On 10 December, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo in recognition of his efforts for peace in the Horn of Africa, in particular, the reconciliation of Ethiopia with Eritrea. On this occasion, a seminar was held at PISM and attended by Krzysztof Buzalski, ambassador of the Republic of Poland to Tanzania (in Dar es Salaam), and the former deputy ambassador to Ethiopia (2009-2015), Senait Cieplińska, a social activist from Eritrea and president of the Adulis Foundation, and Jędrzej Czerep, an analyst with the Middle East and Africa programme at PISM. The meeting was moderated by Karol Wasilewski, head of the Middle East and Africa programme at PISM.
The speakers discussed the threats arising from internal ethnic and political tensions in Ethiopia, the prospects for a lasting resolution of the disputes between the various countries in the Horn of Africa, and the opportunities for the development of the region through economic cooperation. These issues are crucial for the stability of the region and of fundamental importance to the European Union, as evidenced by the selection of Ethiopia as the first non-European visit by the new president of the European Commission, Ursula van der Leyen. From the EU point of view, the stability of the region is important to, among other reasons, limit uncontrolled migration, secure investment, and to adapt Union policies to the reality of the growing influence in the region of Middle Eastern countries.
Ethiopia’s dispute with Egypt regarding the construction of a dam on the Blue Nile was of special interest to the seminar participants. The paradoxes of Abiy’s government were also discussed, in particular, the potential that in order to balance the centrifugal political tendencies in the country, he may be forced to end the political liberalisation he initiated.