The Rise of ETHIOPIA and its GEOPOLITICAL challenges – KJ VIDS
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The Rise of ETHIOPIA and its GEOPOLITICAL challenges – KJ VIDS

September 1, 2019

(popping music) – [Kasim] Ethiopia is an emerging economy and the Horn of Africa’s power hub. But in spite of its
considerable potential, it also has to face significant
challenges to its rise. Depending on how it copes with them, Ethiopia could either become
a leader of African progress or another fragmented
state torn by conflict. I’m your host Kasim and
thanks for joining me for another KJ Vid. In this video, we will discuss
the geopolitics of Ethiopia. Just before we start, we are pleased to announce that we now provide geopolitical news and forecasts as well as analysis. You can access our content on and subscribe to one of our plans. We have left a 50% discount link in the description for all
our YouTube subscribers. Ethiopia is a rather large country located in the Horn of Africa region. It extends for 1.13
million square kilometres and its territory is
largely made of highlands and plateaus that occupy
its central-western part. The capital, Addis
Ababa, lies at the centre of Ethiopia in the heart of its highlands. The mountain ranges are separated
by the Great Rift Valley, which runs from the
south-west to the north east. Yet, there are also some plains. To the north, the Danakil Depression runs along the eastern part of
the border with Eritrea. To the south-east, the land descends into the arid Somalian
plateau and the Ogaden Desert that mark the border with Somalia. This difficult terrain
configuration complicates transport and communication in Ethiopia. However, the great geographic challenge for Ethiopia is its position. Firstly, it is a landlocked country, and this hinders its economic development. Ethiopia can of course reach
the sea via its northern and eastern neighbours, but this is not an easy solution. To the east, Somalia
is a failed state torn by fragmentation, poverty and conflict. Northwards, a war was fought with Eritrea over a territory dispute,
and years of tense relations have denied Ethiopia the
access to the Red Sea. Only a recent agreement
has reopened the border, thus paving the way to better ties. However, there are doubts
over the tenure of the deal, as the border has been closed again by Eritrean authorities in April. As such, Djibouti has been
Ethiopia’s only access to the sea for a long time, to the point that its ports handle 95% of Ethiopia’s foreign trade. To secure its access to the sea the Ethiopian government acquired
stakes in Djibouti’s ports and built a railway
connecting the two countries. Yet, there is strong foreign
competition in Djibouti, as many other states are present in economic and even military terms, the country hosts US, Chinese,
Japanese and French forces. Another problem related
to Ethiopia’s position is that it is surrounded
by fragile neighbours. Somalia is the most prominent case, but even Eritrea and
Djibouti do not perform well in terms of stability, especially Eritrea. The state of affairs to the
west are also complicated. Sudan and South Sudan
are two other weak states where armed conflict is common, notably in the case of South Sudan. The situation is better only to the south, where Kenya enjoys relative
peace and prosperity. Such instability from
its fragile neighbours could spill over to Ethiopia, also because it is socially
fragmented state itself. Ethiopia’s growing population counts around 109 million people,
most of whom are young, and is divided along
ethnic and religious lines. In regards to religion,
43.5% of the population was Ethiopian Orthodox in 2007, while 34% were Muslims
and 18.5% Protestants. Other minor faiths were also present. But the most significant
differences are ethnic-related. The most important groups
are the Oromo and Amhara, representing respectively
34.4% and 27% of the total. These are followed by the
Somalis and the Tigray, who both count for a bit more than 6%, and many more groups also exist. This ethnic fragmentation
is a cause of tensions in Ethiopian politics. As a matter of fact, the Oromo and Amhara, in spite of being the majoritarian groups, are politically and
economically marginalised. By contrast, the Tigray minority holds much wealth and power. It dominates the ruling
government coalition, called the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front, and this creates resentment
among the other larger groups. Contrasts between them
is a prominent feature in current Ethiopian politics, as the recent events demonstrate. An army officer belonging to
the Amhara attempted a coup in the north. He was known for his ethnic nationalism, demanding greater autonomy
and even calling the Amharas to take up arms. The coup failed and he was killed. Two officers who opposed
him also lost their lives. They belonged to the Tigrays, many of whom blame the
government for the death of the two officers even though incumbent Prime Minister
Abiy Ahmed mourned them. He is of mixed Oromo and Amhara ancestry, but is politically
affiliated with the Oromos. This shows the complexity
of Ethiopia’s political life and the tensions existing
within its society. Yet, the country must also
cope with other issues. Like many emerging countries,
Ethiopia is in the middle of a transition phase. It experienced double-digits
growth for most of the 2000s and in 2018 its GDP grew
of 7.7% in real terms, reaching more than $84 billion. Income inequality is low, but unfortunately this
is because large swathes of its population live in poverty. In 2014 almost 30% of the population lived below the poverty line. Agriculture remains a
central economic sector, representing almost 35% of the GDP and absorbing close to
73% of the workforce. Inflation is high, reaching almost 10%. The government runs a deficit
of more than 3% of the GDP, but the public debt is
currently relatively low at 54% of the economy’s size. In terms of trade, Ethiopia
experiences a negative balance of around $6 billion. Its main export destinations
are European countries, but also China and the US, while its imports comes
primarily from China and Europe, with India being another
important partner. This indicates that the status of Ethiopia’s economy is mixed. Its industrialization process
is still in the early stages, and it does not enjoy the
positive trade balance that allow other emerging
countries to develop. Its economy is growing fast, but at the moment many
people still live in poverty and their living conditions
remain difficult. Droughts and livestock mortality
can result into famine, and poor sanitary conditions
favour the spread of disease. These problems could
be further exacerbated by climate change, whose effects
will be particularly marked in the Horn of Africa. According to estimates, Ethiopia’s GDP will be reduced of up to 10%
due to climate change by 2045. Water scarcity will become more common as the region gets warmer, thus damaging crops and livestock. Pests and diseases will also spread. As a consequence, Ethiopia’s food security will be severely threatened, together with the health of its people. The effects of climate
change are already visible. A recent USAID report
shows that in 2016 Ethiopia was struck by the worst
drought in 50 years. Around 8.5 million people requested emergency food assistance
for a total value of $1.4 billion. Ethiopia hosted 730,000 refugees
from neighbouring countries in 2017 plus 1.3 million
internally displaced persons, many of whom belong to
the Somali minority. More than half of them
had fled the conflict in the Oromia and Somali regions, which are those that are projected to suffer the most from climate change. In other terms, food insecurity is already sparking conflict, and the situation will probably
worsen in the coming years, also because of the population growth. In a country marked by ethnic tension, this could further exacerbate conflict with destabilising effects for a region that already experiences
significant turmoil. The Horn of Africa is located on the important Bab el-Mandeb Strait which connects the Indian
Ocean to the Red Sea. Along with Suez, it is the crossroad for trade between Europe and Asia, meaning it is one of the economically most relevant
chokepoints in the world. Maritime trade in the area is threatened by pirates operating from Somalia. Piracy is itself a complex
issue strictly linked to the poor conditions of that state, and has triggered a
multinational patrol operation to ensure the safety of cargo ships. In addition, the region is
also a hub for armed groups, notably the Islamists
Al-Shabab based in Somalia. They perform terrorist
attacks inside the country and across the borders, and are considered a regional threat. Piracy and armed factions are the factors explaining the presence of foreign military forces in Djibouti. It is therefore important
to keep Ethiopia stable. If such a population country
becomes a failed state, an already troublesome region would become even more unstable, and this would also increase the flow of migrants towards Europe. But there are also other issues. The source of many of the region’s rivers is located in the Ethiopian highlands. Among them, the most important
is surely the Blue Nile, which joins the White Nile in
Sudan to form the Nile proper. Any activity that Ethiopia
conducts on the river’s course would have deep consequences
on the downstream states. Egypt is particularly concerned,
it depends on the Nile, and the water flow along
the river is a major point of contention between the two countries, especially since Ethiopia began building the Grand Renaissance Dam in 2011. As such it is possible
that conflicts over water will arise as the region
becomes more arid. Finally, Ethiopia is an
ambitious geopolitical actor. It wants to become the main
power in the Horn of Africa and expand its influence
beyond the region. Even though it is a landlocked country, last year it announced
plans to build a navy, but the move is not regarded as credible. Most importantly, Ethiopia’s ability to play a greater
international role depends on its success in tackling
the numerous challenges it is facing, notably
poverty, climate change and regional instability. This will not be easy, and Ethiopia must be
careful not to aim too high if it wants to avoid becoming
another failed state. That’s all for today, guys. Thanks for watching another KJ Vid. We hope you enjoyed the video and would love to hear your
thoughts in the comments below especially if you’re from Ethiopia. Please don’t forget to visit and subscribe to one of our plans so that you can access
our geopolitical news, analysis, and forecasts. We have also left a 50% discount link in the description below. Thanks for watching again
and see you next time.


  • Reply Faraz khan July 25, 2019 at 11:12 am

    Very good journalism. Keep up the good work.

  • Reply Darktron July 25, 2019 at 4:24 pm

    They need ports and limit muslims radicalization and preventing racial and religious discrimination and violence

  • Reply KJ Vids July 25, 2019 at 4:25 pm

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  • Reply Freedom July 25, 2019 at 4:43 pm

    i don't think you understand the current political situation in the region. Ethiopia is on the way of dissolution. I am from the Tigray people, and i would rather have my own state than continue in Ethiopia.

  • Reply Ahmed Ali July 25, 2019 at 5:40 pm

    I'm from Ethiopia … I just wanted to add that we also import quite good amount from Berbera port of Somaliland which is very stable safe than Somalia. Our government also bought a 19% stake of Berber port following 51% for DP World and 30% for Somaliland.

  • Reply blackzed July 25, 2019 at 5:45 pm

    The biggest problem is corrupt .

  • Reply Maverick July 25, 2019 at 6:23 pm

    Ethiopia is a proof that Chinese model is great

  • Reply Fiker Gaming July 25, 2019 at 6:30 pm

    I was in Ethiopia a couple months ago, being oromo myself I feelt extremely unsafe it felt like a civilwar was about boil over every at any moment, there was constant talk of oromo and gumuz fighting at rigional level fallowing the displeasment of oromos in b/gumuz. Then we had a spat with amhara over them and all this while there was a widespread conspiracy of tigrey people sapporting even founding the displeasment of oromos in b/gumuz….. needless to say I am really anxious for my country, I hope to God that abie can manage to overcome these difficulties. May God help him, I feel like he is the only thing holding the nation together now.

  • Reply Hina Sarwat July 25, 2019 at 6:35 pm

    Excellent Video

  • Reply DamuEmran July 25, 2019 at 7:38 pm

    1-ETHIOPIA has to secure it borders with Somalia
    2-Return the Somalian refugees back to Somalia
    3-Should look for better way to farm fruits, veggies and meat
    4- Invest in public education and public infrastructure

  • Reply Iqbal Tuhin July 25, 2019 at 8:40 pm

    Could you please make the same kind of video about Bangladesh? Please also focus on India-China competition in Bangladesh as well.

  • Reply Ahmed Isse July 25, 2019 at 9:19 pm

    Ethiopia is a sattler state soon Abyssinia will be forgotten history

  • Reply Uche Eze July 25, 2019 at 9:40 pm

    Nigeria is the economic power house of Africa 🇳🇬

  • Reply Firdian Fallas July 25, 2019 at 9:55 pm

    I took out of the topic. Based on video, the nature was incredible… Nothin' imagine b4. How is the performance of tourism board of ethiopia? Btw, this country has been blessed by outstanding remarkably landscape by nature.

  • Reply Ethel Chip July 26, 2019 at 1:33 am

    Seems like they have a lot of challenges. Hopefully everything works out. I love teff.

  • Reply land Z July 26, 2019 at 3:29 am

    I only see challenges just like western media , where is the "Rising " part. I can see your agenda.

  • Reply adwaye July 26, 2019 at 4:17 am

    god shall stretch his hands over Ethiopia.

  • Reply David Jennings July 26, 2019 at 5:44 am

    I don't think anyone would complain to loudly if they annexed Somalia and brought the boot down on Al Shabab (?) and the pirates.

  • Reply Denni_isl July 26, 2019 at 9:44 am

    The actual problem is over population

  • Reply Djiboutian July 26, 2019 at 10:44 am

    The whole region has many challenges ahead whether it's economics, social integration, anti corruption and etc.

  • Reply Abdulaziz Ali July 26, 2019 at 12:33 pm

    You mostly focused on challenges,
    yes they are huge but not unsolvable, if the antagonist political elites agrees on compromise things will change positively faster.

  • Reply Kenyan Nationalist July 26, 2019 at 4:34 pm

    Honestly, I don't think Ethiopia will exist in the next 20-30 years. Ethiopia is a country that is crippled by tribalism which will inevitably lead to several secession attempts.

  • Reply Michael Johnson July 26, 2019 at 4:59 pm


  • Reply Cave Crusher July 26, 2019 at 6:45 pm

    United Snakes and their Israhell terrorists, kick them all out!

  • Reply Russ July 27, 2019 at 5:32 pm

  • Reply Jimmy Kayijamahe July 28, 2019 at 10:27 pm

    Tell us about Rwanda the Singapore of Africa

  • Reply Youauf Salim August 1, 2019 at 4:05 pm

    KJVids only look at the shortcomings of Ethiopia it does not look at what has been achieved.Highlight the Positive projects Ethiopia has Achieved.Talk of the prospectus of Ethiopia.This is not balanced Reporting for Ethiopia.You do not talk of health achievement Defence Achievement The projects the Government has put in place for job creation for Ethiopians how Government is providing safe drinking water for Ethiopians building of Rail line connecting Ethiopia to Djibouti The successfully Ethiopian Airlines and whole host of Achievements for Ethiopian Government.Such balanced Reporting is needed.Otherwise thanks for your contributions and citations.

  • Reply abebe seyoum August 7, 2019 at 11:57 am

    you didn't tell us new things, but for Ethiopian and East Africa Renaissance, Abiy Ahmed (Gray Ahmed )and the dictator Isays Eretria (Africas' North Korea), They have to step down from power

  • Reply Purple Pie August 8, 2019 at 12:02 pm

    Thank you for educating me on my home country.

  • Reply Rahel Tibebu August 20, 2019 at 4:26 am

    I'm Ethiopian n I say most Ethiopians are backward yedefu

  • Reply biniyama assefa August 22, 2019 at 8:41 am

    Internal Factor = Native and non-native issue due to the federal arrangement
    Tragedy of the commons with in EPRDF, No policy
    Computing ethnic nationalism
    Macro-Economic Issue

    External Issue= Nile Politics and global politics from hard to soft ,Extremism, complex region (Bab-el-Manded, fractional groups, authoritarian leader, refugee, Border conflict, Super power competition in region ,)
    Solution's= 1. New social contract
    2. Shift Identity consciousness to Class consciousness,
    3. Multi-nation federation to – social contract – Social democracy
    4. No solution,
    but don't worry Ethiopia have long state hood Civilizational state formation , old state, also features of European state formation , finally colonial thesis project! how poor country is it's have long history of state and society relationship experience in bureaucracy , legitimacy , territorial state !
    Current status of Ethiopia = Emerging big more better than ever!

    Fact's about Ethiopia ** Iconic student revolution leaders where bourgeoisie son's and daughter's & Adwa **

  • Reply Joshua Sena August 25, 2019 at 4:24 pm

    Another Egyptian propaganda.

  • Reply sam gmses August 30, 2019 at 9:10 am

    How could you say that Eritrea jas no internal stability.There is no civil war in Eritrea,there is no terrorism in Eritrea,tgere is almost no crime in Eritrea.What more do you need to say a country is peaceful.

  • Reply son of ethiopia from Addis Mubarek Sherif August 30, 2019 at 11:18 pm

    I love ur explanations all are correct but am a little bit scared which somehow scary I wsh a Bright future my homeland

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