Since 1991, Ethiopia has gone further than any other country in using ethnicity as the fundamental organizing principle of a federal system of government. And yet this pioneering experiment in 'ethnic federalism' has been largely ignored in the growing literature on democratization and ethnicity in Africa and on the accommodation of ethnic diversity in democratic states.
Apart from giving close examination to aspects of the Ethiopian case, the book asks why the use of territorial decentralization to accommodate ethnic differences has been generally unpopular in Africa, while it is growing in popularity in the West. The book includes case studies of Nigerian and Indian federalism and suggests how Ethiopia might learn from both the failures and successes of these older federations. In the light of these broader issues and cases, it identifies the main challenges facing Ethiopia over the next few years, as it struggles to bring political practice into line with constitutional theory, and thereby achieve a genuinely federal division of powers.
North America: Ohio U Press; Ethiopia: Addis Ababa U Press
Introduction by David Turton; Emerging Western models of multination federalism: are they relevant for Africa? by Will Kymlicka; Federalism & the management of ethnic conflict: the Nigerian experience by Rotimi Suberu; The evolution & distinctiveness of India's linguistic federalism by Rajeev Bhargava; Contradictory interpretations of Ethiopian history: the need for a new consensus by Merera Gudina; Theory versus practice in the implementation of Ethiopia's ethnic federalism by Assefa Fiseha; The development of regional & local languages in Ethiopia's federal system by Gideon Cohen; Responses to ethnic federalism in Ethiopia's southern region by Sarah Vaughan; The experience of Gambella Regional State by Dereje Feyissa; Afterword by Christopher Clapham.