Ethiopians Mixed on Somaliland Recognition
Tracking Global Events | January 16, 2024
In early January, Ethiopia and Somaliland, the breakaway region of northern Somalia, signed a memorandum of understanding that would deepen their foreign relations. Though full details of the agreement are opaque, reports suggest Ethiopia could lease a 20-kilometer stretch of Somaliland’s coastline in exchange for recognition of Somaliland’s independence. The Somali government in Mogadishu has strongly contested the draft agreement and sees it as a threat to their sovereignty. Somali officials have begun using escalating language and hinted at the potential for a military clash if Ethiopia does not abandon the plan. To better understand the thoughts of Ethiopians on this issue, Premise launched a rapid-response sentiment survey across the country.
- Conflict is high on the minds of most Ethiopians surveyed, with 59% saying ‘an end to conflict’ is the most important issue facing their family.
- While respondents know about the agreement (83% awareness), understanding of its details is more opaque, understandable given the confusing nature of each government’s announcement and misinformation circulating (see chart right).
- To this point, 42% of respondents receive news about the agreement from social media.
- The deal’s status is also unclear for many; 45% are unsure if the agreement was finalized, but a significant minority (35%) think it’s already been enacted.
- The sentiment toward whether Ethiopia should finalize the agreement is mixed: 66% believe it should be finalized. This closely aligns with the 60%-40% Yes-No split when asked if they believe Somaliland is an independent country.
Where have you received most of your news about the agreement?
Premise collected 810 responses from 11 of the country’s 12 regional states. The panel was made up of 38% female and 62% male respondents. The survey utilized convenience sampling, a type of non-probability sampling that is hyper efficient in dynamic events.
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