About René Lefort

René Lefort has been writing about sub-saharan Africa since the 1970s and has reported on the region for Le Monde, Le Monde diplomatique, Libération, Le Nouvel Observateur.

He is the author of "Ethiopia. An heretical revolution?" (1982, Zed books).

Articles by René Lefort

This week's editor

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Adam Ramsay is co-editor of OurKingdom.

Ethiopia: Meles rules from beyond the grave, but for how long?

The trade-off offered by authoritarianism to its client-constituents is security and high growth rates. After Meles challenges may force change, or build the case domestically for a new strong man.

Ethiopia after Meles

Does the Ethiopian state rest on the shoulders of a single man? His illness and recent disappearance from the public eye give some urgency to the question says René Lefort.

The great Ethiopian land-grab: feudalism, leninism, neo-liberalism ... plus ça change

Land in Ethiopia is being leased to agro-industry investors on very long terms and below market rates. The beneficiaries have good political connections. But land has been the play-thing of centralising authoritarians throughout Ethiopia's recent history

"Beka!" ("enough"). Will Ethiopia be next?

Meles Zenawi has been protecting himself from any Arab-spring copy-cat movements in Ethiopia. On balance, it is unlikely that the opposition is strong enough to mount the kind of challenge seen in Egypt and Tunisia. Conditions are not seen to be as brutally unjust in Ethiopia, and no one doubts that the army would be loyal to the Tigray-dominated regime. But there may be surprises yet

Ethiopia's election: all losers

The crushing electoral defeat of the Ethiopian opposition does not actually help the ruling party and encourages its slide into authoritarianism

Ethiopia's famine: deny and delay

In 2008 famine struck Ethiopia. Now, at the start of 2009 it is looming again. According to the “Humanitarian Requirements” released on 30 January 2009 by the government in Addis Ababa and their “Humanitarian Partners”, 13 million Ethiopians - one-sixth of the population - are in need of aid. For over 10 million of them the need is urgent. But food allocations have already been “tentatively cancelled” or reduced. Relief is inadequate, as it has continued to be since the food crisis began in early 2008.

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