Seminar: State Building and Conflict in the Horn of Africa: The Case of Ethiopia

The Horn of Africa may hold the record for inter-state and civil wars, ethnic conflicts and clan strife in Africa and remains host to scores of national liberation and religion-based insurgent movements. The general cause of this turmoil is a persistent indigenous struggle to change the geopolitical pattern that emerged with the decolonization of four states: Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia and Djibouti. The result has been fragmentation, with the division of the first two states, the collapse of the third, the emergence of two new states (Eritrea and South Sudan) and a third candidate for statehood (Somaliland). The number of states in the region has thus increased from four to seven, which is a remarkable phenomenon by any standards. Analysis of the causes of this phenomenon – the struggle to change the geopolitical pattern of the Horn – is crucial to our understanding of political conflict in the region, where several conflicting nation-state-building projects are working at cross-purposes. Such is the approach taken in a recent study of Ethiopia by John Markakis entitled Ethiopia: The Two Last Frontiers (Oxford 2011) that is presented in this seminar.


Prof. Markakis has devoted a professional lifetime to the study of political developments in the Horn of Africa, and has written several books and many articles on the region. His latest publication is "Ethiopia: The Last two Frontiers" (James Currey, 2011. Also present in our library).


Date, time and location

26 January 2012