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Ethiopia's Refugee Crisis - Visualising Risk

Ethiopia has enjoyed great economic success in recent years due to large infrastructure investments and the provision of public services, such as education and health, resulting in a significant reduction in poverty and an improved standard of living. New legal framework for public-private partnerships aims to promote private sector development and reduce government costs and the new government has made progress in promoting gender equality by appointing a gender balanced cabinet. The number of maternal deaths per 100,000 live births fell from 1,080 in 1995 to 353 in 2015 and the proportion of people living in poverty fell from over 45 percent in 1995 to around 23 percent in 2015. So why did Ethiopia have the most internal displacement of any country in the world in 2018?

Ethiopia's Ethnic Conflict Refugees

Throughout Ethiopia's economic growth, almost 3 million people have become displaced in the country and 2.35 million of these refugees have been displaced as a result of ethnic conflict. There was a huge increase in displacements in the country in 2017 with 604 new sites opened for the 1.8 million ethnic conflict refugees and the first half of 2018 saw 1.4 million new displacements linked to ethnic violence between January and June. With Ethiopia also being the 2nd largest refugee-hosting country in Africa, recent displacements have caused huge instability in the country despite its recent economic progress.

Ethnic Violence in Ethiopia

Ethiopia's Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, has brought into place new political reforms that have reignited long simmering ethnic conflicts across regions. Ethiopia has more than 80 different ethnic groups and most people in Ethiopia tend to identify more with their ethnic group than their nationality leading to numerous ethnic based conflicts across the country. In the south east of the country, violence continues as a result of unresolved conflict between the Oromo and ethnic Somalis over land and borders leading to over a million displaced refugees as of August 2018. In the west, conflict between armed ethnic groups and the army cause displacements and a new conflict in West Guji and Gedeo, along the border between the Oromia region and Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples region (SNNPR), has displaced 958,175 refugees with 600,000 estimated to still be displaced in early 2019.

Ethiopia Ethnic Conflict Map

The map below shows the main areas in Ethiopia where ethnic violence has caused major displacements. The worst affected areas are the Oromia region's borders with the Somali, SNNPR and Benishangul-Gumaz regions but ethnic conflicts have led to displacements across the whole country and it is an issue that will continue to hold back the country's development despite its economic growth.