Ethiopia Hosts Regional Conference on Federalism

26 Feb 2013

The 5th Regional Conference on Federalism and Decentralization held at the UN Conference Centre in Addis Ababa drew over 150 participants from Horn of Africa and ambassadors of 13 countries following the federal system. The meeting sought to exchange lessons and enhance the understanding of principles of federalism and their application in the context of the Horn of Africa through inclusive and participatory learning among the conference participants.

Speaking at the conference, Speaker of the House of Federation, HE Kassa Tekleberhan said that  federalism experience showed respect for human right and a means of enhancing social service provision to citizens. Executive Secretary of IGAD Mr. Mahboub Maalim noted that the road of federalism was not without challenges with some seeing it as the path to disintegration. However, he said, the success of nations that had adopted federalism was showing this structure as viable for communities that had multiple entities within them.

Mr. Eugene Owusu, UNDP Ethiopia Resident Representative, also acknowledged the sensitivity of the topic of discussion, reflecting that, I am delighted to see that we have this impressive array of people to come this conference, a topic that probably 60 years ago would have been viewed as a substitute for divide and rule and a convenient disguise for government to abdicate its responsibility." He added, "Indeed times have changed and Africa is changing".

The two day conference was organised by UNDP, Switzerland Embassy in Addis Ababa, Forum of Federations and the Government of Ethiopia.