Skills training for political parties in Ethiopia
In Ethiopia, competition between political parties has long been favoured over cooperation. But as the country undergoes rapid political changes, creating an atmosphere that facilitates consensus is key to the success of reforms.
Since the current Ethiopian government took office in April 2018, the country has experienced several positive and rapid changes related to political governance. The 2019 Nobel Peace Prize recipient and Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Abiy Ahmed, has led reconciliation efforts and called for unity and has met with opposition groups. He has announced a series of democratic reforms as well as the release of prominent political prisoners.
Given the complexity of the issues involved and the depth of socio-political polarization, creating an atmosphere that facilitates consensus is key to the success of these reforms. Open, informed, thorough and context-sensitive dialogues must take place within and among political parties, as well as between them and other key stakeholders including public interest groups, the media and academia. Building consensus will increase ownership and the acceptability of the outcomes.
To this end, International IDEA’s Africa and West Asia programme, in collaboration with the EU and local partners, successfully organized an interparty dialogue skills workshop for 30 national and 22 regional political parties in Ethiopia. Moreover, three training workshops, delivered 18–23 November 2019, focused on strengthening and repairing relationships between political parties by exchanging views, outlining their respective positions and taking steps towards reconciling these positions.
The feedback from these trainings has been positive with participants noting that it prompted them to exchange ideas with other political parties and build a consensus on the necessity to develop a roadmap for an inclusive reform process. The acquired dialogue skills are essential to facilitating healthy communication among representatives of political parties, ahead of an upcoming series of national dialogues on legal and institutional reforms that the current government is committed to undertake.
As a crucial building block of Ethiopia’s transition towards sustainable democracy, the interparty dialogue skills training was widely covered by the country’s major media outlets, including the Ethiopian Broadcasting Service, Walta Media and Communications Corporate.
View (Ethiopian) local news coverage about this event:
- Ethiopian Broadcasting Service (From 1:05 to 6:45 minutes only)
- Walta TV (From 7:01 to 11:55 minutes only)
International IDEA provided political parties in Ethiopia with trainings to inspire them to create a party system that is inclusive, responsive and accountable to all citizens.
Read more stories about International IDEA's results in our Annual Outcome Report 2019: Democracy In Action.