Ethiopia’s political background
The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia is a federation with nine states based largely along ethnic lines. Although it describes itself as a multiparty democracy, in practice only one party in is currently represented in all legislatures at both the national and federal level. Economically, the country has shown one of the highest growth rates in the world over the last decade. Despite this, it remains among the poorest countries in the world and rising unemployment among an increasingly educated and urbanized youth, remains a challenge.
NIMD’s approach in Ethiopia
The overall objective of NIMD’s programme is to contribute to the consolidation of democracy in Ethiopia. To this end, we work at two levels – the national and state levels. The programme currently operates in one state legislature, Caffee Oromiya, and there are plans to expand to other states as our work takes root.
The Ethiopia programme kicked off in February 2017 with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the National Parliament (the House of Peoples’ Representatives) and NIMD, as well as an MOU between the Oromo state legislature (Caffee Oromiya).
Currently, we have capacity building programmes running with both the National Parliament and Caffee Oromia. Several activities have been carried out, many of them jointly between the two houses. These include:
- An exchange visit to the national legislature in South Africa as well as the Western Cape provincial legislature – in this way both the Peoples’ Representatives and Caffee Oromiya had the opportunity to exchange best practices with their counterparts.
- Legislative drafting training – each House then used the participants to cascade the training to lower levels;
- Research writing skills training for the researchers in both Houses.
The signing of an MOU with the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) in June 2018, has allowed us to expand our programme, working on capacity building and dialogue with political parties in Ethiopia.
NEBE is an autonomous government agency which supervises and monitors Ethiopia’s elections and is responsible for the registration and oversight of political parties. The new MOU will allow NIMD to support the board in fulfilling these roles effectively and transparently.
In addition, NIMD will work on capacity building and dialogue with political parties in Ethiopia. This has been added to the capacity building activities we are currently undertaking with the House of Peoples’ Representatives and the Oromia Regional State Parliament.