Is Ethiopia A Failed State? – OpEd


As it stands, the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Ethiopian state are both severely compromised. Constitutionally, the ethnic states constituting the Ethiopian Federation behave as if they were sovereign and in some cases vehemently contest the political arrangement that allows them to exist: that is to say, the federal state itself. In such circumstance, it is fair to say that the Ethiopian state in itself has become tattered (if you’re feeling optimistic) or even perhaps a fully failed state (if you’re pessimistic). Moreover, under the pretext of a state-of-emergency law, the Abiy regime is waging a war of extermination in Amhara regional state.

Meanwhile, the Ethiopian economy is in shambles. Internal wars have destroyed at least 500 of the country’s 5000 industrial units. No more than five foreign investment projects were registered in the financial year 23/24. Over 20 million Ethiopians are in critical need of humanitarian assistance. People are dying of hunger in Tigray and Amhara Kilils. Youth unemployment is over 60% (60 per cent). The annual inflation is over 60%. Cumulative inflation has been so high that the poverty level in urban areas is nearly 80%; the birr/dollar exchange rate is over 120 birr to one dollar on the more realistic parallel market. At the same time, frantic currency printing is the order of the day, systematically debasing the national currency! Accordingly, the value of money has become so skewed that even kids are reluctant to stop to pick up a dropped one-birr coin in Addis Ababa!

Indeed, housing, electricity, water and transport shortages are so acute that life in Addis Ababa is, for many Ethiopians, a diabolically unending struggle. Yet Abiy’s mercenary pseudo-economist Fitsum Adale, Head of the Economic Development and Planning Commission, unashamedly speaks of a 7.9 GDP growth rate in real terms, not realising that this would require trillions of birr of investment! Fitsum has no credible economic growth and development model and has idly stood by― while Abiy, Shimeles, and Adanech squander public money on useless white-elephant projects and thereby steal money in the process. The most flattering thing that can be said about her is that she sits in front of a garbage-in-garbage-out personal computer screen to regurgitate fantastical figures unrelated to the harsh realities of a failed economy.

Ethiopia’s government has failed to govern the country. The Ethiopian parliament is full of zombies who can hardly read prepared texts. The Ethiopian criminal justice system is undisputably an instrument of political oppression to incarcerate such brilliant Intellectuals as Meskerem Abera for no other reason than their shining intellectually more brilliantly than the seventh-grade dropout Abiy Ahmed. The civil justice system―particularly the Cassation Bench of the Federal Supreme Court, where cases fully adjudicated by lower courts languish for years―is hamstrung by the “abode of justice delayed is justice denied.”  The Cassation Bench does not know the difference between errors of fact and those of law. An truly appalling state of affairs.

What better proof do you require to believe that, indeed, Ethiopia is a failed state? What is more, Ethiopia is sinking more deeply into the abyss of political and economic failure every day Abiy Ahmed stays in power!

Girma Berhanu

Girma Berhanu, Department of Education and Special Education (Professor), University of Gothenburg

2 thoughts on “Is Ethiopia A Failed State? – OpEd

  • March 12, 2024 at 3:16 pm

    Great you write such reality and agony imposed on my country. I wish God would not let me see the failure of Ethiopian while alive

  • March 12, 2024 at 3:55 pm

    unfortunately the fact on the ground shows what’s described above.
    May God save our holy nation.


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