Ethiopia is a long-term ally of the US, and some would argue it has a unique relationship with the global superpower among African countries. US Ambassador to Ethiopia Michael Raynor (below and right), who spent much of his career in Africa, including as ambassador to Benin, elaborates on what makes the US-Ethiopia partnership tick. Interview by James Jeffrey.
Why has there been such a longstanding effort by the US to partner with Ethiopia? The US has had a special partnership with Ethiopia for over a hundred years. Part of the uniqueness of this partnership has to do with the uniqueness of Ethiopia itself. Its extraordinary history stretching back millennia; its success in fending off colonialism; the extraordinary influence it has had throughout Africa for many decades.
The US has understood for many years that Ethiopia is a country of enormous consequence: a country with a large territory and a large population; a country with huge potential and a rapidly growing economy and a country that has played an outsized role in keeping the peace in Africa--and beyond-for many years.
The breadth of US-Ethiopian relations has also helped build up an Ethiopian diaspora population in the United States that numbers many hundreds of thousands. This is a very dynamic, influential and successful group of people who maintain strong ties to both countries, and I expect they'll help make sure that US-Ethiopia ties remain strong going forward.
But far more important than the very interesting history of our partnership, are the prospects we now have to build an even stronger relationship going forward.
The selection of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and his government's game-changing reform programmes has opened the door to cooperation on a level that was frankly impossible to contemplate just a year ago.
Our partnership with Ethiopia is growing stronger than ever, thanks both to the deep historical underpinnings and to the extraordinary new opportunities arising from Ethiopia's stunning political and economic transformation.
The importance of this opportunity can't be overstated. Ethiopia's success in building greater political inclusiveness and economic prosperity will have enormous consequence for its own population of nearly 110m people, of course. And the regional implications of Ethiopia's success could be equally compelling.
Ethiopia is key to fostering security in the Horn of Africa as well as to developing a growing trade hub that can be a multiplier for...