The Rift Valley Institute (RVI), is an independent, non-profit organisation working in eastern and central Africa to bring local knowledge to bear on social, political and economic development.



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Dire Dawa, Ethiopia’s second largest city, is a multi-ethnic and multi-religious economic hub in the country’s eastern region, sitting on the contested boundary between the Oromia and Somali regions. Despite an overarching sense that the city’s historical norm is one of inter-religious and inter-ethnic conviviality, Dire Dawa has since 2018 been afflicted by successive waves of inter-communal…

Social science knowledge production in Ethiopia, as elsewhere in Africa, has Eurocentric roots. This is because Ethiopian Studies was born outside of Ethiopia, with the first generation of scholars consisting mainly of academics from Western countries or Ethiopians educated in Eurocentric traditions. The knowledge they produced centred around Ethiopian exceptionalism, which was used to draw a…

Religious affiliation is almost universal in Ethiopia, which means that religions amass significant political capital but may also act as potential catalysts for conflict. After five decades of ostensibly secular politics—first under a socialist dictatorship and then driven by the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF)’s strict insistence that religion and state be separated…


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The horrific fighting in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, has grabbed news headlines since violence broke out on 15 April 2023. This violence shattered Khartoum’s reputation as an island of stability, with many noting that Khartoum had not been attacked in such a manner since the 19th century. The novelty of the attacks on Khartoum have however…

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Access to reliable, quality, efficient and affordable services is central to the leave-no-one-behind agenda underpinning the Sustainable Development Goals.