Federalism and Ethnic Conflict in Ethiopia: A Comparative Regional Study (Hardback) book cover

Federalism and Ethnic Conflict in Ethiopia

A Comparative Regional Study

By Asnake Kefale

© 2014 – Routledge

218 pages | 5 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9780415615938
pub: 2013-05-30
eBook (VitalSource) : 9780203759530
pub: 2013-07-31
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This book examines the impact of the federal restructuring of Ethiopia on ethnic conflicts.

The adoption of ethnic federalism in Ethiopia was closely related with the problem of creating a state structure that could be used as instrument of managing the complex ethno-linguistic diversity of the country. Ethiopia is a multinational country with about 85 ethno-linguistic groups and since the 1960s, it suffered from ethno-regional conflicts. The book considers multiple governance and state factors that could explain the difficulties Ethiopian federalism faces to realise its objectives. These include lack of political pluralism and the use of ethnicity as the sole instrument of state organisation.

Federalism and Ethnic Conflict in Ethiopia will be of interest to students and scholars of federal studies, ethnic conflict and regionalism.


"Asnake Kefale's account on federalism and ethnic conflict in Ethiopia is valuable and highly recommendable for interested readers. By structuring conflicts into various categories and comparing two very distinct regions as the Somali and Benishangul-Gumuz, the author has reached his goal to increase the debate over the shape of federalism in Ethiopia. The main contribution of this book lies in the fact that the issue of federalism is still very acute and 'tangible' in Ethiopia, especially with its so repeatedly criticized 'ethnic' variety. Asnake Kefale's valuable insight, which was based on field work in both discussed regions, shows that federalism – when it is not taken in an appropriate form and when its functioning is not well developed and managed––can cause serious troubles. As some of the issues are not „invented by federalism itself and they have longer historical roots, the book, thus, should be recommended to all who are interested in federalism, problems of federalism, modern history and politics of Ethiopia, conflicts and political systems in Africa, or simply modern and contemporary history of Ethiopia." - Jan Záhorík, Ethiopian Journal of Social Sciences and Language Studies

Table of Contents

1. Introduction 2. Ethiopia’s Ethnic Federalism: History and Ideology 3. Asymmetries and Trends of Conflcits in Federal Ethiopia 4. Ethnic Makeup and History: Background to the Study Regions 5. Federalism and Autonomy Conflicts in the Somali Region 6. Federalism and Autonomy Conflicts in the Benishangul-Gumuz Region 7. Inter-regional Conflicts: Somali Region 8. Inter-Regional Conflicts: Benishangul-Gumuz Region 9. Centre-regional Relations: Somali and Benishangul-Gumuz Regions 10. Conclusion

About the Author

Asnake Kefale is Assistant Professor at the Department of Political Science and International Relations of the Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Federalism and Decentralization

The series publishes outstanding scholarship on federalism and decentralization, defined broadly, and is open to theoretical, empirical, philosophical, and historical works. The series includes two types of work: firstly, it features research monographs that are substantially based on primary research and make a significant original contribution to their field. Secondly, it contains works that address key issues of policy-relevant interest or summarise the research literature and provide a broad comparative coverage.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Government / Comparative
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General