The intersection of two significant trends are affecting the regional dynamics of the Horn of Africa: the political transition underway in Ethiopia since 2018 and evolving Red Sea and Gulf security dynamics. Ethiopia’s transition has affected its relations in the Horn of Africa and the broader Red Sea region. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have taken a much more assertive approach to regional security since 2015, contributing to a major diplomatic rift with Qatar since 2017. Elucidating how states in the Horn of Africa are affected by and responding to external influences largely hinges on understanding the Ethiopian transition. The implications for the future of regional integration in the Horn of Africa must also be considered.


Jason Mosley is an Associate Senior Researcher with SIPRI’s Conflict, Peace and Security area, working on the Horn of Africa and the Red Sea region.

ADPAmhara Democratic Party
ANDMAmhara National Democratic Movement
AUAfrican Union
AUHIPAfrican Union High-level Implementation Panel
CICCouncil of Interstate Cooperation
EFFORTTPLF’s Endowment Fund for the Rehabilitation of Tigray
EPPEthiopian Prosperity Party
EPRDFEthiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front
EzemaEthiopian Citizens for Social Justice party
FDIForeign direct investment
FGSFederal Government of Somalia
FMSFederal member states
GCCGulf Co-operation Council (also known as the Co-operation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf)
GDPGross domestic product
GERDGrand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam
GTPGrowth and Transformation Plan
IDPInternally displaced person
IFIInternational financial institution
IGADIntergovernmental Authority on Development
IMFInternational Monetary Fund
LAPSSETLamu Port–South Sudan–Ethiopia Transport
METECMetals and Engineering Corporation
MIDROCMohammed International Development Research and Organization Companies
NAMANational Amhara Movement
NBINile Basin Initiative
NEBENational Electoral Board of Ethiopia
NGONon-governmental organization
ODPOromo Democratic Party
OFCOromo Federalist Congress
OLFOromo Liberation Front
ONPOromo National Party
OPDOOromo People’s Democratic Organization
RSFSudanese Rapid Support Forces
SEPDMSouthern Ethiopian People’s Democratic Movement
SNNPRSouthern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples
TPLFTigray People’s Liberation Front
UAEUnited Arab Emirates


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