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Conflict in Ethiopia

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Bharathi Pradeep
Bharathi Pradeep
Editor at Bharathi covers topics on Competitive exams, How To guides, Current exams, Current Affairs, Study Materials, etc. Follow her on social media using the links below.

Ethiopia’s Tigray war

An Ethiopian government team and Tigray forces are going to have peace talks in South Africa.

About Ethiopia

  • It is a landlocked country located in the Horn of Africa, officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.
  • The country lies within the tropical latitudes and is relatively compact, with similar north-south and east-west dimensions.
  • The capital is Addis Ababa.
  • Ethiopia is one of the world’s oldest countries, its territorial extent having varied over the millennia of its existence.
  • It is the tenth-largest country in Africa in terms of area.
  • Ethiopia is located from Sudan to the southeast, Eritrea to the south, Djibouti and Somalia to the west, Kenya to the north, and South Sudan to the east.
  • It is the most populous landlocked country in the world.

Conflict in Ethiopia

  • Background:
    • Ethiopia was an imperial state that gradually weakened with the emergence of regional and religious rivalries.
      • Currently, Ethiopia has more than 70 ethnic groups. It has Oromo 34.5%, Amhara 26.91%, Somali 6.20%, Tigre 6.07%.
    • A significant insurgency followed in the 1970s — in Tigray, where the Meles Zenawi-led Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), rebelled against the military government and its policies.
      • It was the backing of the then Soviet Union and allies that propped up both the armed forces and the Mengistu government, but this support began to dissipate in the 1980s, influencing the course of conflicts with the Eritreans and Tigray.
  • Separation of Eritrea:
    • Eritrea, formerly part of Ethiopia, separated from Ethiopia in 1991 and a majority of Eritrea was in the hands of the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (EPLF), while in Ethiopia it was the TPLF.
    • The war between 1998 and 2000 and the border in Eritrea and Ethiopia remained tense until 2018.
  • Ethnic Rivalries:
    • Abi Ahmed was elected to the post of Prime Minister in 2018 and signed a peace deal to end the border dispute with Eritrea.
      • After the implementation of this peace agreement, Abi Ahmad was awarded the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize.
    • But then the conflict started after Ahmed, who belongs to the Oroma community, was accused by local leaders of the Tigray community that the community was being harassed by military officials and bureaucrats.
      • The original inhabitants of Tigray are considered to be the fighting community of Ethiopia and 60% of senior military positions are dominated by the Tigray community.
  • Civil War:
    • Along with this, various international agencies have accused Abi Ahmad of imposing an internet shutdown to curb press freedom in Ethiopia and personal rights.
    • As a result of Abi Ahmad’s policies, the dissatisfaction of the Tigray community increased and there was a situation of civil war.
    • Missiles were fired by the Tigray army in the neighbouring country of Eritrea, Asmara, after which the Federal Government of Ethiopia declared an armed struggle against the Tigray Army (Tigray People’s Liberation Front).

Peace Talks

  • The spectrum of political, economic, and security problems that confronted Ethiopia and Eritrea paved the way for a strategy that essentially incorporated reconciliation and democratisation, social and economic development, and, importantly, ties with the western world.
  • This is the first formal Peace talks between the two led by the African Union and is happening at a time when Ethiopian forces and allies have made some gains in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region.
    • Tigray was a prominent force in the country’s ruling coalition until Ethiopia’s current leader and Nobel Peace laureate (2019) Abiy Ahmed became the Prime Minister in 2018.

Impact of this Conflict

  • Impact on Neighboring Countries:
    • Ethiopia is the region of the Horn of Africa which has countries like Eritrea, Djibouti, and Sudan in addition to Ethiopia. The launch of missiles at the capital of Eritrea by the Tigray community of Ethiopia also makes other countries suspicious.
  • Hydro Project on the Blue Nile:
    • Tigrayan tensions are also linked to the mega hydro project on the Blue Nile, the 6,450 MW Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, which will be Africa’s largest hydroelectric facility.
    • It is a few hundred kilometres away from the Tigrayan border and upstream and east of the border with Sudan.
    • There is a threat of regional disquiet with Sudan and Egypt which depend on the Nile and fear restrictions to water use.
  • Global Impact:
    • Global organizations are also affected by this conflict. Recently the President of the World Health Organization has condemned the conflict in Ethiopia.
    • The conflict with Tigray worries the world as it could spill beyond the borders and ignite a crisis in north-east Africa.
  • Impact on India:
    • India considers Africa as an important part of its diplomacy at this time. Various types of welfare programs are being run by India in African countries. Educational work and industrial work are done by Indians in Ethiopia.

India-Ethiopia Relations

  • Ethiopia is one of the largest recipients of long-term concessional credit from India in Africa.
    • Lines of Credit worth more than USD1 billion have been sanctioned to Ethiopia for sectors such as rural electrification, sugar industry and railways.
    • The Tele-Education project has been replicated by the Ethiopian side and linkages established between the Addis Ababa University and the Indian Institutes of Technology at Delhi and Kanpur.
  • Bilateral trade between Ethiopia and India stood at USD 1.28 billion in 2018-19, out of which Indian exports to Ethiopia were USD 1.23 billion and imports were USD 55.01 million.
    • There are more than 586 Indian companies in Ethiopia employing more than 55,000 people with a licensed investments of over USD 4 billion.
    • About 58.7% of Indian investments are in the manufacturing sector, followed by agriculture (15.6%).
  • Indian Mission has been celebrating the International Day of Yoga in Addis Ababa. Mission held Gandhi@150 celebrations in Addis Ababa (Oct 2020).

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Bharathi Pradeep
Bharathi Pradeep
Editor at Bharathi covers topics on Competitive exams, How To guides, Current exams, Current Affairs, Study Materials, etc. Follow her on social media using the links below.
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