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Trouble In Ethiopia: It All Addis Up

2961 words - 12 pages

Today Ethiopia is ranked 173rd of 187 countries on the Human Development Index.1 The country has struggled with civil wars within the country, and conflicts in neighboring states. Not only have the people suffered due to civil war, but the agriculturally based economy has been caught in the middle of the wars and droughts which lead to famine. The political coalitions are the legacy of Ethiopia having been a pawn in the cold war. There are many factors that have caused the current state of Ethiopia. The military conflicts with Eritrea combined with disputes within Ethiopian borders have weakened the country, led to starvation and inhibited progress. Furthermore, Ethiopia's government under the cold war - the Derg - was inept and through its economic and land reform policies hindered development and devastated the country. Lastly, Ethiopia’s infrastructure for its agricultural economy is very poor. It lacks proper means of transportation and communication which are essential to economic and social development. The current state of post-independence Ethiopia is a result of mostly internal forces. The absence of proper infrastructure in the country to support its economy, detrimental policies by the government, and a number of armed conflicts have led to an underdeveloped and poverty stricken Ethiopia.
Modern Ethiopia began under the reign of Menelik II, who defended the empire against an invasion by the Egyptians and established Addis Ababa as the capital.2 In 1889 Italy invaded Ethiopia in order to establish it as a colony. However the Ethiopian army managed to drive out the Italian invasion force, therefore making Ethiopia one of the few countries to successfully defend against a European power.3 The Italians invaded once again in 1936 during the rule of Emperor Haile Selassie. Although Italy managed to take control of many regions of Ethiopia, during the entire occupation period there was a large amount of guerilla activity and the Italian government never established full control over the country. Under Italian rule roads, schools, and hospitals were built, but Ethiopians were treated as a second class people. The Italians suppressed any resistance and attempted to eradicate Ethiopian culture and history.4 In 1941 Emperor Selassie regained control of Ethiopia with the help of Ethiopian patriots and the British Army during the East African Campaign.
During the cold war a revolution led by Major Mengistu in 1974 led to the creation of the Derg, a USSR supported socialist and totalitarian regime. The Derg implemented multiple policies which were detrimental to progress and improvement of Ethiopia’s economy, society, and infrastructure. Civil war broke out soon after the Derg took power and lasted for 16 years until 1991, when the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front overthrew the Derg and created modern Ethiopia with Meles Zenawi as prime minister. This civil war, combined with conflicts with Eritrea in the years following the...

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