Navigating the regionalization of Ethiopia’s Tigray conflict

How regional and international actors can help consolidate peace
Research paper Published 8 September 2023 ISBN: 978 1 78413 574 4 DOI: 10.55317/9781784135744
Five people are in the foreground in front of two full buses of people

Although fighting in Ethiopia’s Tigray region ceased following the Pretoria agreement of November 2022, peace remains tenuous and spillover conflicts persist in other regions of the country. The war in Tigray has blighted many aspects of Ethiopia’s economy and social fabric, disrupting intercommunal relationships and causing widespread insecurity and humanitarian crisis in the north.

Ethiopia has historically maintained a pre-eminent position in the Horn of Africa region, but the conflict significantly impaired and complicated its relations with regional and international partners. Evolving conflict dynamics across northern Ethiopia, newly erupted conflict in Sudan (from April 2023), and the vested interests of neighbouring states risk significantly derailing the peace process outlined in Pretoria and subsequently in Nairobi.

Based on key informant interviews and incorporating a wealth of information on the geopolitics of the Horn of Africa region, this paper identifies opportunities for Ethiopia to leverage its external relationships to strengthen regional mediation mechanisms and secure sustainable peace in northern Ethiopia, in line with the arrangements agreed in Pretoria.