From Mail&GuardianAfrica. Story by Elias Meseret.
Ethiopia, often dubbed the political capital of Africa, is host to the third biggest diplomatic missions in the world, only after New York and Geneva. It has been the seat of the African Union since 1963.
The presence the A.U. headquarters and of so many foreign diplomatic missions, plus Ethiopia’s relatively open-door policy towards other Africans, has made for frequent interaction between Ethiopians and people from the rest of the continent.
For example, there has been an increase in the number of Ethiopians marrying other Africans, especially in the neighboring countries.
The country is also host to the largest number of refugees on the continent. According to the UNHCR, Ethiopia is home to some 700,000 refugees from across Africa, mainly from South Sudan, Eritrea and Somalia.
The Institute for Security Studies says Ethiopia is forecast to become among the “Big Five” nations in the continent over the next 25 years, thereby increasing the prospect of greater African influence in Addis Ababa and elsewhere in the country.
“There will be a change in the power capabilities of Algeria, Egypt, Ethiopia, Nigeria and South Africa over the next 25 years. Of these countries, Ethiopia and Nigeria are forecast to increase their power capabilities, whereas Algeria, Egypt and South Africa are expected to stagnate or decline. Of the Big Five, two currently punch above their weight: one that is rising, Ethiopia, and another whose growth is stagnant, South Africa,” an ISS 2015 publication reads.
This, again, means Ethiopia’s influence, or at least role, in Africa in terms of shaping culture, economy and geopolitical power will increase in the years to come.
And the rest of Africa will continue to influence this ancient land as well. Still, it remains to be seen if Ethiopia will remain on the present path in the African values chain if its interests change.
“Ethiopianism is at the core of the African Renaissance. It is also at the core of ending Africa’s repeated humiliation,” says Mamo Muchie, a researcher on African affairs referring to the Battle of Adwa in which the Ethiopians defeated Italy in 1896 thereby maintaining their independence since then.
“This achievement by the Ethiopian Africans that resisted all forms of humiliation is a positive data for building Africa’s united future”, he says.
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