Ethiopia under Abiy Ahmed

Key milestones in Ethiopia since Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed came to power in 2018 which have made the Ethiopia look like a different country.
Key milestones in Ethiopia since Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed came to power in 2018 which have made the Ethiopia look like a different country.

Key milestones in Ethiopia since Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed came to power in 2018:

First leader from biggest clan 

In February 2018, prime minister Hailemariam Desalegn resigns, after the worst anti-government protests for a quarter of a century. A six-month state of emergency is declared.

In April, Abiy Ahmed is sworn in as premier, the first leader from the Oromo ethnic group, Ethiopia's largest.

Oromos and the second biggest group, the Amhara, had led the protests to vent their sense of economic and political marginalisation by the ruling coalition, dominated by the Tigrean minority.

Detente with Eritrea

On June 5, Abiy decides to enact a peace accord signed with neighbouring Eritrea in 2000, after decades of hostility.

He has thousands of dissidents released from jail and opens up the economy.

Ethnic violence

Later that month, rights group Amnesty International says the government is not doing enough to stop ethnic violence and that groups of Oromo youths have been targeting Amhara in recent months

On June 28, the United Nations says that more than two million people have been displaced by the violence.

Reconciliation with Eritrea

In July, Abiy announces a normalisation of relations with Eritrea, after an historic meeting with the country's president Isaias Afwerki.

A week later Afwerki makes an historic visit to Ethiopia, and on July 16, the two countries sign a peace accord.


In August, Abiy vows to hold free and fair elections in 2020.

On October 22, the government announces a peace accord with separatist rebels in southeast Ethiopia, ending more than three decades of insurgency in the Somali-populated region.

In December, parliament sets up a reconciliation commission, charged with ending inter-ethnic violence and documenting rights abuses.

Ethiopian Airlines crash

In March 2019 an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 flying from Addis Ababa to Nairobi crashes shortly after take-off killing all 157 on board.

Failed regional coup 

In June, an attempted coup against the government of the Amhara region costs the lives of five top officials, according to the authorities. Hundreds are arrested.

Nobel Peace Prize

In October, Abiy is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his reconciliation with Eritrea.

In late October, 86 are killed in clashes during anti-Abiy protests.

In November, a southern ethnic group called the Sidama vote in favour of a new semi-autonomous region.

In November, three of the four ruling coalition parties, each based on ethnic lines, merge into a single party in a bid to strengthen the country's unity.


Between January and mid-April 2020, swarms of locusts damage nearly 200,000 hectares of crop land, creating a food crisis for one million Ethiopians, according to the UN.

Elections postponed 

In March, the electoral commission postpones the August national elections indefinitely due to the coronavirus epidemic.

In June, the Senate allows Abiy to remain in power beyond the end of his term, which expired in October. The opposition accuses him of using the epidemic to cling to power.

Nile dam crisis

In June, Ethiopia reaffirms that it wants to start filling the reservoir of its controversial new mega-dam on the Blue Nile “within the next two weeks” but vows to try resolving a dispute with its downstream neighbours Egypt and Sudan, which fear their water supplies with be disrupted.

Singer assassination sparks violence

In late June, at least 81 people are killed over two days of protests sparked by the assassination of a popular Ethiopian singer, Hachalu Hundessa.

Oromo nationalist protesters want to have Hachalu buried in the capital Addis Ababa. They are also protesting the arrest of prominent opposition Oromo politicians Jawar Mohammed. — AFP

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