fredag 11. desember 2020

What Ethiopia’s Ethnic Unrest Means for China

Media reports have hardly mentioned what the latest episode of sectarian violence in Ethiopia could cost China. Few of the East African country’s foreign investors have more to lose, however. Officials in Beijing see Ethiopia as a hub for the Belt and Road Initiative, an ongoing project to expand China’s sphere of influence by bankrolling infrastructure throughout the Global South. China has poured money into the East African country in a bid to earn its goodwill, but ever-rising tensions between Ethiopian ethnic groups are undermining that strategy.

In early November, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed declared war on the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the ruling party of the Tigray Region. Abiy accused the TPLF – the most influential representative of Ethiopia’s Tigray minority group – of attacking an Ethiopian military base. The Ethiopian National Defense Force’s ensuing foray into the Tigray Region followed months of tensions between the TPLF-led local government and Ethiopia’s central government.