July 7, 2011
This report, Ethiopia: Assessing Risks to Stability, is part of CSIS study series Stress Testing African States that examines the risks of instability in 10 African countries over the next decade: Angola, Botswana, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sudan, and Uganda. The 10 papers are designed to be complementary but can also be read individually as self-standing country studies. The overview paper, Assessing Risks to Stability in Sub-Saharan Africa, draws on common themes and explains the methodology underpinning the research. An interview with this reports author can be found at Audio: Stress Testing Ethiopia.
The project was commissioned by the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM). The papers in this study are not meant to offer hard and fast predictions about the future. While they sketch out some potential scenarios for the next 10 years, these efforts should be treated as thought experiments that look at how different dynamics might converge to create the conditions for instability. The intention is not to single out countries believed to be at risk of impending disaster and make judgments about how they will collapse. Few, if any, of the countries in this series are at imminent risk of breakdown. All of them have coping mechanisms that militate against conflict, and discussions of potential “worst-case scenarios” have to be viewed with this qualification in mind.