Horn of Africa

  • Mr. Trump, Put the Ball in Eritrea’s Court

    With the growing threat of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham in Africa and shifting alliances in the region with the Arab Gulf states and Egypt, it is in the best interest of the incoming US administration to reassess engagement with Eritrea, a country which could play a significant strategic role in countering conflict and extremism, an expert on African politics said at the Atlantic Council on December 8.

    According to Dan Connell, a visiting scholar from Boston University’s African Studies Center, “there’s a lot of reasons that if [the situation in Eritrea] is left unattended, it’s not going to stay the same, it’s going to get worse.” He added, “for a dealmaker, this is not a hard deal to make,” referring to US President-elect Donald Trump.

    While US relations with Eritrea are “not on the top ten list” for the Trump administration, said Seth Kaplan, a professorial lecturer at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, he claimed that addressing instability and the threat of conflict in the Horn of Africa is a way to make a positive change, in the best interest of the United States, without taking an excessive diplomatic risk.

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  • Rethinking Eritrea

    On Thursday, December 8, the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center launched two new publications on Eritrea. The first, Eritrea’s Economy: Ideology and Opportunity, authored by fragile states expert Seth Kaplan, examines the nexus between the ideology of Eritrea’s leadership and the country’s struggling economy. The second, Eritrea: Coming In from the Cold, authored by Africa Center Deputy Director Bronwyn Bruton, examines the US-Eritrean relationship and makes the case that now is the time for the US to reengage with Eritrea.

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  • Lilley in the Journal of the Middle East and Africa: Book Review- Understanding Contemporary Ethiopia


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  • Al-Shabaab’s Media Insurgency

    On Thursday, November 10, in cooperation with Hate Speech International (HSI), the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center hosted a panel discussion on HSI’s newest report, Continuity and Change: The Evolution and Resilience of Al-Shabaab’s Media Insurgency, 2006-2016.Africa Center Deputy Director Bronwyn Bruton welcomed attendees to the event, and Kjetil Stormarck, director of HSI, gave an overview of his organization.

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  • Ethiopian State Minister Details Causes of Ongoing Unrest, State of Emergency

    On Thursday, October 27, the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center hosted His Excellency Taye Atske-Selassie, state minister for political affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. After an introduction from Africa Center Director Dr. J. Peter Pham, Taye presented formal remarks.

    Taye discussed the sustained protests that have taken place across Ethiopia for more than a year, as well as the recently imposed state of emergency. He acknowledged what he described as the five principal grievances motivating the demonstrations: the lack of an inclusive political process; questions over regional power decentralization and “self-administration”; unfulfilled demand for services and infrastructure at the local level; rising unemployment, particularly for Ethiopian youth; and the limited ability of the Ethiopian government to “harness” the demographic dividend.

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  • GERD: Politics and the Art of Possibility

    Egyptian officials, faced with the reality of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam are meeting the potential risks with mixed views on how to respond. Some believe that Egypt should be firm about the dam, which according to experts, represents a danger to the country’s water security. Others believe that Egypt could work with the situation on the ground, turning to joint economic activity in an attempt to minimize possible risks.
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  • Bruton Testifies Before House Foreign Affairs Committee on Eritrea


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  • A Conversation with the Ethiopian Political Opposition

    On Wednesday, August 31, the Africa Center hosted a breakfast roundtable with Dr. Merera Gudina, chairman of the Oromo Federalist Congress, and Eng. Yilkal Getnet, chairman of the Semayawi (Blue) Party, to discuss the state of political affairs in Ethiopia in light of recent and unprecedented mass protests in the Oromia and Amhara Regions. 

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  • Bruton Quoted by The Cipher Brief on Al-Shabaab’s Role in the Upcoming Somali Elections


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  • Egypt and Ethiopia: Fears of Drought and Dreams of Development

    The sign above a modest, one-story shop features a photo of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam next to an image of gold and dollars: revenue expected from the dam, the great dream in Ethiopia’s imagination. For Egyptians, that same dream stirs fears of drought. Tsegaab Getachew, a 29-year old Ethiopian tour organizer, hopes that the energy generated by the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam will help expand the tourism industry in which he works. Amir Mikhail, a farmer in his sixties from Upper Egypt, fears his land will become fallow after the completion of the dam.    
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