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Ethiopia ends 2020 with a bang

In depth
This article is part of the dossier: Best of 2020

By The Africa Report
Posted on Wednesday, 23 December 2020 19:37

Refugees from the Tigray region of Ethiopia region arrive to register at the UNCHR center at Hamdayet, Sudan on Saturday, Nov. 14, 2020. (AP Photo/Marwan Ali)

Ethiopia has ended the year on a very awkward and troubling note. From the arrival of the pandemic, the upsurge in protests across Oromio to the war in Tigray. One thing is certain: the country is going into 2021 entirely changed.

As was the case for many this year, 2020 began full of optimism and goodwill.

The African Union, headquartered in Addis Ababa, ended its 33rd session making 2020 the year of ‘Silencing the Guns’.

But those guns have been going off quite a bit.

There was the sudden killing of beloved musician Hachalu Hundessa that sparked Oromo protests all across the country.

The mounting tensions primarily with Egypt, and Sudan over the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). Ethiopia unilaterally began filling the dam in July despite no agreement with its neighbours. Negotiations still remain up in the air.

But the biggest bang to go off this year was the foray into Tigray to stamp out what Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has called the TPLF terrorists.

Economically, Ethiopia started off strong. But as was seen all over the continent and world, the arrival of the pandemic meant everything took a hit.

But the country did take several steps to keep COVID-19 infections at bay thereby mitigating the hit on its economy, notes the World Bank.

Ethiopia in short has had a whirlwind of a tour in 2020.

Here’s a look at some of its big moments:

1.Egypt/Ethiopia: ‘I will vote for a war’ – Naguib Sawiris

Egypt’s business magnate Naguib Sawiris gave a candid interview to The Africa Report. He’s done quite a lot of business with its regional neighbour Ethiopia. But on issues about the Nile river, in reference to the GERD , he didn’t waste words, saying if war was the only solution to remedy the situation, he would support it. The same idea was later echoed by outgoing-US President Donald Trump.

For the full text, go here.

2. Ethiopian Airlines gambles brand equity by continuing to fly to China

When the pandemic finally made landfall on the continent, most national air carriers stopped international flights, especially to China. But not Ethiopian airlines. The move meant it was one of the sole airlines to import PPE from China to Africa via Addis Ababa, which solicited much praise and condemnation.

For the full text,go here.

3. Ethiopia: Who and what is behind the Oromia crisis – a view from Abiy’s camp

Following the deadly shooting of musician Hachelu Hundessa, Oromo protesters took to the streets all over the country. Opposition activists accuse Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government of trying to reassert central control over Oromia and dismissing their campaign for cultural rights and linguistic rights.

For the full text, go here.

4. ‘Abiy Ahmed had to punish those seeking to break up Ethiopia’ – Djibouti President

While Djibouti President Ismaïl Omar Guelleh spoke to us on how his country has worked hard to become a global hub, he also took a moment to comment on the choice made by Ethiopia’s PM Abiy. In this interview, he explains why he understands the tough choice Abiy was forced to make against the TPLF.

For the full text, go here.

5. Tigray: The AU failed Ethiopia, while US calls the shots

As mentioned earlier, the AU’s theme for the year was ‘Silencing the Guns’. As the Tigray conflict unfolded, forcing thousands to flee the region seeking refuge in neighbouring Sudan, along with a high death toll, the same question was echoed across the continent: Where was the AU?

For the full text, go here. 

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