Conference name, dates, place

5th International Conference on African Development (2009), Adama Science and Technology University, Ethiopia

Document Type


Presentation Date



The paper has three major objectives. The first is to do a critical review of the current largely antagonistic narratives of ethnic instrumentalism in Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa that have ultimately led to the balkanization of the state and caused serious political instability and fratricidal conflicts with traumatic and costly consequences in the region. The second is to do a critical review of the policy of the current Ethiopian government to implement ethno-territorial formations under the rubric of killils (Amharic for territorial enclosures), and to demonstrate how this may seriously vitiate national integration along compatible cultural and economic dimensions. The third is to examine an alternative theoretical framework from social geography and to demonstrate the potential for creating compatible narratives for non-exclusive communal (cultural) and neoliberal (socioeconomic) order that would unleash Ethiopia’s energy and those of its neighbors from the crippling impasse of divisive tribalism (Leoussi and Grosby 2007: 16-17).