International Journal of Political Science and Development

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International Journal of Political Science and Development

Vol. 3(7), pp. 291300, July, 2015.  

DOI: 10.14662/IJPSD2015.038

ISSN: 2360-784X



Research Paper



Ethnic Federalism and Democratic Developmental State in Ethiopia: Some Points of Contradiction


Beresa Abera Jebena


Pan African University, Institute of Governance, Humanities and Social Sciences, Department of Governance and Regional Integration 


Accepted 22 July 2015



The present Ethiopia was made based on ethnic based federal state structure since 1991. Recently, the Ethiopian government has explicitly declared itself as Democratic Developmental State (DDS). This study presents the assessment of building DDS with in ethnic federalism doctrine of Ethiopia by focusing on the potential contradictions between the two. The finding in this study reveals that as a result of ethnic based federalism of Ethiopia, the politics of self-determination drastically hindered elite commitment, and ethnically affiliated bureaucracy has been cultivated instead of meritocracy, all of which affect DDS. In addition, ethnic federalism has also been exacerbated ethnic conflict with the creation of new minorities at regional level which erodes national consensus, the core element for the success of democratic developmental state. Furthermore, despite the federal and decentralized structure of the Ethiopian state, development policies, targets and programmes are designed at the centre, authorizing regional and local authorities little for manoeuvre in a centralized and top-down logic. Accordingly, the ethnic based federalism of Ethiopian state seems to stand in sharp contradiction with the centralistic and top-down logics that inspired the DDS model and practices. As such, Ethiopia needs to set strong institution embedded with merit based bureaucracy. National unity and national consensus needs to precede the imposition of democratic developmental state. These help to integrate genuine Democratic Developmental State with ethnic federalism. Hence, the relevance of this study lies in making a contribution to the understanding of the challenges of building Democratic Developmental State in multi-ethnic state taking Ethiopian experience.

Key Words: Developmental state, Democratic Developmental State, Ethnic Federalism, EPRDF, Bureaucracy, National Consensus.


Cite This Article As: Jebena BA (2015). Ethnic Federalism and Democratic Developmental State in Ethiopia: Some Points of Contradiction. Inter. J. Polit. Sci. Develop. 3(7): 291-300






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