This decision is counterproductive to the government’s stated goals of political reform and inclusive governance. It undercuts Ethiopia’s security by emboldening those who believe that violence is the only way to achieve fundamental political reform in Ethiopia, but it also negates the national and international goodwill generated by the country’s unprecedented recent release of hundreds of high-profile political prisoners.
A rapid pivot is the best hope for the ruling coalition Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) to preserve prospects for long-term peace in Ethiopia.
The protest movement playing out in Ethiopia is one of the most consequential conflicts on the African continent – more than any other, it has the potential to upend US policy in the Horn of Africa. It could disrupt counterterrorism efforts in Somalia and reduce the number of peacekeeping troops in South Sudan. But alarmingly, it has barely registered in Washington policy discussions or in the American press.
In November, after months of disagreement over the release of an environmental impact study, Egypt withdrew from technical negotiations on the GERD’s construction. Cairo worries that the project gives its upstream neighbor Ethiopia too much control over the Nile, which is Egypt’s primary freshwater resource. Meanwhile, an escalating diplomatic crisis between Egypt and Sudan, ostensibly over water issues but exacerbated by fallout from the Gulf crisis, has hardened the divisions between Egypt and an emerging Ethiopia-Sudan alliance.
Distinguished members of the committee, Ambassadors, and fellow witnesses:
I would like to begin by thanking you, not only for the opportunity to testify before you today, but also the attention that the United States International Trade Commission (USITC) has given to the topic of trade and investment with our partners across Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).
My name is Aubrey Hruby. I’m a Senior Fellow with the Africa Center at the Atlantic Council and I’ve spent the better part of my career advising Fortune 500 companies to design and implement successful investment and market entry strategies for over twenty African markets. I will devote my testimony to the following themes: 1) an assessment of US trade with SSA; 2) Africa’s increasing diversity of trading partners; 3) the role of the WTO’s TFA in stimulating economic growth and development on the continent; and 4) recommendations for the future.