Kelsey Lilley
Ostensibly intended to quell unrest perpetrated by “anti-peace” forces, Ethiopia’s extension of a state of emergency in March signals a continued crackdown on the country’s restive and aggrieved population.

This repression disproportionately affects 65 million Ethiopian youth, who make up more than two-thirds of the country’s total population.Such brutality has increasingly left these young people—Ethiopia’s greatest asset or, conversely, a massive liability—a choice between two dangerous options: escape or rebel.

As is the case elsewhere in Africa, Ethiopia’s youth bulge is a double-edged sword. It strains scant natural resources and limited infrastructure, but, if harnessed, could be a boon to the country’s economy and the foreign companies looking to outsource operations there.

But the government’s stubborn refusal to reform undermines prospects for its increasingly educated and connected youth to stay and prosper in Ethiopia. Moreover, the violent nature of the government’s clampdown has extinguished nearly all avenues for youth to legally and peacefully express their grievances, creating the conditions for violent rebellion. …

 

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