The Horn of Africa is facing multiple and complex challenges. In Ethiopia, a challenging internal conflict and an alarming humanitarian situation in the Tigray region that has dire consequences for the region has persisted since November 2020, while a negotiated settlement remains elusive. In Somalia, the election process has been punctuated by a series of political crises and stalked by the spectre of politically-motivated violence, against a backdrop of the increasing influence and capability of the al-Shabab terrorist group. Sudan’s Dafur region has recently been subject to a flare-up in conflict and violence over pasture and water attributed to the Janjaweed militia while in October 2021, the military leadership dissolved the civilian-led arm of government, disrupting the transition to civilian rule and undermining international confidence in the country’s democratic reform process. The pace of implementing the peace process in South Sudan has been inconstant and on a number of occasions, in danger of stalling altogether. Addressing these and other problematic internal situations, as well as the significant challenges posed by the social and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, cyclic natural disasters, climate change, and displacement is further complicated by the ongoing conflict in Europe between Russia and Ukraine, which has regional and global ramifications. Yet resolving this wide spectrum of issues in the Horn of Africa and fostering good governance remains a crucial and indeed essential precondition to unlocking and realizing the region’s human, economic, and development potential.
On May 18, the Africa Security Initiative at Brookings hosted an event to discuss the various challenges affecting the Horn, examine possible solutions, and also explore the positive opportunities available in the region. The event featured Executive Secretary of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Workneh Gebeyehu (IGAD is one of eight constituent regional economic communities of the African Union) and Brookings John C. Whitehead Visiting Fellow in International Diplomacy Jeffrey Feltman, who until January 2022 served as the Biden administration’s special envoy for the Horn of Africa.
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ModeratorVanda Felbab-Brown Director - Initiative on Nonstate Armed Actors, Co-Director - Africa Security Initiative, Senior Fellow - Foreign Policy, Strobe Talbott Center for Security, Strategy, and Technology
PanelistMichael E. O’Hanlon Director of Research - Foreign Policy, Director - Strobe Talbott Center for Security, Strategy, and Technology, Co-Director - Africa Security Initiative, Senior Fellow - Foreign Policy, Strobe Talbott Center for Security, Strategy, and Technology, Philip H. Knight Chair in Defense and StrategyJeffrey Feltman John C. Whitehead Visiting Fellow in International Diplomacy - Foreign Policy, Strobe Talbott Center for Security, Strategy, and Technology