Since 1991, Ethiopia has gone further than any other country in using ethnicity as the fundamental organizing principle of a federal system of government. And yet this pioneering experiment in 'ethnic federalism' has been largelyignored in the growing literature on democratization and ethnicity in Africa and on the accommodation of ethnic diversity in democratic states.
Apart from giving close examination to aspects of the Ethiopian case, the book asks why the use of territorial decentralization to accommodate ethnic differences has been generally unpopular in Africa, while it is growing in popularity in the West. The book includes case studies of Nigerian and Indian federalism and suggests how Ethiopia might learn from both the failures and successes of these older federations. In the light of these broader issues and cases, it identifies the main challenges facing Ethiopia over the next few years, as it struggles to bring political practice into line with constitutional theory, and thereby achieve a genuinely federal division of powers.
North America: Ohio U Press; Ethiopia: Addis Ababa U Press
Publisher: James Currey
Number of pages: 256
Weight: 378 g
Dimensions: 216 x 138 x 15 mm
The comparisons made are with Nigeria (the largest and longest, which survived the civil war involving Biafra) and India (linguistic-based). The book asserts Ethiopia's experiment has ensured peace and security for the great majority of the population - a success when considering the years of violence that preceded it. However, it is still not fully operational - the greatest risk of its failure is not because it is too ethnic, but because it is not sufficiently federal. - * OXFAM DEVELOPMENT RESOURCES REVIEW *
... the volume successfully gives insight into the experiment of ethnic federalism in Ethiopia and is relevant for scholars interested in institutional design in ethnically diverse societies. -- Katherine Holden * JOURNAL OF PEACE RESEARCH *
...a timely intervention. ... This collection of essays fruitfully examines the dynamics of Ethiopian ethnic federalism within a comparative conceptual framework. In particular, the Indian and Nigerian examples provide exceptionally useful insights and lessons for Ethiopia. - -- Abdi Ismail Samatar, University of Minnesota