Opinion: Ethiopia’s reform agenda presents an opportunity for Germany

On his third and most recent visit to Ethiopia, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier spoke about the merits of multilateralism and promised Germany would support the African country in undertaking key reforms. Because, as he told DW, “now is the the right time.” 
And he is right. History is being written in the Horn of Africa: After endless years of feudalism and socialist tyranny, Africa’s second-most populous country appears to be embracing democracy. The cliques of politicians and business figures are losing influence. Yet at the same time, the fragility of multi-ethnic Ethiopia is becoming increasingly apparent.
In 2020, Ethiopians head to the polls. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed wants the electorate to back his reform agenda. His critics, meanwhile, insist the elections should be postponed. Conflict seems inevitable, especially as Abiy antagonized parts of the security apparatus and military during his first year in office. Meanwhile, all across the country, old scores are being settled with brute force. Ethiopia, therefore, is at a crossroads: will it become the avant-garde of an African renaissance, or descend into bloody inter-ethnic strife?

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