Ethiopia’s PM Abiy Ahmed signed the peace treaty with neighboring Eritrea on September 16, 2018 — after which progress ground to a standstill
Those peace efforts may even have stopped completely. True, family members and businesspeople are now able to commute via 50-minute flights between the two respective capitals, Addis Ababa and Asmara. But this is the privilege of only a small elite.
Border crossings such as Zalambessa, which are much more important when it comes to public transportation and movement of goods and which were opened with a lot of fanfare, have all been closed again in the meantime — at Eritrea’s instigation, Ethiopia was quick to point out.
The initial shuttle diplomacy pursued by Abiy and Eritrea’s autocratic ruler Isaias Afewerki has come to a halt. The Eritrean embassy in Addis Ababa continues to remain boarded up while grandiose business contracts that were signed have never been brought to life.
So Abiy has received the most prestigious peace prize for a peace that exists, predominantly, only on paper.
But it’s not just his fellow Ethiopians who view him with criticism — his development policy partners also view with concern the young PM’s personality cult and style of government – which is sometimes rather erratic and lacking in communication.