time and thus the need to talk about the future of the country

II. Key challenges facing the democratic struggle, the future of democratic dispensation in the country and how to get there
The not yet coherently addressed issue of dealing with ethnicity in a democratic framework that prioritizes individual freedom (along with group rights, that follow from it) and developing a visionary consensus among Ethiopia’s moderate elite
The difficulty of bringing various democratic forces together for the struggle (the issue is not just about ethnicity, it also involves a character deficit among political leaders and the acrimonious political culture  that has pervaded opposition politics)
The need for a coherent discussion about the transition and the key issues that need to inform the transition
How do we go beyond the complicated problems that the current regime is deliberately leaving behind? (How does one fight corruption once it takes deep root? How about the issue of identity politics vis. creating a meaningful and visionary Ethiopian nationalism? How about land grab vis. foreign investment?
What is the meaningful and realistic role of the diaspora during the struggle and after liberation?
The complicated foreign relations problems (especially with bordering countries and other regional players)…etc.

III. Suggested themes for individual sessions

Plenary I: The state of Ethiopian politics and society

Concurrent sessions I: (One largely dealing with what is and the other looking at the future)

Inside EPRDF, (the papers could deal with inside the military, within the political parties, EPRDF and the business class, EPRDF and agriculture or the peasant population…etc. Here, the discussions will follow the first plenary and is designed to get papers on What is going on?
The Ethiopian Economy after 23 years of EPRDF. Here we can solicit papers on a number of interrelated issues including: Is the economic growth data reliable? What is the cost of the current development model? Who are the losers and winners in the current economic dispensation? Who is controlling the economy and how? A discussion on Inflation and poverty…etc.

The state of social development in the country: population dynamics, poverty and inequality, land grab and displacement, ethnicity and identity politics, environmental degradation….etc.

Human rights and the state of politics in Ethiopia: Here a wide variety of papers can be presented; issues such as the human right situation in general; the nature of legal politics in the country and the possibility of change through that; the justice system…etc.

Concurrent session II. Where are we heading and how?

Could EPRDF change? Is it possible to achieve democratic dispensation with EPRDF in power? Here issues such as the possibility of national reconciliation…etc. can be discussed
The struggle for democracy in Ethiopia: challenges and opportunities: Here we can have papers about method of struggle; an assessment of the current state of the opposition (both electoral and other forms of politics); The meaning and usefulness of establishing a united struggle and under what condition?
Thinking about a democratic transition. Here just thinking about possible transitional methodologies could be discussed. How do we see the transition coming? What would be the form of the transition that can get buy in from different constituencies? We can solicit open and bold thinking here
Ethiopia and its neighborhood, the Horn of Africa,  what challenges to durable peace, and stability in the Horn and what could be done about it. 

The state of cyber espionage, surveillance and jamming  technologies and  their  potential negative effect on the struggle for human rights and basic liberties in Ethiopia
How do we deal with the class of people emerging as the country’s business elite through

IV. Plenary II. (Looking ahead to the immediate and long term future)

This is  a plenary for the organized opposition to lay out its vision and how they plan to go there
It might be a mixture of academics, civil society groups and political parties to talk about the future of the country. Both about the potential change and beyond

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Ethiopia and Horn of Africa Conference Reviewed by Admin on 9:03 AM Rating: 5


  1. Regarding the mess in eritrea?

  2. This will be a good forum and maybe a precedent to share ideas. Also a precedent to gather as East Africans as apose to one state on its own. We know that today what goes on spills over so we should consult each other see what is working and what is not working and adjust. Viva horn of africa and/or East african union and friendship.

  3. Nega Bonger and company are after power,they want the Menilik palace period.With the likes of Sophia in the group ,who is hell bent to destroy Ethiopia with her biased rants every time she gets the apportunity,nothing good would come out of this conference.Eritreas involvement by itself is a good indicator that the conference elements , want to see Ethiopias disintegration.

  4. From an Eritrean perspective we just want to see Ethiopia be good neighbors and get out of our land. That is it., as far as disintegration, we get pulled into that argument cause they think we actually got independence form Ethiopia which we didn't we just expelled invaders. So we always get asked about that as far as that goes man we don't care. We would rather see peace tho weather its by staying together or apart. The obvious answer tho is that if disintegration happens its not good cause we will see wars on many fronts and that isn't good for us. There is small fractions of Eritreans that want to see woyane out of power me included but if we can get them out of our country... i really don't give a shit whos in power over there. We really don't care man.

  5. what article did you read?

  6. This will be good, but the music it seems the other way getting money for assets they didn't achieve to get 6000 Ethiopian as members and I have seen how they cash in the interview Pia we have to be careful to thus chasing our money (they had a tumble first new year then in midyear than a year later, what about Oromo. Somaly

  7. This will be good, but the music it seems the other way getting money for Esat they didn't achieve to get 6000 Ethiopian as members and I have witnessed how they cash in the interview Pia we have to be careful to thus​ chasing our money (they had a tumble first new year then in midyear than a year later, what about Oromo. Somaly.

  8. It does affect Eritreans, who is in power in Ethiopia. Right now, our common enemy is the woyane mafia. We should work together for the common good of our people.

  9. As igad went of to the tangent of its mission with the management of weyane, now there is a need to talk about how in reality create a peaceful corner..i definitely appreciate the initiative and i'm sure something good will come, thank you for your gathering and wish you could reunite all the brains to remove the cancer of the east africa "weyane".

  10. Amazing, not the simple fact that a discussion about Ethiopia and the future of Ethiopia is the headline on this website, but the fact that the parrots who are justifying putting it on here. Trying to rationalize this as some how dealing with Eritrea is disillusion and hypocritical. Not once did this article mention Eritrea, yet somehow we are suppose to believe this has to deal with Eritrea?

    What's funny is that it is the government and their mindless supporters who bring up Ethiopia and Ethiopians, yet they are the first one to call everyone else AGAME.
    Who's the AGAME, the one's crying over the plight of Eritrea and Eritreans or the one's justifying broadcasting the news of Ethiopia and Ethiopians on the front page of an "Eritrean" website?
    You guys are jokes, and the sad part is, you make it easier for anyone with a brain to see it and call you out on it.

  11. JAQ, I couldn't have said it better. Madote is an Ethiopian forum. Nothing else.

  12. You didn't expel anyone. The Ethiopian army just gave up and left. The proof of that is the war in 2000 when the Ethiopian army came back and took control of 1/3 of Eritrea in less than a week, destroying anything and everything in its path and the Eritrean army just dropped its weapons and fled. This is proof beyond reasonable doubt that Eritrea did not defeat Ethiopia. Even now... Ethiopia bombs Eritrean targets at will. When and where they want, anytime they want. This is the irrefutable fact.


  14. It doesn't matter if it is friendly or NOT.., you miss my point completely. Our nation is not trying to be "friends" They only have 1 priority over all "protecting Eritrea's sovereignty".

  15. We'll see when you get out from under your white masters dress.

  16. Symposium, workshop, training, group discussion and people interaction as a whole is a very good start. Y know why good and bad brains are drained. If you read the points of discussion it starts from Horn of Africa. If y don't dare to deal the internal situation together you cannot improve poverty. Let us assume that the main discussion is "Ethiopia" but I guess Eritrea would have role too. This forum is a good method of gathering information in order to know people's attitude. No idea is undermined.
    Internet is the same as the olden times 'awchachege'.

  17. You mean the Italians? They are your masters. Not Ethiopia's. They call you Askaris and you respond "yes Massa..?"

  18. Looks like they're using Eritrean artists and the 'Horn of Africa' umbrella to attract more attention. Just a whole bunch of noise from them.
    Neither weyane nor these guys respect Eritrea's sovereignty and territorial integrity, so no, I'm not giving them any of my hard earned $.
    I don't trust them any more/less than weyane. 2 sides of the same coin.


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