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Supporting the transition from a historically autocratic system to a multi-voiced, multi-party democracy.


After four years of street protests and increased ethnic tensions, Abiy Ahmed was appointed Prime Minister in April 2018, pledging to bring unprecedented democratic reform, stability, and unity to Ethiopia, and end the 20-year war with Eritrea. This unprecedented democratic opening in Ethiopia provides an opportunity to strengthen the U.S. Government relationship with the country and the region. USAID/OTI’s fast and flexible approach to programming capitalizes on windows of opportunity to advance the democratic transition, peaceful dialogue, and opening of political and civic space in order to enable longer-term change in the lead up to the national elections and subsequent outcomes. 


USAID/OTI launched its program in Ethiopia to support a peaceful and inclusive reform process that provides a pathway to a more democratic Ethiopia. USAID/OTI will prioritize flexibility to remain responsive to changes in Ethiopia and programmatic objectives will evolve accordingly. The USAID/OTI program will:

  • Support key reform-minded institutions and actors that advance tangible and immediate reform to better address citizen’s needs;

  • Identify and mitigate potential conflict triggers in key target regions which have the potential to destabilize the reform process; and,

  • Integrate youth, media, COVID-19 impact, action learning and gender dynamics as cross cutting themes. 


    The initial geographic focus of this program is the capital, Addis Ababa. USAID/OTI plans to expand to other regions, potentially, Oromia, Amhara, and Tigray, when the COVID-19 situation allows for the resumption of travel. Examples of activities under implementation are:

    • Creation of a new weekly 30-minute television program addressing current affairs and concerns of average citizens leading up to national elections;
    • Training of regional government communication bureaus on writing press releases and communicating messages via social media outlets; and
    • Strengthening civic engagement by supporting new civil society.
    Related Sectors of Work 

    Last updated: October 29, 2020

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