As Africa’s oldest independent country, Ethiopia has a history that is unique in the continent. The country has faced its share of conflict, including a protracted civil war from 1974 through 1991. A land-locked location in Eastern Africa, the country has also been witness to climate catastrophes, — including the drought that killed a half a million people in the 1980s and the threat of a new drought today. Despite being one of Africa’s poorest countries, Ethiopia has experienced significant economic growth since the end of the civil war, and a majority of its population is literate. In addition, Ethiopia is a crucial U.S. security partner, particularly when it comes to counterterrorism, in a region plagued by threats.
On April 25, the Africa Security Initiative at Brookings hosted a discussion examining the security situation in Ethiopia, in broader political, economic, and regional context. Panelists included Abye Assefa of St. Lawrence University and Terrence Lyons of George Mason University. Michael O’Hanlon, co-director of the Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence, moderated.