Ethiopian foreign policy foundations: crucial Input to African union’s vision?

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Zekarias Talo Anjulo ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it )
18 June 2014

In the history of African continent, for centuries there was no clear, precise and holistic written framework of foreign policy foundations, principles and objectives. But now days, some African countries bring a paradigm shift in framing foreign policy foundations, principles and objectives in a written document.

Ethiopia’s foreign policy foundations are among most important and vibrant as well as input for African union’s vision which is realizing “An Integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the global arena.” Having this in mind, let as look at Ethiopian foreign policy foundations.

Development and the building of a democratic system as foreign policy foundation:

In the course of history, for first time Ethiopia witnessed a double digit (above 11%) economic growth for the last ten years. Development is the matter of survival for Ethiopia. It is the central point or main target of Ethiopian diplomacy. Ethiopian foreign policy and national security document clearly reflects, “Rapid development is not merely important in raising the standard of living of the People, but also a guarantee of national survival.” From this quotation, we can understand two important issues which support African union’s vision of prosperous, integrated and peaceful Africa.



First, rapid economic growth in Ethiopia could enable people at grass-root level to be free from poverty and backwardness. Ethiopia become prosperous means, some part of world or Africa become prosperous. Second, rapid economic growth is a matter of survival for Ethiopia. This implies, if there is no rapid and sustainable economic growth as well as equitable distribution of wealth among nations, nationalities and peoples of Ethiopia, there would be disintegration and crisis which may lead to failed state status. Development as Ethiopian foreign policy foundation is the key solution to save Ethiopia from crisis, disintegration and being failed state.

If Ethiopia achieves rapid and sustainable economic growth, African union’s vision to build prosperous and integrated Africa could walk forward. Having development as Ethiopian foreign policy foundation in their mind, Ethiopian diplomats are highly striving in search of markets for Ethiopian goods, working to bring foreign direct investment, development assistance and loan, attract tourists, facilitate knowledge and technology transfer as well as to find technical and financial assistance. This shows Ethiopia in accordance with its foreign policy foundation, working to realize Ethiopian renaissance in particular and African renaissance and integration in general. We can witness Ethiopia’s domestic efforts to integrate and tie Africa through infrastructure. For example, Ethiopia and Sudan have been integrated and interwoven by high way roads and electricity. Ethiopia and Djibouti interlinked by railway as well as electricity. Even after accomplishment of GERD (grand Ethiopian renaissance dam which is the sovereignty and flag project of Ethiopian nation nationalities and people ) on Nile river, north African countries including Egypt, middle east counties, gulf states as well as Europe would be interlinked by electric power.

Because of brutal-tyrant government leaders on power in Eritrea, Ethio-Eriterea relationship has a problem. Still now, Ethiopia and Eritrea people to people connection continues. Ethiopian government has been made effort and currently striving to normalize relation with Eritrea. It is clear to analyze Ethiopian government position on African integration and Eritrea’s brutal tyrants’ government to destroy and destabilize horn of African countries like Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, and (Yemen) …. Through empowering terrorist groups of al-shebab which is African wing of al-Qaida.

With regard to building democratic system as foreign policy foundation, side by side with development, Ethiopia has been building various democratic and justice institutions to ensure good governance and justice in Ethiopia. Ethiopia included civic and ethical education in educational curriculum from lower grades to higher levels to cultivate the mind of Ethiopians by democratic way of thinking and knowledge.

Since 1991(after fall down of generation killer military dergue regime), Ethiopia allowed courts, election board, media, civic societies and other democracy institutions to be free from any government intervention. Ethiopia also has built democracy institutions like ombudsman, anti-corruption and ethics commission and other institutions. This all implies, Ethiopia making effort to ensure democracy which would enhance good governance and willingness of people to live together in tolerance and integration with each other by their own consent.

If Africa to be integrated, all governments must have work and strive to ensure democracy on African soil. Without ensuring democracy and sustainable development in Africa, planning to see prosperous, integrated and peaceful Africa is just day mere!

National pride and prestige as Ethiopian foreign policy foundation;

There are many national prides and prestige in Ethiopia in particular and Africa in general. Among most known prides of Ethiopia, Adwa victory to Ethiopia and Africa in fighting against colonialism. Other many prides like wonderful civilizations of Axum, nation’s, nationalities and peoples culture and sovereignty. If Ethiopian foreign policy foundations have taken Ethiopian national prides as base for foreign relation, it is also very simple to understand that Ethiopia is promoting original Africanism in its diplomacy. In accordance with National pride and prestige as Ethiopian foreign policy foundation, it is absolutely possible to promote other east, west, south North African countries prides to external world through Ethiopian diplomacy.

Globalization as foundation of foreign policy:

Ethiopian foreign policy pre-assumed the opportunities and disadvantages of globalization at the very beginning. It mentioned that there are no exceptions and no country is outside of globalised economic system. Ethiopia could not attain development and democracy by closing her doors to external world. It is only possible when Ethiopia accepts the real facts of globalization and appropriately applies to its economy at grass-root level. This shows how much Ethiopia is open to work in cooperation with African fellow brothers and other world to realize its renaissance and African union’s vision.

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