The Maritime Silk Road Initiative and Ethiopia: Transforming Policies, Institutions, and Politics in Expected and Unexpected Ways

Jean-Marc F. Blanchard and Edson Ziso
Publication Date: 
December 1st, 2020

Ethiopia has very close political, military, and economic relations with China, with some arguing Addis Ababa has become a near client state of China’s as a result of its economic needs, China’s trade, foreign direct investment, loan, and infrastructure offerings, and the allure of the Maritime Silk Road Initiative (MSRI). This chapter offers a discussion of the MSRI in Ethiopia, which demonstrates the MSRI has been progressing relatively smoothly, though it faces genuine challenges. It also shows the perspective that Ethiopia is a client state is overly simplistic. Such a view inter alia ignores Ethiopia’s own political and economic reasons for embracing China and the MSRI and focuses excessively on the economic drivers of Ethiopian policy. Of note, Ethiopia’s participation in the MSRI and its broad and depth economic ties with China also have empowered it vis-à-vis other countries and institutions, not exactly the typical feature of a client state. The chapter may be purchased individually here: