On the heels of a 17-year civil war between the military junta, the Derg, and anti-government forces; the Tigrai People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and the Ethiopian People’s Democratic Movement (EPDM) joined together to form the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF)—a multi-ethnic alliance that ultimately overthrew the Derg and gained power in 1991. Following the civil war, Prime Minister Meles Zenawi worked to develop the economy of Ethiopia, adopting economic policies inspired by East Asian countries, which resulted in infrastructure development, investments in education, and improvements in healthcare. Ethiopia’s economy has continued to move in an upward trajectory following Prime Minister Meles Zenawai’s policies. Even more so, the appointment of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and his reforms offer both promise and hope for the nation.

However, Ethiopia is facing a present crisis—the displacement of millions of citizens due to ethnic clashes—a political downside of the economic success it encountered. Ethiopia’s economic growth is battling obstacles related to ethnic federalism, which was established as an attempt to counter ethnic nationalism. In this paper, Dr. Marina Ottaway analyzes the successful economic policies of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and the rapid growth that spurred following the civil war. She outlines the political history of Ethiopia’s government and examines the role that ethnic federalism plays in the political and economic dynamics of the country, as well as its implications for the future.