Border tension in the Horn of Africa: Opportunities for Sudan-Ethiopia collaboration

12 jan 2023 09:00 10:00 ENG

Lovise Aalen (CMI), Adam Babekir (University of Gedarif, Sudan) and Bisrat Worku Gebreyes (University of Gondar, Ethiopia)

Note: The event will take place in Jekteviksbakken 31. It is also possible to join through Zoom. 

What happens to tightly integrated border communities when the relationship between the bordering countries is deteriorating?

In this seminar, we will draw lessons from the borderlands between Sudan and Ethiopia. The communities here have long relied on cross-border agriculture, grazing and trade for their livelihoods, and have nurtured ethnic, linguistic, familial and cultural connections for centuries. During the past two years, however, these communities have witnessed extraordinary changes following the eruption of conflict in the Tigray region in North Ethiopia and border tension between Sudan and Ethiopia over the fertile land in Al-Fashaga between the Amhara region in Ethiopia and Gedarif state in Sudan.

We will focus on the opportunities for cross border community collaboration between Sudan and Ethiopia in reducing border tension. Researchers from universities on both side of the border will explore the factors that pull communities together and push them apart, ultimately aiming at identifying factors that can promote peaceful co-existence between the two major powers in the Horn of Africa.


Lovise Aalen, senior researcher at Chr. Michelsen Institute, has researched Ethiopian politics for the last two decades. She has focused on the implementation of ethnic federalism, the EPRDF’s ideas of revolutionary democracy and the developmental state, regime-youth interactions, and female political participation in authoritarian contexts.

Adam Babekir, is a researcher dealing with border issues at the Center for Refugees, Migration, and Development Studies (CRMDS), University of Gadarif, Sudan. He has conducted researches on Ethio-Sudan border issues, including refugees, seasonal labour migrants, cross-border trade, peaceful co-existence, and water-related challenges.

Bisrat Worku Gebreyes, is assistant professor of Population and Development Studies at the University of Gondar, Ethiopia. His research interests include unemployment and labour force, migration and resettlement, livelihood and food security, adolescent and maternal health, civil and vital event registration, and urbanization.


Photo: Adam Babekir, taken on the Gallabat and Metema crossing point.