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.

ADP Amhara Democratic Party
ANDM Amhara National Democratic Movement
AU African Union
AUHIP African Union High-level Implementation Panel
CIC Council of Interstate Cooperation
EFFORT TPLF’s Endowment Fund for the Rehabilitation of Tigray
EPP Ethiopian Prosperity Party
EPRDF Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front
Ezema Ethiopian Citizens for Social Justice party
FDI Foreign direct investment
FGS Federal Government of Somalia
FMS Federal member states
GCC Gulf Co-operation Council (also known as the Co-operation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf)
GDP Gross domestic product
GERD Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam
GTP Growth and Transformation Plan
IDP Internally displaced person
IFI International financial institution
IGAD Intergovernmental Authority on Development
IMF International Monetary Fund
LAPSSET Lamu Port–South Sudan–Ethiopia Transport
METEC Metals and Engineering Corporation
MIDROC Mohammed International Development Research and Organization Companies
MW(e) Megawatts
NAMA National Amhara Movement
NBI Nile Basin Initiative
NEBE National Electoral Board of Ethiopia
NGO Non-governmental organization
ODP Oromo Democratic Party
OFC Oromo Federalist Congress
OLF Oromo Liberation Front
ONP Oromo National Party
OPDO Oromo People’s Democratic Organization
RSF Sudanese Rapid Support Forces
SEPDM Southern Ethiopian People’s Democratic Movement
SNNPR Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples
TPLF Tigray People’s Liberation Front
UAE United Arab Emirates


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